Wednesday, June 30, 2010

DP Dough

Believe it or not, this nondescript red awning serves as the gates to cheese heaven.

DP Dough: The Pizza Alternative is the cheesiest joint ever. They don't serve pious pizza in heaven, but they do serve some consecrated calzones.

Place your order with St. Bartholomew, patron Saint of cheese merchants.

DP Dough has 2 Locations in Illinois located in the pre-obesity student-filled college towns of Champaign and Bloomington. It's good to hook em before they realize their eating habits will leave them with diabetes and stretchy pants.

You can customize a calzone in the Construction Zone. But this may be difficult when you're wandering the streets after a bar crawl. So you can just choose one from their menu which includes the following categories of zones- Breakfast, Steak, Beef, Veggie, Chicken, Premium, and Classic. Within each category are around half a dozen calzones such as School Zone with steak, mushrooms, and mozzarella, the Speed Zone with chicken, spinach, garlic, and mozz and the Titan Zone with pepperoni, pineapple, spinach, and mozz.

Beatify the sacred special for lunch. $7.99 for a huge 'zone, cookie, and pop. For the devoted, try the faithful 420 special- 4 calzones for $20 on Thursdays.

Righteous Richard entered the Gates of Cheesedom and reunited himself with his beloved Mozzarella in the form of a Roni Zoni.

A calzone stuffed with Pepperonis, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese.

As you can see, the cheese could not be entombed by the cavernous dough. It resurrected itself to the box in one gelatinous heap.

Yes those are thick cut fries on the side, because a monstrous satchel of cheese was not enough to satisfy reverent Richard

It is quite evident that these calzones are meant for two very hungry cheese zealots.
They DO NOT have pizza, but their stix are pretty close to being pizza. The dessert ones are filled with apple and come with a caramel dipping sauce. Praise the lord! The price is reasonable and it's a fun and tasty alternative to impious pizza.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hungry Hobo & Capriotti's

For 37 years, Quad-Citians have been graced by the presence of a hobo, The Hungry Hobo. Unlike most hobos, this one is delicious. He is also quite dapper in his top hat and bow tie.

The Hungry Hobo is a local chain of sandwich shops that began in the Quad-Cities 37 yrs ago and has since expanded into 11 Q-C locations with additional stores in Galesburg and IA City. They refer to their sub sandwiches as 'Hobos' and they are available in 2 sizes, Regular and King. I think a regular is slightly bigger than 6 inches. Though they don't offer the variety of breads that Subway does, their buns are fresh and much softer.The bread has a taste that can easily be distinguished from other restaurants'.

All Hungry Hobo stores look the same. They are adorned with train depot signs and furnished with park bench booths.

The hungry masses walk up to the counter and order a sandwich by number. It's a long walk and sometimes a long line, so if you're lazy, just forget it and drive-thru BK again... you heifer.

Deli meats and cheeses are sliced to order and added to your sub which are, by default, garnished with lettuce, tomatoes, oil, vinegar, and oregano. Of course, you can special order and remove some of those or add onions and the ever popular banana pepper rings.

H.H. is also known for their baked potatoes loaded with a medley of toppings. I favor the Taco Tato with Chili, lettuce, cheddar, tomatoes, and taco chips. Other side offerings are chips, potato salad, or waffle fries.

The desserts are baked from scratch in the Hobo Bakery, located in Rock Island. The moniker 'hobo bakery' has me picturing a conveyor belt filled with dirty hobos emptying into a giant oven. Twenty minutes at 350 and boom...the best carrot cake you'll find in the QC.

Normally I'd never recommend eating 'pudding' from a hobo, but their vanilla is seriously creamy and tasty.

My parents and I ordered hobos to-go-gos. My dad ordered what I believe is the most popular- #11- Ham, salami, cappicola, pepperoni, and provolone. Just what a man who has had 2 strokes should be eating. (ok to be fair, they were cause by head trauma, not cholesterol)

I ordered my usual #5- Smoked Turkey Breast with pickles and mustard. Unlike Subway, the turkey actually tastes like turkey!

Because Richie wasn't able to enjoy the hobo meat, we stopped at Capriotti's Sandwich Shop in Davenport. It just recently opened on 53rd. I poked around their website to find out that it is a chain, but most of the restaurants are located out west. This is one of three in the Midwest, and the only one in Iowa.

They are famous for a sandwich called the Bobbie, so a Richie ate a Bobbie.

What exactly is a Bobbie? Homemade turkey (shredded, off-the-bone), cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mayo on a bun. He ordered a medium, which is a foot-long, for $8.25. Seems a little steep, but the sandwich packs a mighty punch of Thanksgiving leftovers. You can view their menu of other hearty sandwiches here.

Looks like a lot of cranberry sauce, but he said it wasn't overpowering.

I had a bite- the stuffing escorted me right back to November. Tasted exactly like my mum's. (Must be Stove Top)
Cue my craving for pumpkin pie.

He ended up eating all of it last night and just texted to me to say that he regretted it, for he wishes he had some today.

