Category Archives: Tenderloining

Tenderloin Appreciation Society – Working at Home

Would you believe that I haven’t posted a tenderloining post since February 5… of 2020? I mean, that just flat out sucks people. I know there are much worse things that have happened due to the horribly mismanaged pandemic, but throw that log on the dumpster fire too.

It isn’t that I haven’t had any tenderloins in the last year. I’ve been to Cole’s for their tenderloin. Sat outside in a Slater park, re-acquainting myself with greatness. And… that is it. I’ve had a few home tenderloins, but I think that this is the only tenderloin I’ve had from a restaurant.

Now make it a second tenderloin I’ve had since the beginning of the pandemic. Usually on Friday, my Mom picks up lunch from a local restaurant and brings it to me, to eat in the moments when I put down my pick. Usually that means garlic chicken from New China or the Friday rib special from Jimmy’s.

We’ve been trying to branch out in the last few weeks. A couple Fridays ago she brought me the tenderloin from Toby K’s Hideaway. Now this is a tenderloin that I’ve had and enjoyed before, but have never officially reviewed.

It isn’t quite fair to review it under these circumstances, for reasons I will get into, but I think a fair overview of the tenderloin is that it is a good, but not great tenderloin. I’d definitely knock a few of these down, but it doesn’t belong in the Tenderloin Pantheon. So few do.

Here are some cruddy cell phone pictures:


Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway
The problem with properly reviewing this tenderloin is pretty obvious in this picture.

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway
Yes, that is clearly my bathroom in the background. Yes I considered cropping that out. Yes I chose not to crop it out.

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Whenever I review a tenderloin, I order it with what they put on it. There is a proper way to dress a tenderloin and it is the following:

+ Mustard
+ Ketchup
+ Onions
+ Pickles

Look at this picture again:


Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

Now you’ll notice that they have dressed the tenderloin with the following:

+ Mayo
+ Onions
+ Pickles
+ Tomato
+ Lettuce

As you can see…


Tenderloining at Toby K's Hideaway

I went ahead and added the mustard and ketchup. I didn’t hold the lack of mustard and ketchup against them because most restaurants serve the tenderloin without mustard and ketchup. Since they are on the table and you can dress the tenderloin with whatever amounts of mustard and ketchup you want.

I personally don’t believe that lettuce or tomato belong on a tenderloin. A burger. Fine. A tenderloin. Nope.

I don’t hold it against a restaurant that does it though. Well, don’t hold it against them much. Some restaurants will have a menu item called the “Tenderloin Deluxe”. All it is, is a tenderloin that they’ve added lettuce and tomato to the mix. Nice try restaurant. You aren’t getting an extra 75 cents out of me.

Usually when I get a tenderloin with lettuce and tomato, to effectively review it, I will eat the first half of it with the lettuce and tomato and then remove them and enjoy the rest of the tenderloin the way God and the pig intended it.

Here is where it gets problematic. The tenderloin I was presented with included mayo. That would normally be a major strike against it. Maybe you like mayo on your tenderloin. That is between you, the pig, and your maker. But it goes 100% against the standards set by the Tenderloin Appreciation Society at The Council of Nicea.

The problem is, I can’t hold that against the restaurant. Putting mayo on the tenderloin was not their idea. My Mom asked them to add mayo. I don’t know why. She must take me for a godless heathen.

So here is my review, but because of the mayo issue, it is for entertainment purposes only. As opposed to the seriousness you give my normal tenderloin reviews.

THE GOOD

+ Toasted bun.
+ Right kind of bun.
+ Good bun to tenderloin ratio.
+ Good breading.
+ Good cut of meat. Could have been thicker though.
+ Onion rings were delicious.

THE BAD

+ Standard tenderloin is served with lettuce and tomato. Lettuce and tomato don’t belong on a tenderloin.
+ A tad greasy. Yeah, it is a tenderloin, but greasy enough that this should’ve been drained longer.
+ Prefer a thicker cut of meat.
+ Red onions.

THE UGLY

+ Mayo. Not their fault, but mayo!

I hope to have another tenderloin to review in the near future. Even if that means going through the Dairy Queen drive-thru and having a pork fritter. Just kidding! A pork fritter is NOT a pork tenderloin. But, I could get desperate.

