Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth in Kolna, Iowa, is located where the historic Kalona Hotel once resided. It has the original wood floors, exposed brick, an extensive wine cellar, antique booths, and a massive outdoor eating area. They also have entertainment that is scheduled and listed on their website. For this small town in Iowa, it seems unusual.
Their motto seems to be: "You'll think that you are in Italy"! They do have Mediterranean-inspired food and decor, but it's difficult to image Italy right here in this mid-American town. Warren and Paula Miller are co-owners and have recently added a room that seats 30, and it called Top of the Moon. [That brings the seating capacity to 90 with the downstairs and the patio.] This new room will no doubt be used for business meetings, rehearsal diners for weddings or for graduation parties and the like.
We visited on a Tuesday, May 22, 2007 with the intend on eating our lunch here. However, we discovered that it was closed on Tuesdays [even though the advertisements indicated otherwise.].
It advertises that Dinners are available Wednesdays, Thursdays [5 p.m.- 9 p.m.] and Fridays and Saturdays [5 p.m.-10 p.m.]
Lunches were to be served on Tuesdays through Saturdays [11 a.m.-2 p.m.]
Favorite Dish: For dinner, Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth features Salads, Appetizers, Pasta, Steaks [Beef Tenderloin, Porterhouse Steaks, and Ribeye], and Seafood. They are famous for their Desserts, especially their Cheesecakes. They offer Specials daily.
For lunch, they offer Appetizers, Salads, Wraps, Pasta, an 8-oz. Black Angus Burger along with many other specials.
I wish that we could have experience this delightful restaurant; however, we were satisfied with our alternative, The Fireside ..
While in Kalona, we originally wanted to eat at The Tuscan Moon; however, it was not open. Thus, we decided to eat at The Fireside Grill Steak House and Martini Bar. We were quite fortunate because it turned out to be just wonderful.
The Fireside Grill is open every day from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm. On Thursday nights, the owners and hosts [Riella and Wes Rich] welcome their guests and present by Eddie Piccard's Band. They play from 6:30-9:00 pm. There is no cover charge.
This is like an old fashioned but hip Supper Club. It is quite large and well appointed. I especially liked the mural on the wall.
They offer appetizers, salads, steak pasta, BBQ ribs, salmon, hot and cold sandwiches, wraps and a child's menu. They have a grand dessert menu which includes gelato, tiramisu, cheesecake, chocolate layer cake, homemade pie, sundaes, and floats.
They also have espresso and lattes, soft drinks, and a full-service bar. During weekends, they offer a musician such as a piano player or a saxaphone player.
Favorite Dish: Jill and I were very pleased with our waiter. He just happened to be from Chicago originally, and he just happened to be the owner's son! What a smile and what a pleasant personality. He made our eating experience even that much better.
Jill and I shared a Chicken Casadilla [we agreed it was the best we had ever tasted!]
Jill also had a "loaded Potato Soup" in a cup. She loved it, too.
But, the very best part of the meal was, of course, the dessert. Our waiter suggested it to us: Coconut gelato with slivered almonds and chocolate sauce. We were "in heaven"!
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On our last night in Iowa, we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in Davenport. The owner of the B&B suggested that we have dinner at The Boat House Davenport.
What a great suggestion that turned out to be!
The location alone was spectacular. It is located right on the Mississippi River. We were able to watch boat traffic as we ate.
It's obvious that the locals come here regularly. It was quite full on a Friday night, probably because of the delicious fish that they prepare.
The menu is extensive and includes such appetizers as Crab Cakes, French Fried Lobster, and Thai Chicken to name just a few.
They also offer soups and salads such as Bavarian Steak Soup, Clam Chowder, Grilled Chicken Salad, and Caesar Salad..
The entrees include such items as Prime Rib Au Jus, BBQ Ribs, Mahi Mahi, Catfish Platter, and Chicken Forester [grilled chicken breast topped with cognac mushroom sauce]. Of course, this is only a few of the main courses that are offered.
