Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Julie's Home Style Cafe in Oskaloosa, Iowa

I once visited a restaurant with a long rant printed on the menu about the difference between "homemade" and "home style". That was a long time ago, and I still can't help but think that menu writer was obsessed with the pedantic. Julie's Cafe has the words "Home Style" front and center on their sign, and I can't help but observe that nearly everything inside seemed to be homemade.

Location: 216 S Market in Oskaloosa about sixty miles from Des Moines.

Directions: Market St in Highway 63 just south of the main drag through Oskaloosa.

The Tenderloin: This was the classic triangle shaped loin cut pounded out to cover and entire lunch plate. The thin meat had lost nearly all moisture. The breading had some good seasoning and crunch but with no chewy meat inside. The bun was like a diner roll and hadn't been toasted. Overall 7.3 out of ten.

Price: $5.00 with a bag of chips.

Also on the menu: the lunch menu is hot beef and tenderloins and a daily special then a dessert board. The breakfast menu includes bowls of cereal and the classic diner eggs and bacon breakfasts.

Service: It was table service when I stopped in for lunch. I should not that they are only open until 1:30 on weekdays and close after breakfast at ten on Saturday.

Ambiance: This is an old diner that hasn't been redone in a long time with wood paneling and an old counter and booths for seating.

Final thoughts: The signage and uniforms for Julie's Cafe seem to emphasize the hot beef sandwich and the pies. I think I would try one of those next time I am in Oskaloosa. This place seems to attract lots of locals for its breakfasts too.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Smokin' G's BBQ Restaurant in Marshalltown, Iowa

I've had some mixed luck when it comes to finding a good tenderloin in Marshalltown. Cecil's Cafe had left me unimpressed a long time ago, then I tried a sports bar inside a hotel by the highway that didn't impress me either. The latest contender is Smokin' G's BBQ Restaurant, open since last year in the main street area a block from the courthouse.

Location: 25 W Main St in Marshalltown, about 45 minutes northeast of Des Moines.

Directions: Taking Highway 330 from Des Moines to Highway 30 into Marshalltown, turn north and drive to the courthouse and turn left to find Smokin' G's.

Online at: website is HERE.

The Tenderloin: This had a decent half pound size pork loin in a roughly triangular shape. The inside was darker loin meat with a good amount of juiciness. I picked up a hint of pepper and seasonings in the breading, but there wasn't any real crunch on this one. Served with all the fixins pinned down with a toothpick. Overall 7.3 out of ten.

Price: $9.95 with a side, but its a special on Tuesday with a drink and side for $9.50

Also on the menu: The huge menu starts with bbq meats, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and fried appetizers. They even have a couple eating challenges.

Service: Its full service with a hostess and seating at tables and booths. The lunch rush crowd meant the food and check took some time when I visited.

Ambiance: This is a main st building with a recent renovation into a BBQ spot with western themed decorations.

Final Thoughts: I think my next stop in Marshalltown should be the 13th St Inn if its still open, it had a "for sale" sign on its facebook page so I don't know whats going on there. Maybe I need to go to the Haverhill Social Club just south of Marshalltown too.