A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back

Author
quijote
Double Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 763
  • Joined: 2007/12/22 21:48:00
  • Location: Milwaukee, WI
  • Status: offline
2017/08/29 00:36:56 (permalink)

A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back

My husband and I just returned from a two-week trip from Milwaukee to the Dakotas and back. Several of you offered advice on places to visit during the trip, so I figured I'd provide a report of our wanderings. It seems that my photo files are too large to be uploaded here, so no pictures, I guess.
 
We arrived in Fargo after a very long drive, but after briefly settling into our downtown hotel, we ventured out to Wurst Beer Hall (630 1st Ave. N, Fargo, ND) for dinner. This place is loud and trendy with a beer hall feel, but they have a variety of traditional German-Russian comfort dishes on offer alongside artisan sausages, burgers, and stuff like that. We started with a bowl of their Knoephla Soup, a medium-thick concoction containing potato dumplings and flecked with carrots and other aromatics. After that we enjoyed a rabbit-rattlesnake sausage as well as a jaegerschnitzel entrée. The schnitzel--breaded and fried pork loin-- came with mushroom gravy, braised red cabbage, and spaetzle. All of the food was delicious and went well with a local beer, a Drekker Broken Rudder (Red Ale).  Dessert was a slice of Peach Kuchen: kind of creamy, reminiscent of farmer's cheese with cobbler crust.
 
The following day began with a glazed raised and a blueberry donut at Sandy's Donuts (300 Broadway N, Fargo, ND), a very popular downtown spot (the original store is in West Fargo). The blueberry was a typical cake donut, but the glazed raised was puffy and slightly yeasty-- a step above the ordinary. There were dozens of donut varieties available, including maple bacon long johns, bismarks (blueberry, lemon, strawberry), various cake donuts with and without frosting, apple clusters, and so on. There was no kuchen ready to purchase, but they do take advance orders for kuchen. Our next breakfast stop was Nichole's Fine Pastries (13 8th St. S, Fargo, ND) where we enjoyed a lemon curd bar and a slice of salmon quiche. This place has some savory items (such as quiche), but specializes in sweet pastries, with an emphasis on French-style patisserie. Though there are plenty of cookies, brownies, muffins, cupcakes, and other common North American sweets for sale, the attractions are the croissants, fruit tarts, framboise bombes, and other exquisite confections that one more properly expects to find in Paris and Brussels. Nichole's also sells chocolate truffles of various kinds. There are very few places like this in the American heartland (Milwaukee really only has one such place), and Nichole's fills the bill quite well.
 
Lunch that day was at Kroll's Diner (1033 45th St. S, Fargo, ND), part of a small regional chain that has been mentioned in several other Dakota trip reports here. We started with the Knoephla Soup, a thinner and weaker version of the soup that we had enjoyed at Wurst Beer Hall. The soup itself tasted bland and salty, compared to the thicker and more potatoey base of the soup at Wurst Beer Hall. The Kroll's dumplings were rather tough and probably had more flour than potato in them. On a brighter note, we tried Kroll's Fleischkuekle, a flaky turnover filled with beef. It was tasty, but unfortunately, it was the only Fleischkuekle we had on the trip, so have nothing much to compare it with. This version was rather greasy, and the beef inside was a thin, spiced patty, but we generally enjoyed it. The semi-Roadfooding Husband ordered a club sandwich, and that was standard fare.
 
We left Fargo sometime early afternoon, but made sure to stop at the Tower Travel Center (101 Maiden Lane, Tower City, ND) just off of I-94. While researching stops for this trip, I came across some good press about the Tower Travel Center cafe/bakery. They make baked goods there from scratch, and I read that this was a good place for Sour Cream Raisin Pie, so I snagged the last piece in the display case. We ate the pie later that evening, but it was delicious: the filling was creamy, slightly tart, and slightly sweet, with plump, juicy raisins mixed in. The pie was topped with a proper meringue, too. The next day, at Fried's Family Restaurant in Mandan (1010 Boundary St. NW, Mandan, ND), the Sour Cream Raisin Pie was also delicious, but not quite as good as the SCR from the Tower Travel Center.  
 
