I am an Iowa native. How can you tell?
- I’ve eaten eight ears of sweet corn for my entire dinner on multiple occasions.
- I wear a John Deere hat multiple times a week.
- I am terrible at identifying good food.
That last one is perhaps most telling. My favorite restaurant has been one of the following at different times in my life: Applebee’s, Golden Corral, The Iowa Machine Shed and Culvers.
This isn’t entirely my fault. The first time I had “prime” quality steak was as a senior in high school across the Mississippi River in Illinois, because Iowa doesn’t have prime steak. When I interned in New York, my mom paid my friend to take me to a different ethnic restaurant each week so I could try new food.
We Iowans are great at eating large quantities of perfectly adequate food, but we’re very bad at finding great food.
Think this is just some generalization? Here’s what the two biggest cities in Iowa voted as the top restaurants in different categories:
|Des Moines||Seafood||Long John Silver’s||2|
|Cedar Rapids||Chinese||Hy-Vee (grocery store)||1|
|Cedar Rapids||Italian||Olive Garden||1|
|Cedar Rapids||Mexican||Carlos O’Kellys||1|
|Cedar Rapids||Steak||Texas Roadhouse||1|
|Cedar Rapids||Wings||Buffalo Wild Wings||1|
That’s the Iowa I know and love.
And now, to watch a video that explains both my favorite state, my favorite highway and my favorite food.