Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Findlay's Old Time Butcher Shop & Delicatessen Des Moines

Update #2 Winter 2010/2011: Sometimes restaurants move to new locations, only to come back to the same spot a few years later. I went to Findlay's and they have the same tenderloin, and some good mac 'n cheese side too. You can buy smoked meats in bulk now.

UPDATE: Findlay's moved to Knoxville in late 2009, they are just a block off the main square. I saw it was just a BBQ place with the same menu but no meat market. This current location is now named Two Rivers BBQ Market and Deli, they have a tenderloin but I haven't made it in try one yet.
This butcher shop has a wide variety of meats for sale, and a lunch menu that includes a homemade tenderloin. The big meat smoker outside told me that tasty meat would be served here. Unfortunately, subsequent visits have revealed the tenderloin is no longer on the menu. Bummer.

Location: 1951 Indianola Ave on the south side of Des Moines.

Directions: Take south 7th St. from downtown, turn on Indianola and find this building beside Italian-American cultural center.

The Tenderloin: The first thing I notices was the three-point shape of the meat. The dense, chewy consistency of the meat and exceptional pork flavor makes me wonder if this was slow cooked before breading. Dollops of mustard, ketchup, and red onions are between the bun and the tenderloin. Served on a soft but cold kaiser bun from a local bakery. Overall a solid 7.5 out of ten.

Price: 4.99 , with chips and a side for $1.50 more.

Also on the menu: Smoked meat BBQ sandwiches, a full meat selection for large orders including Turducken. Jerky was in stock when I stopped by.

Service: Counter service, it can take a few minutes to get your food.
Ambiance: Bright light from windows comes into dining area. There are signs with meat prices outside. The place gets crowded for the lunch rush.

Final Thoughts: Smoking the pork loin before breading and frying can bring out a world of flavor. This relatively new butcher shop has a solid tenderloin worth checking out, its too bad it was discontinued or moved to "seasonal" status.

For emergency Tenderloin craving: head further down Indianola and turn on Hartford to reach B&B Grocery for their Big Piggy Pork Loin or Real Tenderloins.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Starbuck's Fast Food in Nevada

This dive on the Lincoln Highway is another former one-stop filling station, drive-in cafe, and mobile-home dealership. The name is clearly grandfathered beyond any lawsuits that a newer business sharing the same name would encounter. Today, only the cafe is left, with its bright yellow signs pulling travelers in for ice cream, beef burgers and multiple pork sandwiches.

Location: 1620 Lincoln Highway, in Nevada, Iowa the seat of Story County. About thirty miles north of Des Moines.

Directions: Take the Lincoln Was exit off I-35 in Ames and turn right. Starbuck's Fast Food is on the East side of Nevada on the Old Lincoln Highway route. Old Lincoln Highway also leads to another, more famous, Starbucks in Ames.

The Tenderloin: Described on menu as homemade. This came with two wrappers for its slightly large size. Taking of wrappings revealed a thin piece of pork loin stuck to a large half dry bun. the moisture of the tenderloin had moved into part of the bun. The cut of pork loin was thin enough to have a slight wave form, with a small thick part on one side. The breading was thick
with more crunch than steamy pork. Overall, not inspiring, 5/10.

Price: $4.75

Also on the Menu: Full ice cream menu, "pork fritter" hints at another low-quality fried pork sandwich. Breaded pork chop is an occasional special. Coney dogs and loose meat burgers complete the menu.
Service: Counter service with number called when order is ready. A team of high-schoolers was working the kitchen and register.

Ambiance: There is an austere dining room with wide windows and natural light and one picture box with the history of the restaurant. There are booths and tables for seating.
Final Thoughts:
This is another thin cut of pork loin with minimal effort to improve the sandwich. Its not any better than some frozen or pre-formed tenderloins. The one-stop service
and food stations on the Lincoln Highway have some great greasy food experiences, this just isn't one of them.