Anyhow, after leaving Fargo, we made good time to Bismarck. Like Fargo, Bismarck has an attractive downtown district, and we spent our evening walking around and enjoying some eats. We highly recommend Humpback Sally's (510 E Main Ave., Bismarck, ND) for cocktails, if it's cocktails you crave. The staff didn't blink an eye when we asked for boulevardiers and sazeracs-- this is a place that specializes in classic cocktails, and they do them well. They also serve food (they're a full-fledged restaurant), but we had reservations at Pirogue Grill (121 N. 4th St., Bismarck, ND), a contemporary and kind of pricey restaurant that highlights locally sourced ingredients and creative cuisine. We enjoyed it very much and recommend it if you like this kind of cuisine. We had BBQ rabbit on wild rice pancake, venison sausage with sweet onion relish, sauteed sea scallops with fenugreek curry sauce, and local bison medallions with bordelaise. Dessert was a delicious rhubarb upside-down cake. Not exactly roadfood, but it is good food.
 
The following day, before we left Bismarck for Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we packed in a couple more food stops. Breakfast was coffee and donuts at Bearscat Bakehouse (1914 N. 12th St., Bismarck, ND), a wildly popular place with a loyal local following. The variety of goods was not as vast as at Sandy's Donuts in Fargo (this place didn't have bismarks!), but there were many good options nonetheless, and the quality is very high. We had a glazed raised and sour cream old fashioned, and both were excellent. The former was light, puffy, a tad yeasty, with just enough glaze to accent the donut itself; the sour cream old fashioned was soft and buttery. These were the best donuts of the trip.
 
After a tour of the State Capitol, we had lunch at the Woodhouse (1825 N. 13th St., Bismarck, ND).  This place was a King's Host Restaurant many, many years ago; when King's Host went out of business, new owners took over the site and kept many of the unique features, such as the telephones at each table that customers use to place orders. Another feature retained were the frenchees-- cheese frenchees and ham 'n' cheese frenchees-- that King's Host was known for. My husband regularly ate cheese frenchees and tuna frenchees at King's Host in Colorado in the 1960s, so this lunch was a little bit of a walk down memory lane. The cheese frenchee he ordered--reminiscent of a French croque monsieur--was a classic American cheese sandwich that had been battered and fried. Though this version wasn't exactly like what he had eaten decades ago, it was sufficiently similar. King's Host was headquartered in Nebraska, and today Nebraska is still known as a reliable state to find frenchees, but we were happy to find them in their appropriate context in Bismarck, SD. We also had a cheeseburger--nothing too special; more bun than burger. We didn't have a dessert, but they had lemon meringue pie and strawberry pie that day. They also have walnut raisin pie and pumpkin roll every day.
 
After lunch, we left Bismarck for Fort Mandan, and then from there we drove to Medora and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Unfortunately, the food situation in and around Medora (and later near Devil's Tower, Wyoming) was less than spectacular. We had a reasonably decent ham and sausage pizza at Badlands Pizza Parlor (3rd Ave., Medora, ND): the sausage was slightly spicy and had some fennel in it, but the crust was pre-fab and forgettable. Also on the plus side: it was the only restaurant still open when we arrived in Medora.
 
For breakfast one day, we ate at Cowboy Cafe (215 4th St., Medora, ND) where we had a fine plate of eggs and a decent chicken fried steak. One truly bright spot, however, was a slice of sour cream raisin pie that we had there (made by a local baker). This was not like the kind of sour cream raisin pie typically encountered in other places: the filling was thick, sort of like oatmeal, and was spiced with clove. Instead of meringue, the topping was buttons of whipped cream. When we ate this pie, I remembered that buffetbuster posted on a similar experience in eastern Montana, I believe. I asked the owner about the pie, and to him this is what sour cream raisin pie is supposed to be. I had never had clove in my SCR before, but the owner was like, "of course, there's clove, that's what you're supposed to put in it." Does it seem that this is an eastern Montana / western North Dakota thing? Perhaps. In any case, I enjoyed the pie very much, even though it wasn't the more "classic" style that I'm used to.
 
