Thursday, September 15, 2011

Boonie's in Earlville

The sign in front of Boonie's reads "Fine Food & Good Friends", and this small town cafe seems to be the meeting place for this community in Eastern Iowa. A recent top five finish in the IPPA Tenderloin rankings put this tiny place on my to-do list earlier this year.

Location: 107 Northern Ave. in Earlville, Delaware County, Eastern Iowa.

Directions: Northern Ave. is the main drag through town, take the County Rd. X35 from the Highway 20 off-ramp.

The Tenderloin: The butterfly cut in the middle left parts inside very thick. The whole thing had a good size that felt like eight ounces before cooking. The breading left a significant crunchy texture outside the good size of pork loin meat. Served with your choice of fixings on a corn-dusted bun. Overall 8.0 out of ten.

Price: $4.95 with chips.
Also on the menu: The regular menu was typical cafe fare with Ruebens and Roast Beef Sandwiches, but the daily specials and desserts were on the Pie Board:
Service: There was one waitress and another guy cooking while I stopped in, each was attentive and the place is kept clean and efficient.
Ambiance: This is another small town get together place, its seat yourself table service with a bar area as well.

Final Thoughts: I had not previously found anything special between Dubuque and Manchester. There is no reason not to stop at a place like this while on the Eastern end of Highway 20.
Boonies on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Corner Station in Templeton

The stretch of Highway 71 in the middle Western Iowa cuts straight through some of the least traveled and rarely visited parts of Iowa. Its one lonesome road. But it has one cafe after another with a great breaded tenderloin sandwich. Templeton is north of the Chatterbox Cafe in Audubon, The Red Barn in Exira, Farmers Kitchen in Atlantic, and Darrell's Place in Hamlin. Each one serves homemade food to dedicated locals. A recent award from the IPPA made me head to this small cafe that didn't even have an OPEN sign outside. The Corner Station closes at four in the afternoon, so get there early.

Location: 18152 Highway 141 in Templeton, in Carroll County, Western Iowa.

Directions: The only building on the south side of the main road, Highway 71/141 between Carroll and Audubon. Its an unmarked white building with just the lettering of the word CAFE on the window.

The Tenderloin: First on my mind was the small size and a butterfly cut that made the meat portion extra long. Breading added good flavor to the crunchy outside of the loin. The warm moist and consistently tender meat was just right. Served on a small bun with your choice of toppings. Overall 8.8 out of ten.
Price: a great value at $3.75 a la carte.

Also on the menu: Its a real simple menu with burgers, a pizza burger, patty melt and other sandwiches. Also a full breakfast in the morning.

The waffle fries: Nothing accentuates the tender taste of the pork loin like the crispy fried goodness of criss-cut fries. I could eat these all day:
Service: There is a counter or table service, you pay at the register counter near the door.

Ambiance: The building is part of an old auto repair garage, with a limited grocery selection in one area. The dining room has tables and a small counter with a menu board and wood-panel walls.
Templeton Rye:
The town of Templeton has become known as the home of Templeton Rye Whiskey, the prohibition era drink with a 21st century marketing campaign. It has been known to disappear from store shelves for months at a time. I understand it can be used in cooking or could be mixed with BBQ sauce for an extra kick. My time in Templeton was short, so I only snapped a quick photo of their buildings on the edge of town:
Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when the "mobile speakeasy" was parked a block away from where I live in Des Moines. While its great that they were promoting the whiskey, I would have preferred to have the Corner Station and its tenderloin move down to Des Moines instead.
Corner Station on Urbanspoon