There is a lot more to see and do in western Iowa than most people realize. Over the weeks to come, the Pilot-Tribune will feature some theme tours around the region, with the help of the Western Iowa Tourism program.
Today's tour is Delectable Delights - some of the tastiest places to visit around the region.
ICE CREAM CAPITOL
OF THE WORLD
Visitors Center, Highway 60, LeMars
Today, more ice cream is produced in Le Mars, Iowa by a single company than any other city in the world!
The Visitors Center and Ice Cream Museum opened in 2000 and is known as the "ccolest" place on earth. Winter Hours are Tues-Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Self-guided tours take about 40 minutes. See the simulated factory production line, play interactive games to test your knowledge about ice cream and finish with a scoop of delicious Blue Bunny Ice Cream in the vintage, 1920s Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor.
We recommend the Bunny Tracks overkill ice cream complete with peanut butter-filled chocolate bunnies and thick fudge (can you believe 190 calories a serving?) and the sophisticated Spumoni fruit and nut ice cream. Or, challenge the Goliath Sundae, if you dare.
* Web: www.wellsdairy.com, click on "Visitors Center"; Phone:712-546-4090
King's Pointe Resort,
Lakeshore Drive, Storm Lake
Storm Lake's only lakeside restaurant offers a truly unique dining experience with a rare exhibition kitchen boasting a wood-fire grill. You can boat or snowmobile right up to the door. In the summer, a deck and fire pit offers a romantic spot to eat, but in the winter it is all about gourmet dishes and fantastic views from every table. For breakfast, we recommend the Cinnamon French Toast with a hint of orange, and the Tazo herb tea. At lunch you'll want to check out Pigs Fly, the most unique wings in the region, and a cheesecake chimichanga. At dinner, look for the Storm Lake Shore Boil - a half roasted chicken seasoned with old bay, served with shrimp, mussels, red potatoes and corn on the cob, with a lobster claw on the side if you like.
Web: www.kingspointeresort.com/dining_regatta...; Phone 866-552-5960.
DANISH VILLAGE OF ELK HORN
Highway 173, 7 miles north of I-80
You don't have to be a Dane to enjoy the mouthwatering Smorrebrod (open faced sandwiches), desserts, aebleskiver and medisterpoise (pancakes and sausage) served in the largest rural Danish settlement in the United States. We recommend the frikadeller (meat balls) at the Danish Inn. Hours Sun, 11-3, Tues.-Sat. 11-9.
While in Elk Horn you can see the 2,000 pound millstones grind wheat or rye into flour in the 1848 mill from Norre Snede, Denmark and purchase the flour for your own baking.
NUTTY BAR TRADITION
521 Okoboji Grove Road, Arnolds Park
The Nutty Bar stand may be seasonal, but you haven't lived until you've been there. The Nutty Bar (not to mention the Nutty Bar Girls) is a tradition in the Lakes area, but for the true conniseur, we recomment a frozen chocolate banana and the homemade root beer. Is it spring yet??
* Web: www.vacationokoboji.com; Phone: 800-270-2574
Northwest Iowa's Scandinavian treat
Sample the delicious imported Dutch cheese, the saucijzebroodjes (pig in a blanket), ring bologna and home cured dried beef in Woudstra's Meat Market. We recommend the mouthwatering banket (almond pastry) in the Dutch Bakery, then browse through shops and admire the imported Dutch lace and Delft pottery. The place is known for the Tulip Festival, but it is a good visit all year around.
* Web: orangecityiowa.com; Phone: 712-707-4510.
SAC COUNTY STICKY
420 E. Main, Sac City
The town that got on the map by creating the World's Largest Popcorn Ball with 44 volunteers in 2004 is still a fun place to try some tasty new popcorn treats... English Toffee, Cranberry Twist, Cinnamon and French Vanilla, or stick to old standbys like Cheddar Cheese and Carmel. Buy in quantity at the Noble plant or pick up a bag at local stores.
* Web: saccountyiowa.com; phone 712-662-7383
COUNTRY MAID STYLE
Although the town is best known for the Grotto of the Redemption, you can also take a taste of apple, blueberry, cherry, cream cheese, peach and strawberry pastries freshly heated for a warm reward.
Visitors can visit the local museum to see how the Butter Braid production process began in a family basement and grew to Country Main Inc. Country Maid products are available for fund-raising sales. The newest flavors include Peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, white chocolate macadamia nut and double chocolate chunk, but we recommend the "Classic Breaks" frozen cookie dough.
* Web: www.countrymaid.net; Phone 888-460-6904.
PALMER'S OLDE TYME
405 Wesley Parkway, Sioux City
The mecca for candy lovers, Palmer's dates to the 1870s and is famous for the invention of the Twin Bing. Today you can visit the Palmers Olde Tyme Candy Shop in Sioux City, complete with a museum that tells the story of candymaking (and usually a free sample!) The King Bing is a must-do, but the yogurt pretzles are our favorite, along with Divinity that is, well, devine.
* Web: www.palmercandy.com; phone 712-258-5543.
FRIED EGG SUNDAE
Iowa's classic soda fountains!
* Stoner Drug in Hamburg offers the rare Fried Egg Sundae ice cream treat in addition to fountain phosphates and ice cream sodas. (712-382-2551)
* Penn Drug in Sidney has been in the same family since the Civil War (712-374-2513) and Jay's Drug in Shenandoah still serves hand-dipped ice cream malts. (712-246-2524).
* Iowa native Donna Reed visited this Candy Kitchen next to her namesake theatre in Denison that is still in existence today. Soda Jerks still make favorite carbonated drinks like green river and chocolate, cherry and vanilla coke from-scratch. You'll have to do your own search for the famous hybrid cherry-lime rickey.