You are here

The Tenderloin Crusades

“Stereotypically, Iowa is known for two things: corn and pigs. Unfortunately for the latter they are absolutely delicious.”   -M. Brown

Since 2003, the Iowa Pork Producers Association has given a ‘Best Pork Tenderloin’ award to the top pork tenderloin sandwich in the state.  It’s kind of a big deal. This exclusive list of cafeteria royalty contains the following vanquishers:

2003 – Darrell’s Place in Hamlin
2004 – Suburban Restaurant in Ames
2005 – Dairy Sweet in Dunlap
2006 – Town House Supper Club in Wellsburg
2007 – Larsen’s Pub in Elk Horn
2008 – Augusta Restaurant in Oxford
2009 – Goldie’s in Prairie City
2010 – Buck’s in Mitchelville
2011 – Gramma’s Kitchen in Walcott

Like any red-blooded American I want to know if this particular award is given on true merit.  Had the pork conglomerate turned this sacred award into some kind of popularity contest? Could an award of this magnitude be handed out merely for political gain?  I have decided to don my investigative journalist hat in a quest to visit each victorious canteen myself (and drag Gina along with me) to determine if it is worthy of blue-ribbon status. We are the Woodward & Bernstein of swine.

In addition, (and even more importantly) I will discover which of these winners has the greatest loin west of the Mississippi.  ONE LOIN TO RULE THEM ALL!  With Gina at my side we shall scour the state in an effort to determine the creme de la creme and report our findings right here on The BassetLounge.  Oh sure, we are going to have to eat our weight in pork tenderloins but sometimes in life you have to sacrifice for the greater good of society. 

Any good contest requires a fair and impartial rating system between multiple judges.  The Tenderloin Crusade will evaluate each establishment for a possible 100 points.  Those points will consist of the following criteria:

55 points for loin TASTE
15 points for the quality of the BUN
15 points for the quality of the ‘FRIED SIDE’
10 points for AMBIANCE
5 points for loin SIZE

For the sake of fairness, we will order the plain tenderloin at each establishment.  Onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes may be added at the discretion of each judge, which should make things equal in case some places have tenderloins that contain some form of bacon.  Let’s face it, when given a sandwich choice bacon always beats no-bacon.  The side dish must be fried, and can be at the recommendation of the restaurateur or whichever layman happens to take our order.  It pays to hire quality help people.

We will post our scores, along with photos of the journey to each destination (this is a photo blog site, you know.)  Oh, and if any of the owners of these tenderloin joints wants to buy my vote, just make the check payable to Mickey Brown.