Saturday, February 27, 2010

Waterfront Deli

On a sunny Friday afternoon I decided to venture out to Bettendorf to visit my sister and two nephews. Downtown Bettendorf is a hotbed of dive bars frequented by biker babes, so we opted for the more kid-friendly Waterfront Deli at 1020 State Street. Don't be fooled by the name, it's not reallllly on the water front. It's close and you can kinda see water from the front, so I'll let it slide for now.

There was a bit of a line at the counter, but it moved quickly and I felt overwhelmed trying to make a decision based off the menu board. They have special sandwiches or you can build your own. Of course, they also serve soups and salads. If you've never been there before, you might want to grab a to-go menu and peruse your choices before braving the line.

My sister ordered a roast beef, plain, on sourdough. very exciting. I ordered one of the specials, a ham and dill. It was ham with pickles and dill cream cheese on sourdough. My nephew Noah decided on the fear monger's latest victim- the perilous hot dog. Terrorist of the food world.
They had some potato and pasta salads but, being the mayo-phobes we are, we opted for a side salad and Lay's potato chips.

I also bought a sugar cookie for Brody to gnaw on.

The sandwiches came out quickly, and honestly, they looked good, but the hot dog looked amazing. It also tasted amazing. Noah was nice enough to share, his eating technique seemed to indicate he was mostly after the ketchup anyway. Or maybe he was scared of choking?

The skin had a nice snap to it and the bun was so soft with a nice flavor from the celery seeds.

The sourdough sandwich bread was also palatable, very soft and fresh. Roast beef and ham were both flavorful and spiced well. Pickles were nice and crisp, but I think they were Vlasic. Not that I'm complaining..a pickle is a pickle. The dill cream cheese on my sandwich was a nice creamy addition. Better than the usual plain ol' slice of Swiss.

The decor was somewhat whimsical/historical. They had photographs and art of historic buildings in the Quad-Cities. Much to the delight of Noah, they also had toy fire truck and tractors hanging from the ceiling. I heard "look firetruck!" about a dozen times.
My sister lives maybe a mile away and she kept saying how pissed she was that she had never before eaten there. The bread alone makes the trip worth it.

The Waterfront Deli has been a great lunch destination since 1981, but for how much longer? The new I-74 bridge is set to displace dozens of businesses in downtown Bettendorf including our beloved Ross'. Let's hope they find new homes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Village Inn

Well sometimes you have a hankering for something from a chain restaurant. For us, it's usually for Red Robin or Cracker Barrel, but this time it was for a Village Inn breakfast. Everyone has a diner they frequented in high school where they spent hours annoying diners and waitresses. Village Inn was just that place for me. my friends and I spent hours there sipping hot chocolate and dissecting pieces of pie. If you don't have a Village Inn, a Perkin's or Baker's Square might have been your place.

I also have many good memories of eating with my grandparents and family at Village Inn. I don't think I have ever had a bad meal from there. The decor is pretty typical of this type of restaurant. Kinda blah but no one notices anyway. The booths are comfy though!

Both of us had breakfast on our minds since our failed attempt at eating at Symposium (yuck!) So Richie ordered a double bacon double cheese skillet. It's like the ice cream sundae of breakfast foods. Breakfast potatoes topped with scrambled eggs, cheese, and bacon. Apparently this one had double the amount of cheese and bacon. Comes with your choice of pancakes or that really a hard choice?

He's not sucking his food through a straw...yep, that is cheese. I must say, that skillet was mighty cheesy. Every forkful had a massive amount of delicious goo.

I'll be honest, my omelet was made with Egg Beaters because I had to have my cholesterol tested the next morning. I had to add extra salt and pepper to add some flavor, but the consistency was nice and fluffy. The ham, green peppers and onions folded inside were delicious. Hashbrowns were good, but I like them a little crispier. Actually, I like my potatoes burnt, so I ate the browned part. The pancakes were so big and fluffy. Richie devoured his and most of mine.

I flipped through the dessert menu like 9 times. You can't go to VI and not review a slice of pie. Every Wednesday you get a free piece, but it wasn't Wed., so we paid the 3 dollars and change for a slice of lemon meringue.

The lemon filling was very sweet, but the meringue was my favorite part. It was a delicious pillow of marshmallowy goodness. I wanted to bury my head in it and fall asleep.

Here I am paying at the counter, trying to ignore the pie case. A must have around the holidays is their Candy Cane Pie. My family sort of obsesses over it as we rush through our ham dinner.

For a breakfast guaranteed to satisfy, try Village Inn. The rest of the menu isn't bad either, but not worth blogging home about.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dewey's Cafe at the Library

Just a quick post about a cozy little place inside the happening Bettendorf Public Library...

I worked at the library from 2004-2006. I distinctly remember the wonderful aromas that would waft through the library around 11 am. They originated in Dewey's Cafe, located off the lobby of the library (2950 Learning Campus Dr.).

Dewey's Cafe (formerly the Novel Cafe until 03) is owned by the very friendly Brinson family, who are often found in the cafe, cooking and serving customers. Their soups are very well known and appreciated by patrons and you can click here to see their daily soups and other menu items. Though I haven't had one for a while, their sandwiches are great, prepared with very fresh ingredients and flavorful breads.

My last stop there was on library related business, so I just had time to grab a drink and treat to go. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, frankly all the choices scare me, so I ordered a hot cocoa. But that too presented me with many choices- white or dark, flavored, whipped cream or no? I went for dark, no flavor shot, and no whipped cream. The consistency was light and frothy, not syrupy at all. It definitely had a more bitter and authentic taste than the powdered stuff or gas station cocoa. Kids probably wouldn't like it, but I enjoyed it much better than ol' Swiss Miss. I also recommend trying their Chai tea. It has a nice vanilla flavor.

where's the chocolate?

hiding beneath the froth

I plan on doing a hot cocoa throwdown, comparing several different coffee shops. My tongue eagerly awaits.

