Weekend visit to Dubuque and surrounding area. First just general observation: this area of IA, WI & IL is one of the prettiest pieces of country you can find, especially in fall with almost every house decorated with pumpkins, corn stalks and all.
Anyway, chow-wise, relied on the posts here and was not disappointed. Bierstube [1301 Rhomberg Ave
Dubuque, IA 52001-2227
turned out to be a great tip. A true neighborhood tavern with a really relaxing and pleasant atmosphere. The sort of place where you can bring the Sunday paper and read it, with a few beers to chase the newsprint. Civilized and friendly clientele. The food was nice. We had a bratwurst, and a polish sausage plate. The price was right, but had I been warned that the singular "bratwurst" was literal, I might have needed to have an extra wurst on my plate. But these were nice sausages. Served with a plate of black bread and butter, red cabbage, home-made (it tasted) kraut, mustard and potato "discs": again a sort of old-world touch. We had a chocolate cake and ice cream to finish. Fine yellow ice-CREAM and the cake moist as anything. Dark ale washed all down to perfection.
Dinner at Kall Inn along the Mississippi on the Wisconsin side of the river. Convivial atmosphere here and pleasant ambience and people-watching. Good service. Appetizer was not required (they were not too exciting on the menu) as a perfect little relish tray arrived. Devilled ham, pimiento cheese and another dip with raw vegetables and crouton slices. My wife had cod which was good and very well-portioned. I had the sirloin steak which was as tasty a bit of beef as I remember, perfectly cooked to order (rare). It was that thick (1") hand cut "hunk" of red meat you have to love the look of, and arrived still sizzling from the broiler. Wines were nothing special but served in splits so at least fresh versus the problem of half-opened (opened five days earlier) bottles being poured you so often see. My 2nd and 3rd cocktail suffered from progressive-watered-down syndrome. The only negative point and surprising given the veteran bartenders in attendance. Dessert was a very nice lemon tart and pumpkin pie. Breakfast the next day in Elizabethtown was the Welcome Inn. $12.08 for 2 hearty breakfasts. I thought excellent value and in an historic building it was a most pleasant experience. We scouted Galena (touristy and not our scene at all). Although, my wife reported the wine and cheese store you pass immeidiately upon entering the historic area (interestingly they have 2 huge gates they can shut to block off the downtown from the Galena river: the gates being part of the levee in effect) was the real thing: European cheeses and all. But generally if there is a hell, for me, it would be full of shops like Galena has and I would be FORCED to go into each and look around. Ay ay ay, enough to make you give up sinning.
We went to Lena but failed to find the cheese factory. Has it closed? The meat factory was there though. On the back (slaughterhouse entrance) side they had chutes one labelled "Cows, Sheep" the other labelled "Hogs, Emergency" I wondered what "Emergency" meant exactly.
This whole area is just beautiful in the fall and is one I will definitely travel back to.