1. Hu Hot- Iowa is the hub for Hu Hots, who would have guessed. It is a build your own dish Mongolian grill. It is my absolute favorite place to eat.This is not as tragic but it is now about an hour and twenty minutes away. I suggest that if you haven't eaten there yet, do all that is in your power to get to one. It is well worth it, trust me.
2. Panera Bread-Okay if you haven't been here, you might be living in a cave, like my boyfriend was before we started dating (But he didn't know the power of butter before my mom and I came into his life and now he is hooked!!! Muwahahahah!). My mom and I started going here every Saturday when I was younger. We would order potato soup and bread and have some girl time. Then my dad and I would secretly go there and get Cinnamon Crunch and Asiago Cheese bagels.They're the only ones that I like after the Bagel Incident of '98.
3. Carlos O'Kelly's-This one I will forgive you if you haven't heard of it. It's a Mexican restaurant and the closest one to me now is three hours away. My friends and I would go there after school and eat our hearts away. Ohhh I'm making myself so hungry right now!
Late one night my friend Bobbi and I were craving Carlos Chile con Queso. My dad did us the lovely honor of making us some of his specialty of Todd's Cheese Dip, it doesn't really have a name, I just named it... It took us several tries to make it with out almost dying of curdled cheese. But it still wasn't as good as Carlos. The other night Josh and I were waiting for a train to cross and in the down time, I did some research. I then raided our fridge and created the Frankenstein of Queso. And let me tell you it tasted as good as Carlos'! The secret was in the butter, it's always in the butter!
Carlo's O'Kelly's Chili con Queso Copycat Recipe
*Keep in mind that I don't measure much if I'm not baking so these are my rough measurement estimates. Just add things to taste!
2 Tbsp. Butter (Not Margarine, real butter!)
1/2 c. Sour Cream
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese cubed
3 Tbsp. Green Chilies (I just use half of the little cans that you can buy at the grocery store by all of the stuff to make tacos and what not!)
2-3 Tbsp. Chopped Sweet Vadalia Onion (but any white onion would work as well)
2 Tbsp. Salsa
1-2 Tbsp. Taco sauce
In a small Crock Pot, combine all of the ingredients. Heat on high until butter, cheese, and sour cream is melted, sir occasionally. Once the cheese has melted turn the Crock Pot on low or warm and serve with tortilla chips. It so simple, anyone could do it! If you don't have a "baby" Crock Pot, You can make this in a small sauce pan over medium low heat (you don't want it too hot or else it will burn the cheese.)
This picture doesn't do it justice, but it was the best I could get in my poorly lit kitchen.