Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Little Red Food Truck in Des Moines, Iowa

I was able to try a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich at The Spot Food Truck last year, and one from Chuckie's Iowa Tenderloin Truck at the Iowa State Fair the year before, and even earlier at the mobile unit of the Townhouse Supper Club when it came to Des Moines several years ago. The latest food truck to sell breaded pork tenderloins is the Little Red Food Truck parked downtown for this summer.

Location: They have only been around for a couple months and may move around, check their social media page to know where they will be.

Directions: You can drive downtown on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and they will probably be in the sculpture park area where the other trucks are parked.

Online at: facebook page is HERE.

The Tenderloin: This was described as pork ribeye loin meat, and the bright white meat was very juicy. Panko bread crumbs gave this sandwich a classic crunchy texture. The first problem was that the loin meat was not entirely coated in the breadcrumbs, parts were just bare meat. Another was the trim job that left hunks of fat in the loin meat that were a little too big. The panko had a little salt in the taste, so something could have been added. Served with your choice of fixins on a soft bun. Overall 7.30 out of ten.

Price: $7.00 a la carte

Also on the menu: fresh turnover pies, gourmet tacos with fish or fried flour shells, and soft drinks.

Service: Just a walk up food truck service. There were two people inside when I stopped by.

Ambiance: I found the truck when it was parked on a sidewalk across from the sculpture park.

Final Thoughts: This isn't the first food truck to try selling tenderloins in Des Moines, and there is another truck with tenderloins on the menu parked across the street. Fixings some problems with the sandwich could make this one competitive with the other tenderloins in town.

Monday, June 15, 2015

BW's Burgers in West Des Moines, Iowa

A few months ago the facebook page of The Rusty Duck in Dexter announced they would open a bar and restaurant in West Des Moines named BW's Burgers Shakes & Spirits. The Rusty Duck in Dexter had once won an award from the Iowa Cattlemen for having the best burger in Iowa, and had a runner-up award from the annual IPPA tenderloin contest. I would guess that BW is the initials of the owner of the two places.

Location: 3701 EP True Parkway in West Des Moines, Iowa

Directions: This is in a strip mall with three other restaurants that haven't been here very long, you can get to EP True by taking Grand Ave. from Des Moines.

The Tenderloin: This one had a wide oval shape with a butterfly cut in the middle. I had been here before and had a different shape. Each loin I've had here has been very thick and juicy. I've heard pounding noises from the kitchen, but the texture of the meat feels undisturbed by tenderizing. The meat inside is a bright white loin meat, and the breading is a thin crunchy layer with a hint of pepper. Served on a large and soft toasted bun with your fixins. Overall 8.2 out of ten.

Price: $10.00 with a side of fries. I got mine with cheese sauce:

Also on the menu: The menu isn't big but has steak sandwiches and burgers and other bar foods.

Service: There is a take-out counter and table service.

Ambiance: This space has had a couple restaurant tenants, the last one being a place trying to sell loosemeat burgers and hot dogs. The dining area has tables, and the patio area is open for the season.

Final Thoughts: I had been to Dexter a few times over the years, but the Rusty Duck is only open evenings and I never made it inside. If the burgers here are the same as the ones these guys serve in Dexter, then I would be interested in coming back to try one someday.

Monday, June 1, 2015

209 Main Bar in Paton, Iowa

"Home of the Tool Bar" reads the entrance to 209 Bar and Restaurant in Paton. This is a relatively new sports bar that aims to bring the taste of the bigger city to tiny Paton.

Location: As you would expect from the name, it is at 209 Main St in Paton, Iowa.

Directions: Its best to take Highway 144 from Perry and take a County Road one mile into Paton.

Online at: website is HERE.

The Tenderloin: This was a decent sized piece of white pork loin meat in a giant mitten shape. The texture was soft inside, with a consistent medium thickness. The breading felt like it had been cooked just a little too long and had a burnt taste to it. I really couldn't taste much in the seasoning. Served with all the fixins on a toasted roll. Overall 7.3 out of ten.

Price: $7.99 with a side.

Also on the menu: Big bar food menu with sandwiches, a salad bar, burgers and some uncommon stuff like poutine or steaks.

Service: There is a bar area and a restaurant area with table service. I got takeout from the bar.

Ambiance: This is a new place in a huge building with a dining area, a huge bar and private rooms. The bar area has televisions and beer signs and the bar itself is very modern.

Final Thoughts: I was really surprised to see such a big and new place in a small town like Paton. The locals seem to like this place enough to fill it up, as it was packed when I stopped in.

 209 Main on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 15, 2015

Elmo's Bar and Grill in Madrid, Iowa

I hadn't made it to Madrid since my trip to the Town & Country Cafe in 2013. A recent recommendation to try Elmo's Bar & Grill meant that I could stop in here after a short drive from Des Moines

Location: 605 S Kennedy in Madrid, Boone County, Central Iowa.

Directions: Kennedy is the main drag through town when driving from Des Moines on Highway 17.

Online at: website is HERE.

The Tenderloin: This was listed on the menu as the "Deluxe Tenderloin" and described as a fresh tenderloin topped with grinder meat and melted mozzarella cheese. The pork loin was lightly breaded in a crispy coating, but the huge amount of grinder meat dominated the sandwich. The toasting of the bun and the melting of the cheese was about right. The whole thing was big. Served on a toasted Italian grinder roll.

Price: $9.50 a la carte, I went with some hand cut fries on the side for an extra two dollars.

