After my recent fail at a Christmas vacation in Las Vegas I consoled myself with a few days in Ottumwa, plus a day trip to Fairfield.
Among my eats during my stay in Ottumwa, a trio of chorizo tacos from Taqueria Juquilita [see blog review of previous visit] stand out with chopped onion and cilantro atop crispy chorizo. So good! A low light was a not-so-robust Blackberry Brandy Porter at the Appanoose Rapids Brewing Company. Pleasant enough blackberry flavor but a rather light body.
In Fairfield I was excited for a Mexican buffet at Arandas, located interestingly enough inside a gas station. I've heard good things about the place, but going vegetarian that day I found my options were limited and the steam table rather small for the lunch crowd that repeatedly wiped out the entrées.
Later in the day I had a delightful nosh at the Istanbul Grill where I enjoyed crisp, firm falafel and first rate hummus, smooth but with some texture. A rich, eye-opening Turkish coffee finished off a fine meal.
Back in Ottumwa I ventured out the next day to the local Pizza Ranch for a buffet lunch. Though not as memorable as visits to the long gone Shakey's on Hickman another lifetime ago, Pizza Ranch is certainly a par above CiCi's. I was particularly impressed with The Outlaw with sausage, pepperoni and a trio of peppers.
For me, no visit to Ottumwa is complete without a visit to the Canteen [see blog review of previous visit]. On my last morning in town I enjoyed a cheese-sauced Canteen with everything, extra on the onions, and for dessert a big ol' slice of butterscotch pie.