Helpful ReplyHot!Chops in the cornfield

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lleechef
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/09 17:35:03 (permalink)
Keep going, Dale, beautiful as always!
#31
wanderingjew
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/09 19:02:05 (permalink)
We returned to Davenport IA  to check into the Sheraton downtown (separate rooms of course) while CTD took a snooze I took a power walk over to the riverfront.
 
IMG_20150824_180704271 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
 
I lamented that I would be missing the ballgame tonight, although I did previously visit the ballpark and  got to see the single A river bandits play back in 2010.
 
IMG_20150824_180307488_HDR by ohso37, on Flickr
 
I returned to the hotel and now that CTD re-charged his batteries we headed out to dinner.
 
 
IMG_7168 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
Riefe's Family Restaurant was a highlight during my "Heartlanding through the Breadbasket" trip back in 2010. Around since the 1940's, the restaurant  added many additions throughout the years. Each room has the feel of a different era, and it was surprisingly busy for a Monday evening.
 
Each meal begins with a basket of rolls and bishops bread which like a "light" coffee cake
 
IMG_7169 by ohso37, on Flickr

I was hoping they would have the ham and bean soup I enjoyed on my last visit, unfortunately they didn't. This time it was an Italian beef and vegetable soup which was fine but not as good as the soup I enjoyed previously
 
IMG_7175 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
My next disappointment was that they ran out of the day's special, meatloaf. I ordered the chopped steak with onions sided by hashbrowns generously loaded with cheese and fried onions
 
IMG_7177 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
My disappointment quickly subsided. The chopped steak delivered big beefy flavor dripping juices onto the cheesy-crispy hashbrowns. What the slice of watermelon is doing there? I'll never know
 
CTD enjoyed his grilled ham steak dinner.
 
I yielded at dessert, but that didn't stop CTD, they were out of the amazing banana cream pie which I enjoyed 5 years ago, however CTD decided to order coconut cream instead. 
 
IMG_7179 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
And what a pie this was. Of course my fork landed in the belly of the pie more than just a few times. CTD declared this pie in his top 20. And I totally concurr. The waitress was nice enough to give us some extra bishop's bread when we left. What CTD  did with it, I still don't know.
 
Riefe's Family Restaurant based on both of my visits is another Roadfood restaurant that deserves a formal review.
 
 
Our last stop of the evening (I wanted more but CTD kept crying "Uncle") was one of those famous Quad Cities pizza joints, just a mere .2 ( yes, less than a quarter a mile away) 
 
Fat Boy's Pizza
 
IMG_7187 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
 Offering a very modest menu. Fat Boy's is takeout only, bu there is a bar right next door which I believe they own and I understand you can take your pie there to enjoy
 
IMG_7185 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
We ordered a medium pizza to share. I got the canadian bacon and the regional "sauerkraut" on my half and I believe CTD ordered canadian bacon and mushroom on his half.
 
We were told that our order would take about 20-25 minutes, meanwhile I got some photos of the pizza oven
 
IMG_7184 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
We took the pizza back to our hotel. First off, I discovered very quickly that I don't like Sauerkraut on my pizza. Other than the sweet sauce and the cornmeal dusting on the bottom of the pie, we both found the pizza underwhelming nor could we distinguish a specific regional difference to the pizza (other than my sauerkraut topping) Unfortunately Fat Boys was my first disappointment  (and CTD's second) of the trip, but we both considered this an "experiment" due to our curiosity.
 
IMG_7189 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
After pizza, CTD simply couldn't take it any more. He told me I am a "drill sergeant" compared to buffetbuster
 
much more to come
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
#32
Michael Hoffman
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/09 19:20:10 (permalink)
Oh, this is getting good.
#33
ann peeples
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/09 19:59:18 (permalink)
Love the diversity of the food!
#34
buffetbuster
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/09 20:10:01 (permalink)
That's a great looking slice of pie!
#35
CajunKing
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/10 03:51:41 (permalink)
And where was big boy during this adventure?
 
Saurkraut on pizza?  Ok I know I should know the answer but its almost 4 in the morning and i am on day #3 of insomnia (dialysis sux), but what defines quad city style of pizza?  Except for the kraut it looked and sounded like normal pizza
#36
ScreamingChicken
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/10 12:00:49 (permalink)
CajunKing
what defines quad city style of pizza?

http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/Quad-Cities-Style-Pizza-Pie-m643390.aspx
#37
CajunKing
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/10 17:06:06 (permalink)
ah so a normal thin pizza cut in long rectangles, gotcha, still need sleep though.
#38
wanderingjew
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/10 17:36:50 (permalink)
ann peeples
Love the diversity of the food!




