The Diaper Diaries

but hopefully not full of crap

Is this heaven? No It’s Iowa. March 8, 2008

Filed under: Random Life Moments — thediaperdiaries @ 6:38 pm

taylors.jpg I am bloggin from Iowa. I think I mentioned that my mom and I came back to participate in a woman’s conference at the church I grew up in. All I can say is thank God for name tags, cause there were a whole lot of people there who knew me and all sorts of things about me that all just frankly looked like “that little old lady from church.”

I don’t have much occasion to come “home” these days. My parents don’t live here anymore and I don’t keep in close touch with anyone from my hometown. I haven’t been back here in probably 3 or 4 years and I was amazed at how many things had changed. Thankfully the important 3 hadn’t. Those being Taylor’s Maid-Rite, Zeno’s Pizza and Taco John’s. You know how that place you grew up in has those restaurants that you can’t find anywhere else. You swear they do things better than anyone else ever could until you bring home your spouse and they look at you and say,”yeah, so, it’s a bunch of loose hamburger on a bun.” That’s blasphemy!!

The 2 of my readers from here know I am referring to Taylor’s Maid-Rite. Click over please and look at that sandwich. It is heaven on a bun. Not to be confused with a Krispy Kreme which is a little bit of heaven with a hole in the middle. Taylor’s was my first job in high school. The upside, free maid-rites on your shift. The downside, your could not get the onion smell off your hands after working a shift. The bigger downside, onion on your hands smells strangely like B.O. Which is exactly what every 15 year old girl longs to smell like. And one year we got these nylon jackets that said Maid-rite on the back. It’s really quite amazing I dated in high school.

A trip home is never complete without a run to Taylor’s to get 2 maid-rites with mustard, extra pickle and a strawberry shake. Just writing it makes me drool a little. So imagine my dismay when having spent a considerable amount of time talking about the deliciousness that is a Taylor’s maid-rite (by the way, it must be Taylor’s, others try to call themselves maid-rites, but that is just like drinking Boone’s Farm and calling it Dom Perignon) and my fabulous fiance isn’t all that impressed. I looked down at that beautiful diamond and really had to think about how much I loved that man. Obviously, I decided I loved him more than a maid-rite. For a while there it was a close call.

So imagine my delight when a year into our marriage we stumble upon a documentary on PBS detailing the top sandwiches in America (seriously, could we be any cooler?). Guess what made the list? And you know PBS only puts out high, high quality programing (Barney, Teletubbies, etc). So I felt vindicated.

I am pretty sure this post is of no interest to anyone but me, cause honestly what do you care about some sandwich that I love. But it’s purpose is two-fold. First, I would love to hear what place in your hometown is “that” place for you. You just can’t go home without stopping by to get that taste you truly can’t get anywhere else. Second, it is an attempt to appease my aunt S. who seems to feel as though I slighted Iowa with one of my earlier posts inferring that there were no reasons to come to Iowa. I would like to amend that statement and say Iowa is a wonderful place to live and visit. Especially if you want a little heaven in a bun. And now, I’m off to Zeno’s pizza or as I like to call it heaven in a square piece of pizza.


20 Responses to “Is this heaven? No It’s Iowa.”

  1. Erin Says:

    HYSTERICAL! I found your site from the Mr. Linky at the Blog Party. My husband’s family is from Iowa and his mom is the same way about Maid-Rites (funnily, I never knew that’s how it was spelled until JUST NOW! I always assumed it was ‘Made-Right’) And I have to tell you, the first time we visited Iowa and I ate one, I had the same loose hamburger response as your husband. So your post made me LOL. I grew up in a ritzy SoCal town, so another time when I ordered a Pork Tenderloin sandwich at a saloon in Duncombe, I was thinking along the lines of a roasted piece of meat – served on a baguette with mesclun and possibly a berry chutney. Imagine my dismay when a previously frozen, deep fried mystery meat arrived on a spongey roll with American cheese! I love your writing and sense of humor. So glad I found your blog. Also love your “Christian Sex” challenge. Definitely going to have to blog about – and participate – in that one. Party On!

