"If You Bake It, He Will Come"

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hatteras04
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/13 09:37:04 (permalink)
OK I think you have me convinced that I need to go to Iowa (for reasons that I cannot even fathom).
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kevincad
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/13 09:40:13 (permalink)
BB, Dyersville is also home to the National Farm Toy Museum!
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buffetbuster
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/13 09:54:28 (permalink)
hatteras04

OK I think you have me convinced that I need to go to Iowa (for reasons that I cannot even fathom).
That's funny!  No doubt you would be surprised by the attractions and food and would have a great time!
 
kevincad-
I was aware of the toy museum, but just had too much to do on this day.  Have you been there before?
 
Thank you to everyone for all the kind comments! 

post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/07/13 09:56:31
#33
ann peeples
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/13 13:10:19 (permalink)
The Mayor would love the Czech Village as he has been researching his roots; We are actually, BB, getting a Maid Rite in the Milwaukee area!!!!!!Really?......
 
#34
buffetbuster
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/13 13:56:53 (permalink)
Ann, I was definitely thinking of Al while there.  He would love the Sykora Bakery!
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/13 14:59:23 (permalink)
Saturday June 30, 2012 cont.
 
While doing research for the trip, I was happy to read that Dubuque has a fenicular railway in town.  Coming from Pittsburgh, where I have been riding the inclines all my life, I am a fan of this mode of transportation.  Known as the Fenelon Place Elevator,

it was built by a private citizen, banker J.K. Graves to get to work everyday.
 
If you come to it from the bottom like I did, once you and everyone else is settled in, just pull on the cord

and that lets them know at the top you are ready.  Once you hear a buzzer, that means it is about two start.  Round trip, $2.00. Not bad.  I like this photo

of the employee at the top watching us arrive.  As you can see, the rails are very close together,but when they both approach the middle, the one on the right swings out to give them room to pass by each other. 

From the top, you can see that it is a steep grade. 

As a bonus, you get a great view of the city

and the Mississippi River from a landing.  CarolinaBob would have loved this!  One other nice feature was they had postcards from other feniculars from around the world,

including from Pittsburgh and Johnstown, PA.  I had no idea there were so many of these out there.
 
Time for dinner.  One of the restaurants I most wanted to visit on this trip was Breitbach's in Balltown, Iowa.  This is actually the oldest restaurant in Iowa and dates back to 1852. 

In the Jane & Michael Stern book Eat Your Way Across the U.S.A., they point out that this is almost definitely the only restaurant in the country that has had both Jesse James and Brooke Shields dine here.  Most likely not together.  
 
Unfortunately, the original building was destroyed by fire in 2007.  They rebuilt it and believe it or not, it burned to the ground again only 10 months later.  It was rebuilt once again, so this is now their third building.  The restaurant now has a very new feeling to it,

which means it has very little atmosphere.  I wish I had been able to visit here before the terrible fires.
 
Since I parked in the back, I came in through the back door.  Unfortunately, there was no sign saying where the hostess station was, so I wandered from room to room for a few minutes until finally flagging down a waitress to ask her where it was.  She told me, you are standing in the right place (again no sign) and she sat me in the largest dining room near the buffet.  They were offering the buffet this night, but after taking a look at the entrees, I decided to pass.  Looking over the menu,

a lot looked good, but I decided to channel wanderingjew and went with the Iowa Chops.  The waitress said the salad bar comes with dinner and to help myself.  I did make up a small dinner salad, but completely ignored the other items, such as coleslaw, potato salad, pasta salad, cottage cheese and other items.  Honestly, I didn't pay much attention.  After a conversation with WJ and thinking back to how many times I have read about the Sterns pointing out how special the Iowa salad bars can be, I realized my mistake.  Sorry, but this is the best photo I got.

 
The Iowa Chops arrived and there were two smaller pork chops,

along with mashed potatoes and avegetable medley.  Wrapped in bacon, these center cut chops

were certainly better than anything I could get back home, but I expected them to be juicier and more flavorful.  Still, a perfectly fine entree.  There was no way I was going to pass up on pie again and settled on the red raspberry. 

Lots of sweet fruit, with a soft sugary crust, this was the best thing I had here at Breitbach's.
 
Breitbach's
563 Balltown Road
Sherrill, IA
563-552-2220
 
A very short distance down the street from the restaurant is a bend in the road and an overlook.  You can see lovely, green Iowa farm land, the Mississippi River and on over to Illinois. 

This would be the start of some gorgeous scenery.
 
Much more to come.....         
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/07/13 15:07:09
#36
ann peeples
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/14 12:38:14 (permalink)
Beautiful.........
 
