I'm just back from Iowa. Called in "sick" to work today. More tired than sick and having caffeine withdrawal headache thanks Sher and her coffee guzzling friends (e.g. Diane Finley).
ANYWAY. I thought I'd report on one small highlight of the Iowa Trip. The sidetrip to Galena was great and all, as was going to Clayton with Gram. But we're starting with the simple joys: a good sandwich.
Mom, Pam and I went to MaidRite. I don't remember ever going before but Sher had.
It's a chain serving loose meat sandwiches with a side of entertainment.
There's a lovely view of the place...in the rain.
And this is the classic prep table. Formerly, the meat was cooking in one side while served out of the other. There is a metal divider in the middle. BUT the bastard health and safety people said "oooo can't have uncooked meat touching cooked meat because someone with a weak system might get the poops."
the meat is cooked in different location (it might just be at the other end of the long counter but we don't know) then brought out in a metal tub (much like you would find silverware in after washing it but that's probably a coincidence) and dumped in the MaidRite steam table bin. The ingredients appear to be hamburger and chopped onion.
It is scooped onto the buns on, options include tomato, lettuce, onion. Ketchup and mustard provided. the white space in the bottom of the photo is the counter you sit at. No fancy booths or tables here. All counter seating at this location. AND there were 5 people working behind the counter. Two women of a certain age, shown above, a young guy who took our order, a young woman who probably doesn't work there anymore, and one old woman who had aquanet-helmet-hair. Everyone but the young guy had a butt two axe handles wide so the prep space was a bit crowded at hip-high.
Here's the older woman snacking on a raw sweet potato fry. Pam got those. They were DELICIOUS. Pam's were cooked of course. It was pretty clear that they were home sliced and frozen in a ziplock. I got the regular fries and having made the odd batch of fries during the 3 years (or was it eternity?) that I worked at McDonald's, can attest that to get fries from actual potatoes (not the mush formed into sticks that most fast food joints use) you have to have the oil/lard about 2 degrees below the temperature at which it bursts into flame.
As you can see, most of the cooking equipment appears to be original to the building. I like that. Very frugal. The three of us had 3 sandwiches, 2 versions of fries, a brownie and a piece of pie. The total was under 20$...and it came with a SHOW! The chick with the pixie cut threw our sandwiches to each of us from the prep table. The sandwiches come wrapped in paper which you sent on the counter. You also get a spoon as the loose meat tends to fall out. Sher used her paper as a sandwich diaper and managed to eat very tidily. Pam and I struggled and ended up eating most of the sandwich meat with the spoon.
I'll have to continue this in another entry as I'm on dial up and it's too hard to add more photos to this entry.