2009-10-31

There is a diverse collection of images in the folder 2009-10-31. Some of the pictures are from when I went tenderloining with the Defeneffes to Goldie’s Ice Cream Shoppe in Prairie City. Some are from when I used to have people I actually know trick-or-treat at my house. The rest are from when I was dog sitting Sara’s pooch Jupiter.

Have a look:


Tenderloining at Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe

Tenderloining at Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe

Tenderloining at Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe

Tenderloining at Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe

Tenderloining at Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe

Tenderloining at Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe

Halloween - 2009

Halloween - 2009

Halloween - 2009

Halloween - 2009

Halloween - 2009

Halloween - 2009

Halloween - 2009

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Samhain
Jupiter Chronicles
Tenderloining It! 2009

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Johnathan.

Tenderloin Appreciation Society – Three Strikes

I went through a long drought where I didn’t experience a good (new) tenderloin for several months. I decided not to torture my people with 3 separate entries on 3 bad tenderloins. I decided just to knock them all out in one swoop.


Big Al’s BBQ – Des Moines, Iowa

Back in May, Mom, Teresa, and Sheri went to Big Al’s BBQ in Des Moines to try their tenderloin. It was somewhat hyped as a tenderloin that was smoked and then fried. Baby Got Rack tried something similar once and couldn’t make it work. This also doesn’t work.

Although I will say that there service was good, the owner was awesome, and all their other food was good.

Here are some pictures:


Tenderloining at Big Al's BBQ

Tenderloining at Big Al's BBQ

Tenderloining at Big Al's BBQ

Tenderloining at Big Al's BBQ

Tenderloining at Big Al's BBQ

Tenderloining at Big Al's BBQ

Tenderloining at Big Al's BBQ

It was the best of the 3 tenderloins in this entry, but it wasn’t good. It did have many of the qualities of a good tenderloin. Decent breading. Good size. Proper thickness. But the smoky flavor just didn’t work.


GroVer Flavors – Van Meter, Iowa

I’m not going to pile on this tenderloin. This restaurant has since closed because the owner has lung cancer.

Here are a few pictures:


Tenderloining at GroVer Flavors

Tenderloining at GroVer Flavors

Tenderloining at GroVer Flavors

Tenderloining at GroVer Flavors

It was burnt. It was too thin. Let’s not dwell on it.


Whistlin’ Donkey – Woodward, Iowa

Whistlin’ Donkey was also a disappointment and by far one of the worst restaurant experiences I’ve ever had. From the time we ordered, until the time we got our food, it was over 90 minutes.

Here are some pictures:


Tenderloining at Whistlin' Donkey

Tenderloining at Whistlin' Donkey

Tenderloining at Whistlin' Donkey

Tenderloining at Whistlin' Donkey

Tenderloining at Whistlin' Donkey

Tenderloining at Whistlin' Donkey

I do remember them having an appetizer that was delicious, but now I can’t remember what it was. I think the high point of this tenderloin is that it had a toasted bun.

As I look at these pictures, I see that my tenderloin photography wasn’t always the best. As I pursue tenderloins in 2020, I will also effort to improve the quality of the tenderloin photography.

This is my solemn vow!

Tenderloin Appreciation Society – Paton Field Work

Scott and I’s schedules are often difficult to get to align, so last year I increasingly took other people with me on my tenderloin quest. Then I followed that up by not adequately reporting on my findings and furthermore, not taking good enough notes to post something of consequence at this late of date.

Therefore rather than getting a really good, solid review of the tenderloins I encountered in 2019, you are just going to get pictures and the general gist of my memories.

On of those tenderloins I remember was at 209 Main in Paton. The family and I went there after church on a Sunday in late September. Here are some pictures of the experience:


Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

Tenderloining at 209 Main

What I remember of this tenderloin is that it was delicious. Good breading. Good thickness. Toasted bun.

The rules of Tenderloin Quest are that you have to eat the tenderloin how it is served. However, I do not believe that lettuce belongs on a tenderloin. Lettuce is for the salad I should be eating for the two days before eating the tenderloin and the two days after I eat the tenderloin.

The onion rings and nachos were also delicious.

Logan took the pictures of me taking my first bites of the tenderloin.

Although it was a really good tenderloin, I’m not sure it was good enough to join the Tenderloin Pantheon. I would need Scott to back that up anyways. It takes a consensus opinion to be placed on the Tenderloin Pantheon.