Overall, the pickings for the west Dakota / Wyoming part of the trip were slim--mediocre burgers, mediocre sandwiches, and mediocre Japanese food. These areas are very remote, and food is rather expensive: $13-$20 for burgers and sandwiches. It's hard to find stuff on menus that isn't fried, and produce is scarce. Thank goodness the natural beauty of the area made up for the lack of food options!  The food scene improved a few days later when we made it to the Black Hills, though prices remained high and options were still pretty limited. I'll write about that in a separate post.
 
 
post edited by quijote - 2017/08/29 01:04:25
#1

10 Replies Related Threads

    MilwFoodlovers
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3466
    • Joined: 2001/03/31 23:43:00
    • Location: Milwaukee, WI
    • Status: offline
    Re: A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back 2017/08/29 07:57:08 (permalink)
    Will there be some pictures? Nice report so far, Q.
    #2
    quijote
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 763
    • Joined: 2007/12/22 21:48:00
    • Location: Milwaukee, WI
    • Status: offline
    Re: A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back 2017/08/29 12:03:39 (permalink)
     
    Thanks, MFL. I have lots of photos to share, but it seems that the file size of each one exceeds the limit allowed for uploading. I could upload the pics to another server and make links, but that's a bit of work and don't know when I'll get a chance to do that. Maybe I'll create a Facebook album and post a link to that.
    #3
    TJ Jackson
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 5262
    • Joined: 2003/07/26 22:24:00
    • Location: Cincinnati, OH
    • Status: offline
    Re: A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back 2017/08/29 12:30:53 (permalink)
    Another option is to open the files in an editor (like Paint in Windows), make a copy of the original, and reduce the size of the pic and/or change the format for the copy.  On the latter option, if the photos are in BMP format, changing them to JPG or PNG should dramatically reduce the filesize
    #4
    BuddyRoadhouse
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 5773
    • Joined: 2004/12/10 20:06:00
    • Location: Des Plaines, IL
    • Status: offline
    Re: A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back 2017/08/29 14:09:53 (permalink)
    The postimages.org site has been very helpful in allowing me to post pictures.  Roadfooder Blakkmoon made us aware of the site in this thread.  Instructions are relatively easy, even for a non techie like me.
     
    Like these photos from the 2016 Pittsburgh Crawl:


    Grilling in the Strip District.

    Alex at Jozsa Corner.


    Catch of the day at Wholley's.

    Ambiance at Tessaro's.

    Burger at same.
     
    Pretty simple and flawless.
     
    Buddy
    post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2017/08/29 14:28:51
    #5
    quijote
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 763
    • Joined: 2007/12/22 21:48:00
    • Location: Milwaukee, WI
    • Status: offline
    Re: A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back 2017/08/29 16:12:22 (permalink)
     
     
    I unearthed an old Google Photos account and uploaded some photos to it. Let's see if this works:
     
    https://goo.gl/photos/p7kvF7dvzrCLf61T7
     
    From what I can tell, the link works, but you have to click on individual photos to see comments.
     
    Update: I scrolled back on my browser to the photos I tried to upload on Photoimage.org. I still cannot find them in my account, but the URLs seem to embed properly (for now). Thanks to all for suggestions on trying to make photos happen!
     
     
    post edited by quijote - 2017/08/29 16:31:58
    #6
    quijote
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 763
    • Joined: 2007/12/22 21:48:00
    • Location: Milwaukee, WI
    • Status: offline
    Re: A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back 2017/08/29 16:21:28 (permalink)
     

     
    Okay, I tabbed back on the browser to the Postimage.org photos I uploaded.... I still don't find them in the account, but they seem to show up as URL somehow....
     
