We took our first RV trip this season and drove down to Van Buren, Missouri in the heart of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways on our way to a Class B Social rally with others from Wisconsin, New Jersey, Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas, Ohio and Minnesota.
On our way we stopped at Smitty's Tenderloin Shop
in Des Moines, Iowa and tried their tenderloin. Smitty's would be be described as an "Iowa Skinny". The Iowa skinny's meat is pounded very thin usually less than a 1/4" thick and is fried with a more finely textured breading. When bitten into it is rather crispy and is generally drier than most other tenderloins. This is an oft mentioned Iowa favorite but it has never won an award from the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
Our next stop was the Jolly Cone
in Van Buren, Missouri. It is a walk-up to a counter with outdoor seating and primarily an ice cream shop. They served what would be better termed a fritter of constituted pork. Nevertheless the taste was fine. I'd put it a notch above the fritter served at the Mug n' Bun in Speedway, Indiana.
On our way back north we detoured to Bonnots Mill, Missouri near Jefferson City to seek out the Missouri Pork Board's 2009 best breaded pork tenderloin sandwich at Johnny Mac's Bar and Grill
. Bonnots Mill is a small town at the terminus of a dead end road of about 8 miles on the Osage River. You are not going to just pass by it on the way somewhere. We tried to stop on our way down but found they were only open Thursday through Saturday from 3 PM and on. This time we timed it to arrive right at 3 PM on Thursday. The sandwich was a deserving winner - thick, moist and tender. Missouri holds no back seat to Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. Note the Indianapolis 500 banner on the wall.
Finally we stopped in La Crosse, Wisconsin. We went to Rudy's Drive-in
in La Crosse. Rudy's is an old fashion 50s style drive-in complete with carhops in pink poodle skirts delivering your window tray while on roller skates. That's the experience. Unlike similar drive-in restaurants this tenderloin was a true tenderloin and above average. Not a fritter. Rudy's is an inexpensive stop and a favorite place to take our grandsons.
This was our first trip of the season and just a warmup. Our main tenderloin tour trip is next month where we are heading to Washington, DC and back through Indianapolis for the Indy 500. If our schedule clicks we could end up sampling tenderloins in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Virginia, and an outside possibility in Ohio. Definitely Indiana.