#37
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/14 19:44:31 (permalink)
What a great trip!  Now I want to go to Iowa too!  Great food and great sights to see.
#38
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/14 20:23:06 (permalink)
Damn, those chops look good.
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/14 21:22:59 (permalink)
As alway's great report and pictures. Thanks.
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/15 09:49:33 (permalink)
Poppyseed is my favorite of the flavors and I as well have never heard of fig!  the raspberry pie looked great.  On our visit to Maid Rite, we found the loose meats very dry that day!
 
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kevincad
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/15 10:34:51 (permalink)
buffetbuster

hatteras04

OK I think you have me convinced that I need to go to Iowa (for reasons that I cannot even fathom).
That's funny!  No doubt you would be surprised by the attractions and food and would have a great time!

kevincad-
I was aware of the toy museum, but just had too much to do on this day.  Have you been there before?

Thank you to everyone for all the kind comments! 

BB, no I've not been to the museum, but my brother told me about it, he has been. He was quite amazed at the collection!
#42
wanderingjew
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/15 20:28:33 (permalink)
Buffetbuster
 
Glad to you finally made it to Breitbach's.
A couple of things. (from my photos from my visit last year)
 
You probably should have gone with the hash browns instead of the mashed potatoes
 
 
 
The salad bar was definitely the highlight of the meal
They even had braunschweiger
 

 

 
oh and your raspberry pie looked much better than my cherry pie...it was the least interesting part of the meal.
 

#43
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/16 15:12:42 (permalink)
A few years back we did a road trip between Kansas City and Des Moines - it was a great trip! Wonderful scenery through miles and miles of cornfields and open skies, and some really great roadfood also - plus both the Iowa and Missouri state fairs in one week. We heard the same thing "you went WHERE on vacation??" but it was a great roadtrip! Enjoying as always your photos and stories.
#44
Louis
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/16 20:58:36 (permalink)
I am enjoying this trip report.  When I saw the Fenlon Place Elevator, I immediately thought of the time a few years back when Carolina Bob took us on the incline at Chattanooga, TN.
 
And the picture of those "Maid-Rite" hamburgers, demonstrates, as only a picture can, why I've good-naturedly named them "crumble burgers."  They're sort of a fun mess.



post edited by Louis - 2012/07/16 21:02:02
#45
love2bake
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/17 18:08:24 (permalink)
Iowa has some of the most beautiful countryside in America.  I so love it, and am looking forward to hearing/seeing more from this trip!
 
As I read through the menu at Breitbach's I can practically smell this place. 
#46
buffetbuster
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/18 14:07:35 (permalink)
Sorry about the delay.  Been a bad week.
 
Saturday June 30, 2012 (cont.)
 
It was at this point a decision had to be made.  There were several stops in northeast Iowa I wanted to make, but did I want to include the Stockholm Pie Company in Wisconsin as part of my trip?  As much I love their pies, it would greatly increase the amount of miles on the this trip.  While thinking about what to do, I heard a voice, which sounded unmistakably like ChiTownDiner's, saying "Go the Distance!"  How could I say no to the voice?
 
So, I continued on north along the Mississippi River and was treated to some beautiful views. 



The hotel for the night was all the way in Winona, Minnesota, so I couldn't stop very often to take photos, but it made the scenery made the drive much better.  Once reaching Marquette, Iowa, I crossed over the river into the city of Prairie de Chien, Wisconsin.  Here would be my last food stop of the day.
 
Pete's Hamburgers is so small, that I went right past it the first time while driving up Blackhawk Avenue.  Realizing I wasn't looking for a building, but something smaller like a stand, I spotted Pete's

the next time through.  What a great looking little burger joint!  Pete's dates back to 1909 and the menu consists of burgers, chips and drinks to wash it down with.  That's it!  The menu

even has most every possible order combination figured out ahead of time for you.  When I ordered two hamburgers (they do not offer cheese here), they asked if I wanted onions.  Of course, the answer was yes.
 
I have to tell you up front that the method of cooking that goes on here turned me off at first.  They have a griddle here several inches deep and the beef, along with the onions are cooked in this. 


My first impression was that this is really unappetizing and that the burgers are going to be serious grease bombs.  Then it struck me that this isn't grease, but water and the burgers are boiled.  Still not an ideal way to make a burger IMHO, but I was willing to keep an open mind.  They wrapped up my burgers, put them in a plastic sack

and I headed to my car.
 
Just as I was finishing up taking some photos, my girlfriend called.  We hadn't talked all day and had some catching up to do.  Since I had a long drive ahead (the GPS said I was not getting to my hotel until 10:30PM), I left Prairie du Chien without having tried the burgers.  BTW, I should point out that Pete's is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and in warm weather months only. 
 
