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Iowa Road Trip Recs?

Iowa Road Trip Recs?
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  • Iowa Road Trip Recs?

    Post #1 - March 24th, 2018, 4:29 pm
    Post #1 - March 24th, 2018, 4:29 pm Post #1 - March 24th, 2018, 4:29 pm
    I've done a few searches for Iowa, and so far have only found recommendations in notable cities or along busy highways. This fall, I've been invited to do a bit of tour, presenting my corn talk in four towns in Iowa, and they are not towns that have produced results on this site. I thought I'd wait until later to make this request, but then I thought people might be driving around this summer and not think to post on some of these places, even if they found something. Of course, I'm well aware of the fact that not every town offers multiple options, but I've had pretty good food in some pretty remote places, so I figured it was worth asking.

    The towns that are hosting me are Orange City (which I have discovered is named for the House of Orange, having been settled by the Dutch), Ottumwa, Marion, and Le Claire.

    Even if a great place is a little outside one of these towns, or en route (since I don't imagine making the 8-hour drive to Orange City without a stop), recommendations will be appreciated. Oh -- and I will probably pass through Sioux City as I drive, so anything there is also appreciated.

    Otherwise, if no one has any thoughts on these towns, I'll look forward to sharing what I find, if anything, while I'm traveling.

    Thanks for sharing any insight you have.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #2 - March 24th, 2018, 6:29 pm
    Post #2 - March 24th, 2018, 6:29 pm Post #2 - March 24th, 2018, 6:29 pm
    I used to travel around Iowa and could give you some pointers about specific places, but I kinda tuned out of the local gossip and media for the past six months.
  • Post #3 - March 25th, 2018, 9:02 am
    Post #3 - March 25th, 2018, 9:02 am Post #3 - March 25th, 2018, 9:02 am
    My wife is from Iowa and over the years we've spent a lot of time out there.

    It's not a question of cuisine, because there really is none other than plain old American Midwest comfort food. One LTH thread has been dedicated to the Iowa pork tenderloin, which is a pounded out and deep-fried pork cutlet served on a hamburger bun with all the condiments. And the bigger cutlet the better, where it dwarfs the bun. Those are OK. Then there is the 'Maid-Rite', which is like a dry sloppy joe sandwich, pretty good. Both are ubiquitous all over the state.

    Not far from Marion, near I-80 to the southwest, are the Amana Colonies, a heavily German area with many restaurants--not as many as there used to be, however--that serve family-style meals with meat, potatoes, sauerkraut, schnitzel, etc. Good, but nothing you can't get here.
  • Post #4 - March 25th, 2018, 3:49 pm
    Post #4 - March 25th, 2018, 3:49 pm Post #4 - March 25th, 2018, 3:49 pm
    Just remembered. The most distinctive item out that way didn't even originate in Iowa, but in Lincoln, NE. It's the quasi-bizarre-looking sandwich called the Runza, which consists of ground beef, onions, cabbage & spices, topped with cheese or mayo or whatever, and served Hot Pocket-style inside a freshly-baked what-looks-like-a Hoagie roll. Kinda like the smaller version of a calzone Eastern European-style.

    https://www.runza.com/menu/section/runza-sandwiches

    Haven't had one in many years, but they're really good & dare I say worth the trip to the closest Runza shop to Sioux City, IA, which is in Wayne, NE, or of course if you get down to Omaha or southwest Iowa, where there are a few.
  • Post #5 - March 26th, 2018, 9:45 am
    Post #5 - March 26th, 2018, 9:45 am Post #5 - March 26th, 2018, 9:45 am
    Marion is right next to Cedar Rapids. We don't get to Iowa since our kids finished college in that great state, but I can recommend Zoey's Pizzeria in Marion, especially if you like a good amount of cheese on your pizzas. If you have time and like Grant Wood, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is worth a stop.

    I'd love to hear if there's any Dutch food in Orange City!

    Zoey's Pizzeria
    690 10th Street
    Marion, Iowa 52302
    319-377-2840
    http://www.zoeyspizza.com/
  • Post #6 - March 26th, 2018, 3:08 pm
    Post #6 - March 26th, 2018, 3:08 pm Post #6 - March 26th, 2018, 3:08 pm
    Went to college in Iowa (Mt Vernon & Mt Pleasant).

