Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Susie's Kitchen in Stanton

Stanton has a sign on the road into town naming itself the "Little White City" and is the birthplace of an actress from Folgers Coffee commercials. The water tower is shaped like a coffee cup with graphics reflecting the Swedish heritage of the town. In more recent times, Stanton has become locally renowned for its Swedish-American Cafe, Susie's Kök or Susie's Kitchen serving up comfort food to travelers along Highway 34 in Southwest Iowa. Susie's Kitchen has been featured in The Iowan magazine and Roadfood among other places.

Location: 404 Broad Ave. in Stanton, Montgomery County in Southwest Iowa.

Directions: The road south from Highway 34 veers to the west and turns into Broad St, leading a visitor right in front of Susie's Kitchen.

The Tenderloin: The owner of Susie's Kitchen explained to me that the tenderloin was made by breading the loin then putting it on top of a flat grill. This is not deep fried or pan-fried like nearly every other place. As a result, the texture of the breading is free of any oil or grease. The color of the breading is a bright white with golden brown and darker marks from the grill. This breading method is clearly healthier than what most other places use. The flavor just wasn't on par with others, and the loin felt a little dry. There just isn't any grease on this whole sandwich. You will notice the butter in the toasted bun. Overall 7.5 out of ten.

Price: $7.00 with a side.

Also on the menu: There is the usual breakfast and lunch with sandwiches. The Fruit of the Forest Pie and other Swedish foods are the specialty.

The Swedish Pancake with Linggonberry Jam were something special. It felt wrong to order just one on the side. These have a fine texture and the jam brings berry flavor over the top. Highly recommended.
Service: The owner of this place was walking between the tables and a local high school aged kid was waiting tables.

Ambiance: This is a small town main street cafe with tiny Swedish designs like what is on the giant coffee pot and lots of wood paneling.

Final Thoughts: Susie's Kitchen served breakfast all day, and in Stanton "all day" means until the place closes at two in the afternoon. Plan on getting here early for the great pancakes and pies. The tenderloin will probably please people looking for a healthier version of the classic breaded pork tenderloin, because its not deep fried.

Susie's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gators Grill & Spirits in Burlington

This whole neighborhood on the west side of Burlington always seems to have tons of traffic that must be going to the Casino nearby. The place seems to be chain restaurant type of area with just a few local places. The parking lot of Gator's Grill & Spirits was overflowing with cars on a Tuesday at lunchtime, so its not like this place is a secret. I just can't drive past a sign with an alligator in a suit.

Location: 3313 Agency St in Burlington, Des Moines County in Southeast Iowa.

Directions: Its the same Highway 61 exit as Catfish Bend Casino, but turn south to find Agency St and the big sign with a gator in a top hat.

Online at: website with menu and auto-play music is HERE.

The Tenderloin: The first thing I noticed was the great pounded-out shape with tear away edges to grab and eat. The interior was not as moist as I like, and this was true throughout the large portion here. The breading had some huge cracker crumbs falling off as I ate. Served on a toasted bun with your choice of fixings, Overall 7.2 out of ten.

Price: $7.69 with a side.
Also on the menu: the menu is huge with pages of steaks, seafood, pasta, sandwiches and other stuff.

Service: I went to the bar to get some take-out, but there are two dining areas and service was slow because of the huge crowd at lunchtime during my visit.
Ambiance: I can't help but think this building held a chain restaurant as its last tenant. There are two large dining areas with tables, booths, and televisions to watch.

Final Thoughts: This wasn't the best tenderloin I've found in the Burlington area, I will get the Tender Trap and Fat Annie's in Augusta written up soon.

Gators Grill & Spirits on Urbanspoon