Category Archives: Tenderloining

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.

Tenderloin Appreciation Society – Boone Field Work

One of the things that stunk about the end of 2017 was the closing of The Legal Limit. Despite having an absolutely terrible name, The Legal Limit had great food. I ate breakfast there with my Mom about every Saturday. Sometimes I would go up there on Thursday nights for $2 burgers. However, the main thing I loved about The Legal Limit was they had a great tenderloin. A tenderloin that was a direct descendant of BK’s great tenderloin.

With the closing of The Legal Limit, Boone was without a great tenderloin. Boone. The home base of the Tenderloin Appreciation Society. Doesn’t have a great tenderloin. The humanity!

Then in early 2018 rumors began to percolate that the building that The Legal Limit occupied was going to house a new restaurant. The first people that bought it, backed out and never opened their doors.

Then another person bought it and opened it back up under the name Roosters.

I was excited. As long as they had a great tenderloin.

Shortly after they opened up my Mom and I went there for breakfast. Since The Legal Limit’s closing we had begun breakfasting at The Whistle Stop. Nothing against The Whistle Stop. They have great service and great food. However, it is really small. Really small. Sometimes there isn’t any place to sit.

The first Saturday we tried Roosters, things were promising. Our old The Legal Limit waitress was there. The food was good and the service was good.

So we came back the next Saturday. Our old waitress was gone. She was replaced with what I’m guessing was a high school girl (I’m really bad at telling the ages of anybody under the age of let’s say 25) and this had to be either her first job or at least her first food service job. Anything you wanted, you had to ask her for 3 times. This is not an exaggeration. It was like on the 3rd time hearing something, something magically clicked and she would actually bring you the drinks you order 15 minutes ago. It just wasn’t drinks though. We had to ask 3 times for silverware. 3 times for sugar substitute for the coffee. 3 times for syrup for the pancakes.

I am pretty forgiving of bad service. If it occasional. Or if it a new restaurant just starting up. Or if there is some contrition.

So, we went back there again the following Saturday. It was the exact same story. The food was good enough. The service was still atrocious. Every time you needed something, (LIKE SILVERWARE), you had to ask 3 times. What made it frustrating was that it was an entirely different waitress. The entire staff (minus our old waitress) apparently is given zero training. Just a figurative ((hopefully) slap on the rump and told to get out there and do some waitressin’. Doesn’t matter if they have no clue what to do. Even the basics, like people need silverware to eat things like biscuits and gravy.

My Mom and I have returned to breakfasting at The Whistle Stop Cafe and haven’t looked back. A place where pretty much every Saturday the owner stops by our table and asks how everything was.

So it was under this shadow that Scottie D. and I decided to give them a try. Even before having atrocious service in back to back weeks I offered to Scottie D. that maybe we should give them 2 months before bringing our extremely high standards to their doorstep.

Scottie D. (who is still in the management field) offered, “They should be firing on all cylinders as soon as they open their doors for business.”

While I agree with Scottie D. in principle, I also live in the real world, where I know that just isn’t the case for most businesses. Especially restaurants/bars.

We picked a Thursday night and agreed to meet up there at about 7:30. I got there a little before 7:30. I sat down and ordered a Pepsi and their chicken wings for an appetizer. They talk up their chicken wings on their Facebook page. The place was virtually empty. There was a guy drinking at the bar. There were maybe a couple more people there.

Scottie D. was waiting to get done with Porter’s ball practice. Scottie D. brought Melissa, Austin, Porter, and a spare kid with them. They showed up about 8 PM. They arrived before the chicken wings.

Here are the pictures from the night:


Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters
Austin’s Chicken Tenders Meal. That is 1 Chicken Tender and 5 French Fries. Yep.

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Tenderloining at Roosters

Here is what actually kind of sucks. The tenderloin was actually pretty good. The chicken wings were actually pretty good. Everything else was awful. Absolutely awful.

It took forever to get our food. I guess I will say this, the waitress was for the most part competent. She got our order right. She checked in on us now and again. It wasn’t her fault that it took forever to get our food.

That being said…

When we asked about the new owner, she pointed to the bar. The owner was sitting at the bar drinking. Not a good sign. What made it worse was every once in awhile our waitress would go over to the bar and have a shot with him.

The kids Chicken Tender Meal consisted of 1 chicken tender and 5 french fries.

Nowhere on the menu does it indicate that there are any dipping sauces for the chicken wings. Nor were any offered. But on the receipt it was marked with Ranch. Which I didn’t get, nor was I offered.

When Scottie D. went to the restroom he noted that nobody in the kitchen was wearing gloves. Also, there was nothing in the bathroom to wash your hands. Which makes the fact that they weren’t wearing gloves, worse.

Yet, the tenderloin was pretty good. Not 45 minute wait when there is nobody in the restaurant good, but pretty good.

THE GOOD

  • The tenderloin was a good thickness.
  • The breading was good.
  • The meat was juicy.
  • The bun to meat ratio was nearly dead on. The bun was toasted.
  • They serve Pepsi.

THE BAD

  • Their standard tenderloin comes with tomato and lettuce.
  • The fries were gross.
  • The food was served on paper plates.
  • The waitress dropped my fries on me.
  • While the breading was good, It wasn’t fairly bland.
  • Not given a boat for chicken wing bones.

THE UGLY

  • 45 minutes. It shouldn’t take 45 minutes to get food out to the only table in the restaurant.
  • Waitress drinking on the job.
  • The kids meals were anemic, even grading for a kids meal.
  • Not offered sauce for the chicken wings.
  • Kitchen staff not wearing gloves.
  • No soap in the bathroom.

We had our experience the first week of June. We haven’t been back. If the tenderloin was say Nick’s or Cole’s quality, I might be willing to wait 45 minutes. It isn’t.

Next time I write about tenderloining, it will involve a special tenderloining guest. The location for the tenderloining will be Ames, Iowa.

06-22-08 & 06-23-08

There is a bit of variety in the folders 06-22-08 & 06-23-08.

There are pictures of Elainie playing softball.

There are pictures of an Ames on the Half Shell concert. Vivace I believe.

There are pictures of Scottie D. and I tenderloining.

Have a look:


06-22-08

06-22-08

06-22-08

06-22-08

06-22-08

06-22-08

06-22-08

06-22-08

06-22-08

06-22-08

06-22-08 - Vivace

06-22-08 - Vivace

06-22-08 - Vivace

06-22-08 - Vivace

06-22-08 - Vivace

06-22-08 - Vivace

06-22-08 - Vivace

06-22-08 - Vivace

06-22-08 - Vivace

06-22-08 - Vivace

06-22-08 - Vivace

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

Royals Win!

Tenderloin Quest: The Beginning

Vivace

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve more Ames on the Half Shell, tractors, the most accurate nickname I was ever given, and a wedding. The wedding if I’m feeling ambitious.