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    ROAD TRIP: Dubuque/East Dubuque/Galena

    I took a few days off last week to go back east to visit a few culinary gems. When I used to frequent this area, I always had to stop at Marios and Timmerman's Supper Club

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    I arrived at the hotel and how lucky could I be, there is a Mexican restaurant in the same parking lot!
    Welcome to Los Aztecas Mexican Restaurant

    I had to have a few of these to start off the night!


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    Mario's Italian Restaurant

    Upon arriving this chilly January night, the sign let me know there was the warmth of friendship and great food inside.



    A quick stop at the bar before getting a table. The bartender was quick with a "Hello" and a few regulars turned and nodded.



    After some casual talk with the regulars at the bar, I grabbed another beer and headed to my booth.

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    Mario's cont'd

    The very attentive waitstaff was there with menu and the offer of anything else while I looked at the menu. I knew right away what I was going to order. The "Mario Panz"!

    A panzerotti with the works! I chose this with a salad with house dressing, a mild Italian oil and vinegar style dressing.



    The waitstaff was scurrying about on their way as the booths full of people were kicking back and enjoying the camaraderie that has been Mario's since day one.
    Before I knew it my waitress arrived with my "Mario Panz"!
    I was in the presence of a culinary work of art. This deep fried dough stuffed with the best quality ingredients topped with the best homemade sauce. There was a moment shock and pleasure as this steamed in front of me.



    I have had many of these before. They just seem to get better with each visit, A feat that not many restaurants can achieve. The freshness and the flavor of the fillings, the crispness of the dough, the incredible sauce on top. I noticed throughout the dining room that most were ordering the panzerotti.

    I gave it my best.


  5. #5
    Cidp24's Avatar
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    Looks great!
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    Mario's cont'd

    My waitress noticed me taking notes and pictures. She asked if I would like to meet and talk to Mario. I have met him before but that was over 12 years ago. Mario's daughter Lidia came over and introduced herself and we chatted for a bit. As we talked she turned and said, "Oh, I think Mario is here!" As Mario worked his way through the bar and dining room, everyone had a word or two for Mario. A few ladies hugged him and one said "That's amore!"
    Mario made his way over to my booth and Lidia introduced us. Mario has the smile and the handshake of an old friend that never forgets. We talked for a bit and he insisted we meet the next day to talk and enjoy his food.

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    Paul's Tavern

    After dinner I decided to stop at one of the more unique bars in the area.



    This bar has big game trophies encased in glass.



    A couple of the walls.




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    Your posts are better than watching the Food Network.
    SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM

    "It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
    -Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"

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    Renniger-Richards-Griswold-Owens

  9. #9
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    Lock and Dam #11

    The next day I decided to do a little sightseeing.

    Lock and Dam No. 11 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia







    The lookout tower was set up for birdwatching.


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    Back to Mario's!




    As I arrived, Mario was waiting for me at the bar. We went back to the kitchen and Mario showed me how a Mario Panz is made.

    Shape the dough.





    Add fillings, plenty of fillings!



    Fold it over and roll the edge.



    Dock the top a few times and it is ready for the fryer.







    When the Mario Panz is done it gets a ladle full of Mario's famous sauce.


  11. #11
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    Mario makes my lunch

    Mario said the Mario Panz was for me to take home to my gf and he was going to make my lunch.

    Mario asked if I liked olive oil and garlic and anchovies over pasta? I said that sounded great! So off to work Mario went.

    Sauteing the garlic and anchovies in the olive oil.



    Add the pasta and some chopped Italian parsley.





    voila!



    This was delicious!

    After we finished our lunch he ordered a couple of double espressos.


  12. #12
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    Mario and I

    After lunch Mario and I chatted a bit. Most of his employees have been working for him 15 years or longer. The bartender has been there 24 years. While chatting with the regular customers, it appears they have been just as loyal. One customer said she was there the first day he opened for business.

    Mario grew up in Italy helping his Mom cook for the family before he came to New York to open his own restaurant. Mario had a two hour commute to and from the restaurant everyday. After fifteen years of this he wanted to move out of the city. Lucky for Dubuque, he ended up there to open up "Mario's". Now he says, "It's only five minutes to work!" As he points out the window in the direction of his house two blocks away. The restaurant remains busy. They cook 200 quarts of his famous tomato sauce that tops 55-70 panzerottis daily! I asked Mario what he likes to cook at home. He said, "Whatever the boss wants!" Usually pasta with a red sauce and his favorite wine, Coppola Merlot. I asked Mario what was his recipe for success, being in the restaurant business. He said, "Number one is quality. The food has got to be the best! Number two is patience, everything takes time. Number three, keep good people." And Mario has done that, with employees as well as customers. I told him I would be back to try his Pork Chops ala Mario this summer.

    Mario at his New York restaurant.


  13. #13
    Five-0's Avatar
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    Good read. I enjoyed that.

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzV5AIK8iM
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  14. #14
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    Timmerman's Supper Club, East Dubuque Illinois

    This is a very nice upscale restaurant on top of the bluff across from Dubuque. We always stopped here on Friday nights for their shrimp dinner special.



    The dining room.





    Just outside the main dining room window is an area that is inhabited by ducks during the summer months.

    They even have their own little house.


  15. #15
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    Timmerman's cont'd

    While sitting at the bar, I overheard the waitresses talking about the dinner special. Even though I always have the shrimp dinner, the Seafood Stir fry sounded too good to pass up. Shrimp, scallops and lobster stir fried in a sesame ginger sauce and veggies, served with almond rice. I went over to my table and ordered.

    The salad with house creamy Italian dressing.



    The Seafood Special



    The seafood was done perfect and the sauce was a little sweet for my taste. What caught me off guard was the almond rice was buried under all and there was too much sesame ginger sauce. It felt like more of a soup rather than the rice as a side dish.

    The service was perfect. The restaurant was filling up fast so I retired to the bar for a glass of cognac. On my way out I talked to the managers that were gathered at the hostess stand. I told them I was disappointed at the rice being buried under too much sauce. Their first response was, "Where are you from?" I laughed and told them (why did that matter?). I also said that it had been a few years since I had been there but I would definitely be back.

  16. #16
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    Breakfast @ Dottie's

    Saturday morning I got up early and went down to Dottie's Cafe.



    This is required stop for breakfast anytime you are in the area. Great service and real homemade food. I chose the Deluxe Breakfast.


  17. #17
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    Galena, Illinois

    I usually take more time to go through the entire main street. It was a little chilly and there was another snowstorm on the way. I did stop and pick up some specialty herbs and some 10 year aged cheddar.

    Some shots of the main street.






  18. #18
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    Back to Mario's, again!

    I had to stop and get lunch on my way out.


    mmm, pizza!


  19. #19
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    Very nice! I don't live to far from Dubuque. Go gambling there some times. Maybe we should meet up some day.
    He who has the money, signs the cheques.
    He who signs the cheques, makes the rules.
    He who makes the rules, has the power.
    He who has the power, has the money.

  20. #20
    IMGreat101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 213th View Post
    Very nice! I don't live to far from Dubuque. Go gambling there some times. Maybe we should meet up some day.
    We will be going back whenever this %&#$ snow melts.

 

 
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