Petes Hamburger Stand Review

Petes Hamburger Stand Review

My Petes Hamburger Stand Review.  For over 100 years, 112 to be exact as of this year, Pete’s Hamburger Stand has been opening Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, summers only, to sell their unique hamburgers to a hungry public.

Why unique?  Because they are BOILED. But in the interest of accurately, I think “simmered” (in water) is more accurate.  Also swimming in that water on the flattop? A gajillion pieces of sliced onion.

Don’t get it?

Here’s a short video I found on YouTube.

The menu is as basic as a food seller can get.  Hamburger. Canned soda. Chips.  End of story. My pic at the top shows a burger without onion on the left, with on the right.

There are a modest number of condiments available.

$5.00 for each smash burger.  And worth it.  And worth the drive, from whereever you are, because Praire du Chien, WI is not on the way to or from anywhere!

But it is also home to Valley Fish and Cheese, a really fun stop that I have also written about. Somewhere on this site. LOL

Petes Hamburger Stand

Minutes before opening bell

 

 

Pete's Hamburger Stand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Petes Hamburger Stand Review

Petes Hamburger Stand Review

For over 100 years, 112 to be exact as of this year, Pete’s Hamburger Stand has been opening Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, summers only, to sell their unique hamburgers to a hungry public.

Why unique?  Because they are BOILED. But in the interest of accurately, I think “simmered” (in water) is more accurate.  Also swimming in that water on the flattop? A gajillion pieces of sliced onion.

Don’t get it?

Here’s a short video I found on YouTube.

The menu is as basic as a food seller can get.  Hamburger. Canned soda. Chips.  End of story. My pic at the top shows a burger without onion on the left, with on the right.

There are a modest number of condiments available.

$5.00 for each smash burger.  And worth it.  And worth the drive, from whereever you are, because Praire du Chien, WI is not on the way to or from anywhere!

But it is also home to Valley Fish and Cheese, a really fun stop that I have also written about. Somewhere on this site. LOL

Golden Dome Cafe Review – Fairfield, Iowa

Golden Dome Cafe Review

 

Back in the “before times” I was making one of my annual treks through Iowa, and the route took me thru Fairfield, population 10,000 and home to Maharishi International University (MIU),  is a private university in Fairfield, Iowa. It was founded in 1973 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and features a “consciousness-based education” system that includes the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique.

The “University” was founded in 1973 when the group purchased the bankrupt Parsons College. The University’s influence on the town has grown and added to its population and economy.

As a lark, I decided to eat at one of their two cafes open to the public. The “Golden Dome” referred to is in relation to one of two huge twin structures dedicated to group meditation.

The cafe was on the second floor of a small organic-centered market; most everything I saw on the shelves were the normal organic/vegetarian brands you see in groceries, but at a higher price (captive audience).

I was there at lunchtime, and the cafe had a very small cafeteria-style offerings, point and it will be put on your plate. Prices are by weight of your plate.  Makes accounting simple, I guess.

It appeared most of the help were students.  It appeared most of the help did not welcome strangers. There was a pitcher of cool water and paper cups, with a sign indicating said water was for diners only.  Reflecting on my visit, there were a lot of signs around the campus.  A lot of rules.

I had $9.00 worth” of food, nothing to write home about. Vegetarian lasagna was OK.

Asked if I could peek inside the Dome and was med by a resounding “NO!” and a security guard led me away from the entrance.

Fairfield, itself, is cute, a typical small town in Iowa, with stores and (a disproportionate number of ethnic) eateries surrounding a town square.

So I enjoyed the town, but not the people or cafe at the University.  Bland and overpriced. (Cafe food, can’t say about the people).

They had hopes of building a housing subdivision with all the amenities.  It’s just outside of town. There were less than half dozen homes completed.

Golden Dome Market and Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Golden Dome Cafe Review

Golden Dome Cafe Review

 

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review – Oswego, IL

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review
Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review

Tipcia Burger

My Asadoras Argentinas Burgers  Review comes with a spoiler. It’s terrific!

I’ve had a great deal of satisfaction lately in exploring unique restaurants in small towns in the Upper Midwest.  You stumble on to them and are almost tempted to say “what the heck is that doing here?”

Such was the case in Oswego, IL, and finding Asadoras Argentinas Burgers. Oswego is 45 miles west of downtown Chicago, just off I-88. A bit more from Rockford, IL, 72 miles Southeast, I-39 to I-88.

