Back in Rochelle for the night. It’s our traditional stopping point. It means we should get back to Winnipeg around 9:00 tomorrow evening.
Sunday is always a short day for me at the Con, because we like to leave Indy around 2:00 in the afternoon. I took my leave of the booth around noon, to go say goodbye to everyone and then get my bags packed and loaded into the car. There was a little bit of scampering around, logistically speaking ((It involved the delivery of some catnip Cthulhus. Probably best if you don’t ask.)), but we made it onto the road in good time, and hardly even got lost leaving the city.
Normally, we stop for dinner at Bob Evans in Bloomington on the way home, but this year, we didn’t. We had a different goal.
See, some years ago, we found this amazing little restaurant with the best calzone we had ever eaten. Unfortunately, we have since forgotten where it is. Even which town it’s in. And what it’s called. But we have been hoping to find it again.
This year, when we checked in at Rochelle on the way down, we asked the woman working the hotel desk. She suggested Vince’s Pizza, which sounded right to me. Thus, we spent the time down in Indy dreaming of that perfect calzone. And so we skipped dinner at Bob Evans, to make sure we were good and hungry when we got to Vince’s Pizza.
We were good and hungry, partly because I, idiot that I am, left the flyer we had picked up on the way down to Indy, which featured the address, in my bag at the hotel, and I couldn’t remember precisely where the place was. We drove around a bit more than was really funny, and stopped at two gas stations to ask for directions, and finally found it.
It was not the place of the legendary calzone. Instead of the low stucco, porticoed building we remembered, it was a little red-and-white wooden building with a tiny, tiny parking lot.
Still, we decided to go in and give it a try, because Pizza Hut, Little Caesar, and Burger King did not really appeal. Besides, the parking lot was full of people coming in to pick up pizzas, and rushing away. We figured it must be good.
Inside, it was the kind of simple, homey, family restaurant you often find in resort towns: nothing fancy, but clean and friendly. I ordered a calzone, being fixated on the idea of calzone, and Clint ordered the manicotti. We also ordered beer nuggets ((These, it turned out, were deep-fried pieces of pizza dough with marinara sauce for dipping.)), because we figured it would take some time before the calzone and manicotti were ready, and we were hungry.
So, there we sat, staring at this veritable mountain of beer nuggets, and Clint says, under his voice, slightly awed, “She should have warned us.” The pile of golden-fried little ((Note: they were not really that little. This is poetic license. Actually, it’s an outright lie. They were big.)) bits of dough would pretty much have filled a gallon bucket.
We had come nowhere near finishing them – and had started speculating on how good they would or would not be tomorrow – when our meals were brought out, and we realized we were doomed.
Clint has been saying he feels evangelical. The food was a life-changing experience. I no longer care about the half-remembered ((And possibly mythical.)) calzone of yesteryear. This is the one true calzone. I tried a little of the manicotti, and it was also amazing.
I don’t know how, but Clint finished his plate of manicotti. And the meatball. And half his garlic bread. I had no such luck with the calzone, and was able to eat maybe half of it. The other half sits in the fridge in our hotel room, singing softly to my soul ((The beer nuggets are singing backup harmonies.)) as it waits to fulfill its purpose tomorrow.
Vince’s Pizza has become our destination for dinner, both going down and coming back from GenCon. Clint and his family are heading down to Chicago in a few weeks, and he has decided to change their route so that they come through Rochelle for dinner at Vince’s.
It’s that good. And here’s some semi-documentary evidence: