Friday, June 27, 2014

Smokey's Country Diner

Being from the Iowa side of the river, the Illinois Quad-Cities is a bit foreign to me. We finally ventured over to East Moline, which is, well, East of Moline. We followed 7th Avenue which magically turned into 17th Avenue, where we found Smokey's Country Diner.

Welcome Hansel.  Welcome Gretel.

 We were greeted in a small front room with one booth and a couple tables. We went ahead and slid into the large booth by the door. They have a larger dining area in the next room.

 The lengthy menu includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and all meals are served all day.

I want to take this home to read it over and over.

 Picking my dinner was the hardest decision I've made in a while. Rough life, right?

I elected to continue my tenderloin quest and bravely stepped forward to challenge another promising piece of pork. I also got cheese fries because... CHEESE FRIES!

Richie ordered...a monster burger. Surprise?! Bateman went with the mammoth sized Mac Daddy plate, barbeque pork in a cave of macaroni and cheese with, oh, just a niggle of baked beans and scant serving of coleslaw.

 Red insisted on getting a waffle that I knew she would not eat. She is 50% bread, 20% chicken nugget and 30% fruit snacks.

 Richie's burger came out tasting fresh and homemade.  All three(!) patties were juicy and flavorful enough for him to claim that it rivals Lee's on 14th for the best burger in the QCA.


And here's another giant tenderloin to add to my collection.
Love me tender

 I ate about 2/3 of this pretty piece of pork. It was seasoned well and grilled perfectly. In my valuation of all the tenderloins I have had thus far, this is #2 on my list. Still gotta go with 11th Street Precinct as top pig. The fries were a bit on the soggy side, but they were thick and appeared to be fresh cut. The cheese sauce was an excellent addition. I didn't touch the coleslaw because it's coleslaw.

 The waffle was soft and fluffy but remained untouched. Red did gnaw on the bacon and consumed most of my toasted bun. (With lots of ketchup)

  I spy an uneaten waffle in the background.

 We received a bounty of food and feasted like kings and queens and then...the bill came and we felt a bit like paupers.  I have to say, it's fair for the amount of food you get, but not what one usually expects of a family restaurant. Nonetheless, the food will bring us back in the near future.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Homer's Deli and Sweetheart Bakery

Who wants to take a road trip to Clinton, Iowa?!  No one.  No one wants to take a road trip to Clinton, Iowa.  Too bad- here we go!

Though largely thought of as an industrial town that stinks to high heaven, Clinton is a hidden gem with some cool spots.  Paul's for example.  Paul's is a discount general store that has just about everything you could ever think you need. I needed chocolate covered bacon soda pop.  Head downtown and you'll find a lot of small businesses, secondhand stores, and thrift shops.  After visiting a few of these places, we headed to the Lyons district for a bite to eat.

Homer's Deli, connected to Sweetheart Bakery, looks and smells like a Hungry Hobo.

It was established in 1984 and named after local grocer Homer Kopp. Unlike HH, they offer an array of bread and you can customize your sandwich with over 20 different condiments, including pickles!  I can't find their menu online, but it's a deli, you can figure it out.

I ordered their barbecue pulled pork sandwich with mustard and pickles.

My mom ordered the Russian Reuben which is turkey crowned in Swiss cheese buried under Russian coleslaw. Several nationalities under one rye roof.

A slight twist on the traditional.  She also ordered a side of pasta salad which seemed to be of the mayonnaise persuasion, so I passed.

I'm going to have to use the most despised word in the English language to describe the pulled pork...moist.  It really was.  Probably because it was steeped in a sweet barbecue sauce that complemented the yellow mustard and pickles nicely.

 My mom enjoyed her hearty Russian Reuben, claiming the flavors meshed well together.

The bakery side was a hoppin with activity, it seems to be THE PLACE to go for graduation cakes.  Almost too pretty to eat...almost. The bakery has been going strong since 1950, and original recipes are still used today.
Sorry for the bum shots ladies

 After several customers cut in front of me...(wtf Clintonians?)  I ordered a filled long john and three iced sugar cookies.  The bewitching cookies were on the crisp side, and the icing was very sweet.

 Red did not eat much of her doughnut, but I took a bite and it reminded me of the gems at Old Towne Bakery in Moline (whoops didn't review them yet).  Apparently Sweetheart is known for their blarnies, but I did not partake because putting nuts on a cake is a surefire way to desecrate a delicious cake.
If you find yourself in Clinton, be sure to check out this deli/bakery combo. A sandwich and a sugar cookie...what more could you need for lunch? Vegetables? pfft.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Rockingham Road Dairy Freez

Tastee Freez is no more.  But it has arisen from the depths of ice cream hell to become DAIRY Freez.

At first glance, Dairy Freez isn't much different from it's predecessor.  The menu board is exactly the same.

We arrived around 5:30 on a Tuesday night and had to wait about 5 minutes for someone to take our order.  After we ordered, the crowd cleared out a bit, but our food still took about, oh, AN ETERNITY...or 15 minutes.  We grabbed a table and unwrapped our Freez feast.

All day long, Richie was belly aching for a burger.  He ordered a double cheeseburger basket with fries and coleslaw.  He said the food was OK.  The burger was OK, the fries were OK, the shake was OK.  Very descriptive.

He was disappointed that the bun was not toasted and said it kind of ruined the burger for him.

I decided to try the Philly chicken.  The chicken was basically grilled, chopped, capped with white cheese, and stuffed into a hot dog bun.  I'm not picky, it was delicious, and I skipped the bun anyway.  A cute little sparrow benefited.

My "loaded" fries were a big letdown.  Scant amount of cheese was melted into a rubbery glue on top of their crinkle cut fries.  The bacon was chopped into a few large pieces and sprinkled on top.  I barely touched them.

I capped off my meal with a gummy bear shake.  The gummy bears infused a light fruity flavor into the vanilla ice cream.  They then rested peacefully on the bottom in a mass grave of mutilated gummy bears.  I drank for awhile, then grabbed a spoon to properly lay the bears to rest in my mouth.

Richie got the Nerds shake, also fruit infused, but try to suck a nerd through a straw.  It cannot be done.

I think Dairy Freez is a cool place, a throwback to "simpler times," or so I'm told.  The food was fast food quality but it certainly wasn't fast.  To be fair, it can't be easy to cook food in that tiny little cracker box.  There aren't many better options for drive-in food in the QCA, but you could try Big Dave and Holly's in LeClaire.  As for the ice cream, I will give you the green light.