Heart Attack on a Plate (and the last day of Iowa week)

So it's the last day of Iowa week here at FoodHussy. Kinda sad - I miss home quite a bit - which is odd since I was so happy to leave 7+ years ago! But Cinci is home now...and that's a good thing!

But back to Iowa - they have a huge Farmers Market in downtown Cedar Rapids - I should have taken pics but I wanted one day blog-free! While there - my friends introduced me to Rileys - where they serve something called the Shipwreck. How can that not be good?!

I had a bite and it was delish! So we decided to hit Riley's up for breakfast later in our trip.

It's right on 1st Ave in Cedar Rapids next to Moose McDuffys - gotta love that name. Parking is either on the street or in the back. Inside is an eclectic mix of signs and photos and junk from all over the place.

I went for a fairly normal breakfast of eggs, biscuits & gravy and toast. Iowans really like big thick toast - that was one difference I noticed right off the bat. This was like the 3rd time we had huge pieces of toast!

The biscuits were a little thick and heavy - I prefer them more light and airy. The gravy was good and the eggs/toast were great as well.

Amy got the Shipwreck - I think this is actually half a shipwreck. They don't have an online menu so I can't tell you what's all in it or the price. It's potatoes, eggs, veggies, meats and cheese - all fried up together. She barely made a dent in that thing! And of course - big ass toast.

Tanner being Tanner - munching away on his eggs and hashbrowns. :-)

Oh how I wish they had an online menu because I can't for the life of me remember what in the hell this thing was called! Larry decided he was HUNGRY and as usual his eyes were bigger than his stomach- but he did eat quite a bit.

In this concoction you'll find a biscuit, a hamburger (yes at 8am), a sausage pattie (maybe 2), hashbrowns, tomatoes, onions and potatoes. It was supposed to come with eggs but Larry asked them to instead POUR SAUSAGE GRAVY OVER IT!

I wonder what it's called? Heart Attack on a Plate maybe? And yes - the husband with 7% body fat enjoyed it! Argh!!!

Why Should You Go? I'd say that this place gives Hamburg Inn a run for it's money on breakfast - so for Cedar Rapids - it's my new go-to choice!

Riley's on Urbanspoon

Boatin, Playin, Tannin, Eatin

While on my trip to Iowa - we took the boat out on the Mississippi River and headed out for a day of sun (still peeling) and fun (river water - ooooh!). 

Our friend's choice for boating took us up to Guttenberg, IA. From there - we put the boat in and head up river to a sandbar where we bake in the hot hot hot HOT sun and then cool off in the river. After a few hours of that - we were hungry! So we hopped in the boat and headed back toward Guttenberg. 

Along the way - is Bill's Boat Landing. It's got a pretty nice sized dock where lots of boats can pull up. Then hop out and head inside where it's a LITTLE cooler and have some grub! 

It's pretty standard pub fare - so don't expect anything fancy. And you might as well set an extra place for all the flies that buzz around there! But I have to remember - it was 150 degrees out that day - and flies get hot too apparently. 

Larry got the onion rings - which were great (sorry not too many websites around here - hell I didn't even know where I was!). They were crispy and very tasty.

I went for the fried shrimp and American fries (with cheese). These were okay - the shrimp were fine - but I tired of them quickly - guess I just wasn't in a shrimpy mood. The fried potatoes - weren't very crispy and I hate when they slap a piece of American cheese on them - buy some damn shredded cheese - it's not that much more expensive!

Why Should You Go? Well if you're on a boat and you're hungry - it's there. No ambiance and lots of flies - but it was fine for what we were looking for.

Bill's Boat Landing on Urbanspoon

Finally we got back to Guttenberg and the boys got the boat all hitched up and ready to head back to Cedar Rapids. But first - we were dying for something cool!

And we found Joe's Pizza! While Pizza isn't cool - their ice cream is! It seemed like the popular place that afternoon.

Ahhhhhhh....ice cream! 

Why Should You Go? Cold ice cream on a hot day = goodness. 

Joe's Pizza on Urbanspoon

An Institution in Iowa City

On my trek through Southeast Iowa - I had decided to hit up some of my old favorites. One day we got to head down for a day in Iowa City - where my alma mater is! GO HAWKS! After stocking up on some Hawkeye apparel for me and Larry - we grabbed a high school friend (who I hadn't seen in 13 years!!) and went to the Hamburg Inn for lunch!

The Hamburg appears to be just a regular-old greasy spoon - but it's got so much history. Just take a peek at this Urbanspoon photo - um yeah! Presidents dine there!!!! Ronald Reagan was the first - there's a plaque over he booth he sat at. It's also THE place to go for a hangover breakfast. And, while we weren't hung over and it was lunch time, I went for breakfast!!!

I went for the "Hawkeye Hog" omelette ($8.29) - it had hashbrowns, sausage and american cheese inside and was smothered in sausage gravy. Oh how delicious it was! I used to live a few blocks from the Hamburg so I went all the time! I really missed it!