That's going to change very quickly
 
CajunKing
And where was big boy during this adventure?
 
Saurkraut on pizza?  Ok I know I should know the answer but its almost 4 in the morning and i am on day #3 of insomnia (dialysis sux), but what defines quad city style of pizza?  Except for the kraut it looked and sounded like normal pizza




big boy only attends events that include BOTH CTD and buffetbuster. He was very upset that he couldn't go to Pittsburgh that prior weekend but I explained to him that he's too young to fly by himself
 
I define "Quad City Pizza" as something that I would never order again.
#39
ann peeples
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/10 18:00:19 (permalink)
Oh, I know it will, Dale-but a fun beginning-as I am sure the middle and end will be.....
#40
stricken_detective
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/10 18:05:53 (permalink)
What were on the Hell and Purgatory pizzas? Just curious, but if the pizza sucked I guess it doesn't matter.
#41
wanderingjew
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/10 20:14:05 (permalink)
Tuesday August 25
 
CTD warned me that I can't grind him like the task master I was the day before. He thought buffetbuster was brutal, using any and every torturous device imaginable
The early risers we are,  we decided a hearty "farm" breakfast was in order. 
And where else can we get such a hearty meal other than the Machine Shed
Ayersian (Chris')  favorite restaurant in Iowa (insert sarcasm smiley here) 
 
IMG_7191 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
I've never been to the Davenport location which I believe is also the original. I know some folks hate the machine shed and consider it a tourist trap, but really, tell me how may folks actually go to the Quad Cities as a tourist destination, or Des Moines for that matter. I don't consider The Machine Shed iconic Iowa (but then again I don't consider Katz's deli, or any NYC Jewish Deli "iconic NYC" for that matter). Be that as it may, it is Roadfood and I've never had a bad meal there. 
 
We started out with a dinner plate sized cinnamon roll to share
" /> 
 
When it first arrived at the table it looked a little different than the roll I enjoyed at the Urbandale location 5 years earlier. It was a good cinnamon roll, but a little dry, in fact I'll have an even better cinnamon roll later on in the trip. 
 

 
This was the cinnamon roll at the Urbandale location 5 years earlier- you be the judge.
 
For breakfast I ordered the pork chop and eggs over medium with biscuits and gravy and hash brown casserole as my sides. 
 
IMG_7199 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
This is just a regular pork chop (not an Iowa Chop) . It had nice flavor but the true star of the meal was the hashbrown casserole 

CTD ordered an omelet of some type.
 
IMG_7198 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
We left the Machine Shed with full bellies (ok, at least I did) but I still felt a little dreary without good coffee
We decided on one of the Quad Cities' tried and true standbys- Theo's Java Club 
 
IMG_7200 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
This is more of a traditional "2nd wave" coffee house, there was a steady stream of customers, but what caught our attention was  the nearby table of several older gents with a large thermos of coffee at the center of the table. It reminded me of an early morning cafe or general store gathering from years past. I ordered a dark roast, if this was a dark roast, then CTD is never hungry. It was one of my least favorite coffee houses of the trip, in fact I can only think of one that was worse.
 
After coffee, it was a short (another quarter mile drive) to pick up my rental car. The initial plan was we would drive separate cars for the rest of the trip to northeastern Iowa before we part ways the following morning.
 
After getting my rental, I had suggested we go to Whitey's Ice Cream in Rock Island IL... Almost simultaneously, I could hear a voluminous groan coming from CTD that sounded like it came from the  obowels of hell
 
IMG_7201 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
This is one of many Quad City locations, a local favorite.
We arrived just before opening time.
 
I decided to go with black cherry and lemon custard
 
IMG_7204 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
I believe CTD went with black cherry and white chocolate. 
 
Whitey's offers good quality ice cream and although it isn't the best ice cream around it was my favorite so far on the trip.
 
All of a sudden, CTD through  down the proverbial towel, or in this case "his cup" and bellowed "I can't take it anymore!!!" and he upped and left never to be seen again!
 
Much more to come....
 
 
post edited by wanderingjew - 2015/09/10 20:21:14
#42
CajunKing
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/11 11:50:26 (permalink)
All of a sudden, CTD through  down the proverbial towel, or in this case "his cup" and bellowed "I can't take it anymore!!!" and he upped and left never to be seen again!
 
