Back to the Breadbasket!

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wanderingjew
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2011/06/29 19:42:44 (permalink)

Back to the Breadbasket!

 Yes this is a continuation of my most recent trip report.

Although this is a physical continuation of this trip, in actuality this is a spiritual continuation of this trip.

Last year, I spent 2 ½ weeks heartlanding through the breadbasket. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to visit every place in the heartland. I barely scratched the surface in Oklahoma and completely ignored Western Iowa and Eastern/Central Nebraska. 
Well, although I didn’t return to Oklahoma, I did have the opportunity to make some amends.
 
Monday June 13
 
Leaving the outer echelon of the Southwestern Chicago Suburbs, I entered the land of Lincoln, Springfield IL. 

Arriving earlier than expected, it was too early to visit The Corner Pub. Receiving rave reviews on the web, The Corner Pub is one of the few places in Springfield to serve a Horseshoe with fresh cut fries. Since I had a huge drive ahead of me and they didn’t open until noon, I considered option number 2.
 

 
D & J Café
 
 
 I had to ask if they served fresh cut fries with their horseshoe, but knew the answer was “no” however they did tell me that their cheese sauce is homemade, OK, I’ll give. 
My Ham Horseshoe arrived. 
 
 

 
If there is one meal that I can pinpoint as a disappointment on this entire trip, its
this one. Don’t get me wrong- it wasn’t a bad meal, the cheese sauce was heads and shoulders above the nacho cheese goop served to me 5 years earlier at the Springfield family restaurant when everything was closed on Labor Day. However the blah frozen fries just put a damper on things.
Afterwards, I had one more stop before I headed out on the open roads in a North Westerly direction
 


Cozy Drive In 
Right on historic Route 66. I regret not getting any photos of the cool interior since my order was “to go” 
 


Why do I feel like a peeping Tom whenever I view this photo?
 

I ordered one cozy dog to go,
 

 
It was OK, however keep in mind I’ve never been a huge fan of corn dogs. I would go back though and stay just to soak in the really cool atmosphere.
 
While I was still in Chicago, BuddyRoadhouse begged, pleaded for me to go to Dr of BBQ's place- well, I'll be back in this neck of the woods over labor day week. I just decided to extend my trip one day and spend an entire day Roadfooding/exploring Springfield, I'll just make sure that I'm not there on Labor Day.

My long drive lasted through most of the afternoon. Entering Iowa and driving along I-80- this song came to mind.
 
I finally arrived at my dinner destination.
 

 
The Redwood Steakhouse
 


In Anita Iowa. Reviewed by Ayersian, I was looking forward to enjoying this classic steakhouse which seems to be lost in time.
 

 
 
Can anyone guess what I ordered?
 

 
 
Beginning with a “you just don’t see this anymore” relish try, I marveled that it even included herring! 
 

 
My Windsor Chop arrived.  All I can say is wow!This was one of the best chops I ever enjoyed. It literally screamed “oink” as soon as sunk my teeth into it. If Gene & Georgetti’s was the best meal of the trip, then the Redwood comes in second. 
 
 

 

Thanks Ayersian for a fine recommendation.
After checking into my hotel, in Council Bluffs, I drove across the bridge into Omaha. Now that it was later on in the evening, I thought I would get a night cap at the local brewpub in the Old Market. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Ted and Wally’s was still open this late in evening. Since I never turn down Ice Cream from Ted and Wally’s, I had to get some. Offering some really funky flavors, I went with Honey Sesame Peanut. It was fantabulous- like an entire Thai Meal in ice cream form. 
 