  2. Tracy Says:

    “That” place in my hometown is actually a Maid-Rite! I know it’s not the same as yours, but it’s been around longer. The restaurant started in 1921, changed names to Maid-Rite a few years later. It was near my high school and a week was not complete without walking there with my friends for lunch. A maid-rite, fries (this location made them), and their root beer… mmmmm. Now I want one and I live far away! This summer, I will have to make a trip there when I’m visiting family.

  3. adventuremom Says:

    So that place for me used to be Yesterdog until my kids went and being the snobs they are decided it was a falling down gross place to eat a sqashed hot dog. Leave it to a 3 and 5 year old to show me my old haunt only looks as good as the beer googles I wore before children 🙂

  4. Ryan Says:

    I’ll admit it, I’ve grown to love Taylor’s maid-rite. I’m not sure why, since it’s basically a high quality sloppy joe, hold the sloppy. I might still prefer an Italian Beef from Portillos, though.

  5. Grand Ledge, Michigan proudly raises children on the fine food available at the Log Jam. Or they did. I have no idea. But back in the day they had some awesome pizza. We lived in town and it was within walking distance of our house. I haven’t thought about that at a long time, thank you 🙂

    Enjoy Iowa. Hey! That sounds like a tourism slogan. Stop by the visitor’s bureau marketing department before you leave and run that by them.

  6. M Says:

    I lost my other comment cuz I accidentally pressed enter by mistake so if two comments appear, you know why.

    I was going to say Portillos too! The original was about three blocks from the house I grew up in. We would walk there all the time! When it first opened (before I was born) it was literally a little hot dog shack. Who would have guessed that Mr. Dick Portillo himself would be a millionaire? One just opened right down the road from us about three months ago. Now instead of traveling 15 minutes, our little taste of heaven is less than 5 minutes away. You should see the traffic! You would think they were giving away free money. I agree with Ryan. Portillo’s Italian Beef dipped w/ no peppers is my vote.

    P.S. I had Maid Rite at Augie. It was good, but not even in the same league as Portillos.

  7. Lynelle Says:

    I can’t not post a comment about an entry that talks about my beloved homestate, Iowa. For me, the place we haaave to visit is this little trailer thingy that is out in the middle of a corn field (seriously!) that sells fresh pulled pork sandwiches. It is the best ever, especially in the Fall when you get to wear sweatshirts, smell leaves burning, and crunch on the gravel. It’s the best….can you tell we live in a metropolitan area now? Enjoy the remainder of your trip. Thanks for your blog..I am enjoying it.

  8. Heather Says:

    I loved your post and can completely relate. I’m from Macon, GA and there’s a place that only exists there – Nu-Way. They have the best hotdogs in the world and I can prove it 😉

    I must admit that my husband loves them too – it’s impossible to drive through Macon on your way to anywhere south of here (we’re in Atlanta) and not stop at Nu-Way. And funny you mentioned the PBS show … I’ve seen Nu-Way featured on documentaries and news articles … Even Oprah went there when she did her Favorite Things episode this past Christmas from Macon.

    Now it’s only 7:00 in the a.m. and I wanting to drive down and get one!


  9. Kim Says:

    So if you ever get to Middlebury, Indiana you need to visit Muffins ‘n More on Main Street. It’s a great coffee shop that has great food as well. They make muffins, cookies, breakfast quiche, and unique salads and sandwiches for lunch. You need to try a Turkey & Cucumber sandwich which is served on Pretzel Bread. The Pretzel Bread is key to this fabulous sandwich. Then try their Tomato Dill soup and get it loaded. Trust me, it is sooooooooooooooo good!