Larry got the Rueben ($8.99) and sweet potato fries. He said the meat was a dry so he wasn't too much of a fan. But he did like the feel of the place - it's very laid back.

Sarah went for my second choice - the patty melt ($8.29) and loved it. She raved about the marble rye and the ranch (it's homemade).

Why Should You Go? If you're EVER in Iowa City - it's one of 2 places I recommend (Pagliai's Pizza is the other). Go here for breakfast and then to Pagliai's for dinner. It's laid back and local and has really great food - breakfast is the star of the show there - but you can get it all day!!! For me, going to Hamburg takes me back to college - and that's always a good memory! GO HAWKS!

The Hamburg Inn No. 2 Inc. on Urbanspoon

The Best Pizza in Cedar Rapids!

So yes - it's Iowa week on TheFoodHussy.com - I just couldn't help but take pics of all my favorite places and hey - you never know when you might be passing through the City of Five Smells...I mean Seasons. Seriously - that's the motto "The City of Five Seasons" - it's stupid. But they do have five smells - I always seem to forget one of them though - let's see - there's Quaker Oats, ADM Corn (the WORST), the Dump (breezes are the worst), Ralston/Purina and General Mills. The only good smell is once a week - Quaker Oats makes their version of Fruity Pebbles. That my friends - is a good smell.

But back to Iowa week - one of my favorite places in CR is Zoey's Pizzeria. It's a tiny little place actually in Marion (which is like Cincinnati/Covington - without a river separating). If you go on a Friday night - prepare to wait and wait and WAIT. We tried...but our hunger pangs from an 8 hour drive were too much so we decided to go back Saturday for lunch - much better choice! (Stil busy though).

Zoey's is all about the pizza - they have New York Thin and Chicago Thick. The NY Thin isn't really thin or NY style really but being from Iowa - I never knew the difference. My favorite is always the Chicago Thick. I get very disappointed when someone doesn't want to get that - it's what I go to Zoey's for!

Tanner, of course, had to show off...I think it's the "mean quarterback" face?

It was a big family lunch with Amy's mom and brother joining us - I've known her family since I was 3 years old - so pretty much - her family is my family! Josh was too hungry to wait for the pizza so he got an order of garlic cheese bread ($6.00). He just laughed when this came out and said "I hope you're all hungry!" It was a GIANT order and really was more like "cheese with a little cube of bread underneath". But hey - I love cheese - it was good! Too cheesy for Larry though.

Four of us got a large Chicago style half Taco - half Zoey ($25.50). They are definitely known for their taco pizza - it even comes with sour cream on it! The Zoey is a fairly typical "supreme" with lots of meats and veggies.

Here's a shot of the Zoey - thick tomato sauce and the crust is great - really flaky.

And a close-up of the Taco. It has more of a salsa type of sauce - reheats well too. Amy and I each ate only one piece at lunch. It's so thick! You just kept taking bite after bite and still had half a slice left!

Why Should You Go? Well not too many places have the thick crust and Zoey's is local - which I love. I'm not usually one to reheat in the microwave but it stayed crispy on the crust - which is saying something! I'm a big fan of Zoey's and it was nice to revisit after all these years! If you're in the area and haven't had Zoey's - you should go!!!! (Just avoid Friday & Saturday night unless you are prepared for an hour wait.)

Zoeys Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

The Best Mozz Sticks On The Planet

I know that's a big claim to make - but I've eaten a lot of them in my day and these will live in infamy. Yes - you are about to find out where the best mozzarella sticks on the planet are located. Be patient my friends...you'll know in a couple of paragraphs. :-)

First - I must say that I headed back home for my 20 year high school reunion last week and it was a fantastic time! I also ate out a lot - usually I hit up Carlos O'Kellys and Maid Rite but this trip - I decided to branch out and hit up some of my other favorites from my days of tearing it up in the big CR! 

Also - I think I'll be the #1 food blogger in Cedar Rapids/Iowa City when these couple of weeks have passed - there isn't much competition and I think I have 8 restaurants that I went to! 

Now - back to those cheese sticks. Where are they? 

Yes - the Tic Toc - it's a small, locally owned "bar & grill" near Mt. Mercy College. My bff Amy went there to school and introduced me to these amazing sticks many moons ago. When we got to town - we decided that was the first place to visit!

And the little nugget in the photo is her son - Tanner. He is a HAM - as you'll see by the photos at the end. He was posing for me - the above is his "Yeah - I'm a cool tough guy" pose. 

Here we are - Larry chatting with Amy's hub and Tanner - very intensely focused on his DS while we wait for the cheesy delight!

It's a cool little place - kinda dark - lots of wood - lots of regulars - love it.

