Monday, May 24, 2010

Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe in Prairie City

In the few short years since this space was turned into Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe, it has been featured in a Des Moines Register article about small town ice cream stands, then KCCI TV had their Cruising For Comfort Food feature visit here. Last October, the Iowa Pork Producers Association gave Goldies its coveted and prestigious Best Tenderloin in Award. The owner, Brad Magg, created his own catering company when he was still in High School. Since then he has taken over the ice cream shop, been elected to the City Council of nearby Colfax, and promoted a Demolition Derby all before turning 24 years old. His next step could be world domination, or perhaps an even bigger demolition derby.

Location: 304 W 2nd St in Prairie City, about 18 miles east of Des Moines in Jasper County, Central Iowa.

Directions: You take East University from Des Moines, it turns into Highway 163 and Goldies is just past Casey's from the Prairie City exit.

Online at: There is a facebook page

Award Winning Tenderloin
The Tenderloin: This has to be at least eight ounces after cooking. The lightly seasoned breading forms some gigantic crumbs on the edges. The meat is very tender with a consistent texture. According to the IPPA press release, the pork loin is cut and tenderized at the meat department at Fareway in Pleasant Hill. Served with all the fixings on a large untoasted bun. Overall 8.63 out of ten.
Mingo Special with Italian Sausage
The Mingo Special: this is made with seasoned Italian Sausage from the Mingo Locker, and a slice of provolone cheese on top. I had trouble trying to eat one of these while driving, the sausage was all over the place.

Magg Combo
The Magg Combo: This is a tenderloin topped with a cheeseburger. The ground beef is from the nearby family farm run by the Magg family, processed at the Mingo Locker. This one works better as a sandwich than the other combo deal. Each one gets a good melt job on top of the beef.

Price: $5.50 for the regular tenderloin a la carte, or $7.75 for one of the combo sandwiches. The prices haven't changed since at least 2008.

Also on the menu: There are daily specials to go with the usual burgers and salads, a full ice cream selection. The feature dessert item seems to be the Suicide Twister. The drive-thru window sells coffee in the morning. The menu used to have a note reading "we sell farm raised steaks!"

The PC Dog: This is a cheese stuffed hot dog wrapped in bacon:
PC Dog

The Chili Cheese Fries: these came in a little bowl. For a small extra price you can get lightly battered "Goldies Fries".

The Fried Cauliflower: I never forget the vegetables.

The Tenderloin Strips: This was described on the menu as a tenderloin without a bun, cut into strips. I guess this is for people allergic to buns, or on low carb diet plans:

Tenderloin Strips

Service: Its table service with mostly old ladies waiting tables. There is a walk-up window and drive-thru for ice cream orders. In the mornings this place serves coffee, PC PERK, from the drive-thru window.

Ambiance: Its not much from the outside, but the interior is brighter with the classic ice cream shop look, and specials written on a chalkboard. There are a few booths and tables, plus a counter for seating. When the weather is good you can sit at picnic tables outside. Since the IPPA award last fall, its been tough to get a place to sit.

Final Thoughts: I put this place on my own list of the best tenderloins near Des Moines after trying the two sandwiches that were tenderloins with toppings. I've seen the owner a few times running around the kitchen, and understand he is an advocate of small towns in Iowa. As a general rule, I think you get a better sandwich experience in the small town cafes and places like this then at any big or expensive restaurant in Des Moines. I recommend picking up the Magg Combo to anyone on the road to Pella.

Update April 2011:
Goldies was featured on the second season of IPTV's Iowa's Simple Pleasures, the above screengrab is the former owner and founder, Golda.
Check out the video here.
Or visit the show page:

Goldie's on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Sandwich Shop, Smitty's in Albia

I've been to some low-key places in my lifetime of eating well, but some places are more low-key than others. This place is humble in its exterior, without a proper name visible from outside. The only lure to the non-local is the words "Sandwich Shop" beneath a Pepsi logo on an aged sign. The locals claim this is the best tenderloin in Iowa, so I had to check it out.

Location: 14 Benton Ave. W in Albia (population 3,706), Monroe County, Southern Iowa.

Directions: This place is just off the main square in Albia.

The Tenderloin: I think they make these in batches during the lunch rush, because they had mine ready in about thirty seconds. The large bun was not toasted. The meat was warm and steamy, and tender with bright white color. The downside is the breading had seperated from the meat entirely, coming off the meat in several places. This one gets a break because of the low price, its one of the better ones you can get for less than four dollars. Overall 7.0 out of 10.

Price: $3.75

Also on the menu: Its a short menu with burgers, beefburgers, and shakes.

Service: I went to the counter, but I think there is table service too. I think the owner was behind the counter when I was there. There is a drive-thru window for ordering from the alleyway.

Ambiance: This is a small town diner. There are booths and a counter for seating.

Final thoughts: This place in Albia with a sign that just reads "Sandwich Shop" has an affordable, if unexciting, tenderloin to offer. I haven't found another good tenderloin in Monroe County, or anyplace else near here.