Baby tomatoes

Baby tomatoes

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A night out on the (small) town

How do two former city dwellers find a way to have the perfect date night in a rural Iowa town? It's not easy! We have very limited options- a movie theater, a bowling alley, a handful of restaurants and a couple bars. Not the most romantic of possibilities, but with the right person and a good imagination you can have an awesome night out!

Sometimes we have to drive to a nearby town for something different. We don't mind at all. The countryside is very lovely out here in West Central Iowa and the small towns in the distance, with their water towers dotting the landscape, add to the charm. On this Friday afternoon we decided to visit the town of Adel, in Dallas County. Adel has several really good places to eat, we just had to choose which one we wanted.

They have a pretty popular Mexican restaurant, but we passed on that. We have a really good Mexican place near the lake that we eat at often enough. China Village? The Chef was not really "feeling" Chinese tonight. So I suggested The Italian Villages. I could have a nice quiet Italian dinner (usually a safe bet) and a glass of wine. Sounds perfect to me, so that's where we went!

Walking in the restaurant my first impression was "a typical small town family owned" restaurant. Murals of Italian street scenes, canals, sidewalk cafes, line the wall on one side. Neat rows of tables with plastic tablecloths fill the dining room. They do a substantial pizza and takeout business and near the front door is a big pizza oven and the cashier, making it easy for people to pop in and pickup an order to go.

Jacqui was our server and she was a hoot! She took lots of time answering our questions, not just about the food and wine, but about the restaurant, their history, the town, pretty much anything we threw at her. She had great stories about the restaurant over the years and recommended some of her favorites.

The specials were baked cavatelli and steak and shrimp- we both went with the cavatelli. I did get my glass of wine with dinner. No wine list in this little place, but that's ok. I asked for red and got a nice glass of a fairly sweet red wine, which was fine. It was a little bit on the bubbly side, reminded me of Stella Rosa, a very mild wine I used to recommend to "new" wine drinkers.

Nothing fancy....... just really nice
When in Rome, do as the Romans, right? So in Iowa, do as the Iowans- always order the onion rings, and we sure did. The onion rings were great- thinly sliced and perfectly battered and fried. The chef was very friendly and came out to chit chat with us, and he shared his trick to such great o rings- a very very fine cracker meal, packaged shrimp tempura batter mix and seasonings like garlic and parsley. You could see parsley flakes in the breading and they were light and crispy. 

There is a salad bar in the dining room, nothing spectacular, just a giant chilled bowl of salad greens, a few toppings and dressings and a couple pasta salads. It was clean, fresh and well stocked but just the basics, not that it's a bad thing at all. There also was a large heated tureen with the soup of the day. 

It wasn't long before the cavatelli arrived, and it was delicious. The sauce reminded my of The Chef's pasta sauce, with chunky tomatoes and mushrooms. Iowa's famous Graziano's sausage and loads of pasta filled the dish, which was covered in melted mozzarella. It was so so so good. I didn't even eat half of it!

We finally headed home, full and looking forward to lounging on the couch for a bit. Would we go back the The Italian Villages for dinner? Heck yes! It was a thoroughly enjoyable, peaceful meal, at good prices, generous portions and great staff. Next time I want to try the pizza!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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