Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Random Bites of Oral Pleasure

Hearty grilled Italian sausage from Scimeca's Italian Sausage of Kansas City. Commonly found at the Italian-American Heritage Festival of Iowa.

A tidy muffuletta at the Northside Cafe in Winterset. The sandwich suffered not from a lack of meats, salami in particular. The house bread was toasted nicely and some more of the olive salad nestled under all that animal product would have been perfect. A side of slaw had nary a hint of ubiquitous sweetness in the dressing, which had a flavor reminiscent of egg salad. Would this be indicative of a housemade mayo? If so, I'll take more please.

A holiday dinner with friends featured family-recipe ham balls, left, made with equal parts ham, beef, and pork, plus Graham crackers, tiny farm-raised chicken eggs, and seasonings. Plus a sweet glaze made from condensed tomato soup. For dessert… decadence: a homemade French Silk pie, center. Oh, my! For an Easter dinner, right, I had a fine home-cooked meal of scalloped potatoes with ham, green beans, and Brussels sprouts. I was throughly stuffed! A hearty chopped salad and a dessert of vanilla pudding whipped with cubes of angel food cake plus shredded coconut bookended the meal.

Left, the good stuff at Tasty Tacos. After several years of drinking barely functional whiskey, a dram of Glenlivet 15, center, is pert near a religious experience. Right, a tasty landjäger sausage at Hessen Haus. Firm texture and well seasoned. Served chilled, as a snack in itself or as part of a Peasant Plate.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Random Bites of Ankeny

The SweatShop, a new business located in Uptown Ankeny, specializes in all things hot, from sauces and salsas to seasonings and snacks. Items sold come in varying levels of heat from mild to extreme. Of note is a fair selection of wing and barbecue sauces, and locally made products. On my visit there I bought a bottle of Lola's Fine Hot Sauce!

Brandmeyer's LottaPop popcorn offers a wide variety of flavors, some quite unusual. Creamy Dill was rather good. Ate three bags in one sitting though. Oof! Brandmeyer's can also be found at the Downtown Farmers' Market along Court Ave. in Des Moines.

Civilization: a Bloody Mary with a beerback, left, at the Yankee Clipper in Uptown Ankeny. I love the deep-fried Clipper Burger, center. Slap it on a plate, douse it country gravy, and I'd call it chicken fried steak. Also pictured a side of Cajun-seasoned frips. Crisp, zesty, but also salty. I'll try the unseasoned variety next time. Right, another Clipper Burger, but this time with plain frips. Best thick-cut potato chips you'll ever enjoy fresh from the fryer.

Random Bits of Detritus

This story ends well, right?

Books selected for display on these shelves seems suspect.

Photobombed by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Ruth Buzzi is fab•u•lous!

This excels at so many levels.

Never a bad thing to find you have hot sauce packets in your pocket.

Scarf made of recycled Crown Royal bags. Dedication.

Does this mean I get a 'happy ending' from Joe Pesci?

"... a thick, creamy feeling on the tongue." Oh, my!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Stuffed to the gills at The Original Pancake House in Ankeny

Its hard not to resist several breakfast visits to The Original Pancake House in southwest Ankeny, especially when someone else is picking up the tab. I and my companions enjoyed huge, fluffy, six egg omelettes, a surprisingly unique oven-baked pancake, sides of home fries and sausage, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and an unexpected lagniappe from George Nicholson, formerly the grill cook at Mr. Filet Steakhouse.

Left, an oven baked Dutch Baby pancake. Rather like a browned crêpe, puffy around the sides but thin in the center. Served with sides of whipped butter, lemon, and powdered sugar, right. I found it took only a little of each to accentuate my pancake. Either bananas or berries can be added for an extra charge.

Omelettes are huge affairs! Six eggs go into making one of these puffy delights. An Irish omelette, left, comes studded with tasty flecks of corned beef. I lusted over my dining companion's green chile and Monterey pepper jack omelette, right. Its mildly spicy, so a few drops of Cholula may be in order.

Potato pancakes, left, are lightly crisp and come with sides of applesauce and sour cream. Home fries, right, are well seasoned and browned. I'd gladly enjoy these on a plate with a couple of fried eggs on top.

House-recipe sausage, left, compliments a forkful of pancake quite nicely. Pulpy, fresh squeezed orange, center, and grapefruit juices are a nice start to breakfast. An unexpected non-menu item plate of hand-grated hash browns, right, from George Nicholson was a treat! George's hash browns are one of the things I miss most about Mr. Filet. That and the Greek omelet, and George, …and George too! George Hatzigiannakis that is, Mr. Filet's longtime owner.

Now let's see if we can convince OPH to offer a small Mr. Filet tribute breakfast menu on the side.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Beers and ciders, oh my, at The Iowa Taproom

On draft at the Iowa Taproom, from left: A zesty Chili IPA from Turner Alley Brewing; a refreshing Hazelnut Oatmeal Pale Stout from Reclaimed Rails Brewing, 6.0% ABV, 27.5 IBU; an easy drinking California Common from Iowa Brewing with their Tragedy of the Commons, 4.9% ABV, 38 IBU.

Masters of the fruit! Keg Creek's Black Cherry Stout, left, starts off dark and bitter like pure cacao, but brightens with subtle cherry after further quaffs. 5.2% ABV, zero IBUs. "Woooooo!" I exclaimed upon whiffing Parkside Brewing's Belly Dancer, right, a 7.0% ABV chai stout. Loads of spice! It is what it says it is.

Surprising ciders! Oaked sour cherry from Jefferson County Ciderworks, left, is refreshing with bright cherry flavor, and hints of vinegar on the nose and sugar on the palate. An optimal drink for warmer months. 6.7% ABV. Jacked Cider House's (Crimson Sunset Vineyards and Winery) cider with strawberries, right, starts off on the sweet side, with a taste not unlike strawberries in sugar. Finishes with an equal mix of sour and sweet. 6.8% ABV.