They have a Feature of the Day, which the waiter/waitress explains. Also they have many Combination Platters with you choosing one land and one sea item. Some choices would be Chicken, Prime Rib, Top Sirloin (1) teamed up with either Catfish, Shrimp, or Crab Legs (1).
Jill and I both liked the fact that they also had a Lighter Fare with sandwiches such as Reuben, Catfish Filet, Salmon Burger, Hamburger. Also offered was Chicken Planks [chicken tenders deep fried in a seasoned breading served with ranch dressing] or Crab Cake, or the Slimmer Plate [Choice of Burger or Chicken on Tomato Slices with Cottage Cheese. Once again, these are just a few of the examples.
Our waitress was friendly, efficient, and helpful.
Favorite Dish: Jill ordered the Catfish Filet Sandwich WITHOUT the bread. She let me try a bite, and it was "out of this world" delicious. She also ordered a House Salad that had garden greens with her choice of dressing [Blue Cheese]. She finished the salad so I assume she enjoyed it.
I ordered a cup of SEVEN LILIES SOUP [seven types of onions topped with a crouton and swiss cheese]. I had never heard of this particular kind of soup, but I soon learned that it is spectacular...subtle, mild, rich in texture, and quite delicious. I also had a salad with Blue Cheese, which I enjoyed very much.
I made sure that I ate a small meal so that I could order dessert! For dessert, I devoured a yummy Hot Fudge Sundae [see photo], and Jill had a Root Beer Float.
All-in-all, we both enjoyed the ambience, the food, and the spectacular scenery, especially the large Paddle Boat that went by.
After a fast-paced tour of historic downtown Main Street Dubuque, Jill and I were quite thirsty so we went to Cafe Manna Java. They advertise that they use only the finest natural ingredients, which was a plus as far as we were concerned. Not only is it a coffee/tea shop, but they also serve wood-fired oven pizzas, European breads, handcrafted pastries, cheesecakes, soups, and sandwiches.
They have Hot Paninis as well as sandwiches. The hot sandwiches are baked on a grill, and all sauces are made from scratch They make all their own artisan breads. Some of the unusual sandwiches and Paninis are:
Raber's Special, Black Forest Ham, white cheddar, red onions, spring mix lettuce with cranberry mustard on a Sesame Semolina bread.
The Sofia, chicken breast with white cheddar and Swiss cheeses, organic spinach, red onions, with a cranberry citrus sauce served on Cranberry Walnut Bread with apple butter.
The Wood-Fired Pizzas come with such names as:
Florentine, La Carnivorum, Greek Vegetable, Proscuitto & Montclaret, Four Cheese Primo, The Friedrick, to name just a few!
Favorite Dish: Jill and I had the Spinach Fruit Salad that contains Spinach, red onion, apple, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, mandarin oranges with a vinaigrette. We both agreed that it was quite delicious. It was far too large for our small appetites. The cost is $6.50.
I had one of their specialty coffees, and Jill ordered tea.
It was crowded with people purchasing the homemade breads and pastries as well as the people eating there.
1. Jill at the Ox Yoke Inn, Family Style Food Since 1940.
2. Homemade desserts at the Ox Yoke Inn Restaurant
3. Inside the OxYoke Inn Restaurant in Amana, Iowa.
The OxYoke Inn Restaurant in Amana has been in operation since 1940. William and Lina Leichsenring opened their restaurant to serve local residents. "At that time, dinners cost 65 cents and were made from Old World German and American recipes passed from mother to daughter". The foods had sources in the Amanas with fresh vegetables, meat from the Amana Colonies smokehouses, and chickens from neighboring farms. That is why OxYoke symbolizes the hard work of life in the Amanas; it also recalls times gone by.
We learned that William Leichsenring was born in the room that is now the Amana restaurant's Amana dining room. His wife, Lina, [when she was a little girl] worked very long hours in an Amana Colonies community kitchen. This "family style" is a tradition of service that is still carried on at the Ox Yoke Restaurant today.
Favorite Dish: Jill and I enjoyed our meal at The OxYoke Inn Restaurant; you could tell the moment that you walked in that this is where the locals still eat. It's obvious that it is a German Restaurant also. Since Jill and I both have small appetites, we decided to share a meal.