Asadoras (Spanish for “roasted” or “grilled”) serves char-grilled hand-pattied burgers (about 1/3 pound, at least) with Argentinian style toppings, somewhat adapted for the American palate. We tried the Criolla Burger, which was topped with Mozzarella, salsa criolla, and chimichurri mayonnaise.  Burger number two was the “Tipica,” topped with lettuce tomato, honey ham, cheddar, fried egg, and red bell pepper strips.

Both were superb.  Cooked perfectly, perched on an ultra-soft bakery roll that was still firm enough to hold the ingredients without collapsing in your hands. (Don’t you hate it when that happens? I sure do!)

The primary side is a very unique extruded fry, which they call “side wedges.”  By extruded, I mean these are made from a potato slurry and pushed through a mold to gain their unique shape.  Very crispy on the outside, and pillowy inside, we opted for the chimichurri style, so the fries were decorated with dollops of the famous chimichurri sauce, as unique an Argentinian condiment as you can find.

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review

Chimichurri Fries

Although it’s served throughout the Western hemisphere now, its roots are solidly Argentinian, but by way of (most common story), a British soldier stationed there in the early 19th century. It’s (usually) a melange of finely chopped parsley, garlic, pepper, oregano, vinegar, and olive oil.

The unique shape of the fries holds the condiment well.  You can also opt for regular fries, paprika fries, or cheddar bacon. Optional side sauces include Criolla, Avocado Mayo, and Poblano.

There are other sandwiches, and wings on the menu, a vegetarian sandwich and a kid’s menu.

If you’re a fan of great burgers, this is worth a stop. Very friendly and helpful staff, too!   Facebook page.

 

Here’s the burger menu, click to enlarge.

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review

 

 

 

Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review
Asadoras Argentinas Burgers Review

Smokin Coop BBQ Review

Smoking Coop BBQ Review

Smokin Coop BBQ Review

Smokin Coop BBQ Review Belvidere Illinois. Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, I……wait. Never mind. On a country road between Chicago and Rockford, IL, there’s a guy doing BBQ every summer, Mon-Sat, lunch, and dinner. Completely “al fresco” there are picnic tables and chairs scattered under the trees just off the road.

There is a port-a-potty.

The menu is is ribs, chicken, beef, and some creative sandwiches, like smoked ham or a turkey club. I went with the latter, and it was superb. Not the best club I’ve ever had in my life, that honor goes to Portland Oregon’s oldest restaurant, “Hubers” who specialize in all things turkey.

There are lines for food, lines for beverages.  There is a loaded baked potato that people rave about.

All dinners come with two sides and a piece of cornbread.  Sides choices include slaw, beans, potato salad, or apple sauce.  Plates run between $7 – $20.

This is a great place to take advantage of COVID dining.  Plenty of distancing and open air.

This energetic couple made  a video of their visit and got some insider secrets.  Nobody ever gives ME any!

 

Full menu.

Smokin' Coop BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smokin Coop BBQ Review Belvidere Illinois. Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, I……wait. Never mind. On a country road between Chicago and Rockford, IL, there’s a guy doing BBQ every summer, Mon-Sat, lunch, and dinner. Completely “al fresco” there are picnic tables and chairs scattered under the trees just off the road.

There is a port-a-potty.

The menu is is ribs, chicken, beef, and some creative sandwiches, like smoked ham or a turkey club. I went with the latter, and it was superb. Not the best club I’ve ever had in my life, that honor goes to Portland Oregon’s oldest restaurant, “Hubers” who specialize in all things turkey.

There are lines for food, lines for beverages.  There is a loaded baked potato that people rave about.

All dinners come with two sides and a piece of cornbread.  Sides choices include slaw, beans, potato salad, or apple sauce.  Plates run between $7 – $20.

This is a great place to take advantage of COVID dining.  Plenty of distancing and open air.

This energetic couple made  a video of their visit and got some insider secrets.  Nobody ever gives ME any!

Taylor Maid-Rite Review Marshalltown

Taylor Maid Rite Review Marshalltown Iowa

Taylor Maid-Rite Review Marshalltown

“Maid-Rite” restaurants started as a single outlet in Muscatine, Iowa, in 1926. For those unfamiliar with the term, the “Maid-Rite” is a loose meat sandwich, cooked on a steam table with onions, mustard, and “secret seasonings,” piled on a steamed bun with mustard and pickles.

Locations come and go, but as of today, there are 32 locations in Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri. The one in Springfield, Illinois, was the site of the very first fast food drive-thru.

