One place I've passed several times and wondered about is the Peppercorn Pantry in Aplington, Iowa. This summer I finally walked in, took a look, and decided it would be a great place to review. So when my family was invited to sing at a Gideons dinner and meeting at the Peppercorn, I seized the opportunity to take some photos.
The tea room is spotless and beautifully decorated in an elegant but rustic style in anticipation of the holidays. A sign near the entrance advertises a few dishes (quiche, spinach pie, and orange almond chicken) at $8.95. Chicken Salad Croissants, Crab Louie Salad, and Wild Rice and Ham Soup are marked as $6.96; and a scrumptious array of pies are available at $2.95 a slice.
In the gift shop you will find Peppercorn Pantry salad dressings and vinaigrettes, J.R. Watkins soaps and detergents, a variety of coffee beans, candles of all scents, scarves and jewelry, greeting cards (my weakness), and much more! Downstairs is a flower shop.
The Peppercorn Pantry is owned by Mary Meyer, and she runs it with the help of her son Caleb. Local high-schoolers are employed as waitresses. The Meyers live on a farm outside of town that has been in their family for over 100 years. They use as much home grown produce as possible in their cooking.
The first course served was this beautiful salad. I won't pretend to be a salad-lover; my philosophy is that eating a first course of salad is not a good idea because it fills precious space that could better be reserved for dessert. But it was good as far as salads go; my favorite part was the croutons!
The main course was green beans, potatoes, and a roll with choice of chicken or roast beef. The best way I can think of to describe the taste would be to say it was like a home-cooked meal, except nothing was burnt (an occasional side-effect of my cooking). Everything was scrumptious. The green beans were exceptionally delicious, and the potatoes and chicken were flavorful. But... the best was yet to come!
My siblings and I decided the wisest course would be to delay our order until after other tables had been served, so we could see the pies as the waitresses walked by. We finally made our choices (above), and all were quite good!
I'd definitely recommend the Peppercorn Pantry to anyone looking for a delicious, home-style meal.
What's your favorite flavor of pie? Do you have a favorite salad?