I know there are at least a couple more tenderloins from 2019 for me to write about in the coming days. Plus, I might be checking out a tenderloin in Ames in the coming weeks. Plus a tentative tenderloin outing in Corning needs to happen before Ash Wednesday. If I get real ambitious, I should head up to New Hampton. However, I don’t see that happening until at least after Easter.

Until next time, happy tenderloining!

Tenderloin Appreciation Society – Don Williams Field Work

It is hard to believe, but I haven’t published a tenderloining blog since August 26, 2018 when I recapped Michelle and I’s trip to The Filling Station in Ames. I actually made a few tenderloining trips and I just never got around to telling the world what I experienced. I feel guilty about this because I have a gift. A true gift for evaluating tenderloins. The fact I’m not sharing this with the world is very greedy of me.

The tenderloin I’m going to recap today comes from a trip to the Don Williams Golf Course Clubhouse. It came a few weeks after I ate breakfast there with my Mom and wasn’t overly impressed. A trip that really hammered home my loyalty to The Whistle Stop Cafe for those treasured Saturday morning breakfasts.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t impressed by the breakfast there, I was intrigued by the passion of the new operator of the Clubhouse. He spoke eloquently about his tenderloin and more than one person in the restaurant backed up his bragging.

I decided to organize a trip out there with Scottie D. to give it the test.

Because it is over 6 months since I’ve been there I won’t go into detail about the quality of the tenderloin we experienced. To say it wasn’t very good should be sufficient. I shouldn’t be surprised because people in that area think that The Lucky Pig has a good tenderloin. They are sadly misguided.

Here are a few pictures of our trip:


Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

I have a couple other tenderloining trips to post about eventually. I promise that any 2020 tenderloin trips will be reported on as quickly as possible. Hopefully with the taste of tenderloin still swirling around my mouth.

I know for sure that at some point I have a trip to Corning with Shannon on the books. I will also be visiting New Hampton for a date with a tenderloin at some point soon. The lucky person to join me on that venture is still to be determined. Could be you. But let’s face it, do you really think you have what it takes? Search your soul for the answer.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is TEXTURE:


WEEK 226 - TEXTURE
TEXTURE

A TEXTURE photo is a photo that concentrates on the feel, appearance, or consistency of the surface of a substance. A reminder that often TEXTURE is more apparent in a black & white image.

Happy photo harvesting!

Selfie Project – September

Seems like as good of a time as any to check in with the Selfie Project. My September was incredibly busy. I had several photo shoots, youth group was back in session, Pufferbilly Days, Iowa State football season is ramping up, and Elainie was back in town.

But I confess that my selfies might not reflect that, it feels like.

Here are my favorite September Selfies:


September 2, 2019
September 2

September 3, 2019
September 3

September 4, 2019
September 4

September 6, 2019
September 6

September 7, 2019
September 7

September 8, 2019
September 8

September 9, 2019
September 9

September 13, 2019
September 13

September 14, 2019
September 14

September 17, 2019
September 17

September 19, 2019
September 19

September 20, 2019
September 20

September 21, 2019
September 21

September 22, 2019
September 22

September 24, 2019
September 24

September 25, 2019
September 25

September 27, 2019
September 27

September 29, 2019
September 29

3 months to go in the Selfie Project. I’m slated to actually leave the state in October. So that is something at least.

Lazarus Come Out!

A few weeks back Rodan139 took a tremendous tumble from the sky. According to the flight log, Rodan139 fell out of the sky from 190 feet. It was going 40.3 MPH when it hit sweet, round, Mother Earth.

Rodan139 was a hurting unit when I got to it. A couple arms were broken off, the camera was barely hanging on, and most of the body was considerably damaged.

To be brutally honest, it sucked. However, Rodan139 is just a machine. So I picked up his pieces and threw them in the Sir Pixalotmobile and Jason and I drove to Luther to have a tasty lunch.


Whatcha Smoking Tenderloin

Let me tell you, nothing mends the cracks in an emotional broken heart while at the same time clogs up the plumbing of a physical heart like a tasty, tasty tenderloin*.

After lunch I went home and did some research on the level of fiscal pain this accident was going to cause me. I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap, but the worst case scenario was that I was going to have to push off the purchase of the Sony RX0 that I have been coveting for a few months now (but that is another dilemma for another time).

I contacted DJI Repair and they sent me a UPS Label to send Rodan139 into them. I boxed it up and sent it off and waited. What happened next surprised me.