We couldt get that lucky
#43
stricken_detective
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/11 13:46:19 (permalink)
CTD bailed after 1 meal, coffee and ice cream? A little hard to swallow.
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ann peeples
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/11 16:41:38 (permalink)
I dont  care what anyone says, I like The Machine Shed. Always have had good solid meals. Its one of the only chains I will go to for breakfast.
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stricken_detective
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/11 18:56:20 (permalink)
I like Machine Shed too. My grandpa liked to go there when they come to visit. Except he always calls it The Tool Shed. LOL
#46
ann peeples
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/11 19:39:32 (permalink)

#47
wanderingjew
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/11 21:00:25 (permalink)
Well, now that CTD has left, FREE- FREE AT LAST . No more whining and complaining that I'm riding him harder than buffetbuster did and that we're stopping at way too many restaurant and that we're eating too much- 
 
Next stop is a place that that Iowa Tourism voted best sour cream raisin pie in Iowa
Country Junction in Dyersville just west of Dubuque
 
IMG_7208 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
IMG_7207 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
Somewhat Kitschy the place kind of reminded me of "Machine Shed light" 
 
When my waitress arrived the first thing I did was order dessert- sour cream raisin pie- the waitress said she would check to see if there was any left- I was in luck - there was one slice left
 
I decided to go with the hot beef sandwich. This would actually be the first of three hot beefs of the trip
 
IMG_20150825_123141 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
This was a good, not great hot beef. The rich dark opaque gravy I thought over powered the beef which wasn't tough, but wasn't exactly fork tender. The mashed potatoes were certainly real, so that's a good thing
 
and now the pie
 
IMG_20150825_123802 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
Well, if CTD was here, I  gladly would have handed  the pie to him, but I'm glad he wasn't there because this would have  been his only chance for sour cream raisin pie. If Iowa Tourism voted this the best pie in Iowa then things have certainly gone down the drain since The Farmer's Kitchen closed. The pie didn't taste fresh, the filling could have been good if it were fresh and the merengue was just downright gummy. A disappointment for my first sour cream raisin pie of the trip.  At best, country junction was ordinary...I know there's better out there and honestly would probably not return.
 
My next stop was right here in town
 
IMG_20150825_130230591 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
Is this Heaven? 
No, its Iowa
 
Straight out of a movie set. This was my second visit to the Field of Dreams
 
IMG_20150825_130648929 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
IMG_20150825_131447343 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
IMG_20150825_131631450 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
It was a beautiful day in the low 70's. Very different from the warm muggy day on my last trip in 2011. I stayed for a bit and walked around the bases and into the stalks of corn in the field too.
 
Afterwards I drove on further north to Decorah. 
Decorah is a quaint town about 15 miles south of the Minnesota border. I observed signs for the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum further north in Burr Oak so I will be returning in a couple of years with Sandra
I walked along the very interesting main street and scoped out a couple of coffee houses for the next morning
 
IMG_20150825_153245276 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
Afterwards I walked about a mile or so outside of town to check out a new brewpub that the Chicago tribune declared the second best, not in the country, but the world!
Toppling Goliath Brews
 
IMG_20150825_162605026 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
I sat down and had a paddle
 
IMG_20150825_163351789_HDR by ohso37, on Flickr
 
Was it the best I ever had? 
Well the Lager and Amber ale was fine, the pale ale was superb and the stout which I rarely ever drink anyway was probably the best I ever had.  
 
Afterwards, I walked back to my car and drove to my hotel in Waukon to check in. I was glad I got some exercise walking up and down main street and then the 2 mile round trip walk to the brewery.
 
My final stop of the evening would be dinner. It would also be stop # 1 of my Iowa Chop Hunt
 
The Old Rossville Store in Waukon
 

 
An old school supper club, in this rural farming community
 
I entered through the bar which also offers restaurant seating but chose to be seated in the formal dining room
 

 
This photo was taken early, when I first arrived. When I left a little over an hour later, the place was packed
 
One of the things I really like about the midwest and specifically Iowa is  the huge salad bars. And not just ordinary lettuce tomato and other greenery, I mean egg and pea salad, cottage cheese, marinated cabbage salad, even strawberry ambrosia and more- all homemade!
 

 
The Old Rossville Store is no exception. So I giddy upped on over and fixed myself a plate.
 

 
Clockwise, that's potato salad, strawberry ambrosia, pea and egg salad, macaroni and pea salad, cottage cheese and herring in the center.
 
Finally my Iowa Chop arrived.
 

 
I could hear it sizzling as it made it's approach to my table. Huge, thick, tender, juicy and flavorful. I truly hit a home run at Iowa Chop stop # 1
 

 
and sided with crispy hash browns, with gooey melted cheese and fried onions, how could I do any better.
 
