...if you are watching the Food Network, and Food Wars, if you are watching the Travel Channel. In both cases, two restaurants in the same city are vying for supremacy when serving a particular food item. Items such as hamburgers, fried chicken, Sonoran hot dogs, burritos, etc.
In this version of Food Feuds, we determine whose breaded pork tenderloin sandwich reigns supreme—the dive in Solon, IA, or the family friendly ice cream shop/restaurant in Prairie City, IA. Yeah, I know. It’s different places in different cities. But the idea is the same.
We had to spend some time in Iowa’s capital, Des Moines (Capitol on the right), so we pulled into an RV park in nearby Altoona for a two-night stay.
One last chance for a breaded pork tenderloin. And where better than at Goldie’s, named by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) as the 2009 Breaded Pork Tenderloin of the Year.
On the Smokin' Chokin' and Chowing With the King website, Goldie’s is described thusly: “The mom and pop lunch spot is a favorite with locals and may be the only food choice in town, since I didn't see anything else except for a lot of farms and a mill on the town’s main road.”
Goldie’s is small. No more than three booths, nine counter stools, two tables for four to six, and three picnic tables outdoors. When we arrived, the counter stools were empty. Not long thereafter, every spot was filled.
Tom Perry writing in The Register (Des Moines) wrote: “In Prairie City, Goldie's has a full kitchen and is open year-round. Visitors can order at walk-up sliding screen windows, they can go to a drive-through, or eat indoors at a counter…. (Brad) Magg bought the shop in 2007 from Golda Ingram, who operated the ice cream shop for more than a decade…. The owner of Magg Family Catering, Magg attended the Iowa Culinary Institute at Des Moines Community College…. He operates a state-of-the-art kitchen at Goldie's and serves hamburgers made from local cattle raised and processed in Jasper County.”
Reminiscent of plate lunch houses in Cajun Louisiana, Goldie’s offers a daily special. I was particularly struck by the Friday combination of grilled salmon with dill sauce and hash brown casserole. Our server confirmed that this is the same dish my mother called Duchess Potatoes and that is known in Utah as Funeral Potatoes.
In addition to the special, the standard menu includes single and double cheeseburgers and hamburgers, an Italian sausage sandwich, three variations on the hot dog, a grilled chicken breast sandwich, a BBQ beef or pork sandwich (changes daily), and a fish sandwich. And, of course, the breaded pork tenderloin. One variation called the Mingo Special is a breaded pork tenderloin with Mingo (Iowa) sausage and cheese. Another—the Magg Combo—is a breaded pork tenderloin and a cheeseburger on one bun. While we were there, a large gentleman came in and ordered the Magg Combo, which he ate with gusto.
Chuck ordered the double cheese-burger with onion only and a side of basic crinkle fries. We keep forgetting that we are in the Midwest where burgers are cooked medium-well as a matter of course. Had he ordered the burger cooked medium it would have been less dry, but it still had great Iowa beef flavor.
I chose—of course—the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich (pickle, onion, yellow mustard) with a side of onion rings. So how does this compare to Joensy’s (in Solon, IA)? It was smaller, but thicker. Thicker meant more pork flavor as opposed to a breading flavor. It also meant juicier. But thicker also meant a less crisp crust, and I was unable to use my “nibble around the edges” technique.
This tenderloin is described on the des-loines website as: “…at least eight ounces after cooking. The lightly seasoned breading forms some gigantic crumbs on the edges. The meat is very tender with a consistent texture. According to the IPPA press release, the pork loin is cut and tenderized at the meat department at Fareway (grocery) in Pleasant Hill.”
This was a very good breaded pork tenderloin, but I give a slight edge to the larger and thinner loin at Joensy’s.
Since Goldie’s is also the local soft-serve ice cream shop, we had to finish our lunch with dessert—the medium Apple Pie Sundae with vanilla soft-serve ice cream, spiced apple topping, and caramel and dusted with graham cracker crumbs. Delicious—and the “medium” was more than enough for two.
Well, the winner by a nose is Joensy’s, although Goldie’s put forth a 4.0 Addie lunch.