Long Iowa Weekend

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ScreamingChicken
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2019/10/01 14:13:40 (permalink)

Long Iowa Weekend

A little over 5 months ago (the end of April) I took my annual trip to Des Moines, and this year my wife came along.  We left on a Wednesday afternoon and our first stop was Steve's Pizza Palace, a Platteville, WI fixture since 1964.

 
Steve's has been remodeled a couple of times and currently the interior has a lot of dark paneling and beams, but I didn't get a photo.
 
Our standard pizza has mushrooms and black olives on the whole thing, and then half pepperoni and half sausage.  This one was an excellent representative of the kind of pizza I grew up eating, and I'd definitely stop at Steve's again.

 

 
Our destination was Dubuque, where we made a return visit to the Hotel Julien Dubuque.  During our previous stay a few years ago we'd learned about the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium but didn't have a chance to check it out, so spending some time there was at the top of the to-do list for the weekend.

 

 
This is a GREAT museum and highly recommended for anyone visiting the Dubuque area, and we're looking forward to taking the grandson there someday.  I didn't get any inside shots but the grounds feature some old boat engines as well as boat-building equipment - my kind of toys!  The area was actually a major ship-building facility many years ago and because of its location in the center of the country it was much less susceptible to a wartime attack, so it played an important role during World War II.

 

 
After a couple of hours at the museum we checked in at the hotel and headed out for some dinner.  The Shot Tower Inn has been around since 1967 and I'd never been there, so we decided to give it a try.

 
It's a counter-serve operation.

 
Since we'd had pizza for lunch we took a different route with dinner, and ordered fried chicken and a BPT.  Overall it was pretty good but not overwhelming (my preference would've been for a little more seasoning for both), so if there's a next time we'll probably try the pizza.  Still, this is a nice neighborhood place and while we were there we saw quite a few pickup orders go out the door.

 

 

post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2019/10/01 14:17:41
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/01 14:36:39 (permalink)
    We started Thursday with a light breakfast because I was planning on an early lunch at the Southtown Bar and Grill in Waterloo.  It's located in a small strip mall that's seen better days.

     
    After seeing the exterior I was wondering if it was going to be pretty divey inside, but it's actually rather nice.

     
    I had decided that this year I was going concentrate on fried/broasted chicken and BPTs whenever reasonably possible, and Southtown did a great job with both.  While the previous night's dinner had been okay, Southtown definitely took things up a notch - even the broasted potato wedges were excellent!

     

     

     
    From there it was on to Des Moines and the traditional Thursday night F&O's pizza feast with friends (no photos this year).
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    phlmaestro
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/01 14:38:46 (permalink)
    That pizza looks sort of decent for being of Midwestern origin.
     
    I like the look of the Shot Tower Inn.
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/01 15:44:41 (permalink)
    phlmaestro
    That pizza looks sort of decent for being of Midwestern origin.

     
    It was delicious, right down to the canned/cooked mushrooms!
     
    Friday was designated for various tourist activities so I'd planned a visit to Madison County, which is southwest of Des Moines and has Winterset as its seat.  And if you know anything about Madison County you know that it's also home to a number of covered bridges, like the Holliwell Covered Bridge.

     
    After the bridge our next stop was Winterset City Park, which also happens to have a bridge.  This is the Cutler-Donahoe Covered Bridge and it was moved from its original location to the park nearly 50 years ago.

     
    Another interesting feature of the park is the Clark Tower, which was built as a monument to the first settler family.  Yes, it's possible to climb to the top.

     

     
    By this time we were ready for lunch (and we'd also stopped at a couple of wineries so Mrs. C definitely needed to eat) so we parked at Rudy's Restaurant.  The small sign on the building advertised that the business was for sale, and according to Yelp it has since closed.

     
    And it's a shame, since I liked the chicken and BPT very much.  By this time my wife had seen enough pork and poultry, so she ordered a tuna salad sandwich and said it was very good.

     

     
    After lunch we walked around a bit; this is the Madison County Courthouse.

     
    We even stopped at the Montross Pharmacy with the intention of splitting a chocolate malt, but the ice cream machine was out of service.  We weren't hungry enough to order any actual food but I did get a shot of the flattop...I'll bet it turns out some decent burgers.

