Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cole's Ice Cream in Slater, Iowa

"Every time David Sturdy breads and fries up a homemade tenderloin for a customer he thinks of his son. After all, it is his son’s recipe he uses when he makes what he proudly boasts is the best tenderloin around."
From an Ames Tribune article titled Little Shop Keeps up Memory of Fallen Marine. May 09, 2012 by Michael Crumb. Back in 2002 the family closed the Ice Cream Shop down and David's oldest son Brandon joined the Marines, fighting in Iraq and dying at the age of 19 in Falluja. Cole's reopened in 2011, and the breaded tenderloin is a third of their food sales. That is some pretty heavy emotional stuff for a fried pork sandwich.

Location: 101 E 6th Ave in Slater in Story County, Central Iowa.

Directions: 6th Ave is Highway 210,  the main drag through town between Madrid and Huxley. Its about 30 miles north of Des Moines.

Online at: Facebook Page is HERE.

Important Note: I think this place closes down for the winter, if so then try again when spring rolls around.

The Tenderloin: This was a thick slab of pork loin between the buns to make this sandwich. The seasoning was a bit on the heavy side with a good dose of salt and pepper in the breading. In the pictures you can see some salt added on top after cooking. The tenderizing didn't break apart the grain of the pork loin, so there is some soft chewiness to the thick cut. Served on a large untoasted bun with pickles and onion. Overall 8.4 out of ten.

Price: $4.99

Also on the menu: Full ice cream menu with Picket Fence Ice Cream from Woodward. The food includes the usual burgers, hot dogs, and fried stuff.

Service: It was just one guy running the whole show when I was there, not much to complain about.

Ambiance: There is a small inside space but the outside is your regular small town ice cream place with a gravel parking lot and wooden picnic tables. There is a counter with a register inside and a walk-up window for ordering when its warm outside.

Final Thoughts: The multiple hand painted signs reading GIANT TENDERLOIN beckoned me from the highway, and I was not disappointed by my stop from the road. Slater is close to the new bike trail and bridge over the lake that has been drawing a stream of visitors to the area. Next I will have to drive down Highway 210 to the Town & Country Cafe in Madrid and Lou's Diner in Woodward.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fat Annie's Augusta Tap in Augusta, Iowa

The sign reads Giant Tenderloins, the name on the sign is Fat Annie's Augusta Tap, and I just had to stop in during my last visit to Southeast Iowa. Fat Annie's is not related to Fat Randi's in Van Meter, nor is Augusta to be confused with the Augusta Restaurant in Oxford.

Location: Its on the busy intersection of Augusta Main Road and Augusta Mill Road, beside the Skunk River in the unincorporated township of Augusta in Des Moines County, Southestern Iowa.

Directions: The closest town is Wever, but most people are driving along Highway 61 between Burlington and Ft. Madison. Take Highway 61 to State Highway 16, then go north on County Road X-38 which runs over a bridge into Augusta.

The Tenderloin: This was a huge sandwich, weighing well more that the 8 ounces that many places give me. the sandwich was almost too big to get a picture from my car as the sun was setting. The meat was tenderized well and a little piece on the edge fell off when I unwrapped the tin foil. Most of the sandwich was thick and closer to moist than juicy. Breading had a cracker crunch and left crumbs everywhere. The kaiser bun just couldn't handle the wight of the oversize sandwich and fell apart. Overall 7.5 out of ten.

Price: $6.00

Also on the menu: the regular fried food and bar staples are here in abundance, including burgers and fried chicken. Fat Annies is close to the Big River, and serves carp and catfish like other bars in this area.

Service: Typical small town bar style, with bartenders making small talk with regulars who seemed to have been there forever.

Ambiance: There is the usual old wood paneling, booths, dark atmosphere, beer signs, and outdoors photos. But the wall seems to be covered with carpet fragments cut into a large geometrical mural then stapled to the wall. The bar area and back seem to be covered in floor lamination, the whole place just boggles the mind.

Final Thoughts: Augusta looks like an old mill town, and Fat Annies seems to be the oldest building close to the river. The ambiance of the historic building seems to be lost with the latest renovations. I've seen some small town dive bars in my time but this place is epic.I took photos and notes about the tenderloin but all that I can remember is the decorations of the interior.
Fat Annie's Augusta on Urbanspoon