On a whim, I decided to grab a delicious looking brownie with cheesecake swirled throughout. At first taste, it was just okay, I'm not really a brownie edge person. The middle was definitely better because it was fudgy and chewy. It was pretty rich, but not so much that I wouldn't have eaten all of it if I could.

Looks appetizing, just sitting on my car seat and important papers

Definitely stop by Dewey's sometime. The atmosphere is very chill, no one seems hurried, and everyone is relaxing, chatting, or reading. It's a nice departure from the chaos within the library.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Argo General Store

IN the middle of Nowhere, you'll come to a four-way stop at Territorial and Wells Ferry Road. On the corner you'll see a small yellowish building with an old tin sign. Then you know you're there. But where is there? Bowkers' Argo General Store in the town that isn't really a town, Argo, Iowa.
There's many interesting stories about Argo- the half dozen people that live there, the world's smallest parades, and Charlie, the old black lab that used to hang out at the store for apparently almost 20 yrs, since it opened. Charlie is gone now, but most of the customers seem to have been coming to Argo for just as long..

old farmers and laborers chatting over the noon hour.

As you can see, it's really not much of a general store per se. It's really a bar that sells some convenience store items. Here we have a wall of chips and candy.

The decor is a delightful mix of Nascar and old ass flour tins faded from years of sitting in the sun. If I owned the place, I'd try a little harder to make it feel like an old time store, but when you're in the middle of nowhere, I guess you don't give a sh*t. The regulars sure don't. So it must be the food bringing people in...

We were too late for breakfast, which I hear is delicious. The Argo Haystack, a layered dish with hashbrowns, eggs, and sausage would've been my choice.

Richie opted for the double bacon cheeseburger...not too impressive from this angle

But now...

Take a look at that future food baby. Yes, there are 6 huge slices of bacon, 2 1/4 lb patties, and 2 pieces of melty american cheese. The only veggies are onions. You know, lettuce and tomato just add extra calories.

I ordered a hot ham and cheese and fried cheese balls. I had to disassemble the sandwich and just eat the ham and cheese. RIP ham and cheese.

That bread was buttered to death

So how do you consume such a large burger? Dr. Richie examines the patient from all angles, looking for a good entry point.

Once he gets a firm grasp on the patient, he takes a deep breath and administers mouth to burger.

unfortunately, the burger didn't survive and neither will Richie's arteries in 15 yrs. (these jokes getting old yet?)

Stretch Cheesestrong. Nothin like warm cheesy balls on a cold day

But I only had two so I wouldn't get sick.

Like many hidden gems, the menu wasn't varied, but the food was decent. If you're looking for a beer and a burger and happen to be lost in Scott County, stop by Argo. It will be made with tender loving care by a lady who has been cookin there for years. For health reasons, I wouldn't eat there everyday, but then again, those dudes sittin in the corner seemed pretty old and relatively healthy.

Despite appearances, it was tasty and clean enough to convince us to come back sometime and try breakfast.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Arthurs' Garden Delicatessen

I was cruisin the internets lookin for our next greasy joint, when I was reminded of Arthur's Garden Deli (3727 Blackhawk Road Rock Island). I had never before been, but always heard good things. When I found out they had frozen yogurt, it sealed the deal for me.

I believe Arthur's actually has 4 locations- Rock Island, Rock Falls, Sterling, and Dixon. I can't find much historical information on it because qconline archives are for subscribers only. But what I can gleam from the snippets is that they opened in Sterling in 1977, the Rock Island location opened around 1989, they are and have been a hot spot for Augustana College students, and they started closing on Sundays in 2005. Nothing about who the mysterious Arthur is and why he opened a deli.

As you can see, it looks a lot like Hungry Hobo or any other sub place in the area. They offer sandwiches, baked potatoes, lots of soups, a salad bar, cheesecakes, a few other sides, and the aforementioned fro-yo.

When we walked up to order, a couple teenage workers were being berated for not stirring the soups enough... but you know how boys are. they probably deserved it.

Richie ordered a roast beef and aged swiss sandwich. I ordered the salad bar and a #24 potato- chili n cheddar.

Check out the 70s style dining room...and this place opened in 89?

Here's Richie's sandwich. They only toast the side with meat and cheese, so you get the melty warmth on one side and the cool crisp lettuce and veggies on the other.

A lovely view of Blackhawk Road. Quite different from what chief BlackHawk must've seen.

And here is my glorious meal. Yes that cheesy blanket actually hides a yummy baked potato. And I ordered dessert with my meal...strawberry fro-yo doused with gummy bears.

Everything in the salad bar was fresh and green.

A closeup of the warm gooey cheesy mess that sat atop a surprisingly crisp potato.

and insert food into mouth. yes that is a tomato. my first veggie/fruit in days. It must've awakened something inside of me because suddenly i was full of energy. The frozen yogurt was THE BEST i have ever had...dare I say, better than Whitey's. I immediately rushed back to the counter to order two quarts.

Dutch Chocolate
Zebra Twist
Chocolate Cookie
Fruit Twist
Chocolate Caramel

Though I opted for gummy bears, they do offer other toppings and mix-ins as seen here...

and here is Richie expressing his disapproval ... 9 dollars on fro-yo...really?

This girl really had to work it to fill up those two quarts. Here she is serving up my chocolate cookie yogurt.

Overall, we both really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. Service was fast and friendly, everything tasted great, especially the frozen yogurt I devoured.

If you like Hungry Hobo, you'll love Arthur's