Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Tender Trap in Burlington, Iowa

The Tender Trap had a drawing of a raccoon on the front of the menu, and its not the first place with racoon graphics where I have stopped in for a tenderloin. I get around Burlington often, and this place was near the top of my list for a recent visit.

Location: 2222 Summer St in Burlington, Des Moines County, Southeast Iowa.

Directions: Just fly in on your private jet because its right by the airport.

Online at: Tender Trap used to have a website with a menu, pictures, and mail order but it isn't there anymore.

The Tenderloin: The heart of the sandwich was a giant triangle of tenderized pork loin. It easily filled the takeout package it had been stuffed into. Interior meat was juicy. The crackermeal breading had been fried to a deep golden brown with great crunchiness and crumbs spreading everywhere. Served on a large toasted bun. Overall 8.2 out of ten.

Price: I think it was $8.50 with two sides thrown in, but my notes are short so don't quote me on that one.

Also on the menu: The menu is huge with the usual fried stuff, chicken tenderloin sandwiches, steaks and prime rib along with daily specials. The special sandwich is The Trapper made with chicken breast, ham, and bacon.

Service: I ordered take-out from the bar the two times I stopped in. Nothing to complain about.

Ambiance: This is a racing themed bar with booths, a bar, and a ton of space for seating. There is a serenity fountain tucked away in one corner, weird.

Final Thoughts: This was better than the other tenderloins in the Burlington area I have already tried. It might take me a while to decide how it compares to restaurants further out in the Southeast Iowa region like Apron Strings in Mediapolis, Short Stop in New London, or the Hawkeye Restaurant in Keokuk.
Tender Trap Limited on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Racers in Sexton, Iowa

Wikipedia has Sexton, Iowa listed as a ghost town with an old grain elevator remaining. That is odd because I remember not just the grain elevator but also a handful of houses. I also remember stopping by a roadhouse named Racers with a giant menu and wall-to-wall racing decorations.

Location: 1826 Highway 18 in Sexton, unincorporated township outside Algona in Kossuth County, Northern Iowa.

Directions: Its in "downtown Sexton" which means the one cross street along Highway 18 between Algona and Britt.

The Tenderloin: Exceptionally thick and juicy, barely tenderized meat to chew through slowly. The trim job left some bits of fat out inside. The outside is a thin batter with deep amounts of black pepper and spices. The battered tenderloins have a way of locking in juices and this one is no exception. Served on a toasted bun. Overall 7.8 out of ten.

Price: $6.95 with a side of fries

Also on the menu: The menu is big with all the usual fried stuff and bar fare. They also bake Stone Willy brand pizzas. There are a bunch of things with intentional misspellings like Wingz and the creatively titled RUEBENZ BALLZ appetizer.

Service: Each of my visits has had one person running the bar and tables while another person cooks. Its just regular bar service.

Ambiance: This is a racing bar with beer signs and racing posters covering the walls in every direction. The lights are dim, neon beer signs, and there are flatscreen televisions to watch.

Final Thoughts: Its always nice to find something good to eat while driving through a small town. Its a good thing they had a sign reading Homemade Tenderloins, it makes my job easier when deciding where to stop.

Racers Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon