Weekend in Siouxland

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buffetbuster
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Weekend in Siouxland - Tue, 05/29/07 3:08 PM
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I flew in and out of Omaha over the weekend and went as far north as Sioux Falls, SD. Here are the eating highlights:

* I had my first experience with Sour Cream Raisin pie at Crystal Cafe in South Sioux City, Nebraska. And it was fantastic! Not only that, it was as good looking a cream pie as I have ever seen. All pies should look this appetizing.


* The Coney Islands at Milwaukee Wiener House were excellent. I had two with mustard, onion and chili along with a fine cherry milkshake that came in a silver beaker. My favorite thing about the place, besides the nice conversation with the owner, was that they have a tribute on the wall to a mustard stick which retired after garnishing 10,000,000 hot dogs.




* Edgar's is an old fashioned soda fountain in the tiny town of Elk Point, SD. Besides being great to look at, they made me a terrific vertical banana split. They really do a great job of presentation here and they use Land 'O Lakes ice cream.



The owner told me something interesting while I was there. Apparently, before Blue Bunny opened their soda fountain in Le Mars, IA, they came to Edgar's to do research. Besides asking lots of questions, they even went as far as to measure the counter at Edgar's!

* I have only had loosemeats sandwiches in two places, but the one I had at Miles Inn in Sioux City was way better than at Maid-Rite in Newton. At the Miles Inn, though, it is called a "Charlie Boy".

* I hadn't been to The Bohemian Cafe since 2001 and it is still just as good. I got the Czech-style sauerbraten, the dumplings, the kraut and the liver dumpling soup....all of which were as good as I remember. And my favorite dish, the plum dumplings (which is listed as an entree, but I like for dessert) were especially good.


* I drove to Susie's Kitchen in Stanton, Iowa for breakfast. I went in and ordered the pancakes, thinking I would get the Swedish Pancakes like in the review. Unfortunately, regular pancakes came out. I asked my waitress to box the regular ones and make me an order of the Swedish pancakes. This time, Susie herself brought them out and said, "When I saw the book (Roadfood), I should have known you wanted the Swedish ones." They came with excellent homemade Lingonberry jam and Susie's own Swedish rye bread. When I told Susie how much I loved the bread, she gave me an entire loaf to take home! And despite my protests, she didn't charge me for the first set of pancakes. Really nice people at Susie's.



* My favorite place was the Tripp Sports Bowl Cafe in the tiny town (population 700) of Tripp, SD. Since they didn't recognize me (I don't think they get many outsiders), they asked where I was from. They were amazed someone from Pittsburgh was eating in their bowling alley cafe. I had a great time conversing with the husband and wife owners and she made me the famous Dakota Burger even though it wasn't on the menu or listed as a special. Junellia brought out the cookbook that Michael Stern send her along with some letters, which were carefully preserved like museum pieces.

After I got done eating, I got up and starting snapping some pictures, which amused the other customers. Several of them asked to see the Roadfood book review of the place and the book started getting passed around from table to table. I really enjoyed meeting all the nice people. By the way, the owners gave me a yellow Tripp Sports Bowl ice scraper shaped like the number one on the way out. The ice scraper says "Even Though There's Ice & Snow Tripp Sports Bowl is the Place to go."

The owners also mentioned to me that the nice older lady who really hit it off with the Sterns on their visit is still alive and living in the local retirement home.



Other notes:

* I stopped at Daily Grind in Sioux City, IA and had a delicious Peppermint Cafe Latte. But they don't seem to make the homemade cinnamon rolls like mentioned in the review. When I asked for a CR, they brought out this tiny looking muffin type thing. I told the girl, I didn't want that and she said that was all they had. I asked if they had anything homemade and she said only the muffins in the frig and they sure didn't look very enticing.

The place is still worth a stop, since it is also part bookstore and art gallery. And I also had fun for a few minutes working on the community jigsaw puzzle that was laid out.


* When I stopped at The Pantry in Yankton, SD, looking for the great muffins that were mentioned in the review, the owner said he has been feeling lazy lately and hasn't been making them. My advice would be to call ahead before stopping in, just to make sure they have them that day.

* When I walked in to Bob's in Sioux Falls, SD, I thought I would love the place. It really had the look of a classic Roadfood place. But, I didn't love it. And that was mostly due to the young guy behind the counter who had a bit of an attitude. I saw him being a jerk to customers and other employees. Still, the burger and fries I had were quite good. After the other customers left and he got in a better mood, he wanted me to try some of his homemade ice cream. Both the dulce leche and the vanilla were oustanding.


I did plenty of other non eating things like tour the Nebraska state capitol and visit museums, too.


<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 09/7/11 12:47 PM>

desertdog
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Tue, 05/29/07 3:24 PM
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Nice review, BB.

You bring up a great point about the conversation(s) with the locals. I always try to talk to them a bit, hopefully they will open up. The Midwest is a great place to do it, esp. in out-of-the-way places.

Thanks for the restaurant tips, I'll be up that way in July, looking forward to it!

DD

BTW, you mentioned you were snapping pictures.......





Sundancer7
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Tue, 05/29/07 3:48 PM
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BB, very nice review. Sounds like you know how to handle food along with a little business. I have covered the same ground as you but I did not make the stops. You did much better.

You got to go out of your way to get to Yankton, SD

Paul E. Smith
Koxville, TN

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Tue, 05/29/07 3:52 PM
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desertdog-
The funny thing is, I never go into these places intending to talk to the owners. But when you come in carrying the Roadfood book, more times than not, they come over and want to chat. They are understandably quite proud to be in a book like Roadfood. And conversing with the locals is a big part of the Roadfood experience.

I really try to just fit in, but in a place like Tripp, SD, where everyone knows everyone else, that is impossible for an out-of-towner. And then when I pull out my camera and start taking photos of the food......

I did take lots of really good photos, but unfortunately, I am computer illiterate and have no idea how to insert photos into a thread. Maybe I should have my brother, the computer guy in the family, show me how.

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Tue, 05/29/07 3:57 PM
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Paul-
And Tripp is even further off the beaten path than Yankton. What upsets me, is that I didn't realize just how close I was to the Corn Palace in Mitchell and didn't realize it. I have never been there and have always wanted to. Just plain poor planning on my part.

ChiTownDiner
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Tue, 05/29/07 4:43 PM
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BB - Living high on the hog - great descriptions! Anybody to share your cobbler with?

mayor al
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Tue, 05/29/07 6:58 PM
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Near Yankton S D is the little crossroads town of Tabor. Tabor has a Czech festival that rivals many much larger communities Ethnic festivals.

Great writeup BB.

lleechef
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Tue, 05/29/07 7:11 PM
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bb, as I was reading through your post I kept thinking, "I hope we get to the part where he went to Bob's in Sioux Falls". Sorry your experience there was not as good as mine. The same young man behind the counter quickly lost his "attitude" when I said I was a Roadfooder and he whipped out a copy of the Stern's book where Bob's was reviewed.

Having spent much time recently in the Sioux City/Le Mars/Yankton/Sioux Falls area, I have been to every place you mentioned! Thanks for the great write up!

Sundancer7
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Tue, 05/29/07 7:14 PM
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Wasn't there a popcorn write up on roadfood located near Yankton?

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 05/30/07 3:28 PM
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Mr. Mayor-
While driving through Tabor, I saw the signs for the upcoming Czech festival. When I stopped at the SD information center, I picked up the brochure, with every intention of posting about it to let you know. I should have known you were already aware of it and have probably been there! The dates this year are June 14-16.

ChiTown Diner-
That is one of the bad things about traveling by yourself....you can only sample the stuff you order. Although, at Bohemian Cafe, I was mighty tempted to ask the people at the table next to me if I could sample their roast duck. They wouldn't have minded, would they?

Paul-
The popcorn write up near Yankton doesn't ring a bell with me. If you find anything, I would be very curious.

lleechef-
I'm not surprised to hear you received a little of the attitude when you went to Bob's, too. Looking back on it, I wish I had handled things differently. His very first comment to me made me defensive and I didn't enjoy myself as much as I should have. After the other customers had left, he became much nicer. He even had me sign a guestbook they have for all Roadfooders when they visit. I really could have handled the situation much better.

While visiting the Tripp Sports Bowl Cafe, the owner Junellia told me about another website they are mentioned on. Here it is:

http://turtleislandtravels.com/sportsbowlcafetrippsd.shtml


Sundancer7
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 05/30/07 5:27 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Sundancer7

Wasn't there a popcorn write up on roadfood located near Yankton?

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN


I missed it. It was potato chips but I knew that the name rang a bell.

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=673

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Thu, 05/31/07 3:56 PM
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Paul-
It looks like that review has been archived and the website doesn't seem to work. Makes me think they are no longer in business.

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Tue, 12/4/07 11:17 PM
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I hope everyone doesn't mind, but I was a little bored tonight. So I went back and added photos to one of my old trip reports, since I didn't know how to insert the photos as the time.

mayor al
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 12/5/07 12:16 AM
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Show me the Plum Dumplings......

billyboy
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 12/5/07 3:22 AM
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I had never heard of sour cream raisin pie before Roadfood, but that looks might good!! I love that tribute to the retired mustard stick. Classic!! Great pics and report!

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 12/5/07 6:01 AM
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Mr. Mayor-
Here are the plum dumplings. I snapped so many photos of them trying to get a good one, I stood up over the table much to the amusement of my waitress and the others dining nearby. And still, this is the best of a bad lot. One of my all-time favorite dishes, though!

Davydd
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 12/5/07 9:21 AM
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I was thinking how did I miss this the first time around. The pictures! Thanks Buffetbuster for the update. Sour cream raisin pie is the big seller in those parts. In my recent pork tenderloin sandwich pursuit through Iowa in October I stopped at the Farmer's Kitchen in Atlantic, Iowa (Blizzardstormus' restaurant) sour cream raisin pie was the number one seller there. Blizzardstormus' mother made the pies fresh but admitted to me it was not her favorite. Nevertheless, I had one.

Every trip west that we make we usually go across South Dakota to the Black Hills first. As a matter of ceremony we take a quick side trip off the freeway and drive around the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. It changes every year. Then we head on to Wall Drug and get that free glass of water.

CajunKing
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 12/5/07 11:00 AM
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Davydd

I was thinking the same thing, Gee, I remember reading this before but with out photos....I didn't even look at the original post date.

I was thinking, gee the snow melted awfully fast up there. DUH


BB

I am glad you went back and added the pictures, the old saying stands true... a picture is worth a thousand words.

You could describe that sour cream raisin pie, but that picture..... HEAVENLY!

mayor al
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 12/5/07 5:16 PM
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The Corn Palace is worth a side-trip every time we pass thru also!! It is amazing what they do with Ag-products!

Thr fruit dumplings were a real Czech treat for us each year in SoCal. Mother would make them using Apricots off of our one Apricot tree. Melted butter and spooned on sugar made them a wonderful treat. I like the Plum also, but Cherry and Apricot are my favorites.

cecif
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 12/5/07 7:33 PM
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Excellent stuff BB! As always... many thanks.

Your first photo of pie reminded me of a book I loved that I have not seen mentioned around here (though I'm sure it must've been, I just haven't seen it).

It's called "American Pie" by Pasquale Le Draoulec [yes she is French, part of the plot... though it is non-fiction!]
I don't promote any particular booksellers (I support independents) but the 1st link I found was B&N:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&endeca=1&isbn=0060957328&itm=1

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 12/5/07 10:46 PM
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I'm really glad I went back and added the photos.

That piece of sour cream raisin pie was my first experience with it and it was fantastic. I have ordered sour cream raisin a few other times while I was in the Midwest since, but none of the others have been nearly as good. I think I got lucky and had one of the greats on my first try.

I also ate a piece of chocolate cream pie at the Crystal Cafe, but it didn't look nearly as good or taste as good.

jwagnerdsm
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Sat, 12/29/07 7:31 PM
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Nice report. I've done lots of eating in Iowa but I've never had the pancakes in Stanton. When the caucuses are over I hope to hit the road and finally update my website.

wheregreggeats.com
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Mon, 12/31/07 12:21 PM
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Nice review ... puts me in the mood for a dog ...

Being in Massachusetts, it shouldn't be too much of a challenge. (Maybe Nick's?)

LegalLady
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Mon, 12/31/07 12:41 PM
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Skip the dogs, my son worked at a butcher shop during college. BUT, I would almost kill for a piece of the SCR pie!

Yum Yum

Da Judge

1bbqboy
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Mon, 12/31/07 12:42 PM
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I missed this the first time around
Yess BB, you should have asked for a taste of the Duck. Just about the only place I ever order it is at the Bohemian Cafe. It's one of those places where my wife and I
always order different things so we get to sample twice the food

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Mon, 12/31/07 2:09 PM
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Bill Voss-
I wish I could go to the Bohemian Cafe with a big group of people, so I could try lots of different things. The plum dumplings are a must, but I just might go for that duck next time.

wanderingjew
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Mon, 12/31/07 2:12 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

Bill Voss-
I wish I could go to the Bohemian Cafe with a big group of people, so I could try lots of different things. The plum dumplings are a must, but I just might go for that duck next time.


Buffetbuster
I plan on heading back there next June possibly with the Travelin' Man in tow too.
Care to join me??

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Mon, 12/31/07 2:20 PM
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WanderingJew-
Interesting idea.....I think the three of us together could do some serious damage at Bohemian Cafe.

You are going to the College World Series right? I have always wanted to go there. Let me know the dates when you get a chance or we could talk about it in Boston.

1bbqboy
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Mon, 12/31/07 2:22 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

WanderingJew-
Interesting idea.....I think the three of us together could do some serious damage at Bohemian Cafe.

You are going to the College World Series right? I have always wanted to go there. Let me know the dates when you get a chance or we could talk about it in Boston.

It's my goal to be back there too, if you guys'll let me

wanderingjew
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Mon, 12/31/07 2:28 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

WanderingJew-
Interesting idea.....I think the three of us together could do some serious damage at Bohemian Cafe.

You are going to the College World Series right? I have always wanted to go there. Let me know the dates when you get a chance or we could talk about it in Boston.


Absolutely,

We don't have specific dates set yet, I know that the dates we choose to go are going to have revolve around games scheduled for the Colorado Rockies, Albuquerque Isotopes and Salt Lake Bees. I already checked out the schedule for these 3 teams and they're going to work out perfectly. I know we're going to definetely hit Johnny's Cafe too while in Omaha, as I've never been there and I've never had a cheese frenchie before so Don and Millie's will be on my list too..
Oh, and we can also discuss if we'll let Bill Voss join us!

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Tue, 01/1/08 6:02 AM
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jwagnerdsm-
You mentioned a website.....if it is a food website, how about providing us with a link? Is it on Iowa food?

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 09/7/11 1:59 PM
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This past holiday weekend, I made a return trip back to Siouxland.  My girlfriend was busy entertaining family in town, so I was on my own. 
 
As all trips to the upper midwest should start, my first stop was at Interstate Bar-B-Que

Luckily for me, my connection was through Memphis, so I took advantage of the opportunity and visited the airport location.  There was a bit of a line and I heard customer after customer ahead of me tell the cashier no when asked if they wanted the cole slaw on top of the pork bbq sandwich.  Come on people, you are in Memphis!  That's how it is eaten around here!  Yeah, I know, most people don't like it that way.  I did not get asked that question and when I opened my to go bag at the gate, they had the cole slaw and some bbq sauce in seperate containers.  I took both and dumped them on top of my sandwich. 

Actually, the meat was a little dry, but this was still miles ahead of what you can get at most airports, so no complaints.
 
The flight  was now boarding so I had to take my bbq spaghetti

on the plane.  The smell of this unique and delicious Memphis side filled the air around me, enough so that I got several looks from other passengers.  As much as I love bbq spaghetti, it can often be overly sauced, but this medium container had the perfect amount.  One of my favorite side dishes all year!
 
My flight was due to land in Omaha around 9:30PM, which gave me no time to reach Roadfood favorites like Bohemian Cafe or Johnny's Cafe before they closed at 10:00PM.  Halfway throught the flight, we were told that we were now several minutes ahead of schedule, so thoughts of hitting one of those places now sounded possible.  No such luck!  There was a thunderstorm hovering over the Omaha airport and we had to circle around for a while until it cleared.  Since my hotel was in Council Bluffs, Iowa, I decided to try Hog Stop BBQ, which was open until 11:00PM. 
 
When I pulled up, I was mildly surprised that the place looked much more like a bar than a bbq parlor.  A couple people who looked like they work in the kitchen were smoking just outside the door.  They greeted me and when they found out it was my first time there, told me how much I was going to love the ribs.  The inside was one big room, with a bar to the right, a few tables in the middle and a small dance floor to the left.  In the far corner was a dj playing country music.  I grabbed a table in front of the tv, which was showing the very exciting TCU-Baylor football game. 
 
The waiter quickly came over to get my order and I had a strong feeling that this guy was the owner.  He looked amazingly like a character actor I have seen in several films, but can't remember the name.  Anyway, he was extremely helpful and made some good suggestions on what to order.  My dinner ended up being shaved pork bbq (what places in the South would probably call sliced) and sides of smoked mac & cheese and bbq beans.  This wasn't the type of place where I was going to sit there and try to take the perfect food shoot, so here

is what one shot Charlie came up with.  The server showed me the three different types of red bbq sauce, all three of them quite tasty.  Sorry, I can't remember what they were, but was told they were all made on site.  There was some smoke flavor to the pork, but it took a backseat to the excellent sides.  The mac & cheese was piping hot, creamy and I seemed to be able to taste several different cheeses.  The bbq beans was full of shreds of pulled pork and plenty of the sauce.  You do get your choice of breads with the meal and mine was some kind of thick slab of cornbread.  I was cutting off slices with my fork and covering it with what the server called Aloha sauce, which is another homemade sauce, heavy on the pineapple.  
 