Pete's Hamburgers
118 W.Blackhawk Avenue
Prairie du Chien, WI 
 
Now on the east side of the Mississippi, I would get the view of the sun setting on the other side of the river.  There was some truly spectacular scenery, but since I was talking with Mariton as I was driving, I decided against pulling over to take a photo.  Finally, we got to area where the sun was just about to set and it gave off such a stunning orange/purple glow across the water, I couldn't take it anymore and told her I would need to call her back.  Just as I parked, grabbed my camera, ran across the street and put the camera on the proper settings, a train decided to roll by.  And the tracks were between the river and I and completely blocked the view.  It was so ridiculous, all I could do was laugh.  Here is a view

with the train.  By the time the train was completely by, the sun had now set.  While this is still a pretty view,

you should have seen it a few moments before.  In Roadfood lexicon, I was just Travelin Manned by a train!
 
Once arriving at the hotel in Winona, I was tired after a long day.  My mood was not helped by the fact that the hotel did not have an elevator, so I had to drag two suitcases up a set of stairs and the fact that there was no internet the entire stay here.  I tried hard not to take it out on the front desk clerk, who was a real nice young guy from Rogers, Arkansas.
 
Once in the room, it was finally time to eat the hamburgers from Pete's

Although no longer warm (through no fault of theirs, of course), this was a surprisingly flavorful burger.  The beef was loosely packed and very moist.  If it was this good hours later, imagine how good it would have been before?
 
Much more to come.....     
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/07/18 14:18:22
#47
easydoesit
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/18 14:55:26 (permalink)
Buffetbuster, you're breaking my heart!  Why didn't the world know you were coming here?  I would have loved to meet you and discuss local things!
 
My home in La Crosse WI is 64 miles from Pete's hamburgers, and we make that trip regularly each year.  We get it to go!  We take a glassware container that will hold four burgers (and the all-important onions) and a large seperate baggie for the buns.  That eliminates the sogginess that I am sure you experienced when you finally did eat the burger. 
 
That, of course, is for later, and beyond what we eat at the scene.
 
Locals Pete's tip -- ask for both the cooked and raw onions in combo.  They are happy to oblige.  In fact, these Pete's people are great Wisconsin folks, who are happy to see you all the time.  I am always impressed with how they stay so cheerful in that hot, greasy place  they work in.
 
But there's more we can show you!  Unfortunately not on a level with your legendary travels, but there are some local gems I know you would like.  Wish I could have taken you to our localLa Crosse Maid-Rite, same building since 1958, filled with local railroad pictures, and especially filled with local North La Crosse regular customers.
 
On the way north from Prairie du Chien you passed the Great River Roadhouse in De Soto, well known for their pizza, good and huge!  Filled with families all the time.
 
And now you're in Winona, my home town. If only I knew.
#48
The Travelin Man
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/18 18:20:03 (permalink)
buffetbuster
In Roadfood lexicon, I was just Travelin Manned by a train!

Is this foreshadowing?
 
#49
ChiTownDiner
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 07:08:14 (permalink)
Almost looks like a spreadsheet on the front sheet...
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trzhotel
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 11:04:15 (permalink)
Did you see Warren Wood at the counter in Sykora's? They have closed and reopened since the last flood and again in 2011.
#51
buffetbuster
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 13:03:02 (permalink)
Not only am I way behind on posting the report, but on replying to comments, too.
 
trzhotel-
There were two people at the counter of Sykora Bakery during my visit and they were both women.  I love how this place just keeps on persevering despite all the floods.  It is a great little place!
 
CTD-
Yes, my version of your (in)famous spreadsheets!
 
TTM-
Funny how I wasn't actually Travelin Manned on this trip until the day you were due into town!
 
easydoesit-
That's too bad it didn't work out for us to meet, but like I said in the report, the decision to head to that area wasn't made until just a few hours earlier.  I would love to come back to the LaCrosse area someday to have you show me around.  And thanks for the tip on the onions at Pete's.  Next time I will know what to do! 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/07/19 13:04:35
#52
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 14:19:25 (permalink)
Sunday July 1, 2012
 
Waking up in Winona, there was no doubt where my first destination had to be.  Bloedow Bakery is a wonderful small town shop that is unfortunately, closed on Sundays.  But, I had to drive by to see if there was some chance they were open.  No they were not.  Still, at least I could take a photo of their giant mural

on the outside wall.
 
The drive north took me to Wabasha and back over the Mississippi River into Wisconsin.  First up was the Stockholm Pie Company in the tiny town of Stockholm.  I visited this place two years ago, declaring it the best pie shop I have ever visited and even wrote an official Roadfood review.  Just the night before, once the decision was made to make the drive allthe way up to Stockholm, I called and asked if they could please reserve a slice of the sour cream raisin pie.  SCR pie is my favorite flavor of pie and on the previous visit, they were all out, as a previous customer had come in and bought the entire pie.  Certainly didn't want to go through that trauma again!
 