The Old Rossville Store was truly a highlight of the trip and will find itself on a top 10 list at the end of the year.
 
After dinner, I was truly satisfied, headed back to my hotel and called it a night.
 
much more to come after the weekend.
#48
wanderingjew
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/12 11:46:33 (permalink)
BUMP!
Seriously, there is no reason I should be bumping this thread.
Nearly 24 hours later and nary a response! 
Whats the point????
 
#49
ChrisOC
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/12 12:31:53 (permalink)
That Iowa chop is a work of art!!  I hope it was as good as it looks.
#50
Michael Hoffman
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/12 12:54:12 (permalink)
WJ,
 
How 'bout because we're waiting for more of your great report. That was the first chop. When do we get to salivate over the second one? By the way, those might just be some of the most beautiful grilled onions I've ever seen.
#51
ChicagoIrish
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/12 14:41:27 (permalink)
Glad to see you made it to Toppling Goliath, it is on my short list of day trips to make. It's too bad about your try of Quad Cities pizza but the quintessential versions are Harris' and Frank's in Silvas, in my opinion. Also there is a difference in QC pizza and a generic thin crust pizza. A QC pizza has a males crust and sausage that is loose and applied liberally, then cut into strips. For what it's worth, I also don't think sauerkraut belongs on pizza but those who like it seem to like it matched with Canadian bacon. Great report...big fan of the Iowa chop.
#52
ScreamingChicken
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/12 16:11:54 (permalink)
That's a great-looking chop!  Was it ever so slightly pink in the middle?
 
I've wondered about Country Junction for a couple of years now, as sometimes when I go to Des Moines I take US-20 west from Dubuque and have thought about stopping there.  I guess I'll file it in the "OK if I'm hungry, but otherwise keep looking for something better" category.  What was your route from Dyersville to Decorah?  Did you go up US-52?
 
My idea of a salad is a plateful of raw mushrooms topped with dressing and various accessory ingredients, so I'm also a huge fan of the salad bar.
#53
CajunKing
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/12 18:16:16 (permalink)
WJ - Chillax, it was / is a long weekend for some peple, and overall site traffic has been down.  This is my first time on here since Wednesday.
 
Those crispy hbs with cheese look incredibly delicious.
#54
ann peeples
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/12 18:23:38 (permalink)
I didn't comment because I haven't been on since yesterday( I have a pretty nasty flu/cold) and when I logged on this morning-there were 2 pages of hacks-for 5 hours.....kinda puts one off. Anyway...
Love a good salad bar-especially homemade items, and that chop and hashbrowns look amazing. Sorry the beef in gravy was just okay-that is one of my favorite things to order if on a menu.
#55
lleechef
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/13 11:28:04 (permalink)
Beautiful Iowa chop and sides!
I too have been under the weather and not on here for a few days.
#56
wanderingjew
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/13 12:27:24 (permalink)
Hey everyone- thanks
 
CK, MH, Ann, lleechef and SC,
 
You are the last folks I had in mind when I bumped the thread. Although traffic has been light on the forum there were a few very active recent trip reports which got oodles of responses (from others here on the forum) I'm not mentioning names, but I guess I have to face reality that they're not interested in mine.
 
Chris OC
 
That chop was one of the best of the trip
 
ChicagoIrish
 
Frank's in Silvis was initially on the list but there was a lot of favorable comments on the forum as of late about Fat Boys, so we decided to go there. 
 
SC
 
I wouldn't go out of my way to go to Country Junction, but if it's on the way to where you're going, it may be worth a stop. The hot beef was "respectable" but there were two others on this trip that honestly blew it away
 
I'll continue on with the report tomorrow.
 
 
#57
ayersian
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/13 13:16:27 (permalink)
You're STILL going to the Machine Shed?!?  (eyes rolling)   Chris
#58
wanderingjew
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/13 14:00:01 (permalink)
ayersian
You're STILL going to the Machine Shed?!?  (eyes rolling)   Chris




CTD kept insisting it was your favorite restaurant in Iowa...
 
Your name will come up several times during the course of the report- All positive of course
 
post edited by wanderingjew - 2015/09/13 14:01:56
#59
ann peeples
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Re: Placeholder for Iowa trip report 2015/09/13 14:15:22 (permalink)
I know, Dale. Just wanted to explain. And honestly-seeing those hacks again really turned me off. This site is not improving,they were not removed for 5 hours. But seeing you, and everyone doing trip reports, keeps me coming back.
 
#60
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