Thursday, August 15, 2013

TC's Point After in Dewitt and Chuckie's Tenderloin Truck

Storefront on Old Highway 61
This is an entry about one tenderloin sold in two places. It all started in Dewitt, Iowa, along Old Route 61 at TC's Point After. Its a small town sports bar with a large menu. It sounds like Chuckie sold his stake in TC's Point After in order to take his tenderloin truck to locations far from Clinton County, Iowa. Its been spotted in Denver, San Diego, and at Cactus League baseball spring training sites in Arizona. A recent spotting at the Iowa State Fair meant I could get a chance to try the mobile version. This is also the first homemade pork tenderloin I've found at the State Fair, most concessions use the awful half-pound frozen fritters.

Location: 719 6th Ave. in Dewitt, Clinton County, Quad Cities area in Eastern Iowa.

Directions: Its on Old Higway 61, the original main street through Dewitt, now you have to take a turn off the State Highway to drive up along 11th St to reach 6th Ave.

Online At: you can try to follow TC's or the mobile trailer at their facebook page HERE.

Outside the Point After in Dewitt
Chuckie's Famous Tenderloin: The video interviews with Chuckie include references to "special flour" and 14 seasonings inside the batter itself. There is a lot of depth in the texture of the batter, this can be seen by the little dots or different seasonings. Chuckie even calls his center cut of pork loin the "ribeye of the tenderloin". The tenderizing is done "fresh" at the mobile trailer, and I take this to mean they cut and mechanically tenderize it to order. The loin is not big, it feels like six ounces. The result of the preparation is a great subtle breading flavor with nice soft white pork loin. This is a good sandwich served on an untoasted bun. Overall 9.1 out of ten.

Wrinkles of flavored batter
Price: Vending fees and other things affect the prices at any truck. From a video on the QC news website shows a setup in San Diego, California with the tenderloin being sold for ten dollars a la carte. At the Iowa State Fair it was $8.00 for a tenderloin with waffle fries. The picture below is from a while ago at TC's Point After, so don't get angry if its gone up.
Its Good!
Also on the menu: The sign outside TC's Point After reads Steaks and Prime Rib along with Food and Spirits. The menu is huge with burgers and daily specials. The truck was literally just tenderloins and waffle fries.
Food Truck Setup at Iowa State Fair
Service: Just regular sports bar service in Dewitt, I grabbed the loin to go. The truck looks like a two person operation when I visited during a slow time.
At the 2013 Iowa State Fair
Ambiance: The Point After in Dewitt is a very clear Chicago Cubs and local teams sports bar. It has dated woodwork and old fixtures, thankfully covered by sports junk. Its pretty dark inside, so pictures were impossible. I think they do group tours to visit the Cubs in Chicago.
In a basket with waffle fries.
Final thoughts: This is a sandwich that travels well. I mean it gets around more than any other tenderloin. I know some small town cafes will have mobile trailers for local county fairs or dirt track racing nights. These rarely leave the State of Iowa. I can say with some confidence that Chuckie will be back at San Diego Chargers home games this fall. I would guess they would be available for events in the Southern California or Arizona area too.
That is one happy pig.
 Tc's Point After on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Hawkeye Restaurant in Keokuk

I don't make it to Keokuk often, its more like a stop on the way to St Louis or parts further south for most Iowans. The pork tenderloin sandwich from Hawkeye Restaurant was mentioned at some point in USA Today as one of the best sandwiches in America.

Location: 105 North Park Drive in Keokuk, Lee County in far Southeastern corner of Iowa.

Directions: This is just off Highway 61 on the State Highway 218 route on the north end of town.

Online at: website is HERE.

The Tenderloin: This was visually appealing with a great golden brown color and wrinkles of fried breading. The meat was tenderized and included some darker sections and small bits of rendered fat. Juiciness was above average with steam arising from the sandwich. Served on a large toasted bun overall 7.9 out of ten.

Price: $7.49 with a side for dinner.

Also on the menu: The gigantic menu includes steaks, seafood, pasta, and a "create-a-gumbo" option. You can take home their house sauces by purchasing at the front counter.

Service: There is table service but I just grabbed takeout from the front counter.

Ambiance: The popularity of the Hawkeye meant they outgrew their old location in a historic building in downtown Keokuk. The current location is huge but a little too much like a generic chain restaurant with a fake fireplace and countless rooms for dining and a bar area.

Final Thoughts: The Hawkeye Restaurant is the southernmost stop so far in the history of this blog. This starts my new route of Highway 61 tenderloins along the coast of Eastern Iowa. Just up the road are great tenderloins in Mediapolis, Augusta, Ft. Madison, Walcott, Davenport, Dewitt, and Balltown.

 Hawkeye Restaurant on Urbanspoon