Monthly Archives: August 2008

Remington’s Restaurant and Lounge Spirit Lake, IA

August 30, 2008

We went to Terril to visit our family and we always try to hit a local favorite.  Lastnight we hit Remington’s in Spirit Lake.  It is one of the local favorites, we could tell that by the line out the door.  Remington’s

is located in the Great Lakes Mall.  It’s a nondescript restaurant front so you might miss it.  It’s a simple place with a big menu.  There’s a lounge area, a private party area and a main dining area.

When we walked in, it was warm and inviting.  I thought it a little strange that the staff were all wearing t-shirts or sweatshirts and jeans or jean shorts (albeit Remington’s tshirts and sweatshirts. )  It just didn’t quite fit the atmosphere, but that’s minor.  It added to the casual atmosphere.

The food was OK.  Not great and quite greasy.  We ordered a full order of potato boats which were slathered with cheese.  Undoubtedly my favorite part of the meal.  We also ordered the Onion Brick, one of their trademark items.  It reminded me slightly of a Kitchen Nightmares episode, but they tasted good.   The items that we all ordered were a Remington Burger, Tenderloin, and Custer’s Catch fish sandwich.  The Remington Burger came with cheese, onion, and mushrooms.  This was my order.  I assumed the onions and mushrooms would be sauteed, but they weren’t.  The fresh button mushrooms were cut and placed on top of the burger.  Which I would have been fine with even though they weren’t sauteed, except that it was then drenched in cheese sauce not real cheese.  Then the green onions were sliced and put on top of that.  It wasn’t bad, it tasted fine, but I expected real cheese, not cheese sauce.  That’s probably my biggest complaint.  The fresh onions, tomato slice, and fresh mushrooms turned out to be a pleasant surprise, but I couldn’t get over the sauce.

Andrew had the tenderloin with salad and though it was OK he said it didn’t have a lot of flavor.  The Custer’s Catch was a huge deep fried cod fillet topped with sliced almonds.  My sister in law had that and she said it was OK.

Overall, this restaurant was pretty good, not somewhere I’d be craving next time we visit, but an ok place to stop and get some lunch or dinner if you’re over there.  The prices were reasonable.  For two of us plus the potato boats plus two beers (they have Amber Bock bottles) the bill came to almost $30.  The waitress was friendly but they were very busy so she seems a little frazzled, but we still got good service.

I’d recommend this place for a weekday meal with the family – probably best for lunch or early dinner as it gets pretty busy after 6.

Corridor Coffee North Liberty, Iowa

August 26, 2008

Corridor Coffee is my North Liberty Haunt.  Like every small coffee shop (though I really wouldn’t call Corridor Coffee small…) they have their own unique taste to their drinks.  I personally really enjoy their sugar free caramel latte.  They have several flavors of syrup, and when I was pregnant (and had gestational diabetes), it was a huge relief to be able to get drinks with syrups made with splenda rather than sweet and low or equal.  They truly leave nothing out.  They also make fantastic summer drinks like mixed berry, mango, or strawberry smoothies.  Frozen Mocha or Frozen Vanilla Latte or even items without coffee.  There’s tons of options so whatever your mood, they’ve got it.

They also employ a 10 drink get one free policy ($2.50 and under), which is nice.  It’s their way of saying thank you.  You can often see the owners working hard behind the counter who are quick to say hello and

Corridor Coffee Drive Through

quickly remember who you are and what you drink if you don’t change it up too much.  If you have some work to do, bring your laptop.  If you want to meet for a book club, come on in.  If you just need to kill some time, pull up a chair and open a good book and have yourself some coffee and a muffin.

Not to forget the uber convenient drive through.  I can’t count how many times I’ve taken advantage of this convenient feature in the winter time, when I have my son, or my dog, or am too gross and dirty to get out of my car.

If you’re in North Liberty, stop in and grab a drink, tell them I sent you!

