Monday, June 13, 2011

Dining, German-American Style

Back in high school, Mark and I had Mr. Brad Muhlenbruck for our physical science teacher.  Mr. Muhlenbruck was also my track coach, and he was well-liked by most of his students.  He was fresh out of college, so not too much older than us, and he had a laid-back style with a dry sense of humor.  When we graduated, he also left the school to take a teaching position in Iowa.  Now he's living in Middle Amana with his wife and 3-year-old son.  We saw Brad a few years ago at our last high school reunion, and I've kept in touch with him via e-mail ever since.  When I told him we were coming down to visit the Amana Colonies, he highly recommended this restaurant in Amana.
We arrived in Amana last Thursday afternoon and dodged the rain most of the day.  The evening cleared off for a bit as we made our way into the Ox Yoke Inn.
The Amana Society has kept the buildings in great condition.  The inside of the restaurant was not fancy, but it was homey.  The lights were subdued and German polka music played quietly in the background.  Look at the steins and wood-carved clock on the mantle!
The Amana people ate together in large groupings.  The women of the villages tended huge gardens and canned gobs and gobs of food for the colony.  Check out all of this cabbage!!  Can you guess what these ladies were making?....
That's right:  sauerkraut! 
This photo was taken at the Amana Heritage Museum and is captioned "Putting up Amana Kraut - Homestead, IA".   Even though it looks like a lot of work, I bet these ladies had fun working together.  And check out this kraut cutter!

Note the circular blades on the base of the kraut cutter

My dad will be so proud of me:  I tried sauerkraut for the first time since childhood, and this time I actually liked it!  I've always liked cabbage and cole slaw but could never quite get used to sauerkraut.  The Ox Yoke Inn makes it thick (not too finely shredded) and not-too-sour.  It wasn't bad!  Ally joined Mark and me in eating family-style (where the server just keeps bringing you bowls of food till you explode), while Cy and the other girls ate off of the children's menu.  Their popcorn chicken was huge and juicy whole meat...delicious!  Wynne had her signature grilled cheese sandwich, also quite good.

The kinder before the arrival of the food!
 Ally ordered fried chicken (again, yumma-licious) while Mark and I had oven-baked steak.  The steak tasted like Swiss steak and was very good, while the mashed potatoes were to DIE for.  Mashed, but not mealy...still a few clumps in there...lots of  The bill was not as lovely, but it was worth it for the "ethnic" dining experience.  I think the subdued lights and music helped to calm the children down, too.  (Why don't we put on music at home for our meals?  I need to try that sometime besides Valentine's Day!)

Two doors down was the Ronneburg Restaurant, which we would have liked to tried out on Friday but ran out of $$.  All in all, we would highly recommend the Ox Yoke Inn if you want good meat-and-potatoes fare and LOTS of it!

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. --1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV


Blogger Astrid in Bristling Acres said...

Yum! We'll definitely have to stop there when we do our road trip to the Amana Colonies. Thanks for the recommendation!

June 15, 2011 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

You will love the Amanas. Your family will, too!

June 15, 2011 at 3:01 PM  

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