When I go back home to visit my parents in Illinois, there are hundreds of places I think I should eat at, mainly because they were long time favorites in my family or amongst friends. It is difficult to decide, so I generally try to pick one or two each trip and head there. This time around, I took D.Rough to Arthur’s Garden Deli for lunch, and then we decided to hit up the Ice Cream Palace for dinner before going to a fancy big gay Iowa wedding.
I haven’t been back to the ICP (yes, the same initials as the assclown rap group) in probably three years, but I was pretty sure nothing had changed. It is cheap and it is delicious. I already knew what I was going to get. Large Combination. But I let D.Rough peruse the menu for what she wanted. She decided on a taco salad. I’m not usually a taco-salad-at-a-mexican-restaurant kind of guy, but she needed more lettuce than she had at the garden deli earlier, so I didn’t think twice about it. I also had to order a cheese crisp – which I’m discovering is an Illinois thing, NOT a Minnesota thing.
An amazing thing about ICP is you can order two-liters of pop/soda for your table. They have pepsi and coke products this way and it works out to be cheaper. Plus sometimes, you get to take some home. However, the only catch is that if you’re with only one other person, you kind of have to like the same soda or the whole thing doesn’t work. I ended up with a Dew and D.Rough got a Pepsi. Just glasses, not two-liters.
The cheese crisp came out first. It’s very simple – fry a flour tortilla and then melt cheese all over it. DONE. Most places in Illinois use smaller shells for this and substandard cheese, but ICP uses giant tortillas and tasty cheese, so these are probably the best I’ve ever had. Also, it isn’t fat free, if you’re wondering. Hahahahahaha.
The food came out shortly after we started eating the cheese crisp. So shortly that we didn’t have room on our table for everything I had ordered. The large combination is a taco, a tostada, an enchilada, a tamale, and beans and rice. It is a thorough sampling of what the place has to offer. I know it isn’t the most amazing Mexican food in the world, but it brings back all kinds of flavor-memories for me. I loved every bite of it. Super tasty tamale, fresh ingredients on everything, especially when you add the salsa they bring to your table. It’s runny salsa – which the staff refer to as hot sauce – but it is plenty spicy. The beans and rice are served with tortilla chips and fill in all the gaps that the taco and other fun things don’t (there aren’t many gaps to fill in after that meal).
D.Rough’s taco salad ended up being mostly ground beef and minimal lettuce, which didn’t thrill her. After she stirred it up a bit and added a generous helping of the hot sauce, it became more palatable to her. She wasn’t thrilled with ICP, to be honest. I will chalk it up to me growing up eating this food and really missing it, and her being used to some sneaky but delicious Mexican food from St. Paul.
I was thrilled with my meal, and that’s all that’s really important here.
I usually get the Carne de Res (CDR) burrito when I go to ICP. It’s a large bean, rice, and carne de res burrito covered with meat chili and cheese. It’s amazingly delicious as well and uber … I mean muy filling. That’s the other thing I usually get when I come back here.
I miss going there with Coach and with my former John Deere work people. When I lived in Illinois, I used to go more often than I should and there are all sorts of stories I have from there. What’s really awesome is one of the waitresses recognized me from years ago. She asked if it was me and I told her I moved to Minnesota, but wanted to come back to ICP when I came home to visit the folks. She seemed genuinely proud that I said that. Ahhhh memories.
Also, you’ll notice I didn’t mention any ice cream at the Ice Cream Palace. It’s because there isn’t any. Seriously. That’s the big joke. It has been a Mexican restaurant for a hundred years and doesn’t have any ice cream. That’s the kind of things people from Illinois find amusing. Deal with it. Besides, you wanted a burrito, not a sno-cone, kid.
Top 5 things about Ice Cream Palace
1. CDR Burrito (even though I didn’t get it, I know it’s the best)
2. Cheese Crisp
3. Large combination
4. Super awesome staff that remembers me from years back
5. The food is REALLY inexpensive here (and you can get a 2-Liter of soda)
Bottom 5 things
1. Taco salad is basically a ground beef salad on top of some lettuce
2. The timing of food meant we had to put some of our food on the empty table next to us while we cleared off our previous plates
3. They only take cash (but they have an ATM)
4. This place makes me miss all kinds of people I’ve dined here with…
5. It isn’t the best Mexican food in the world, but I love it
Ice Cream Palace
307 1st Ave
Silvis, IL 61282