You can see several photos on my flickr site Simply.Silly

Iguanas Grill North Liberty, Iowa

August 26, 2008

Iguanas Grill Buffet

Iguana's Grill Buffet

Every week for the past two or so years, (maybe 3) my coworkers Dr. Wayne, Jennifer, and I have gone to Iguanas almost every week for lunch. Occasionally we change it up, but Iguana’s we never get sick of. Typically, we have ordered the Chicken Chimichanga but have since started ordering the buffet, speedy gonzales, lunch fajitas, and quesadillas. We haven’t been disappointed in any of these items. The service is generally quick, friendly, and courteous. They start by getting you a basket of warm tortilla chips and salsa. Eventually, they’ll get your order and within 15 minutes you usually have your lunch.

The prices are reasonable and the food is great. They just started offering the buffet this year, and have worked out all the kinks so now it’s usually great. With items on the buffet such as chimichangas, quesadillas (beef and chicken), burritos, fruit, salad, chips, rice, beans, refried beans, tortillas to make your own burrito or taco. Those are the basics, some items may vary.

If you’re in North Liberty, check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Looney’s Family Dining and Catering Mechanicsville, IA

I AM SORRY TO SAY THAT LOONEY’S IS NOW CLOSED

August 22, 2008

Jamie Looney and LeaAnn Cords took a chance in this small Iowa town, and it’s serving the community and them well. After working in the restaurant business for over 30 years, Jamie moved to Iowa to be nearer to famliy. He met LeaAnn and they immediately got to work to open up Looney’s. Brighton and I stopped in on a sunny Friday morning for breakfast, to try it out. I’m glad we did! Not only was the service friendly, the food was great. Jamie and LeaAnn signed the lease on July 2 and had the place up and running and opened the doors the first time to hundreds of Ragbrai riders on July 21. But these crowds didn’t scare off the one and only chef, Jamie. Jamie worked in the Colorado State Penitentiary cooking up food for over 3500 inmates three times a day. So he knows how to make people happy.

Looney’s is an American dining cafe. Complete with chocolate chip pancakes, friendly service, homemade pies, good coffee, and good down home cookin’. I had a breakfast burrito that made me feel like I’d stepped into the Arizona desert. Brighton had a chocolate chip pancake (funny face pancake) that filled his plate and his tummy for two meals.

We’re sure glad that Jamie and LeaAnn decided to take a chance in the small town of Mechanicsville. I sure hope they stay a while.

Looney’s is located on East First Street along the Old Lincoln Highway that intersects the town. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 7 AM to 8:30 PM. Sunday Brunch from 9-2 for $8.99. Friday night special is always surf and turf for $11.99. Thursday night special is BBQ chicken and Ribs for $11.99 and they also offer an all you can eat buffet for $8.99.

They will accommodate truckers and construction workers, so if you plan to stop and it’s before or after hours, just give them a ring. They are closed on Monday. They’re also available for parties during off hours.

Fuel Espresso Mount Vernon, Iowa

August 18 2008

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a fascination with Fuel. The place. I can often be seen with a fuel mug or to go cup in my hand on my way to work, on a lazy Sunday Afternoon, on a Saturday getting some work done. I admit it, Fuel is my weakness. The proprietor, Tommie, is one of the nicest people you would ever meet. And if you ever met her mom, (the one who’s great pastry recipes grace the food platters) you’ll know why. And the staff is just as sweet and considerate.

Mount Vernon was chosen as one of Iowa’s Main Street Communities. And Fuel is most definitely a tribute to the town.  Along with other eclectic shops and many antique stores, Mount Vernon is a nice day get away.

Fuel offers several different kinds of independently roasted coffee including: Grumpy Monkey, Organic Love, House, Rocket Fuel, and they make their special Black and Tan. They have a full menu of coffee drinks, hot and cold as well as a counter full of mom’s made from scratch homemade goodness. Which includes fruit cream scones, carrot bars topped with a cream cheese frosting, rice krispie treats, a variety of home made cookies and the occasional Texas Sheet Cake. They also carry an assortment of organic teas, caffeinated and decaf.

The gift part of the shop is just as wonderful. With everything from assorted antique wooden bread bowls to dia de muerto gifts to french soap. If you are looking for something unique, stop here. And have a great cup of joe with a carrot bar.