We chose to share A Ruben Sandwich which came with crisp Cold Slaw, and Fresh Fruit. It was plenty enough for us, and quite delicious.
Our long-time waitress was efficient, speedy, and humorous too. The Old World ambience, the family-style service, and the home-made food was all outstanding.
Although I usually don't even eat at fast foot restaurants, Jill and I could not resist eating at the Subway Restaurant in Bellevue, Iowa! It's location is really incredible: right on the Mississippi River where you can see Bellevue Lock and Dam Number 12!
The photograph shows the beautiful large deck that this restaurant has. Because Jill cannot sit in the sun; instead, we sat inside at the windows that look out over the River. I went outside to take the photo because I knew few people would believe that this location was from a Subway Sandwich Restaurant.
In addition, this was, indeed, the largest Subway Sandwich Shop that I had ever seen. No doubt, since I saw no other Fast Food restaurants in Bellevue, lots of residents stop here. It was around noon, and we had to wait in line.
Favorite Dish: Both Jill and I ordered A Veggie Subway Sandwich with our choices of vegetables and our choice of freshly-made bread. I had the Italian Cheese Bread, and Jill chose the Honey Wheat bread. In addition, we had the 75 calorie bag of potato chips that are low fat, and a cold drink with as many refills as we wanted.
We certainly enjoyed our meal; it was fresh, tasted delicious, and we loved the view!
Jill and I decided to have dessert at Potter's Mill Restaurant in Bellevue. Actually, we were excited to see the inside of the mill.
Elbridge Gerry Potter built his "Jasper Mills" in 1843. He used limestone from the bluffs across the Big Mill Creek. He sold his Jasper XXX Flour to wholesalers and grocers in St. Louis, New Orleans, Galena, Chicao, New York, and Boston.
The flood of 1896 washed out the spillway and a steam engine was brought in and then electricity. In 1969 [after 126 years of service] the mill was closed. It's now on the National Register of Historic Places, and it has been restored to its original texture. They did a great job of keeping the structure and the atmosphere of the old mill intact. Now, it serves as a restaurant and bed and breakfast. We did not see the B&B part.
In the restaurant, they have a menu of hearty food, wholesome breads, and delicious desserts.
Favorite Dish: Jill and I split a dessert which was so rich and delicious. It was a turtle cheesecake like none other I have ever tasted. I also had coffee with my dessert. As we ate, we marveled at the huge timbers, beautiful limestone, and gorgeous old floors still intact. A wonderful experience.
Located in Main Amana, the Ox Yoke is a great dining experience. It's been open since 1940 and never disappoints.
After being seated, you'll receive a basket of homemade bread while you decide what to order. When you order family style (I'm not sure why you would order anything else) you will receive (with your main dish) a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes, a bowl of vegetables (usually corn) fresh from the garden, a bowl of homemade cottage cheese, and a bowl of sauerkraut.
Then comes the big decision of what entree to order. You can choose from Iowa ham, fried chicken, catfish, unbelievably thick pork chops, or wiener schnitzel, among other things. The schnitzel comes with spaeztle, which is fantastic, and I almost always end up getting that even though I feel really guilty about eating veal. Then comes dessert!
Family style dining is a lot of fun. The bowls get passed around and around, some people call dibs on certain bowls - "Grandma can have the sauerkraut as long as I can keep the cottage cheese over here by me!" - and everyone waddles out of the restaurant very happy.
Favorite Dish: It's all good. It really is. The homemade cottage cheese is especially delightful though.
One of my favorite things to do when I visit Iowa is to go down to the Amanas and pick and choose my way around the colonies to make up the perfect picnic meal. Then I take all the fixings to the Lily Lake, pick out a place to sit down and have, what I think is, the best meal on the PLANET. The only catch is, you have to get up pretty early to do this. I suggest bringing a cooler to store some of the items until lunch time.