  10. Auntie S Says:

    Thank you, Jill. I am appeased. I don’t remember a favorite restaurant from my childhood. I don’t think we ate out much. Dad traveled all week and wanted “home cooked” meals when he was home. I do remember it was a treat to go to the Little Duffer and the A & W, but those are not places I would choose for a favorite restaurant now. I guess I should also mention The Cozy Cafe – I remember working there, but we didn’t go to eat there much.

  11. The last time I headed back to my little dutch heritage town in NW Washington, I opted for a dutchlunch. Meaning ham and cheese on a raisin bun, side of cole slaw, and cup of pea soup. Too bad they were out of oliebollen… besides, no one can make it like Grandma K. can!

  12. canearl Says:

    I can so relate to what you’re talking about!!
    I saw that documentary on PBS too. We went to Houston shortly after seeing it and my husband managed to find one of the restaurants featured (after a lot of internet digging) so we went to a shack and had b-b-que. The next year we went back to Houston for a church conference and took our pastor and some other church friends to the b-b-que shack. Did I mention that it was in the ghetto?? I’m surprised that our church friends still speak to us. The food was good though.

  13. Sunshine Says:

    If you are referring to an Iowa town that begins with the letter “M”, which I think you are, I went to high just north of there.

    My BFF from high school who lived in California and now Texas has Zeno’s shipped to her when she gets homesick!!

  14. Auntie S Says:

    Oops! the correct name of the restaurant I worked in is the Cozy Corner Cafe!

  15. Britni Says:

    My favorite place in my hometown is Ashburn Cafe. They have the most amazing calzones I’ve ever had. I always make a trip anytime I’m in Ashburn, VA. If you’re ever in the area, you have to stop in!

  16. Devon Says:

    I know you’ll probably protest to this, but we have a place called Nu-Way in KS that is pretty much the same sandwich. Crumbly, perfectly greasy, mustard, pickle, and onion. It’s definitely a hometown favorite. PLUS, they make their own rootbeer that is de-lish!

    There is a place in Pierre, SD…my mom’s hometown…that is my MUST HAVE in life. It is a Zesto. Now, there are many Zestos around the country, but this one tops them all in my mind. They have soft-serve sherbet that is just heaven on a cone (or in a dish). They change flavors every other day and you can get it plain or swirled with vanilla. Everything from grape, lime, pineapple, and raspberry to tutti frutti, pina colada, and rootbeer flavors. I LIVE for my summertime trips to SD (it’s a walk-up joint that is only open in warmer months). HEAVEN!

  17. Shannon H Says:

    I must join in on this! Barnaby’s pizza in Skokie, IL–the best pizza in the universe and I miss it more than my friends and family (just kidding, sort of). Without question, if I am “home,” Barnaby’s is a must-have.

  18. Heather Says:

    Devon –

    Nu-Way Weiners is ONLY in Macon, GA – — Perhaps many stores have that name across the country, but there is only 1 Nu-Way Weiners 🙂


  19. karenamundson Says:

    Well you actually have a third reader from your hometown. I have been too embarassed to comment b/c I started my blog page from yours (WordPress) b/c I liked your theme and I thought they would have a lot of cool ones to choose from. Turns out I don’t like any of them except yours so that’s what I have. If you read my blog you will find out that I am a copy cat and I guess I’m getting okay with admitting it (lol). Well anyway my mouth is watering for a made rite and I have their website as one of my favorites. I was actually thinking about it the other day as I was driving. Do you think a frozen made-rite tastes as good as a fresh one? I’m thinking about ordering some. AND my husband and I aslo saw Taylor’s on the Food Network channel a while back. I was all excited! But Marshalltown has some of the best restaurants ever. Peking House, Sub City and you named the others. Yummy! Taco John’s are around but NONE of them serve fries like ours does! I haven’t been home in four years and I’m in the same position you are in so who knows when I’ll ever return. Reunion maybe????

  20. you’re from IOWA?? oh man. that is so lame, i might even stop stalking you.
    🙂 nah that’ll never happen!

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