Unfortunately this is a cell phone photo which of course I had to send to Traveling Man in order to taunt. Regretting that he wasn’t in Omaha for the upcoming college worlds series later that week, I thought about really torturing Traveling Man by telling him that I was enjoying ice cream with “Warren” and we were discussing stocks, but that would have been too much .
Afterwards I walked around a little more, ended up enjoying that nightcap at the local brewpub, drove back to my hotel and called it a night. 
More to come, tomorrow, or the next day, or perhaps later in the weekend.

post edited by wanderingjew - 2011/07/11 10:03:59
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67 Replies Related Threads

    ann peeples
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/29 19:48:30 (permalink)
    Bob is in Springfield as we speak! Will e-mail him your suggestions!
    #2
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/29 20:02:58 (permalink)
    That is one glorious looking pork chop.
    #3
    ces1948
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/29 20:40:05 (permalink)
    Yes that is a nice looking chop. Any idea what the weight was?
    #4
    blizzardstormus
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/29 21:03:45 (permalink)
    According to Redwoods, 13 oz.
    #5
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/29 21:18:42 (permalink)
    WJ always does interesting trips.  The pork chop looked outstanding.  I have been in Omaha many many times and that area of the USA always has good pork and steaks.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #6
    ces1948
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/29 21:42:26 (permalink)
    That relish tray looked good also. I don't think I've been to a place in years that served a relish tray.
    #7
    DirtDude
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 07:37:23 (permalink)
    I miss finding hash browns like those, you just can't beat them.
    #8
    joerogo
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 07:53:08 (permalink)
    Nothing says welcome to my restaurant like a relish tray.  Ant that is one of the best I have ever seen.
    #9
    agnesrob
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 08:08:35 (permalink)
    That pork chop!!
    #10
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 09:08:04 (permalink)
    I'm not familiar with the term "Windsor chop" but a little online digging has me thinking it's a bone-in loin chop that may or may not have been smoked.  WJ, did it have any smoke flavor?  It certainly looks delicious!
     
    Brad
    #11
    Mosca
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 10:33:02 (permalink)
    Day-um.
    #12
    MiamiDon
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 10:45:18 (permalink)
    ScreamingChicken

    I'm not familiar with the term "Windsor chop" but a little online digging has me thinking it's a bone-in loin chop that may or may not have been smoked.  WJ, did it have any smoke flavor?  It certainly looks delicious!

    Brad

    I looked around, too.  It seems to be the pork equivalent of a t-bone or porterhouse steak.
    #13
    mayor al
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 11:55:41 (permalink)
    Usingers Meat Packers in Milwaukee has a Smoked version of chops that look just like that.  They are beautiful, but I must confess that, while I love all things BBQ'd and Smoked, in this case give me the unsmoked version, seared over high heat and done 'medium'. The fresh pork flavor beats the smoked choice in my book.
    Here they are before visiting my grill !!!

    #14
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 13:01:50 (permalink)
    That is one nice mix on the relish tray...was that liver sausage?
    #15
    tcrouzer
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 16:37:29 (permalink)
    That relish tray is way more substantial than I've ever seen! Love your trip reports, WJ! Outstanding reporting! Thanks so much!
    Teresa
    #16
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 18:15:17 (permalink)
    Screaming Chicken
     
    I don't think that  chop was smoked, I've had a smoked chop once, last year at Riefe's Restaurant in Davenport IA. The smoke flavor at Riefe's was obvious. The Chop at the Redwood had more of a porcine taste vs an enhanced smoked taste. 
     
    Chi Town Diner
     
    Yes, I do believe that was liver sausage.
     
    Everyone else, yes that amazing chop was just as good as it looked. 
     
     
    #17
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 19:40:02 (permalink)
    Tuesday June 14
     
    After experimenting with a couple of new coffee houses (13th street Coffee Company) in the old Market and Benson Grind- in a really cool urban neighborhood, I found both places to be OK but nothing special, I do look forward to going back to a tried and true favorite later in the week.

    I was going to spend most of the day meandering around Western Iowa.
    First stop was a a visit to an old Standby.
     

     
    The Farmer’s Kitchen 

    In Atlantic IA
    I contacted  Blizzardstormus in advance and told him that since I was in the area (Chicago???!!!) I decided to come on down. 

    This time around I ordered The Hot Beef and it truly didn’t disappoint.
     

     
    Fork Tender Beef, real mashed potatoes and savory gravy. If this truly doesn’t
    define comfort food then I don’t know what does 
    Topping my meal off with Charlene’s famously sinful sour cream raisin pie could not make a better ending to a fine lunch. 
    Here is the “moneyshot” of Charlene’s masterpiece. 
     
