We had a unique start to our trip to Las Vegas: via Waterloo, Iowa. Matt had a work seminar to lead on Saturday morning, so we rented a car around 3pm on Friday and got on the road to the beautiful Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area. We arrived in town shortly before 8pm, and got our room at Waterloo’s Finest Hotel (according to their website): the Ramada.
I would like to argue with that name: it was crawling with hundreds of loud children, the rooms were very outdated, and everything smelled like smoke. Granted, the kids weren’t really their fault: there was a state wrestling tournament going on in Cedar Falls. The parents on our floor had all propped their room doors open (many of them with coolers full of beer), and the kids were running rampant. We dropped off our stuff and got the hell out of there quick.
We walked to a pizza place a few blocks away called Doughy Joey’s for dinner. The food was pretty great, as was the beer: I had Millstream Backroad Stout, which is made in the Amana Colonies. AMISH BEER!?! So exciting.
After dinner, we went across the street to a place called the Drunken Monkey, which had been recommended as a great dive. It was indeed that: a few of the patrons there were definitely no strangers to meth. We got some cheap drinks and hung out for a bit listening to 50 Cent on the jukebox, but there were too few people there to entertain us. We decided to take a walk around town and see what else we could find.
There didn’t seem to be much else going on in Waterloo that wasn’t extremely divey (there were apparently trendier places across the river, but it was too cold to walk that far), so we decided on a place called Smitty’s because of the hockey-related sign out front. There were only 6 or so people in there, too, so we grabbed seats at the bar and quickly got to know the bartender. We were very excited to find Templeton Rye; it’s made locally and only distributed around Iowa and Illinois. Matt really wanted to bring some home, so I’d done research and read that it was pretty difficult to find because it sold out right away.
We asked the bartender how he preferred to drink it, and he said the Templeton Press was most popular. That’s the second time we’d heard the term ‘press’, and apparently it involves a splash of water and 7-Up. After some research on the internet, we found out that ‘press’ comes from ‘Presbyterian’, and used to mean a non-alcoholic cocktail of some kind. I asked the bartender if he had any advice on where to find Templeton, and he said the little Pakistani liquor stores were the most likely to have some in stock. I added that to my to-do list for the next morning.
We headed back to Waterloo’s Finest Hotel, where it was thankfully past all the children’s bedtime.