     
    And that wrapped up our Friday afternoon.
    post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2019/10/01 19:48:15
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    phlmaestro
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/01 16:04:28 (permalink)
    ScreamingChicken
    We even stopped at the Montross Pharmacy with the intention of splitting a chocolate malt, but the ice cream machine was out of service.  We weren't hungry enough to order any actual food but I did get a shot of the flattop...I'll bet it turns out some decent burgers.

     



    Too bad about the ice cream. I know you aren't a pie guy. They had a big selection of it when I was there last year.
     
    Did you accidentally notice any John Wayne sites?
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    leethebard
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/01 17:28:25 (permalink)
    Like the look of that pizza...never will get used to that cut, however!
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/01 20:19:27 (permalink)
    phlmaestro
    Did you accidentally notice any John Wayne sites?

    We drove past the house where he was born.  I'd seen photos of it before but was still surprised at how small it is.
     
    We would have one more planned meal on this trip: a fairly early 5pm Friday dinner.  The weather was still somewhat decent so our friends stayed at the track meet until nearly 9, which meant we needed to find dinner on our own and then maybe meet up with everybody later for a little snack.  I'd had my eye on The Corn Patch in Grimes (just northwest of Des Moines) for a couple of years so we made the short drive to check it out.  The outside of the building is pretty mundane but the inside is nicely laid out.

     
    A nice, warm loaf of bread was the first to arrive at our table and it was very good.

     
    Every table at The Corn Patch gets a crock of homemade potato soup and I thought it was excellent; in fact, between the bread and the soup I could've easily skipped the entree...

     
    ...but there was chicken on the menu and that's why we were there.  Well, why I was there, anyway.  I can't even remember what my wife had; I think it might've been a burger or something.

     
    Winner, winner, yada yada yada.  The chicken was very good - hot, juicy and well seasoned, and thought it was every bit as good as the chicken I'd had in Waterloo the day before.  It was kind of surprising that mashed potatoes and gravy weren't available but the hash browns I had instead were just fine.

     
    That was it for the trip, at least as far as the eating and sightseeing went.  The next day was Saturday and the weather went completely to hell (the people on the Twin Cities Crawl remember it, I'm sure); we spent about an hour at the track meet before finally caving and then later on we all got together for a cookout.  Sunday morning we awoke to a nice dusting of snow so we headed straight for home and chose to subsist on car snacks instead of stopping to eat.
     
    post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2019/10/01 20:21:19
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    joerogo
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/02 07:32:38 (permalink)
    Seems to be taking longer and longer to get that film developed.......
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    KingCrab
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/02 13:44:13 (permalink)
    Solid report as always sir. When in Dubuque, did you visit the actual shot tower? Built in 1856. One of the last remaining. Used to make lead shot back in the day.
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    Wintahaba
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/02 14:00:49 (permalink)
    SC, I thought the Shot Tower Inn sign looked familiar...they were originally a Shakey's. My wife liked F & O when we lived in DM. Her office would get it...I never had it.
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/03 08:16:57 (permalink)
    Thanks for all the comments!
     
    KingCrab
    When in Dubuque, did you visit the actual shot tower? Built in 1856. One of the last remaining. Used to make lead shot back in the day.

    No, I've never visited it but have added it to the list of possible things to do another time - Dubuque is only about 2 hours from my house, and my wife and I have talked about another trip there as an actual destination instead of a stop along a longer journey.
     
    http://www.encyclopediadubuque.org/index.php?title=SHOT_TOWER
     
    post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2019/10/03 08:18:15
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    KingCrab
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/03 13:45:45 (permalink)
    Cool place to visit. In Dubuque. Check out Paul’s Tavern for one of the better burgers around. I also enjoy Mulgrews in East Dubuque. And of course Timmermans supper club..
    post edited by KingCrab - 2019/10/04 03:17:11
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    lleechef
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    Re: Long Iowa Weekend 2019/10/03 18:31:00 (permalink)
    Another GREAT place in Iowa is ARCHIE'S WAESIDE in LeMars!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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