     

     
    (of course "real time" photos were immediately sent to Buffetbuster and Chi Town Diner)
    Since Blizzardstormus and I were going to meet for dinner later on, I had the rest of the day to explore Western Iowa. .
    My first stop was the Hitchcock House in Lewis.
     

     
    Owned by a minister and his wife in the mid 1800's this house was one of the stops on the “underground railroad” which led north to Canada.  Obviously not a railroad of course, many escaped slaves made it to these safe havens simply by merely relying on the stars. 
    Here is the upstairs, where the minister and his wife lived.
     

     

     
     

     
     
    And here is the basement, where the slaves stayed (under cover)
     

     

     
     
    My next stop was Walnut, the antique capital of Western Iowa. Walnut’s main 
    street is lined with Antique Shops, although I could have spent all day rummaging around some of the shops, it appeared that some were effected by the economy and were either going out of business or already out of business.
     
    My final stop of the afternoon was Elkhorn IA, home of the Danish Windmill. Elkhorn has a big Danish population
     

     
    (as you can see)
     
    and one entrepeneur of Danish descent thought it would be cool to find a windmill in Denmark, deconstruct it , ship it across the Atlantic and reconstruct it right here in Elkhorn. Here is the result.
     


    For a couple of bucks, I could enter inside the windmill and climb all the way to the top.  Where you can see the inner workings of the windmill.
     

     
    Since I was going to have dinner right here in Elkhorn, I had a few minutes to kill before meeting Blizzardstormus and walked right by Larsen’s Pub, winner of several breaded pork tenderloin contests. 
     

     
     
    Dinner was at the
     

     
    Danish Inn.
     
    I met up with Blizzardstormus and his younger brother too. Although I’m usually not a fan of buffets, the Danish Inn is an exception. Serving homemade danish delicasies including frickadeller (meatballs) stuffed pork “morbrad” and sausage “medisterpolse”.
     

     
    The restaurant also offered a classic full salad bar . More midwestern than Danish, again, all well prepared homemade items.  
     

     

     
     
     

    As we were enjoying our meals, Blizzardstormus and his brother were talking "shop" with the owner, Jeremy who was also a fantastic host. The three of us also shared “smorrebrod" or Danish open faced sandwiches. 
    The first two were roast beef., one I believe had remoulade sauce and I believe the other was horseradish 
     

     
     


    This sandwich I believe was frickadeller 
     

     
     
    and this one was Rollepose
     

     
    Finally for dessert we all shared the following:
     


    Danish Cake.
     
     

    Lemon Tort
     
     

     
    Rice Pudding 
     
     

     
    and of course my favorite.Kringle
     
    in fact here is a whole packaged Kringle (no I didn’t buy it) 
     
     


    Again usually shying away from buffets, I can truly say this was a meal that exceeded my expectations. 
    Unfortunately I had to cut out a little early, since I would be exploring Central Nebraska the next day. I had a big drive ahead of me. After nearly fours hours of driving  (speed limit 75mph!) , I found myself in Kearney NE. I checked into my hotel for a well deserved good night’s sleep.
    #18
    leethebard
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/06/30 21:20:12 (permalink)
    I'll agree. I wouldn't shy away from that buffet either. Looked different and I'd want to try at least one of everything!!!
    #19
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/01 08:31:34 (permalink)
    Lee
    One thing I discovered is that salad bars in the heartland are like no other in the rest of the country (similar to the veggie selections at the meat n' threes throughout the south) . I went to one more restaurant (reviewed in one of the older roadfood books)  which offered what seemed to be  a fine buffet, however I ended up eating off their menu. Believe it or not, their salad bar actually trumped this one!
    #20
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/01 08:40:37 (permalink)
    Is it even necessary to tell you how incredibly jealous I am over that sour cream raisin pie?  No doubt it is 10x better than anything we had on our trip.  The hot beef at Farmer's Kitchen looks sensational, too.
     
