Monday, April 13, 2015

Eastern Iowa Baking Co.

After several trips to the new bakery in town, I finally have the time to write out a delicious review!

   Eastern Iowa Baking Co. opened in February in the old floral shop building in downtown Eldridge (2nd & Franklin).  The building was originally constructed as a doctor's office in 1857.

photo from their FB

The bakery is cute and tiny with a small dine-in area.  The morning selection includes baked doughnuts, pastries, and sometimes quiche.  I had a horrible internship selling quiche one time.  *shudders*

I often see the owner, Rhonda Groh baking away as I run by at an ungodly hour of the morning.  She has been a certified pastry chef since 2003.  Her family has been selling her goods at the Freight House Farmer's Market for several years now and will continue to do so.   The tip jar at the bakery is always donated to a charitable cause.

Red has forgone the whole concept of breakfast and always heads straight for the baked goods they also sell daily.  She's had cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and a lemon bar.  There's no way this kid was switched at birth.

Unkempt blonde hair.  Brownie for breakfast.  Definitely mine.

"You mean people actually eat vegetables?"

Lemon bar is sort of a fruit

Richie usually chooses a big cinnamon roll and a medium roast coffee.  Every one raves about the coffee from here and by everyone I do mean several retirees who spend their days roaming around Eldridge.  They would know, dammit.

Although they receive a steady stream of business, we have never had a problem finding a place to sit.  The food is served on nice plates with real silverware.  I think they could use some jazzy music playing in the background.  Not because I like jazz, but because it seems like the right thing to do.

We've never had a bad dish at Eastern Iowa BC and we love the location.  Be sure to check it out sometime and then catch yourself some diabetes at Smilee's Ice Cream, right across the street.  The bakery is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.  I'll have to update once we try lunch there!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mesa Pizza

By the time we made it to Mesa Pizza in Iowa City, we had already completed a long journey.  Richie, Red, Baby E, and I tiredly hustled our way through the streets of Iowa City searching for a quick bite to eat.  Irritated, we had dejectedly settled on Which Wich...which is delicious, but not what we were looking for.  Then I spotted a beacon in the distance, a small sign on a narrow storefront boasting the name Mesa Pizza.

Red walked in and took two steps back when she saw the murals on the walls.   There was a real Tremors vibe going on.

  Or maybe Beetlejuice?  Dune, anyone?

"I've been to Saturn! Sandworms, huh? Hate 'em!'"

  We continued on and found Kevin, I mean a bounty of pizza awaiting us.

Better than Kevin Bacon!

 This was no ordinary pizza.  These pizzas were loaded with colorful toppings.  And their were so many choices! U.S.A.!

 I could hardly contain my excitement when I saw a pizza slice with a french fry on it... a french fry!  I don't even like french fries!

 Red asked for 'just cheese." (Why do 3 year olds hate awesome food and restful sleep?)  Luckily, it's not terribly difficult to convince a toddler that mac and cheese pizza is he best food ever.

Since I follow a made up diet that allows me to eat only meats and sugar, I chose a slice that had the most meat on top.
Protein! No whey?!

Looking at the menu, I am not sure what I ate.  It was similar to the Triple Smoke, a barbecue pizza with smoked ham, bacon, and steak.  However, my slice clearly had large chunks of sausage and a tomato sauce. It even had part of a french fry!  French fry!

 After our slices were chosen, they were warmed up in a cute little oven.  This made the bottoms fairly black and crispy, so we ended up eating the tops off with our forks.  I thought the meats and cheeses tasted very good and were seasoned well.  I really liked the tomato sauce, it wasn't too sweet or spicy.  I would have liked more cheese, as it was just a thin layer of mozz.  Red also enjoyed her mac n cheese slice.  It did not have a tomato sauce, but a white sauce that was just a tad garlicky.  A good choice for picky kids...which is every kid, right?

Richie got two slices, a chili cheese fry and BBQ bacon cheeseburger.

"It's like food made into other food"- Red

At least that's what we determined them to be.  The man boy working behind the counter didn't seem to know or care.  College life.

 Richie said the pizza tasted good but was not filling.  The chili formed the sauce on the left slice, while BBQ covered the right.  Unlike us girls, he liked the crispy-framed chewy crust.  After hoofing it back to our car, he was still hungry, as was I, so we stopped for some candy on the way home.  Gas station snacks...

So overall, this is a bit of a mixed review.  Loved the inventive flavors but didn't love the thin crust or price (3.75). Our advice- add some more toppings- let's not be stingy.  And maybe hire a decorator who doesn't work with a spray can.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Barrel House 211

Bear with me as we review yet another drinking establishment without embibing...

Barrel House 211 is a shiny hole in the wall found in the Bucktown district of Davenport.  In researching the location, I found that the original building was constructed in 1880 and housed a furniture manufacturer, and later, a chemical supply company.  It's historic integrity has been well maintained as you can see in photos found on the Davenport Library's website.  The bricks in the Barrel House date to the 1920s.  I was hoping to find evidence of a gangster shoot out or grisly accident, but no dice.

Not everyone loves history, but everyone loves food, right?

The Barrel House menu contains bar food with an extra punch to the gut.  Several items will rain fire on your taste buds with boom boom sauce, sriracha, and wasabi.  Barrel House actually serves a fairly large menu for being primarily a bar.  So you don't have to pester your DD into a Taco Bell stop, they even have a whole page of tacos and quesadillas.  We started our date night with onions of all shapes and sizes.  Romantic.

and greasy

I deem that God himself created a sandwich on this menu, and it's called the Miami.  My favorite foods combined onto one heavenly sandwich...  pulled pork tucked under sliced ham and swiss cheese, drizzled with homemade mustard, and topped with a halo of fried pickle slices. Glory be.

take me home tonight

Richard found a burger to his liking, the Cowboy burger, yee-haw~! or whatever.  

While the food cooked, I divided my attention between football bloopers on ESPN and eavesdropping on a couple's first date at the next table over.  They were both cringe worthy.

My sandwich wasn't the savior I was hoping for, but it was still quite good.  The pork was a tad on the dry side.  I would have liked some bbq sauce or more mustard added to it.  The sweet potato fries were perfect.  Not too sweet, not too salty.  I guiltily ate the rest that night while standing at the fridge. (Sorry thighs!)  I think they were even better cold.

Richie's Cowboy burger was a double patty monstrosity saddled with Sweet Baby Ray's, cheddar cheese, and onion straws.  He described it as "fun."  A man of few words.  And a lot of onions.

so, so many onions

 Based on how fast he scarfed it down, I'm going to resolve that the burger was quite delicious.  Let's be honest, you can't go wrong with a coating of Sweet Baby Ray's.

Awkward couple didn't order food, but, despite the awkward hug, the date seemed to go okay...ish.

We both keep talking about returning to Barrel House, so given our current schedules, we hope to make it back within the next decade.  Don't you wait that long!  Good food, old bricks, and ESPN are waiting.