    I-80 Kitchen located in the world's largest truckstop just west of Quad Cities (Le Claire) serves a good pork tenderloin sandwich no doubt. https://iowa80truckstop.com/eat/

    Lincoln Wine Bar (Mt Vernon, 15 mins from Marion) http://foodisimportant.com

    Mt Hamill Tap for a fried chicken dinner, about an hour from Ottumwa so not really convenient but if on the way, so much fun, communal seating, out in the middle of nowhere !!! I only found a Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mt-Hamil ... 4468689443
    Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/mt-hamill-tap-donnellson

    -
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #7 - March 27th, 2018, 4:51 pm
    Post #7 - March 27th, 2018, 4:51 pm Post #7 - March 27th, 2018, 4:51 pm
    Ced-Rel on the outskirts of Cedar Rapids is an old fashioned supper club. Fried chicken is pretty great.
  • Post #8 - March 28th, 2018, 2:42 pm
    Post #8 - March 28th, 2018, 2:42 pm Post #8 - March 28th, 2018, 2:42 pm
    Thanks so much. I was pretty much figuring Americana -- but might as well go for the best Americana. I appreciate the recommendations.

    I did know about the pork tenderloin sandwich but had forgotten having read on LTH some time ago about the Runza -- so that will be on the list.

    A search turned up the Nederlander's Grill in Orange City, as well as a Dutch Bakery, so I have high hopes for that destination. I enjoyed the Dutch food I had last year in Holland, MI, and it would be fun to explore the cuisine further.

    It's a business trip, so the food isn't the objective -- but still nice to enjoy one's food while on the road.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #9 - March 28th, 2018, 2:55 pm
    Post #9 - March 28th, 2018, 2:55 pm Post #9 - March 28th, 2018, 2:55 pm
    Cynthia wrote:It's a business trip, so the food isn't the objective -- but still nice to enjoy one's food while on the road.


    Truer words were never spoken!
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #10 - March 29th, 2018, 9:25 am
    Post #10 - March 29th, 2018, 9:25 am Post #10 - March 29th, 2018, 9:25 am
    Le Claire has been a commercial and residential boom town over the past few years, too many places opening up, too much being built, not enough time to try it all.
  • Post #11 - April 3rd, 2018, 4:28 pm
    Post #11 - April 3rd, 2018, 4:28 pm Post #11 - April 3rd, 2018, 4:28 pm
    I'll second the I-80 Truck Stop's pork tender: an excellent example.

    Don't expect too much from the runza: even when made with fresh, high-quality ingredients (I ate several at the best shoppe in Lincoln), they're pretty bland. Tasty enough, certainly justifiably filling, but bland.

    Best of luck Cynthia--those folks should show you lots of appreciation for your super book!--and report back on your trophies!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #12 - April 6th, 2018, 4:09 pm
    Post #12 - April 6th, 2018, 4:09 pm Post #12 - April 6th, 2018, 4:09 pm
    Has anyone been to Breitbach's Country Dining -- founded in 1852 and one of the 10 oldest restaurants in the U.S. -- and still in the Breitbach family.

    It's not exactly right on my way, so I thought I'd try to get a bit of insight before rerouting in that direction.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #13 - April 7th, 2018, 10:47 am
    Post #13 - April 7th, 2018, 10:47 am Post #13 - April 7th, 2018, 10:47 am
    I was impressed with the restaurant on my one visit several years ago. Good battered tenderloin, but they also have a buffet. I have not seen the Spinning Plates movie but I think it gets into their rebuilding after fires and brunch service for hundreds of people with a high level of execution of the food.

    There is also a scenic view point from the hill the restaurant is on, its like two blocks away and you can see for miles.
  • Post #14 - April 8th, 2018, 7:06 pm
    Post #14 - April 8th, 2018, 7:06 pm Post #14 - April 8th, 2018, 7:06 pm
    Tyrgyzistan wrote:I was impressed with the restaurant on my one visit several years ago. Good battered tenderloin, but they also have a buffet. I have not seen the Spinning Plates movie but I think it gets into their rebuilding after fires and brunch service for hundreds of people with a high level of execution of the food.

    There is also a scenic view point from the hill the restaurant is on, its like two blocks away and you can see for miles.


    Thanks. That sounds like it's worth the detour.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com

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