The Marshalltown location was one of the first franchises, purchased for $300 in 1928.

Some Maid-Rites have a longer menu,  featuring all kinds of sandwiches, including Iowa’s famous pork tenderloin, but almost all feature several kinds of home-made pie daily.

This happy traveler made a short video  of his visit to Taylor’s. (No, not me, I’m never happy).


A single sandwich is around $2.50. The Marshalltown location is usually open every day for long hours, but during “Covid” – look for them Tues-Sat, 11AM – 7PM.  It’s located in downtown, on 3rd Street, just north of US 30, the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental road in the US.  A fascinating drive on its own!

I visited one other similar shop this trip, called the “Canteen on the Alley” in Ottumwa, Iowa.  Same concept, but not affiliated with “Maid-Rite.”  It’s actually in an alley.  It was tasty and great pie!  The three women working truly enjoyed their work!

Typical menuShip Maid-Rites across the country!

Taylor's Maid-Rite Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Taylor Maid-Rite Review Marshalltown

 

Ship Maid-Rites

Maid-Rite Menu

Sicilia Italian Bakery Chicago Review

Sicilia Italian Bakery Chicago Review

In this neighborhood that I have written about before, with great businesses like The Original Nottoli & Son, Italian-centric merchants flourish.

One is the Sicilia Bakery, which sells all kinds of delicious goodies as you’ve never imagined, creative takes on the traditional Italian cannoli, plus cookies, Italian ices, coffee, a multitude of breads, and sandwiches. My friend went for the sweet treats, I went because they sell my favorite sandwich in the whole world, the traditional muffaletta New Orleans style.

Perched on about a nine-inch round loaf of bread, several types of Italian cold cuts meat cheese and a blanket of “olive salad” finely diced olives and pickled vegetables. The proper sandwich is then doused with olive oil, and one is advised to let it sit for about ten minutes to let the oil soak into the bread.

And oh yeah, slices of pizza, which I actually FORGOT to try!

I’ve written a lot about the muffaletta from different joints around the country. I encourage you to read every single one of the reviews!

Sicilia’s muffaletta was great, best I have had outside of New Orleans, only  one small gripe, their olive salad should be a bit saltier and less vinegar-y.

What little I got to taste of the cannoli were truly superb.  I risked losing a finger or two if I went in to aggressively.  The local program “Chicago’s Best” however, took a better look at them.

Check out the short video.

Sicilia Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sicilia Italian Bakery Chicago Review
Sicilia Italian Bakery Chicago Review

The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago

The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago

The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago

The area around Harlem Avenue, just south of Interstate 90, about twenty miles NW of downtown Chicago, has truly become the area’s new “Little Italy.” There are literally dozens of Italian-centric delis, markets, bakeries and restaurants.

I’ve looked at a couple of them before, including another deli named “Nottoli” (no relation I am told), a restaurant/pizza called “Dino’s,” (superb pizza), and a market and take out operation, “Rex.”

This particular Nottoli I became aware of due to shouting on the internet saying it was absolutely the best, and also being featured on a local tv program called “Chicago’s Best.” (Irony)

My goodies from Nottoli?  An Italian Beef Combo sandwich (combo means with a sausage nestled in the beef), an entree of sausage and peppers, some repacked Cerignola olives, several pounds of fresh Italian sausage for the freezer) a loaf of bread and a pound of meatballs.

The Italian beef was one of the best I have had anywhere, ever. It came “baptized” (completely dipped in au jus) so it was quite messy, but isn’t messy food the most bigly funniest?  The olives were a real disappointment, as the giant Cerignola red olives should be very firm and bursting with woodsy flavor (I cure olives at home, so like the insurance company ad says “I know a thing or two.”)  These were lifeless and mushy.  I suspect this happens when a quantity is taken from a vat of intense brine and they are repacked in smaller containers in a water bath. Just no.

Meatballs were fine, good flavor, good texture, but I prefer the ones at Rex, they have a much more intense flavor of fennel and garlic.  Bread? Superb. Sausage and peppers?  Same great sausage as in the Italian beef, so no complaints there.

If you love Italian food, take an afternoon and plot a course for this neighborhood, have a pizza, buy some treats at the Sicilia Bakery (which I will write about in a bit), and then hit one or more markets. The markets also stock dry and canned goods imported from Italy. The other Nottoli has the largest selection in that realm.

The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago

Meatballs and bread

 

The Original Nottoli & Son Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago
The Original Nottoli & Son Review Chicago