    Really enjoying the report, keep it going!
    #21
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/01 11:44:07 (permalink)
    Buffetbuster,
     
    Unfortunately this would be the only opportunity for Sour Cream Raisin Pie (although enjoying just one opportunity for Sour Cream Raisin Pie at The Farmer's Kitchen makes up for any disappointment of not finding it elsewhere), I tried three other times and failed (and that included one place that actually advertised that they had sour cream raisin  pie on their website) but we'll get into that later on in the trip report.
    #22
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/01 12:03:55 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    Buffetbuster,

    Unfortunately this would be the only opportunity for Sour Cream Raisin Pie (although enjoying just one opportunity for Sour Cream Raisin Pie at The Farmer's Kitchen makes up for any disappointment of not finding it elsewhere), I tried three other times and failed (and that included one place that actually advertised that they had sour cream raisin  pie on their website) but we'll get into that later on in the trip report.

     
    I have never tried or had the opportunity to try the raisan pie.  Perhaps it is not a East TN thing?  Your pics have made me very curious.  I certainly enjoy the hobbies of BB and WJ and even the Mayor when he does it.  I wish I was not getting so old that long drives or flights sorta wear me out before I even start.  I have to make a pit stop about every 100 miles.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

    #23
    ynotryme
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/01 14:38:47 (permalink)
    Great report and there is nothing that I would rather eat than a hot roast beef sandwich. It's hard to find a great one tho with tender beef, real mashed potatos and especially great gravy
    #24
    mar52
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/01 15:07:11 (permalink)
    I'm also coveting your hot roast beef sandwich.  Great report as always.
     
    #25
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/01 18:41:00 (permalink)
    The Farmers Kitchen's Hot Beef is definitely one of the better hot beef's I've had. 
     
    Mar
     
    I just realized you were doing a trip report too. It looks like you started it while I was still on vacation which is probably why I haven't picked up on it- I'll check it out soon, I've just been incredibly busy since over the past two weeks since I got home. 
     
    Everyone- I still have 3 more chapters, although I'm staying local this holiday weekend, I'll be busy, so I'll continue the trip report within the next few days.
    #26
    DirtDude
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/01 20:07:55 (permalink)
    I haven't had dinner yet tonight, and this post is KILLING ME.
    #27
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/05 18:04:51 (permalink)
    Wednesday June 15
     

    Waking up early   I had another 100 miles or so to go, mostly on 2 lane highways before hitting my first spot of the day.
     
     
     

     
    Sehnert's Bakery
     
    in beautiful downtown McCook NE. This bakery has been around since the 1950's 
     

     
    and it has an adjoining café called the Bieroc Café and there’s even live entertainment there in the evenings.
     

     
     

    Today is the first day that I’m going to have a formal breakfast (if you can call it that)
     
    Although I was extremely tempted to tear into this beauty of a cinnamon roll in the glass display case...
     

     
    I was a man on a mission  and the first reason is, you have to ensure an early arrival so that they don’t run out of their Peanut Butter Rolls.
     

     
     Like a cinnamon roll but with peanut butter icing instead and yes it was worth the drive. Of course I also came here for one of their famous cabbage burgers. They were still in the oven when I arrived. The young blonde farm girl behind the counter asked if I wanted mine with or without cheese, I advised no cheese, I was also given the option of “kraut” or cabbage. I asked which was more traditional, and she replied kraut. Ok, I’ll go with that. As I waited, I also ordered probably one of the best iced coffees I ever had and also went to town on my peanut butter roll.
    Finally my kraut burger arrived,
     

    and it was everything I dreamed of. It was nothing like the nightmare I had at the Homemade Hell sandwich shop in Ogallalla 3 years earlier. Kraut n Beef encased in a steamed bakery fresh bun, pure heaven, mustard and ketchup packets were provided, I didn't need either.
     


    It was now off to lunch # 2- Heading back east towards Omaha to
     

     
     
    Back Alley Bakery
     

     
     
    in Hastings NE. I had reviewed their website prior to visiting and noticed that they occasionally offered cabbage burgers (bierocks) as specials on their lunch menu. I e-mailed proprietor, Charlotte Hamburger prior to visiting and she assured me they would be on the menu on the day I arrived.
    When I arrived, I introduced myself to Charlotte who advised me that her daughter was up early, cooking the cabbage and the bierocks were ready to go..  I ordered the Cabbage Burger with a side salad..
     

