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Gastronomic Fight Club SM

Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Monday, August 10, 2009

MAP: 100 things to eat in Iowa before you die

posted by snekse
I stumbled upon this list just recently. It was compiled by The Des Moines Register back in 2006. It's a great list, but unless you're really familiar with Iowa, it's really just entertaining reading since you wouldn't know where half the places are located. So we decided to create a map of all 100 places - that way you can attempt all of the food on your own. Or if you're not quite up to that, you can see someone attempt the list at Roadfood Digest.

And of course we have to start a Nebraska version of this Midwestern foodies' bucket list to compliment the Iowa list. So tell us what, where and why (and when if applicable) are the 100 things to eat in Nebraska before you die.

Entry Form: 100 things to eat in Nebraska before you die

100 things to eat in Iowa before you die

___ 1. Taco Pizza, Happy Joe's, locations across Iowa

___ 2. Sweet corn, Sweet Corn Festival, Adel

___ 3. BBQ Ribs, Claxon's Smokehouse & Grill, Altoona

___ 4. Sauerkraut Salad, Colony Inn Restaurant, Amana

___ 5. Rhubarb wine, Ackerman Winery, Amana

___ 6. Schild Brau Amber, Millstream Brewery, Amana Colonies

___ 7. Sauerbraten (beef marinated in a sweet and sour sauce, made with spices and Amana wines) with potato dumplings, Ronneburg Restaurant, Amana

___ 8. Saucy Southerner Sandwich, Hickory Park, Ames

___ 9. Chicken Tequila Fettuccine (Chicken, onions, peppers and tequila-soy cream sauce on spinach fettuccine), Aunt Maude's, Ames

___ 10. Denver-Style Crust Pizza, The Great Plains Sauce and Dough Co., Ames

___ 11. Gyro, The Gyro Guy outdoor cart, Campustown, Ames

___ 12. Margarita, O'Malley & McGees, Ames

___ 13. Fresh Beer-Battered Onion Rings, The Redwood Steakhouse, Anita

___ 14. Angel Cream Coconut Cake, Peppercorn Pantry Tea Room, Aplington

___ 15. Nutty Bar, Arnolds Park Amusement Park, Arnolds Park

___ 16. Prime Rib, The Feedlot Steakhouse, Atlantic

___ 17. Homemade fudge, The Mean Street Grill, Atlantic

___ 18. Spaghetti Soup and Red Raspberry Pie, Breitbach's Country Dining, Balltown

___ 19. Sink Cookies, Granny Annie's Bakery & Cafe, Cedar Falls

___ 20. Raspberry Coffee Cake, Barn Happy, Cedar Falls

___ 21. Kolaches, Sykora Bakery, Cedar Rapids

___ 22. Cabbage Rolls (ground beef with rice wrapped in a cabbage leaf with a tangy tomato sauce) with potato or bread dumplings, Zindricks Czech Restaurant, Cedar Rapids

___ 23. Pork Ribs, Al & Irene's, Cedar Rapids

___ 24. Onion Rings, J Bruners steak restaurant, Clarinda

___ 25. Black Dirt Cake (cream-cheese frosting layered between ground Oreo cookies), That Place Restaurant, Conrad

___ 26. Garst Farm sides: Corn Casserole, Four-Way Bean Dish and Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, Garst Farm Resorts, Coon Rapids

___ 27. Hot Fudge Sundae, served with a pitcher of fudge on the side, Lagomarcino's, Davenport

___ 28. Pond-Raised Catfish with Western Baked Potato, The Enchanted Inn, Davenport

___ 29. Regular (pepperoni and sausage) or Around-The-Garden Pizza, Mabe's Pizza & Restaurant, Decorah

___ 30. Breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelets, homemade waffles, biscuits and gravy, and pastries, Cronk's Restaurant & Lounge, Denison

___ 31. Burritos Jimador (cheese-sauce topped burritos stuffed with steak, cheese and lettuce), El Jimador, Denison

___ 32. Bone-in Delmonico, 801 Steak & Chop House, Des Moines

___ 33. Margherita or Sausage Pizza, Chuck's Italian-American Restaurant, Des Moines

___ 34. Peach Ice Cream, Bauder's, Des Moines

___ 35. Chicken Spiedini, Tursi's Latin King Restaurant, Des Moines

___ 36. Corn dog, Campbell's Concessions, Iowa State Fair, Des Moines

___ 37. Chocolate Bonbon, Chocolaterie Stam, Des Moines/Windsor Heights/West Des Moines

___ 38. Tom Ka Kai, Thai Flavors, Des Moines

___ 39. Steak taco, Tasty Tacos, Des Moines

___ 40. Hot Sausage Sandwich (made with Graziano's sausage), Norwood Inn, Des Moines

___ 41. Trappistine Creamy Caramels, Trappistine Nuns of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey Monastery, Dubuque