Kids are always welcome at Fuel, but it’s a little touch and go if you have an antsy toddler from a mom’s point of view. The first time I ever visited fuel, it was after a long walk around Mount Vernon with my then <1 year old child (I think) Anyway, he was in a stroller, a Jeep stroller, made to go on rough terrain. So it’s not small. Tommie, the owner, and her mom welcomed me in and even helped me carry the stroller into the shop. Since then, my son has grown and no longer needs a stroller, and really enjoys going to Fuel. That said, I still keep an eagle eye on him in the shop because he likes all the pretties just as much as mom does 🙂

However, don’t go driving to Mount Vernon expecting Fuel to be open into the wee hours in the morning.  Fuel is open Tuesday through Sunday from 7 AM to 5 PM.  So get your java on early in the day.

Fran and Cherie’s Skillet Cafe and Bakery Mount Vernon Iowa

August 15, 2008

We were so pumped that there is a new breakfast place in our area!  The Skillet Cafe is located on the corner of the main intersection in Mount Vernon, Iowa.  Brighton and I decided to test the breakfast menu.  Just the right amount of choices made ordering a breeze.  I chose the “Build Your Own Omelet” which came with american fries and toast.   There is no ala carte menu, so of course I had to over order for Brighton from the “Kids Menu” that wasn’t on the board, but instead on a small paper menu beside the register.   I ordered a coffee, which was in carafe’s and made for the multiples (which is OK by me – I can get my own and don’t have to wait for someone to serve it to me) but it was a little weak for my taste.  All the condiments and silver were on a cart beside the self serve soda machine.  It was an interesting take on breakfast but a good one.

They take your order when you walk in, then when it’s ready, they bring it out to you, but you are responsible for getting your own napkins, silverware, coffee, condiments, etc., as well as bussing your own table.  Some people may not like this feature, but I rather enjoyed it.  The price wasn’t outrageous, you could do things at your own pace (which is important with a toddler in tow) and you didn’t get a lot of things that you didn’t need.  You certainly don’t go broke or hungry eating here, but your coffee buzz might be lacking a tad, that is if you drink the stuff.

Don’t skip it if you visit Mount Vernon.

*********

Brighton’s Pancake Review:  They were Good.

Mom’s Pancake Review:   Kinda big, and a lot for him, so I feel like I wasted $3 unnecessarily, but they tasted great.

UPDATE:  October 3, 2008

Brighton and I went back to Skillet Cafe this morning for breakfast.  I had a philly omelet that had steak, onion, green and red pepper, and swiss cheese.  It was great!  They’ve started giving kids only 1 pancake (which makes sense) though the price is the same.  The coffee was good.  And despite my earlier post, you do NOT have to bus your own table.  You CAN if you want to help out the staff, but they will come by and pick it up.  It was a nice morning experience and the cafe was full which was a great thing to see!!  Oh!  And they’ve added free Wi-Fi.  🙂  So bring your iPod or laptop!

Zoey’s Pizza Marion, Iowa

Chicago Style Zoeys Pizza

Chicago Style Zoey's Pizza

Zoey’s Pizza

Marion, Iowa

August 2, 2008

I am happy for the first post in my food blog to be from Zoey’s Pizza in Marion Iowa.  Zoey’s has been around for a long time and they are famous for their Chicago Style Pizza.  They opened their doors in 1991 and have been serving up great pizza ever since.  One of the best things about Zoey’s (aside from their pizza) is their location.  They are right on the “strip” in Marion and in a quaint building decorated with eclectic and retro wallpaper, pictures, and memorabilia that fits in with the antique shops and historical sites surrounding it.

Staff was well dressed, clean, fast and friendly.  Immediately bringing my 3 year old son crayons and a picture to color.   The restaurant is clean and inviting.  Menus are easy to read and simple though the options are great.  If you arrive after 5:30 or so, especially on the weekend, expect to wait at least 10-20 minutes.  The wait can be tedious because there is only a small area inside to stand in and no sheltered area outside.  The prices vary with Chicago style being the most expensive overall, but you will NOT leave hungry and can easily make 3 or more meals out of a large Chicago Style pizza.  Please visit their website to see the menu.

Garlic Cheese Bread from Zoeys Pizzaria

Garlic Cheese Bread from Zoey's Pizzaria