     
    Another winner. The cabbage was soft, limp and soulful, similar to cabbage you might find at a southern meat n three and the meat comparable to what one might find in an Iowa maid rite- pebbly and spiced. The bun was “breadier” than that at Sehnert’s, but was still soft and bakery fresh.
     

     
    Leaving, I lamented  after seeing  the carrot cake in the glass display case. It  looked amazing (and I didn’t get a photo), unfortunately I had to save room for dinner. Three hours later I arrived back in Omaha and had some time to kill before dinner. 
    One thing I promised myself is that when I got to Omaha, I would hit at least two steakhouses- one "tried and true" and one "new" (The Redwood doesn’t count since it was still in Pork Country) I thought about visiting Warren Buffet’s old haunt., Gorat’s but even though Warren loves the place, apparently most people on Yelp and Urbanspoon don’t..One “old school” steak joint that surprisingly got rave reviews was
     
     

     
     
    Farmer Brown’s Steakhouse
     
     
    in Rural Waterloo Nebraska about 18 miles west of downtown Omaha. Arriving just as they opened, there were others also waiting to get in as well.. Classic “old school” atmosphere,
     
     

     

     
    and there was even an old fashioned phone to go along with it!
     

     
    I started out with a salad,and went with the house dressing and roquefort crumbles.
     

     
    If the rest of the meal is half as good as this salad, I’d be satisfied. Even the fresh warm bread that followed was quite good
     

     
     
    Everyone on the internet raved about the prime rib at Farmer Brown’s, so that’s what I went with. The meal comes with hash browns and yes, a side of spaghetti- apparently this is traditional at many of the steakhouses in the Omaha area. 
    Anyway, more about the meal, the hash browns were perfectly crispy and the Prime Rib was perfect- just the way I ordered it medium, even the spaghetti was good served with a rich, thick almost sweet tomato sauce.
     

     
     

     

     
     
     
    If Gene and Judes was my best meal on the trip and the Redwood Steakhouse was #2, then Farmer Brown’s definitely takes third place. It certainly exceeded my expectations. 
     
     

    It was now time for my last ballgame of the trip. The Omaha Royals used to play at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. Well, the Royals are now the Omaha Stormchasers and they just moved into their new stadium, Werner Park,
     

     
     

     

     
     
     

     
    about 10 miles away in suburban Papillion, and wow, what a disappointment. This generic stadium looks like it was plopped into (you name that town in suburbia) There is nothing unique about this ballpark that screams (or even whimpers) Omaha and there is every tacky contest imaginable in between each and every inning. Ok, let’s get to the game, the Storm Chasers were playing the Iowa Cubs. It was a pretty quick game with the Stormchasers winning, until the 8th inning when the Stormchaser’s pitcher tanked, and let’s just say at that poiint, I left, I simply couldnt take the torture of sitting there anymore. I found out the Cubs beat the Stormchasers 8-5. 
     

     

     


    Overall, I think somehow, some way the Stormchasers (IE the Royals) should have worked something out with a a downscaled renovation of Rosenblatt Stadium, but hence Rosenblatt stadium will become part of the Omaha Zoo.
     
    I have one more anticipated baseball place to visit before the end of the trip, however this is the last of my professional ballpark visits for this trip.

    After the game, I stopped at a surprisingly decent brewpub, the Nebraska Brewing Company, housed in an upscale shopping mall in Papillion. Afterwards I headed back to my hotel for the evening. 
     
    The two final chapters to come before the end of the week.
    post edited by wanderingjew - 2011/07/05 18:42:06
    #28
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/06 07:59:45 (permalink)
    BUMP (Because it deserves one!)
    #29
    MiamiDon
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    Re:Back to the Breadbasket! 2011/07/06 08:34:03 (permalink)
    Thanks for bumping it up, wj.  I'd missed the latest installment.  Man, I'd love to try those cabbage burgers, and that prime rib and hash browns look perfect.
    #30
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