- You don't expect ME to accept responsibility for my OWN ordering choices, do you? @ Nancypalooza
- Yes, Johnny's Cafe
was featured in the Jack Nicholson flick About Schmidt
. On my first visit there, I saw a huge picture of Nicholson with the owner in the lobby. I haven't seen it on subsequent visits, but I haven't been looking for it, either. Monday, June 16 - Depart Kansas City, MO; arrive Omaha, NE/Council Bluffs, IA (cont'd)
Before heading off the hotel for the evening, we stopped in the Old Market section of Omaha's downtown area. wanderingjew
is a fan of brew pubs while on the road, so we decided to make a stop at Upstream Brewing Company
. I admit that I am not a beer-o-phile, but I just don't get the fascination with brew pubs. On this entire trip, I went to a brew pub in each of KC, Omaha, Denver, and Nashville. Out of all of them, the only one where I had an exceptional beer was in Nashville, and that was with Poverty Pete
encouraging my selection by telling me that he was the one who helped award the brew a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. Other than that, I found each of the places to be similarly decorated, cookie-cutter, gentrified yuppie hangouts, where the proprietors sold beer at a $1-3/glass premium. On top of that, almost universally, these places were filled with out-of-towners, leading me to believe that the true locals know that there is beer of equal quality to be found elsewhere - most likely for less money.
Considering the relatively long day, it was no surprise that we both crashed hard back at the hotel. Tuesday, June 17 - Atlantic, IA (and surrounding area) and Omaha, NE
I chose to sleep in rather than chase a cup of coffee at the local coffee house. Departure called for a one-hour drive into Iowa to the small town of Atlantic. Located about an hour due east of Omaha, Atlantic is home to The Famer's Kitchen
, which is owned by fellow Roadfooder, blizzardstormus
Upon arrival, Dale walked in and introduced himself. Mark thought that we weren't going to make it that day, as he had considered the time of the first game at the CWS and figured we were already past the hour. Little did he know that once you make it onto Dale's schedule, there's no turning back!
Farmer's Kitchen has a pretty extensive menu for a small town cafe. My favorite section of the menu was the "whine list."
I just can't pass up a good double-entendre. You will also note that this section of the menu has the critical dessert section, as well.
Mark paired us up with his all-star server, Lanae (I hope I am spelling that correctly) and we also got to meet the pie-maker extraordinaire, Charlene (Mark's mom), who did confirm that she does hate making their famous sour cream raisin pie. I believe she said that she was surprised that anyone liked it. Her time with us was short, as she was busy filming her local cable access cooking show - which, she was also surprised that anyone watched! Mark, I hope you appreciate what a truly fun - and funny Mom you have hanging around!
We did tell Lanae that the only way that she was going to get a mention in the trip report was if she took a picture for us. I just want you all to know that she volunteered to take the picture while sitting on my lap, but in the interest of keeping all of the female Roadfooders from getting jealous, we just went for this "family friendly" version. OK....on to the food....
On the recommendation of the resident expert in the field, Davydd
, I chose the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. Not having had anything else to compare this to, I would have to say that this was a really darn good bite to eat. The breaded crust had a nice crispy flavorful exterior, which did a good job of sealing in the pork's natural juices. I thought the sandwich was really good, and I could surely have another one, but I don't know if I could ever have the same passion for this meal that Davydd does. I can see trying to seek out the best hamburger, for instance, as there may be differences in the way it is prepared (size of patty, coarse grind on the beef, temperature, various toppings, etc.). But, it seems to me, other than the skill of the cook or the bun-busting proportion of the meat, what the differences would be from one BPT to another?
We split an order of self-proclaimed "greasy" onion rings. Unfortunately, the pictures of said onion rings did not turn out at all, so you will all just have to imagine. These were a little more like "onion strings" and the grease didn't bother me, but I think I preferred the rings the previous day at Dinker's
just a little better.
For me, the star of the meal was this exquisite slice of apple pie. This was the apple pie that we'd hope to see the previous night at Johnny's. No worries....had to wait about 18 hours, but it was so worth it.
Dale had a piece of the sour cream raisin pie, which I am sure that he will show later.
One of my all-time favorite customer exchanges took place while we were there. To say that Mark knows everyone in town may be a little bit of a stretch, but he sure does seem to know a lot of folks. One of his customers asked about one of his newer menu items, the Kobe beef burger (yes, you can get a Kobe beef burger in Atlantic, Iowa, of all places). Mark yells into the back room for a Mr. Zellmer. It turns out that Mr. Zellmer is the cattle rancher who brings the Wagyu cattle to market that make the Kobe burgers. Nothing like getting an answer to your question straight from the
All in all, I gave The Farmer's Kitchen two thumbs up. The food is stellar, but even if it were a notch below, the friendliness of the entire staff would make this a worthwhile stop. We were truly treated like Roadfood celebrities. Thanks for the great lunch, Mark.
Oh, and say "hi" to Lanae for me, would ya?
We spent a few minutes poking around Atlantic after our lunch, and while we weren't really ready for another meal quite so soon, we found a place that may serve as the host for the next Glee Club Meeting in February.
You have to love a place that offers one-stop shopping - a breaded pork tenderloin, Philly cheesesteak (which I think wanderingjew was dying to try), AND
Mexican fajitas - all at the Chinese restaurant!
After soaking up our fill of Atlantic, we started blazing our own trail through Iowa to look for funky stuff. It turns out that Stanton, Iowa is not all that far away, and they have some funky stuff.
The World's Largest Coffee Pot and Coffee Cup stand tall over Stanton. Virginia Christine, "Mrs. Olson" in the Folgers coffee commercials was born in Stanton and these water towers were erected in her honor. Dale was a little disappointed when I told him that we were going to see the world's largest coffee pot and we came upon a water tower. I think he was expecting a really big coffee pot, with a brew going, in the town square.
As we suddenly found ourselves on a time crunch, we made our way back towards Omaha. Upstream Brewing Company www.upstreambrewing.com
514 S 11th St
Omaha, NE 68102 The Farmers Kitchen
319 Walnut St
Atlantic, IA 50022