    Anyhow, here's the Knoephla Soup at Wurst Beer Hall:


     
    Jaegerschnitzel, Red Cabbage, and Spaetzle at Wurst Beer Hall:
     

     
    Rabbit-Rattlesnake Sausage at Beer Wurst Hall:


     
    Peach Kuchen at Beer Wurst Hall:
     

     
    At Sandy's Donuts:






     
    Nichole's Fine Pastries:










     
    Knoephla Soup at Kroll's in Fargo:


     
    Fleischkuekle at Kroll's in Fargo:




     
    Sour Cream Raisin Pie from Tower Travel Plaza:


     
    The Woodhouse in Bismarck, ND:


     
    Cheese Frenchee at the Woodhouse:




     
    Sunset over the Painted Canyon at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (Medora):


     
    Multi-meat pizza at Badlands Pizza in Medora:


     
    Sour Cream Raisin Pie (spiced with clove) at Cowboy Cafe in Medora:


     
    Potential burger:





    post edited by quijote - 2017/08/29 16:29:52
    #7
    ScreamingChicken
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 8006
    • Joined: 2004/11/05 14:36:00
    • Location: Stoughton, WI
    • Status: offline
    Re: A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back 2017/08/29 21:26:20 (permalink)
    Rabbit-rattlesnake sausage?  I'm not sure I'd give that a try.
     
    Whom do I contact about buying shares of that potential burger?
    #8
    quijote
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 763
    • Joined: 2007/12/22 21:48:00
    • Location: Milwaukee, WI
    • Status: offline
    Re: A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back 2017/08/29 23:32:04 (permalink)
    After we left Medora, ND we headed for Devil's Tower, Wyoming via Montana roads. We saw some interesting things, including my first Pronghorn in the wild. Our food stops, though, were nothing special. We stayed at the town of Hulett, just north of Devil's Tower. The fare was pretty much average quality burgers, sandwiches, fried food.
     





     
    We were at Devil's Tower for the partial eclipse. Surprisingly, there weren't too many people around. On the 21st we made our way to Rapid City, near the Black Hills of South Dakota. We stayed at a small motel for three nights; on our first night we had drinks at Kol (504 Mt. Rushmore Road, Rapid City, SD) and dinner at Kathmandu Bistro (727 Main St., Rapid City, SD). I recommend both places. We were kind of burned out on burgers, sandwiches, and fried foods, so the housemade Indian food at Kathmandu was a welcome change. The vegetable pakoras we had were very tasty, but we particularly liked the Chicken Vindaloo and Lamb Rogan Josh.
     
    The following day we visited Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, and most of the small, historic towns in the area.


     
    For lunch we had chislic at Bumpin Buffalo (245 Main St.) in Hill City. This version is fried, marinated beef chunks, though it seems that lamb and bison are also used for this dish. We enjoyed the chislic, though it was sometimes too chewy. Also, it was a lot of food: it's enough for two people.




    Later in the day, we found ourselves in the town of Custer, where we stopped and had bumbleberry pie at Bobkat's Purple Pie Place (19 Mt. Rushmore Rd., Custer, SD). The exterior is unmistakable:


     
    And the pie was truly delicious. This version of bumbleberry pie included rhubarb, apple, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. The kitchen sometimes adds huckleberries when in season.



    Other foods enjoyed in the Rapid City / Black Hills area included a caramel roll at Colonial House (2315 Mt. Rushmore Rd., Rapid City, SD) and some donuts at Jerry's Cakes and Donuts (109 E Omaha St., Rapid City, SD). The rest of our meals in the area were just average. We wanted to hit a few more spots recommended by folks on this forum, such as Black Hills Burger and Bun in Custer, but we were in the wrong place at the wrong time to be able to do so.



    After a couple of days in the Black Hills, we traveled eastward to the South Dakota Badlands. This place is simply stunning.


     
    One of the highlights of our visit was lunch at the Cedar Pass Lodge (20681 SD-240, Interior, SD) in the park itself, near the visitor's center. A couple of days before, in the Black Hills, we had had a terrible Indian taco at a diner in Hot Springs. But fortunately, the version served at the lodge was delicious. In this version, the fry bread was puffy and slightly sweet, and the meat was seasoned, ground bison. We've had better Indian tacos in the U.S. southwest, but this version satisfied our quest for this elusive food.


     
    The menu at the Lodge had a few other Native American specialties, including wojapi (sometimes rendered as "wojnapi"), a sweet, stewed berry dish. It is traditionally eaten with fry bread, but we enjoyed it on its own.