Okay, so here's what you do: get yourself to the Amanas early. That is key because your first stop usually runs out of items before 10am or so. This is the bakery in Middle Amana. If you come from Cedar Rapids on Hwy 151, when you get to the Amanas intersection, turn right. There's the Lily Lake on your left as you follow 220th Trail around some curves and past some historic buildings to Hahn's Hearth Oven Bakery on J St (just off 26th or 27th Ave). This is the only original hearth bakery in the Amanas. They open at 7:30am and aren't open on Mondays (in the winter, they're only open on Saturdays). Get a loaf of bread and a pastry. I honestly don't know the name of this thing but describe it and the employees will help you. Basically, it is a fairly big piece of dough that's been folded in half. It's filled with preserves, which you can see peeking out the 3 edges. Sugar sprinkles the top. Raspberry is the best.
Next stop - High Amana General Store on G St. Pick yourself up a 6-pack of the Amana root beer or cream soda. They also let you mix - so get 3 of each if you like!
Then we're heading back down 220th Trail the way we came to Main Amana (also called just "Amana"). Go to the Amana Meat Shop & Smokehouse on F St (a left turn off 220th onto 43rd, 44th, or 45th Ave and then right onto F). They've been around since 1858 so you know whatever you get it'll be good. Order some meat - ham, roast beef, sausage, whatever you want (although it *is* Iowa so I'd go with the ham), and some cheese. Cheese curds make a yummy snack.
Okay, so now it's only about 9am and you're ready for lunch. So, put your meats & cheeses & drinks in the cooler and go enjoy the Amanas. Shop around a little and enjoy the historic homes and dainty gardens. At lunch time, go to Lily Lake and you've got the fixin's for a great sandwich on the best bread you've ever had, creamy root beer to drink, and a heavenly dessert.
You won't be disappointed!
Favorite Dish: It's all good. Just bear in mind something - there is a bakery in Main Amana. You're more than welcome to get your bread and pastries there but I've been to both and Hahn's is far superior in quality, in my opinion.
My wife and I have lived in Des Moines for seven years and we love to eat out. There are so many options in Des Moines that we try to not eat in the same place twice (although we still do) Some of our favorites are El Azteca, Centro, Buzzard Bill's, and Cold Stone Creamery for Ice Cream.
$11 as of August 2013. This restaurant looked pretty good inside and out with dark wood and bright colors. I ordered the Enchiladas Supremas (4 enchiladas; one beef, one chicken, one bean and one cheese) which was above average. Service was good and efficient but too mechanical and not that friendly. They did not make me feel that welcome. Hours are 10 AM to 10 PM Sunday through Friday and 5 PM to 10 PM on Saturday.
$13 as of August 2013. Perkin's specializes in "comfort food" and baked goods (like great pies and cakes). The atmosphere tends to be casual and family oriented. This time I had some Cajun Tilapia, herbed rice, and steamed spinach. Everything was well-prepared and the portions were good. Perkins is open 24 hours a day.
$11 as of August 2013. The name of the place is not real imaginative and since it is in a strip mall, there is not much in the way of decor outside, and not much more inside. What they do have, though is some very good Chinese food and a friendly staff. The hostess was an absolutely beautiful young woman, one of those exotic looking Asian dolls that looks so tiny and fragile. Hours are 11 AM to 9 PM Monday through Friday and 4 PM to 9 PM Saturday and Sunday.
Favorite Dish: I really enjoyed my Garlic Chicken. Well prepared and plentiful.
$22 as of August 2013. Applebee's advertises itself as a neighborhood type place and frequently it is. The food is good and the atmosphere semi-casual. You fit in here in a suit or in jeans. The Applebee's in Marshalltown was no different. My waitress was friendly and efficient and my food was very tasty. I also really liked the hostess. Her name was Silver but her hair was bright blue, and she was quite cute. Could not talk her into a photo though ;-(
Favorite Dish: My Three Cheese Chicken Penne was quite good, although I am not sure my heart doctor would approve.
$13 as of August 2013. The Junction Cafe is located at a truck stop. The meatloaf was good with slightly above average portions; but the service was average at best. Come for the food not the service. Hours are 7 AM to 9 PM Sunday through Thursday and 7 AM to 10 PM Friday and Saturday.
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