They covered the whole thing. All the parts. All the labor. All the shipping. Covered. And what was covered wasn’t cheap.

Here is a list of everything they covered and what it would have cost:

Item List

Gimbal Axis Arm Module (Pro)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 160.00

Total Price: 160.00

Upper Cover Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 11.00

Total Price: 11.00

Middle Frame Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 13.00

Total Price: 13.00

Core Board Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 320.00

Total Price: 320.00

Vibration Absorbing Board (Upper)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 2.00

Total Price: 2.00

Rear Arm Module (Left)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 21.00

Total Price: 21.00

Front Arm Module (Left)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 24.00

Total Price: 24.00

Front Arm Module (Right)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 24.00

Total Price: 24.00

Repair Service Fee

Quantity: 2

Net Price : 65.00

Total Price: 130.00

Tax

0.00

Shipping Cost

0.00

Total Amount

705.00

Discount

705.00

Total Payment (USD$)

0.00

You read that right. It could have cost me $705.00, but it cost me nada. Zilch. The big goose egg. Hmmmm…. I wonder what also costs about $705? That is a discussion for another time though.

What is not a discussion for another time is how amazing DJI’s Customer Service is. I was very impressed and I was glad that I decided to go with DJI when I decided to take a stab at aerial photography.

Yesterday at approximately 4:05 PM I was reunited with Rodan139. Now that I am complete again, I feel I can share a couple of pictures taken from that last fateful flight that ended in carnage of twisted wire and broken plastic.


Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Yesterday it was a little windy, so I took Rodan139 out for another very shorty maiden voyage.


Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

The last picture I took in my backyard as I wanted to test a night photography setting.

I definitely was the most nervous I have ever been on one of these little flights. In particular, there was a moment when I was out at the Harrier Marsh when Rodan139 was surrounded by a flock of birds. Visions of a bird smashing it to it and it tumbling to the ground danced in my head. I quickly rose above the birds, but I was shocked out how close they came to it. A mental note was made for future trips out to Harrier.

The weather on Saturday and Sunday does look promising. Although Saturday, Baby Got Rack might be doing a little research project. Oh… I’ve said too much.

*At this time, there will not be a review of the tenderloin. While I have very good perspective on what is actual tragedy and what is just “well that sucks”, I still wasn’t in the proper state of mind to properly assess the tenderloin.

Blessings – 2018

I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving! It is the time of year where we are supposed to count our blessings.

I thought I would share a few of my current blessings:


I am blessed with a great family!

























Sympathy - Brandon Kahler

NATE - SYMPATHY

SURPRISE - LAURA MILLER

Bethany - Boredom

Elainie - Boredom

Fear - Alexis

Anger - Johnathan

Sadness - Logan

I have plenty of friends that share my love for the Cyclones!



Iowa State 30 #6 West Virginia 14

Liberty Bowl Road Trip



I have a job I don’t hate going to, where I work with several people I don’t want to punch in the face.





Iowa State vs. Texas Tech

Iowa State vs. Texas Tech





I have an amazing church family!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Pufferbilly Days Float - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Easter - 2018 - Boone FUMC



I have an amazing friends family!



Anders - Fear









Shannon with her

Iowa State Fair - 2018

Maquoketa Caves Road Trip

2009 - Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Nominee

I’m blessed to share my life with Naima!







August 23, 2017

This is really just a handful of the blessings in my life! But I’m already getting this out late, so I’ll cut if off here. I’ll just end with a passage from a Rob Bell NOOMA video that really spoke to me:

“So the verse in First Timothy, it says command those that are rich to not put their hope in wealth… and then it goes on and it continues… and it says, but to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

That phrase, a God that richly provides us with everything. All that we have is a gift.

Food. It is a gift.

Clothes. Gift.

Roof. Gift.

That breath you just took. It’s a gift.

Now there are some that will say: No, you don’t understand. I’ve worked for what I have. I deserve it. It is mine. But like it says in the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 8: You may say to yourself, my power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the Lord your God, because it is God that gives you the ability to produce wealth.”

I thank God for the embarrassment of riches in my life!

Them Degeneffe Boys 2017 – Alpha

A few weeks back I published some photos from the 2016 annual Degeneffe boys photo shoot.

Today I start publishing pictures from the 2017 photo shoot.

Pretty much all the pictures from these photo shoots are candids.


Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Degeneffe Boys - 2017

Since these pictures of Scottie D.’s progeny, it would be a good time to point out that they recently announced the winner of the Best Tenderloin in Iowa.

Here is the text from the Des Moines Register article:

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. The winner of the Best Pork Tenderloin in Iowa has been announced.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association has named Three C’s Diner at 300 9th St. in Corning as the winner of the Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin Contest for 2018. It’s the first time a restaurant in southwest Iowa has won the competition.

IPPA judges chose Whatcha Smokin’ BBQ & Brew in Luther as the runner up. Landmark Bistro in Grundy Center, Stout’s Irish Pub & Grill in Clinton and Nine & Dine Restaurant in Eagle Grove rounded out the top five finalists

Whatcha Smokin BBQ & Brew in Luther became the 4th Boone County restaurant to place in the Iowa Pork Producers annual contest. While it is true that 2 of the restaurants that have placed in the past are now closed, it is undeniable that Boone County is the greasy heart of tenderloin country. Which makes sense, since Boone County is also the worldwide headquarters of The Tenerloin Appreciation Society.

I have already had several people volunteer to travel with me to Corning to try this year’s reigning champion (a trip that will be coming no doubt) I came across something fascinating on the Iowa Pork Producer website: The Tenderloin Trail.

From the Pork Producer website:

The most delicious trail in Iowa is finally here!

Iowa leads the nation in pork production and with all of that delicious pork comes a mid-west treasure that most of the country has no idea even exists … the best breaded pork tenderloin sandwich!

Now, we’re not talking about something that comes out of the freezer and is dropped in a fryer. We’re talking about hand-pounded or tenderized center-cut pork loin that becomes blanketed in a custom bread crumb mixture or dipped in a savory batter and fried to golden perfection. There are many ways to craft a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich and this trail takes you on a journey to enjoy some of Iowa’s best!

Quick Fact: Don’t let the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich be confused with the actual cut of pork called TENDERLOIN. They’re completely different! In fact, the tenderloin cut is just as lean as a boneless, skinless chicken breast (only 2.98 g of fat) and is an excellent lean protein choice! The tenderloin cut has even earned the American Heart Checkoff for being heart healthy!

But now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get back to the savory goodness of the tenderloin sandwich!

The Iowa Tenderloin Trail features 14 unforgettable sandwiches while celebrating the passionate families around the state who work diligently to provide safe, affordable and delicious pork. You don’t have to take our word for it though, take on the trail and experience the tasty tenderloin goodness for yourself!

Your efforts will even be rewarded so you can boast about your tenderloin feat! Receive 10 stamps on your passport within 24-months and receive a free t-shirt from the Iowa Pork Producers Association that is sure to create envy amongst your family and friends!

All you need to get started and become a true mid-westerner, is your official passport. It can be downloaded here or picked up at any of the restaurants along the trail. Be sure to get your passport custom stamped at each restaurant you visit.

These are the 14 restaurants on the trail:

1. Three C’s Diner – Corning
2. The Lucky Pig Pub & Grill – Ogden
3. Stout’s Irish Pub & Grill – Clinton
4. Chuckie’s Tenderloin Trailers – A roving food truck
5. Breitbach’s Country Dining – Balltown
6. Town House Supper Club – Wellsburg
7. Dairy Sweet – Dunlap
8. Goldie’s Ice Cream Shoppe – Prairie City
9. Nick’s – Des Moines (Although last I knew, Nick’s was closed because of some tax problems.)
10. The Other Place – Des Moines
11. The Brick Street Market and Cafe – Bondurant
12. Larsen’s Catering & Pub – Elk Horn
13. Gramma’s Kitch – Walcott (This tenderloin is super gross, makes The Lucky Pig look like they have a good tenderloin.)
14. Belmond Drive-In – Belmond

You can download your Passport here:

Tenderloin Trail Passport

I’ll be looking for people to help me complete the trail. Look over each restaurant and figure out which one you want to attend with me.

Tenderloin Appreciation Society – Ames Field Work

Due to Scottie D. and I have often contrasting busy schedules, I’ve decided to branch out and have special guests join me on Tenderloin Appreciation Society Field Work from time to time, so that I can get more tenderloin reviews out there in the world.