     
    After our stay in the Badlands, we headed to Mitchell, SD to see the famous Corn Palace. A street fair was taking place at the time, so we enjoyed some more chislic and an Indian taco. And in the Corn Palace itself, we enjoyed a couple of corn dogs. It is the Corn Palace, after all.


     
    Mitchell was just a brief stop on our drive eastward from the Badlands. Our destination for the evening was Le Mars, Iowa, so we could have dinner at this place:


     
    Archie's Waeside (224 4th Ave. NE, Le Mars, Iowa) was definitely worth the 80-minute wait to be seated. While we waited, we snagged a couple of seats at the bar, had some cocktails, and chatted with the wonderful staff behind the bar. I'd go back just to see them again--what amazing people. We arrived at the restaurant at around 8 pm and were among the very last people to sign the waiting list, so we wound up closing the place. We never felt rushed, though, and we really enjoyed the food, service, and ambience.
     
    We began our meal with a small order of onion rings. They were a tad soft, but still had some crunch in them.


     
    The bread, relish tray, and salad were all standard fare-- nothing too interesting. But the meats really stole the show. We had a delicious Iowa pork chop (with wild rice) and a medium-rare double thick sirloin. The baked potato that came with the steak was tasty enough, but I really enjoyed the hash browns that I ordered with the pork. Though the beef and pork were not the very best we've had, they were very good, and certainly a great bargain at under $20 each.






     
    The following day (Sunday) we made our way across Iowa, and I was determined to get a Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich somewhere--one of my favorite sandwiches. A lot of good candidates were closed for the day, but we planned our route so that we would stop at Sneaker's Eatery and Pub (1317 Central Ave.) in Fort Dodge. We liked the appetizer of fried mushrooms, but really enjoyed the BPT.  It was not the overhanging monster that some BPTs are, but it still did a good job of covering the bottom bun. The breading had a large dose of corn meal--something that I hadn't experienced with a BPT before, yet something that gave a crispy and almost Southern quality to the meat. The pork was medium thick and was very flavorful. The two of us feasted off of the thing quite well.




     
    We spent our evening in Dubuque, Iowa, and managed to get to our accommodations (Hotel Julien, a handsome, inexpensive place in a historic building) just before a gullywashing rainstorm hit. The rain kept us from walking around downtown that evening, so we had a couple of drinks at the bar, and then ate at the hotel restaurant. We usually avoid hotel restaurants, but the weather wasn't too inviting, and the options nearby on a Sunday night were extremely limited. As it turns out, the restaurant-- Caroline's (200 Main St.)-- was a good choice. It isn't roadfood, but it's good food: we had catfish cakes, simple salad, and pork ribeye with herbs and prosciutto. All was delicious.
     
    On Monday, our last day of the trip, we walked around downtown Dubuque, and then drove eastward to Mineral Point, Wisconsin. There, we explored the town a bit before having lunch at the Red Rooster Cafe (158 High St.). Mineral Point was a mining town with a lot of Cornish immigrants, and one of the legacies of that is the presence of a few Cornish foods in the local eateries. At the Red Rooster we each had a pasty (for some reason, the photo didn't load), and for dessert we shared a figgyhobbin--a confection made of pie crust, brown sugar, nuts, raisins, cinnamon, and other things. We pressed forward to home afterward, so this was a good way to end the trip.


    post edited by quijote - 2017/08/30 00:47:32
    #9
    quijote
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 763
    • Joined: 2007/12/22 21:48:00
    • Location: Milwaukee, WI
    • Status: offline
    Re: A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back 2017/08/30 01:05:50 (permalink)
    ScreamingChicken
    Rabbit-rattlesnake sausage?  I'm not sure I'd give that a try.
     
    Whom do I contact about buying shares of that potential burger?




    The sausage was delicious-- it had a bite to it, though it had hare in it....
     
    #10
    Greymo
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4124
    • Joined: 2005/11/30 08:54:00
    • Location: Marriottsville, MD
    • Status: offline
    Re: A Late Summer Trip to the Dakotas and Back 2017/08/30 16:51:49 (permalink)
    It sounds like you had a great trip, along with some interesting food.
     
    #11
    Jump to:
    © 2017 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.5