Back in the Quad-Cities again...

Double Chili Cheeseburger
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2017/12/25 09:23:32 (permalink)

Back in the Quad-Cities again...

Once more, I'm back in the Quad-Cities for Christmas, and once more, I'm doing a mini-tour of sorely missed local eats.  

The definitive breakfast pizza around here is probably that of Casey's General Store, but my dad pre-empted me this year with a take-and-bake one from the Wisconsin-based Kwik Star chain of convenience stores.

This particular style of breakfast pizza, with scrambled (often powdered) eggs, sausage/ham/bacon, and cheese, all on top of either a cheese sauce or a sawmill gravy, doesn't seem to be known in CT - I've shown similar photos to several coworkers with no recognition whatsoever.  There are places, generally more upscale ones, that do breakfast-type variations with over-easy eggs, avocado, what have you, but those are in a completely different spirit. 

This one was respectable, not quite Casey's level, but impressive for $9 from a convenience store.

Lunch the next day was a roast beef sandwich and cheddar potato soup from Hungry Hobo, a longtime regional chain with thirteen locations in the QC area.

Note: when you order mayo at Hungry Hobo, you get Miracle Whip.  I'm fine with that.

The soup was just the hit of rich salty cheesy starchy goodness that I was looking for on a bitterly cold day.

I drove to Iowa City the following evening to visit a friend. For dinner, we went to the Sanctuary Pub, a fixture since 1972 and my strong preference over the downtown bars during my college days.

Baked Brie!

I remembered them as having decent pizza, but they skimped on the cheese and sauce this time.  Pics on Yelp suggested that this was an off-day rather than a chronic issue.

What we lacked in food, we made up for in drink, and then made up further the next morning at breakfast: Hamburg Inn No. 2, an old-school diner and well-known political stop.

Good gravy on the biscuit and gravy - better than I've had in the northeast, honestly, and good enough that I'd have wanted two or three biscuits, if I hadn't planned on a very special lunch.

This was the very special lunch: Happy Joe's pizza and Whitey's ice cream.

Friends and coworkers in Connecticut turn up their noses at pictures of this, but folks in the Midwest / Upper Midwest know what's up.

Crispy-chewy crust, sweet sauce, a thick layer of a cheese blend that includes mozz and cheddar, finely chopped Canadan bacon (still my favorite rendition of it), finely ground sausage (but not as finely ground as QC-style, like Harris or Fat Boy's).

Two months ago, Happy Joe's sold a majority stake to the entity that is the largest franchisee of Buffalo Wild Wings; the idea is to open more locations nationally.  We'll see what that brings, I guess.

No trip here would be complete, of course, without a stop at Hy-Vee and the collection of some local goodies.

Look below the comically huge bowl ...

"Taco pasta salad". Only in the Midwest.

I'm not done with my trip yet, though!  Visiting two more friends, tomorrow and the day after.  Bent River Brewing is likely, but other than that I haven't laid anything out yet.
post edited by Ketteract - 2017/12/25 11:17:20

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    Re: Back in the Quad-Cities again... 2017/12/25 09:35:58 (permalink)
    Tremendous so far. Taco pasta salad doesn't sound so bad. ;)
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    Re: Back in the Quad-Cities again... 2017/12/25 10:41:53 (permalink)
    That pizza, not so good,from it's a fair grade Costco pie gone bad...."sweet Sauce", uh uh!!! You said Connecticut people wouldn't like it, add New Jersey people to that list. If it's YOUR style. Enjoy. That's what pizza is all about!!
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    Re: Back in the Quad-Cities again... 2017/12/25 12:32:00 (permalink)
    K, I can't remember if I've mentioned this before or if you noticed on one of your work trips to Madison, but Kwik Stars are Kwik Trips here in WI.  The name change is because when La Crosse-based Kwik Trip originally wanted to branch into Iowa the QuikTrip (QT) chain was already an established presence, and there was some concern about brand identity/confusion so the name was modified (there may have been some legal reasons, too).  I've used my Kwik Trip card a number of times at Kwik Stars and more than once the cashier has looked at it and commented that I must be from WI.  BTW, Casey's stores are showing up more and more here in WI and the new ones are a far cry from the old cinderblock buildings.
    Looks like you're hitting the classics!  I've never eaten at Sanctuary but it's definitely a great place for a beer.  Did you take I-80 to Iowa City or did you use the 2-lane highways?
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re: Back in the Quad-Cities again... 2017/12/25 12:51:29 (permalink)
    I remember QuikTrip from my summers at the ISU-run geek camp in Ames.  Around the QC, Kwik Shop was what we had when I was growing up, and it's still here, alongside Kwik Star.  All the name variations make me chuckle.  I'd bet on Casey's pizza above Kwik-anything, though.
    No treks along old state highways, I'm afraid, especially after the snow that we just got.  I-80 (and that "I" sounds so funny to me now, since no one in CT says it) was kept reasonably clean.
    Filet Mignon
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    Re: Back in the Quad-Cities again... 2017/12/25 13:35:33 (permalink)
    Have you ever stopped at "Me and Billy's"?  He used to own Mac's Tavern. Both are great places.

    I've fallen in love with the plain looking Tommy's Café for breakfast. A peak at the menu current as of Christmas Day 2017 found they still are offering the Smokey Mountain, which is a "grilled English muffin topped with two scrambled eggs, cheese and nine smoke links" for $4.75. That is no typo. Those 9 smoke links are what I'd call Polish Delights and they are about an inch long but still..................


    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re: Back in the Quad-Cities again... 2017/12/27 09:22:55 (permalink)
    Me and Billy's looks like a fine alternative to Bent River!  I'll see if my group tonight feels like changing things up.  And I'll keep Tommy's in mind for the next morning depending on how wild we get.  
    Lunch yesterday ended up being at good ol' Village Inn.

    (That's fried chicken, not a burger.)

    I don't know whether they use a supplier for their honey mustard, or if it's their own recipe, but it's still some of the best I've had.

    Oh... and, of course, pies.

    So many pies.


    Took a French silk one back to my folks.

    post edited by Ketteract - 2017/12/27 09:25:04
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re: Back in the Quad-Cities again... 2017/12/27 14:22:55 (permalink)
    My friend backed out of tonight due to her daughter having a nasty ear infection, so I'll be eating at my folks'.  Nevertheless, I drove around and snapped a few pictures.
    Here's where Fat Boy's has always been.

    You've got to love those time-worn, unassuming storefronts.

    This is where my mom used to get all her Japanese food supplies when I was a kid.  It's moved around a few times, and its mix of goods has, according to her, tilted away from Japanese and towards Vietnamese and Cambodian.

    And yeah - I suspect that the "Oriental" name has persisted only through the sheer power of local recognition.  

    This may have been the first Indian restaurant in the QC area.  I'm not sure.  It was certainly considered a novelty when I was younger.  Back then, it was in Davenport instead of Moline, and it went by the name of India House.
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    Re: Back in the Quad-Cities again... 2017/12/29 12:18:58 (permalink)
    WOW!  Foods I've never seen or heard of.  Breakfast pizza?  Why not? 
    I'd love to try all of them and your photographs are top notch!
    Thank you for going out in the cold for the building pictures.  It gives me a sense of what the area looks like.  I like seeing architecture and landscape, whatever it is.  Thanks!
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