___ 42. Bison Tenderloin, Pepper Sprout Midwest Cuisine, Dubuque

___ 43. Caramel Apple, Betty Jane Candies, Dubuque

___ 44. Gunderburger, The Irish Shanti, Elgin

___ 45. Stuffed Pork Loin, The Danish Inn, Elk Horn

___ 46. Crepes, La Petit Paris, Fairfield

___ 47. Vegetarian Salad Bar, Maharishi University of Management cafeteria, Fairfield

___ 48. Sunday Vegetarian Breakfast Buffet, Everybody's, Fairfield

___ 49. Wood-Fired Pizza, Revelations Cafe & Bookstore, Fairfield

___ 50. Semmel (a dense German roll, baked fresh daily), The Bistro at the Gortz Haus, Grimes

___ 51. Chicken Walnut Salad, served on Wednesdays at Kelcy's, Grinnell

___ 52. Cream-Filled Coney, (doughnut with cream filling, shaped like a hot dog), Danish Maid Bakery, Grinnell

___ 53. Homemade Triple Berry Pie, Picket Fence Café, Guttenberg

___ 54. Cherry Pie, Crouse Cafe, Indianola

___ 55. Spicy Yam Pate, Red Avocado, Iowa City

___ 56. Green Papaya Salad, Thai Spice Restaurant, Iowa City

___ 57. Brie Beast Sandwich (Niman Ranch roast beef, brie cheese, roasted sweet peppers, lettuce and tomato on farm bread), New Pioneer Co-Op, Iowa City and Coralville

___ 58. Tuscan Tomato Soup, Bread Garden Bakery & Cafe, Iowa City

___ 59. Vegetarian Falafel Sandwich, Oasis Falafel, Iowa City

___ 60. Smoke Trout Pate (served with stone-ground wheat crackers), Linn Street Cafe, Iowa City

___ 61. BBQ Chicken, Camp David, Iowa Falls

___ 62. Fried Chicken with homemade bread, mashed potatoes and gravy, The Red Barn Bistro, Keosauqua

___ 63. Bob Dog (natural-casing wiener topped with loose meat), Bob's Drive-In, Le Mars

___ 64. Tenderloin Tips (cubes of tenderloin beef sauteed with mushroom, white wine and oregano in a white wine and garlic-butter sauce) Somebody's Grille & Bar, Manilla

___ 65. Tortellini Carbonara (tortellini with homemade Alfredo sauce, bacon and green onions), Phat Daddy's, Marengo

___ 66. Half-pound burger, Marquette Bar & Cafe, Marquette

___ 67. Maid-Rite, Taylor's Maid-Rite, Marshalltown

___ 68. Mile-High Lemon Meringue Pie, Stone's Restaurant, Marshalltown

___ 69. Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, Twisted Chicken, McGregor

___ 70. 16-ounce Ribeye (heart-cut, bacon-wrapped), Rube's Steaks, Montour and Waukee

___ 71. Homegrown Muscatine Melons, late July until first frost, The Good Earth Restaurant, Muscatine

___ 72. Seven Seas Seafood Soup, Guadalajara, Muscatine

___ 73. Grilled Sirloin Meatloaf (Wood-fire grilled meatloaf served on Texas toast with BBQ sauce, topped with mashed potatoes and onion straws), The Button Factory Woodfire Grille, Muscatine

___ 74. Blue Cheese, Maytag Dairy Farm, Newton

___ 75. Bratwurst, Woudstra Meat Market, Orange City

___ 76. Loaded Hash Browns, Otho Pub, Otho

___ 77. Loose meat sandwich, Canteen Lunch in the Alley, Ottumwa

___ 78. Dutch letters, Jaarsma Bakery, Pella

___ 79. Cast-Iron Seared Filet with a Blue Cheese Crostini, Carmelized Mushrooms and a Maple-Bourbon Demi-glaze, David's Milwaukee Diner, Perry

___ 80. Fajitas, Sabor Latino, Postville

___ 81. Hamburger Buns, Postville Bakery, Postville

___ 82. Broasted Chicken, Red Rooster, Postville

___ 83. Pita and Falafel, Kosher Community Restaurant, Postville

___ 84. Country Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Vegetables, first Sunday of the month, Elks Club, Shenandoah

___ 85. Tuna Sushi, Fuji Bay Japanese Restaurant, Sioux City

___ 86. Onion Peels, Tastee In and Out, Sioux City

___ 87. Pork Tenderloin, St. Olaf Tavern, St. Olaf

___ 88. Fruit-of-the-Forest Pie (fruits in season), Susie's Kitchen, Stanton

___ 89. Swedish Meatball Soup, Boz Wellz Pub & Eaterie, Storm Lake

___ 90. Caramel Truffles, Kristi's Kandies & Heirlooms, Storm Lake

___ 91. New York Strip Steak, The Embers, Storm Lake

___ 92. Raspberry Pork Tenderloin (Grilled pork tenderloin with a raspberry sauce), The Cottage on Broad, Story City

___ 93. Dutch Salad, Coffee Cup Cafe, Sully

___ 94. Steak DeBurgo, Sam & Gabe's Italian Bistro, Urbandale

___ 95. Cinnamon Roll, Iowa Machine Shed, Urbandale

___ 96. Prime Rib Twister (Grilled prime rib with Cajun seasoning topped with grilled mushrooms, onions and grilled shrimp), AK Corral Steakhouse & Lounge, Ute