By the time my food arrived, instead of just playing music, it was now karaoke time.  So, I had the pleasure of watching heavily drinking patrons get up to put their own spin on such lovely tunes as "Kiss My Country A**".  To say I was out of my element would be a gross understatement.  Still, I was made to feel very much at home by the owner.  For all that food, plus a Pepsi, the bill came to only $11.00, which isn't too bad.
 
Even though I wouldn't necessarily go back on karaoke night, I would definitely go back to Hog Stop BBQ.
 
Hog Stop BBQ
3621 9th Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA
712-328-2277
 
From there, I checked into my hotel for the night.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 09/7/11 3:42 PM>

joerogo
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 09/7/11 2:16 PM
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Didn't you win a singing contest in NOLA a few years back?
 
Looks like the start of a great trip.  Now, if that ain't country........
<message edited by joerogo on Wed, 09/7/11 2:23 PM>

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 09/7/11 2:18 PM
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Joe-
I sound much better blending in with lots of other voices! 

buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 09/7/11 3:34 PM
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Still being on Eastern time, I was waiting outside my breakfast destination, Harold's Koffee House,

in Omaha when they opened at 6:00AM.  It had been storming all morning and I liked the way the water looked on the window.

 
I was thinking Harold's would be a small place, but is actually fairly large.  It has a wonderful, old-time Midwest coffee shop feel to the place, with all of the seats being comfy booths.   Among the reasons I came to Harold's was because they make their own pie and their own donuts!  Unfortunately, they had no sour cream raisin pie on this day, but I did tell the waitress to reserve the last slice of banana cream for me.  As for the donuts, they offer six different types.  Even though they are small (only costing .69 cents each), I didn't want to fill up just on donuts alone, so I just tried three.  From the left going clockwise,

vanilla frosted, cinnamon sugar and cake.  All were quite good, but the plain cake, which had a nice crunch when you bit into it, was the star.  I noticed almost all of the regulars were buying donuts to start their meals.  They also had some delicious looking, homemade sweet rolls

available.
 
Unfortunately, nothing on the menu really grabbed me.

Against my better judgement, I ordered the Pioneer Plate, which is biscuits and gravy. 

Strangely, there were entire sausage patties sitting on top of the biscuits, which is a good thing!  Unfortunately, both the gravy and the biscuits were forgettable.  The hashbrowns

could have been a little crispier, but were otherwise fine.
 
The banana cream pie had a light as air meringue and lots of cut up banana slices in the filling.  This was a good pie, but certainly not a great one.  They are very proud of their pies here and have a sign

telling you which pies are available on which days.
 
But, the single best part of eating at Harold's was the service.  Since this was a Saturday morning and the much beloved to the locals Nebraska Cornhuskers were playing that day, my waitress

was dressed head-to-toe in Cornhusker gear.  This included bright red pants and socks, a Nebraska watch, a button that read "American by birth, Husker by choice", even red and white ribbons in her hair.  She was a very sweet lady who really loves her local team, as that seemed be the only topic of conversation among the locals.  While I was chatting with the owner, she told me you should see how my waitress dresses in all green for St. Patrick's Day.  And she also told me that next time I come back, call ahead and they will have some sour cream raisin pie waiting for me.  Although that is very nice of her, I was terribly concerned about it.  That's because I knew where I was headed next!
 
There is a lot to like about Harold's Koffee House, especially those donuts.  I would like to go back and try a different item, maybe even lunch.  Has anyone else ever been here before?
 
Harold's Koffee House
8327 N 30th Street
Omaha, NE
402-451-9776    
 
I got back in my car and headed east into Iowa.
 
Much more to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 09/7/11 3:35 PM>

CajunKing
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 09/7/11 5:23 PM
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Only 3 donuts......
This coming from the man who will eat 5 slices of pie at dinner, but only had 3 donuts????
 


buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 09/7/11 6:49 PM
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CK-
Now you know why I can eat 5 pieces of pie!

mr chips
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Wed, 09/7/11 10:00 PM
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Great update. Always enjoy reading about your adeventures.
 

Nancypalooza
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RE: Weekend in NE/IA/SD - Thu, 09/8/11 12:34 PM
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One shot Charlie did pretty good.  :)  I have a real weak spot for nice plain cake donuts.