I know that I am a shining beacon of light in the tenderloin world, so for me to hold back that light to the rest of the world because it is difficult for Scottie D. and I to get out there and try many of the great tenderloins that the great Cyclone State has to offer would, to be brutally honest, a very selfish act.

The first guest to be deemed with the great honor of going tenderloining with me is Michelle. She earned the honor because she knew it was a great honor and has been lobbying for such an opportunity for months.

While it can be written that I can be stubborn to a vice, eventually I will feed you baby birds.

For those of you that don’t know Michelle, she is a fellow miner, but she sometimes get to run the work from home scam. She is married to Craig, who is best known for having better taste than Michelle*. They have 2 kids. You have undoubtedly seen them when Michelle contributes to the WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. Sometimes we make trips to Otho for their Friday night All-You-Can-Eat Fish. Delicious. Don’t forget to get the hash brown!

The next tenderloin that I decided I wanted to give the Tenderloin Appreciation Society treatment was located at The Filling Station in Ames. Ames, like many towns of moderate size, does not have a great tenderloin. Tenderloins are a small town specialty. Although, there is the occasional statistical outlier like Nick’s in Des Moines.

The Filling Station is about a mile south of Jack Trice Stadium on Elwood Drive. It is in a gas station. However, despite being in a gas station, The Filling Station has kind of an uppity vibe to it. Which isn’t the best scenario. Tenderloins are best served in dives where the bathroom floor is collapsing, sharing walls with junkyards, next to campgrounds, and filled with townies giving outsiders the once over.

Here are some pictures from the field trip:


Tenderloining at The Filling Station

Tenderloining at The Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

Tenderloining at Th e Filling Station

First, let me give you Michelle’s take:

I was a little nervous walking into the Filling Station and seeing their set up. All the hot food was in a warmer. Umm, a little unnerving wondering how long the food had been sitting out. I ordered the tenderloin with all the fixings and a side of broccoli salad. The tenderloin was THICK – not like the paper-thin ones I’m used to seeing. The breading was fabulous – crunchy and flaky. The bun was soft and toasted. And while I’ll go back to my usual toppings (just onion and mustard for this gal) it was a nice change of pace to add lettuce and tomato. The sandwich was bigger than I could eat, and I ended up taking half of it home. The leftovers the next day were just as good as the day before. I would definitely go back again.

I shared some of Michelle’s trepidation with seeing the tenderloin underneath heat lamps. The Filling Station is set up more like a deli and it is weird to see fried foods in such a context.

However, the tenderloin did come out still warm. Perhaps not piping hot, but a good enough temperature. It was a good thickness and the breading was solid. My biggest surprise was how juicy it was considering that it was being held under a heat lamp. The biggest miss by far was the brioche bun. It did not pair well with the meat. If I ordered it again, I would consider taking it off the bun and just eating the meat by itself.

THE GOOD

  • Good thick cut of meat.
  • Might have been a little short on the meat to bun ratio. Meat could have been bigger.
  • Good cut of meat that was plenty juicy.
  • Toasted bun.
  • Good flaky breading.
  • Served on actual plate.
  • Broccoli salad was delicious. Not my standard side for a tenderloin, but I love me some broccoli salad!
  • You have access to all the beverages of the gas station, so Pepsi products.
  • All the ingredients at The Filing Station are as locally sourced as they can get.
  • Their employees wear gloves and were friendly.

THE BAD

  • Standard tenderloin is served with lettuce and tomato. Lettuce and tomato don’t belong on a tenderloin!
  • Warming lights keep tenderloin warm, but not as good as fresh out of the oil.
  • Only open until 3 PM M-F.  2 PM on Saturday. Closed on Sunday.

THE UGLY

  • The sweetness of the brioche bun did not pair well with the meat of the tenderloin.
  • The name The Filling Station. Now there are 2 eateries with the same name within 15 miles of each other. Now when I say, Let’s go to The Filling Station, I’m going to have to elaborate. That is extra work for me.

THE FINAL WORD

The Filling Station, the one in Ames, serves a good but not great tenderloin. They could almost get to the next level with a different bun. Although I will give them credit for making their buns in house. I will definitely being hitting them up for work lunch again in the future, the few times that anybody wants to go to lunch at my suck lunch hour time.

NEXT UP

There is currently nothing in the hopper, so if you know of one you want me to review, drop me a line.

*Craig is an Iowa State fan. Michelle likes to dress like a deranged bumble bee.