Here they are...they may not look like much - but holy wow...they are AWESOME! Here's why:

1. They're huge - it's like a 1/4 pound of mozzarella cheese in each stick - and even this cheesaholic only ate one!
2. Um - they came with ranch - duh.
3. They are BATTERED instead of breaded.
4. It's a light fry on them.
5. They are not greasy at all!

So there you have it - the best mozz sticks in the USA!

Again - the ham - here he's doing his rapper imitation. 

The food at the Toc is pretty good too - Nick got chicken & ribs ($10.95) with a side of hash browns and beans...

I got the Patty Melt ($5.25) - it was delish - love the marble rye. I just love Iowa bar food - no idea why - it's very comforting.

Amy got the french dip ($6.25) and enjoyed it...

We were all too busy catching up to really discuss the food - other than obsessing over the sticks. 

And now - more "Faces of Tanner"

"Zombies Got Me" Tanner

"I've got muscles like Larry" Tanner

"Superhero Posing" Tanner

I love that kid - even more than the mozzarella sticks. 

Why Should You Go? I would almost say make a special trip to Iowa for these sticks. And there is enough other great food along the way - it's a great trip. And go see a Hawkeye game!!!! 

Tic Toc on Urbanspoon

Drive Around Yellow Springs

I love Yellow Springs. If you haven't been - you need to go! It's a hippie town - home to Antioch College (they don't believe in grades - you do "self evaluations" at the end of your class) and it's got a very hippie vibe to it. It's also home to Dave Chapelle

A few years back, my comedy class instructor told me that Dave lived up there and I've heard many people tell me they'd seen him - but I finally had my first Chapelle sighting in Yellow Springs! I decided to be very cool and not take his picture or anything. He was walking around with his shirt off just chatting with random peeps on the street that were playing music, etc... He's much bigger in person! 

So back to YS - it's about an hour and fifteen minutes from Cinci - just north of Dayton. And once you enter the town - you know you're someplace unique. Cars stop for pedestrians, the sidewalks are FILLED with people of every color and there are vendors and shops and music EVERYWHERE! It's a great place to spend a day. 

I also have to thank my good friend Jennifer Reed for getting us to go. We were looking through her new book - Cincinnati Day Trips - looking for someplace to go - and there it was - Yellow Springs! A great little nudge for us to go. And the plug for her book - it's awesome! It's a history lesson wrapped up with fantastic pictures and great weekend ideas - I can't WAIT to dive in and check out more places! 

But after walking around and spotting Chapelle a few times - we were a couple of hungry kids and needed sustenance.

We found Ye Olde Trail Tavern on the main drag there and decided to stop. We'd been a couple of places but hadn't tried this one - so it was something new.

It's an OLD building - very unique. The inside is dark and a tight squeeze - but we sat outside on the covered patio and enjoyed the scenery.

It's a cute little nook that houses probably 7 businesses! There's a pottery shop...

There's also an art gallery/store (where I got a fantastic painting a couple years ago) and a few other shops back this way.

Then there's the nut house! (Not where I live though). We were dying to get some sugared pecans but they closed before we were done with dinner.

All of those photos of nearby shops were taken from our seat on the patio - pretty cool!

Larry got the Reuben and fries ($8.95) and it was delicious! I was a bit jealous of him at this point - thick, juicy and cheesy - yum yum and yum!

I got the Pesto Grilled Cheese ($5.75) with mozzarella, pesto, tomato and spinach (also a bag of kettle chips). I was jealous of Larry - until I had a few bites of this sandwich! It was fantastic as well! It was just cheesy enough but not too much so - the spinach and pesto really added a ton of flavor and crunch.

Why Should You Go?  Well originally we tried to go to Ha-Ha Pizza and didn't have such a good experience. I tried to go before and really liked it so we went there first. After waiting for 20 minutes - we were finally passed up by the waitress so she could wait on an 8-top that had just walked in the door. We (and the 4-top next to us) got fed up and walked out. So The Trail Tavern was our second choice but it was a good one - we both really enjoyed the sandwiches we got and the patio is a really great seat to watch the world go by.

Ye Olde Trail Tavern on Urbanspoon

After dinner - we decided to walk around the square a little more and see some of the houses that Yellow Springs has to offer.

Then we came across the Enchanted Walkway. We definitely had to duck to get through - but it's pretty cool. They have the branches taped and bound up to make this - it's cute.

And we found the Corner Cone! We each got a small chocolate cone (mm mm good) and walked around a bit more. They also have bikes for rent to tool around town with! Great find!

Corner Cone on Urbanspoon

And then on the way home - we came across this giant cow on Highway 42. This cow is the size of a semi! Sorry for the bad picture - the sun was shining and I tried to take the picture while we were driving by. Anybody who knows why this cow is in their yard - please share? I'm guessing they're cattle farmers?! 

All in all - I love an afternoon in Yellow Springs - it's a nice quiet drive and there's a lot to see: hippies, musicians and celebrities!