Also on the menu: Bar food like hand pattied burgers and a giant sandwich named The Elmo. There is also Taco Tuesday and a Steak Night.

Service: Its bar service with orders taken to a kitchen.

Ambiance: This is a small town bar that looks renovated with beer signs and video game machines and televisions.

Final Thoughts: Elmo's is a nice small town bar that isn't a long drive from Des Moines.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Scooters Pub & Grub in New Sharon, Iowa

I had heard about Scooters Pub and seen their facebook page a couple years back. A recent trip to Oskaloosa and back meant that I could finally visit this place. Its owned by a lady named Sharon, in the city of New Sharon.

Location: 108 East Maple St in New Sharon, Mahaska County in Central Iowa.

Directions: New Sharon is best reached by taking Highway 63 from Oskaloosa or the Interstate. Scooters is half a block off the main drag on Maple Street.

Online at: Facebook page is HERE.

The Tenderloin: This is listed on the menu as the B.A.T. for big tenderloin. Size was good and this nearly filled the to go box with the waffle fries. The breading had a good crunchy layer of bread crumbs. The meat was bright white and tenderized to be soft. Served on a buttered and toasted bun. Overall 8.2 out of ten.

Price: $7.99 with a side.

Also on the menu: the menu is a gigantic with multiple pages of steaks, pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and bar foods. There is also a cajun tenderloin.

Service: There is table service in part of Scooter's or bar service at the bar.

Ambiance: This is a small town bar and grill or roadhouse with tons of space inside. They have pool tables, booths, a bar, and decorations with beer signs. They also have a karaoke night with free shots for people who take the mic.

Final Thoughts: I've been to a lot of small town bars and roadhouses and Scooters Pub is a relatively new place with a good tenderloin. I may have to update my list of the Best in Central Iowa soon to account for some new places that have opened since my last update.

 Scooters Pub & Grub on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

B&S's 529 Bar in Carroll, Iowa

B & S 529 is a bar with a confusing name in a building that says Don's Place in the front. I've driven through Carroll Iowa plenty of times, and I couldn't remember this place being here. The IPPA listed its tenderloin as a finalist in its 2014 Best Tenderloin competition. Its right on the main drag through town, so a stop to grab a tenderloin was easy.

Location: 529 North Main St in Carroll, in Western Iowa.

Directions: Its right on one of the main corners of downtown Carroll, but watch for the storefront marked as "Don's Place".

Online at: facebook page is HERE

The Tenderloin: This was a huge triangle of pork loin meat when I opened to to-go box. This also had a great golden brown color to the breading. The breading itself had some nice saltiness and had a batter like texture in some parts. The problem here was the inside. The interior was dry in several parts from being pounded out just a little too thin. Served with lettuce and pickle on a large cold bun. Overall 7.8 out of ten.

Price: $7.95 with a side.

Also on the menu: Its bar food with fried stuff and burgers with toppings

Service: I was in during a basketball game and the place was packed and service was slow, but that is like every bar in Iowa during basketball season.

Ambiance: This is a remodeled old bar with tons of televisions and lots of beer signage. The exterior still has the name of the last tenant, Dons Place.

Final Thoughts: This is a decent tenderloin that might be good or great if there is some kind of variance in quality or if I just caught them on a bad day. I don't think the bar itself was any better than the dive known as Kerps Pub that I visited in Carroll not too long ago.

B&S's 529 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 15, 2015

David's Milwaukee Diner in Hotel Pattee Perry Iowa

The Menu
The Hotel Pattee has closed and reopened more than once in the last few years. Its hard to see how a luxury hotel fits into this town in Dallas County with its packing plants and old railroad tracks. The website claims David's Milwaukee Diner is named for David Jackson Pattee, and the Milwaukee Railroad that once employed many in Perry. This diner is on the left hand side when you walk through the grand entrance.

Location: 1112 Willis Ave in Perry, Dallas County, Iowa.

Directions: Take Highway 141 north and west of suburban Des Moines, turn up Highway 144 the main road into Perry.

Online at: Website is HERE.

The Tenderloin: This had some very crisp and crunchy breading that had a cracker like texture and a darker brown color. The meat had been tenderized but wasn't soft to the touch. There was a little moisture and the meat was white throughout. This had average thickness. The lack of seasoning in the breading, or any flavor was almost alleviated by the inclusion of spicy mustard. Served on a very warm bun. Overall, this was a very average tenderloin. 7.0 out of ten.

Price: $8.99 with a side, I went with the homemade chips.

Homemade Chips
Also on the menu: Lunch is a modern version diner fare, so in addition to burgers and sandwiches you have four kinds of macaroni and cheese and several salads. There is a separate menu for Breakfast and Dinner.

Service: Full service with a hostess seating you, and there is a counter selling "pattee cakes" and other things.

Ambiance: The high ceilings and old fixtures, and dark woodwork added to the ambiance. The dining area is named The Arrow Room, made to look like a train's dining car. I had never visited this space over the years, but the interior was meticulously detailed with artwork and objects reflecting Perry's railroad history.

Final Thoughts: I don't pretend to know if this incarnation of the the Hotel Pattee will stay open for the long haul. But I do know that this tenderloin will not be the make or break menu item that keeps its diner busy. Perry has some good Mexican and Latin places, and this diner seems to be banking on nostalgia to get people to visit. The space is beautiful, but the sandwich was nothing special.

Hotel Pattee
David's Milwaukee Diner at the Hotel Pattee on Urbanspoon