___ 97. Muskie Burger, Muskie Lounge, Ventura

___ 98. Black Forest Cake, Martin's Brandenburg, Waverly

___ 99. Chocolate malt, Wilton Candy Kitchen, Wilton

___ 100. Apple Dumpling, Iowa 80 truck stop, Walcott

An Item-by-Item map of the Iowa list
MAP: 100 things to eat in Iowa before you die

A City-by-City map of the Iowa list
Food To Eat In Iowa Before You Die

Thanks to RoadFood.com for a great site that helped us create this map.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Iowa State Fair

posted by snekse
For those who have never been to the Iowa State Fair, I thought I would post a bit a visual guide of some the tastes and sights to be explored at the fair as well as cover two very cool restaurants to stop by while you're in the Des Moines area.

The Iowa State Fair

The Iowa State Fair is one of the largest and most popular fairs in the world. The fair attracts upwards of a million visitors during it's 11-day run. During this time nearly 200 food stands serve almost every kind of food you can fry and/or put on a stick. Don't believe me? At last count there were over 20 different kinds of food being served on a stick including corn dogs, cheese, pickles, honey, candy bars and of course pork chops. Being Iowa, the pork chops are a fan favorite at the fair, gobbling down 5-6,000 chops daily.

Besides the prepared food, it's also very interesting to see all of the unprepared food with the hooves still on them. I enjoyed seeing all of the technology and work put into the agricultural industry that so many of us take for granted. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention the butter cow. A 550 pound block of butter sculpted into a life size sculpture of a dairy cow. All of these things make the Iowa State Fair a prized foodie badge that's hard earned with almost 240 acres to explore. Tiring, but well worth it.

Because of the size of the fair grounds, I recommend arriving early and staying late, or splitting your visit into 2 or more days. The population of Des Moines swells each weekend during the fair, so I highly recommend planning in advance and booking your hotel room in January to get the best deals.

If you do stay for a bit, you're going to want to visit some of the local dining options you won't find anywhere else. To help you with that, I'm going to share two of my favorites so far.

The Machine Shed

The first is The Machine Shed. Think Cracker Barrel, but better. The front entry is very similar to Cracker Barrel with knick-knacks and crap galore to sell you while you wait, but with an Iowan agriculture theme. You find jams and honey to pink John Deere trucker hats to coffee table books featuring black-and-white photographs of rustic barns. Once seated, you'll notice the wait staff are dressed like picnic tables in denim overalls and the decor is basically old farm signs and equipment nailed to the wall. All a little funny, but somewhat charming at the same time. The food, however, is just plain good.

Every table is given some unusual starters: banana bread, coleslaw and cottage cheese. A little strange, but it's not unlike what I would expect to find at my grandma's house when I was little. The menu is almost exactly what one would expect with some more upscale touches thrown in here and there. Top quality pork is featured heavily and prepared in tender mouth watering succulent ways. Yep, it's that good. Far better than one should expect for the setting and prices. A must stop place for any city slicker.

Rube's Steakhouse

The other unusual stop I wanted to highlight is actually just West of Des Moines in Montour, IA. Rube's Steakhouse claims to be the "The 'Original' Grill Your Own" steakhouse. I know a lot of people don't see the appeal in going to a restaurant just to make your own food, but it's really about two things: the social aspect and the quality of the ingredients. Rube's has both of those down pretty well. They offer some really nice aged corn fed beef that you prepare to your liking on giant indoor hardwood charcoal grills. Standing around a grill with a beer in your hand shooting the breeze with who ever happens to be next to you is really what it's all about. The fact that the steaks are excellent and include unlimited salad bar, soup, Texas toast and potato is just icing. For those intimidated by the 28 oz. Top Sirloin, they do offer a smaller 10 oz. version as well :-)

The Machine Shed of Des Moines
(I-80/35 - Exit 125 at Living History Farms)

Rating: 85

Iowa Machine Shed on Urbanspoon
11151 Hickman Road (map)
Urbandale, IA 50322
Phone: (515) 270-6818

Hours of Operation
  Monday — Saturday: 6:00 am — 10:00 pm
  Saturday Buffet: 7:00 am - 1:00 pm
  Sunday: 7:00 am — 9:00 pm
  Sunday Buffet: 7:00 am - 1:00 pm

Rube's Steakhouse of Montour
(Montour, IA)

Rating: 84

118 Elm Street
Montour, IA 50173
Phone: (641) 492-6222

Hours of Operation
  Monday — Thursday: 5:00 pm — 9:30 pm
  Friday — Saturday: 5:00 pm — 10:00 pm
  Sunday: 4:30 pm — 9:00 pm (Seasonal or by Reservation)

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