The store itself is very small and shares the building with several other businesses.  I love that outside window, 

although it is much more than just a little slice of happiness for me!  They also have a small menu

on the outside of the building, mostly telling customers what was available for breakfast.  They have definitely expanded the menu.  Owner Janet Garretson was sitting at a table enjoying her breakfast and I struck up a conversation with her while looking over the day's pie list. 

And what a list!  Knowing the quality of pies they have here, I desperately wanted to try a bite of everything, but that wasn't going to happen.
 
I took my two slices to the table against the far window for better lighting and dug in.  The double lemon,

which cousin Johnny ordered on the previous visit was just as sublime as I remembered.  The middle layer is a lemon chess pie, while the top layer is a light lemon custard with small bits of cut up lemon in it.  This is for lemon lovers only!  Both Johnny and I think it is on the short list of best pies we have ever had.  Interestingly, it did appear to be darker in color than I recall.  It also didn't have cousin Johnny's fork marks in it before I could take a photo, like last time! 
 
The sour cream raisin

was a slight disappointment at first, because it had a whipped topping instead of meringue, which I prefer.  Biting into it, there was something off.  There was hardly any of the sour flavor.  What makes the sour cream raisin pie memorable is the fine balance between the sweet and the sour.  Although the pie itself was not overly sweet, it was for a SCR pie.  As I continued to eat the slice, it hit me that I should appreciate it for what it was instead of what it isn't.  This was a real homemade whipped topping, light and very fresh.  The consistency of the filling, which often can be too gummy was perfect.  Flaky, buttery crust, this was still an excellent slice of pie.  It just needed more of the sour cream flavor to make it something magical.
 
After eating those two, I went back to order some slices to go.  Knowing that they could be sitting in the hot sun for hours, maybe days, it was decided to go with fruit pies.  A slice of triple berry and a slice of apple crumb were boxed up.  More on those later.  While chatting with Janet, I learned of some changes here.  She pointed out they had expanded the interior, so that there is now much more seating. 

Before, they just had the table in front (where I sat) and the ledge.  They also no longer offer the apple pie baked in a bag.  She laughingly told me about a couple that caught on fire.  And much to my disappointment, they no longer ship pies.  On several occasions, I had pies shipped back home or to friends and heard nothing but positive reviews.  But, business had picked up and they no longer had time.  Now, I will have to come to Stockholm, WI to get my pie fix!
 
Before leaving Janet told me, I needed to try the savory pies or the beautiful cinnamon rolls

on the next visit.  That is indeed true, but I needed to save some appetite as my breakfast destination was practically across the street.
 
Stockholm Pie Company
N2030 Spring Street
Stockholm, WI
715-442-5505
 
Much more to come.....   
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/07/19 14:42:25
#53
lleechef
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 14:34:08 (permalink)
Buffetbuster,
I can honestly say that when the word "pie" is uttered I imediately think of you.  Thanks for such a great report.  Looking forward to more to come..... 
#54
buffetbuster
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 14:40:07 (permalink)
lleechef-
Being associated with pie can only be a good thing!  Thanks for the kind words about the report.
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 14:52:09 (permalink)
Inscription for your Tombstone-------
"Never met a Pie he wouldn't try!"
 
#56
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 14:54:29 (permalink)
Buffetbuster said:  "As I continued to eat the slice,...
 
...it hit me that I should appreciate it for what it was instead of what it isn't...."
 
There is a good philosophy for many things in life.
#57
buffetbuster
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 15:26:30 (permalink)
easydoesit-
I remember you starting a thread on Bloedow's once, so obviously you are a fan.  What do you think they make best?  I would love to hear from a local.  My favorites so far have been the peanut butter roll the Sterns mentioned in the review and the maple long johns.
#58
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 15:30:13 (permalink)
BB:  I have driven the river road from Davenport to Minneapolis many times.  I agree that it is a spectacular drive with impressive scenery the entire route.  Your choices were outstanding.  Like you, I would have liked to have known how the steamed burger was when it came off the grill.  Also like you, I would have found the burger grill unappetizing and I probably would have passed right then and there.  I am glad you stuck it out.
 
Aventis had three facilities in Iowa and three in Minneapolis that I was responsible for.  The drive was always a special part of the work.
 
Paul E. Smith
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#59
ChiTownDiner
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Re:"If You Bake It, He Will Come" 2012/07/19 15:58:00 (permalink)
bb - what were the savory choices?  This past week, I had a savory pie of loose pork sausage, potatoes, apples and sage in a grainy dijon mustard sauce.  It was spectacular! 
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