Call on either of these sandwich shops for an ample meal or quick lunch.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Southside Drive-In

Between Hoopeston and Watseka Illinois sits 0.6 square miles of land, the small township of Milford. Milford got it's name from a grist mill that was located on the forde at Sugar Creek. Why does this matter? It doesn't really, because most people will never set foot in Milford. But if you are looking for a good burger and happen to stumble into Iroquois County, you may want to make a stop at Southside Drive In.

He doesn't exactly scream 'delicious food' as much as 'food poisoning.'

According to my sources, the Southside Drive-In (500 S. Chicago St.) took over what used to be a Dairy Queen, some years ago when DQ moved to N. Chicago St. Already set up for cooking and serving ice cream, it made sense to open up a similar establishment with local flair.

All the beef they use is fresh from local farmers. The seafood on the other hand...

Can you taste a difference between fresh and frozen beef? Richie thinks so, as his burger was better than what you'd get at a similar joint. Thick and juicy.

The french fries, on the other hand, were like a disabled stepchild. Uninteresting and a tad on the limp side. You just bring them along so the burger has someone to talk to.

The toppings were fresh and crisp. Check out that beautiful onion.




The ice cream is typical soft serve, but they offer tons of different flavors. However, they use flavored syrups rather than actual ingredients. That's a bit of a turn-off, but then again, you get to try some unique flavors. Where else can you try "carmel" "ameretto" or "marshmellow?"

The flavor variety helps set them apart from the ol' Queen. That and the "cyclone" shakes they offer rather than "blizzards." Don't call them "tornadoes"- remember, that moniker is reserved for the shakes at Tastee Freeze. If I ever open an ice cream stand, I think I would buck the trend and have my customers asking for Snickers' Seizure or a Pink Parkinson's

When life gives you lemon flavored syrup,

Make subpar lemon flavored ice cream

Blueberry shake

Needs more Blue.

Richie was not a big fan of the ice cream. He said his blueberry shake was more like a blewberry shake, but the joke didn't quite translate when said out loud. However, he and his parents are and were fans of the burgers and steaks, and they like that the meat comes from local farmers.
Give their burger a try if you ever end up in Milford. Then skip up the road to DQ for dessert. Because, honestly, what other options do you have?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Harris Pizza

Unless you're from here, you probably don't really understand the phenomena that is Quad-Cities pizza. It's a unique pie that isn't for "pizza purists." It's described by Roadfood authors, the Sterns, as a "bready crust that is somewhat thin but substantial enough to have a perfectly balanced crunch-chew yin-yang." Though they were describing the pizza at Frank's in Silvis, this also applies to Harris Pizza and many others.

W. 3rd st. Davenport

Harris Pizza opened in Rock Island in 1960. Len and Mary Harris owned a struggling liquor store. To try something different, they decided to start making pizza, a relatively new food to the Midwest. They drove to Chicago and procured a pizza oven, learned how to hand stretch dough, and formulated their own recipes.

Harris Pizza does not deliver, so we ordered carryout from the downtown location on W. 3rd st. (You can pay a delivery service business to pick it up for you)

Growing up, my family always ordered sausage or the Deluxe- a sausage pizza with green peppers, mushrooms, and mozzarella. Their sausage is spicy and layered on thick! They also sprinkle it with fennel (or, as I used to call it, tiny watermelons). I love it. They never use any sort of yellow cheese on their traditional pies.

Richie fancies spicy foods, so I decided to order the 3 Alarm Pizza. It's a thin crust spread with a tangy barbecue sauce, heaps of spicy sausage, onions, jalapenos, and pepper jack cheese. However, we special ordered it with mozz.

The first Harris launched in 1960 in Rock Island. The downtown Davenport location opened in 1969. They later opened locations on Locust in Davenport and on 18th in Bettendorf. The Rock Island and Bettendorf locations offer lunch buffets and expanded menus.

Harris Pizza is always cut into rectangles. For some reason I find this more enticing than a triangle. They use a scant amount of sauce and load it with toppings & cheese. One piece can make a stomach full and happy. That is why it's not for pizza purists.

The 3 Alarm pizza was definitely zesty but not excessively so. I picked off the jalapenos and was able to stomach a piece resulting in just a mild case of heartburn. My stomach is a total wimp. I think Richie would have liked it much hotter.

All-in-all, I loved it. Harris Pizza always reminds me of late night pizza noshing with my parents and sisters. Usually they would order after our bedtime, but we would inevitably wake up and demand to be fed.

Being a Q.C. transplant, I asked Richie what he thought about Q.C. style pizza. He described it as a thin crust pizza with thick crust toppings. He liked it, but said next time he would have to try a traditional pizza, like pepperoni, in order to truly gauge his opinion.

Harris Pizza and Whitey's Ice Cream are both places that people must visit when they return to the Q.C. That's why Harris sees a huge bump in sales before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Its success has inspired many Harris employees to leave and beget doppelganger pizzerias, but none of them have the recipe for spices quite right. A closely guarded secret, only two Harris family members know the formula.

I concur with Harris Pizza's self declaration as, 'the Finest Pizza in the World.' In fact, I used to have many t-shirts with their logo and tag line on it. I'd kill to find one in a thrift store.