Some of the Best Food I’ve Had in the Cedar Valley

I love food; there’s no denying that. I love food so much, it’s actually very shocking that I manage to have such a tiny waist when I don’t exercise that much. In fact, I once wrote a few restaurant reviews for the school newspaper to give students suggestions on where to dine for prom. I’ve even written a review of a sandwich on this blog.

To “celebrate” my departure from Iowa (okay, I’m celebrating), I’ve decided to put together a list of various things that I found to be very good during the time that I lived in Iowa. This week, we’ll begin with food.

Best Restaurant:
Cu in downtown Waterloo. Wonderful service, excellent food and a very lovely restaurant. The booths have high wooden dividers and the tables have curtains separating each of them, giving it a very intimate feel. I can honestly say that I’ve never had anything to eat there that has disappointed me nor have the people that have joined me to dine there have been disappointed. It’s a bit high end, but the food is worth every dollar. I really don’t know what to suggest, since their menu does change and I am having a hard time coming up with one entree to suggest. Although, for desert, I recommend their cheesecake and for soup, you must try their shrimp and lobster bisque. (I would also like to point out that I gave Cu four out of four stars in those restaurant reviews I wrote for the school newspaper.)

Best Ice Cream
-When I moved to Iowa, Newberry’s had the best ice cream. However, Newberry’s is long gone and has been replaced by a strip mall. Recently, I discovered the Moo Roo in Waterloo, which is owned by the family operated Hanson’s Dairy in Hudson. Moo Roo is one of the old school ice cream shops, where you can pick a scoop of one flavor, a scoop of another flavor and so on. Very friendly staff and their ice cream is delicious. I recommend their mint chocolate chip ice cream, which not only has chocolate chips in the ice cream, but also chocolate shavings; their cookies and cream, which tastes like it has actual cream in it, strawberry and raspberry ice creams. An added bonus is that you can purchase some of Hanson’s Dairy’s cheese curds while you’re there, which I also recommend.

Best Coffee
-I really can’t recommend something since I keep having poor service and not that great drinks at Cup of Joe, the favorite of many residents of the Watleroo-Cedar Falls area. Personally, I liked the Cedar Rapids Coffee Company, which was located in the Iowa Theatre Building, but that is presently closed because of the flood.

Best Italian Food
myVerona in Cedar Falls specializes in Northern Italian cuisine, which I found out features a lot of seafood. If you eat their dishes that feature seafood, they’re very good, particularly their clams and linguini, which is very succulent. I do recommend that you don’t try their tiramisu since it has a weird fruity sauce on it.*

Best Pastries
Johnson’s Bakery in Waterloo. I only discovered their pastries yesterday, when I was ordering a cake. Most people get their pastries and cakes from Hy-Vee and Wal-Mart, which is baffling because there is a local business with pastries that you want to savor. They also make me wish I didn’t get sick from eating fried foods.

Best Burger
Hamburger Mary’s in Cedar Rapids is a chain, albeit a small one, but their burgers are so large, they put a steak knife through center of the burger. My personal favorite is the Meaty Mushroom Burger, which has melted cheese over mushrooms along with lettuce and their special sauce, which tends to end up on my fingers. I can also say that their veggie patty, which can be a substitute on any burger, actually tastes like food. Their fries are amazing–they’re sprinkled with a special spice blend. I asked a server once and they weren’t sure what was in it–and they have very friendly service there. It’s also located across the street from Theatre Cedar Rapids’ Lindale location.

*I’m a bit picky when it comes to tiramisu because my mother makes magnificent tiramisu. As a result, I’m very critical of restaurant’s tiramisu and tend to look at if the ladyfingers are too dry, is there any espresso flavor, etc.

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