Thanks to all of you, trip to Omaha was outstanding!

Last week, I sent out a plea for your collective knowledge and opinion on where to hit up in Omaha for the best food/drink.

And, not surprisingly at all, you delivered. I had so many options, and only 36 hours to cram them into, there was no way I was even going to scratch the surface. But I did get a start. Below is the roundup of places we went, and since nearly every one was a direct recommendation from one or more of you, I’m stoked to say there wasn’t a bad experience in the bunch!

Friday:
We got a late start out of Sioux Falls, so dinner in Omaha was out. But we did take the opportunity to stop at Kahill’s in South Sioux City. I wrote about that already, but it was awesome. On to…

Saturday:



We met up with our traveling companions for the day, Michael, Lexie and Emily and headed to Wheatfields in the Old Market for brunch. Wheatfields has three locations, and this was my first experience with one.

What a treat this place was! First it was packed at 10 a.m.; as long as your name isn’t Denny’s or Perkin’s, that’s usually a good sign. There was a HUGE bakery counter to the left as you walk in, filled with muffins, pastry, kolache, cake, etc. We had made reservations (recommended), so there wasn’t a ton of time to peruse, but some of that goodness would certainly make it to our plates.

The menu was huge, and a bit daunting to be honest. But our waitress had some great suggestions, and after the first Blood Orange Mimosa, I was ready to order nearly everything.

We split a SugarMill Sticky Roll Sampler, which was smart considering the onslaught yet to come. My favorite of the four varieties (standard, caramel, pecan and orange) was the orange. It was almost marmalade-y, and far less sweet than the rest. I dug it. The pecan was pretty great too.

Next up I ordered the Peaches & Croque’ Madame off the featured menu. Wheatfields does a monthly feature menu, incorporating a different fruit into many dishes. This one, was basically a Croque’ Madame, with a side of baked peaches. The Croissant was really quite outstanding, the eggs perfect and runny and the Gruyere cheese sauce was quite good. The peaches were outstanding. Really. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that while this was a very good-to-great dish, it STILL wasn’t as good as the Croque’ Madame you can get down at M.B. Haskett when it’s on the feature menu. (Seriously, if you’ve not yet made it there on a Saturday or Sunday for breakfast, I don’t know how many more times I can tell you.)

But because they also had a Sweet Corn Quiche special, I had to order a slice of that, right? Of course. If you like sweet corn, and everybody does, this was something you had to order. The entire table liked it. Flaky crust, light egg and corn. Well, it was light until the hollandaise sauce was poured over top. The sauce was a bit broken, but still tasted great.

There was a lot of good food around the table, including some cheesy potatoes that were almost like grits in texture but order-another-round good. But I think the best order might have been Michael’s Stratta. The bread, egg, ham, cheese and sausage dish was so tasty I was jealous.

What a great start to the day

After a walk through the Farmer’s Market, where Megan and I picked up some spices, hot sauce and honey, we ended up settling down for some early afternoon beverages at Mister Toad.



I love this place. Great patio, friendly staff, weird decor (it used to be a library, and still looks like it but with a bunch of creepy toad statues everywhere), stiff drinks. Just an outstanding vibe. I bought a t-shirt, and I’ll be back. Enough said.

We had planned on hitting up a Bacon and Beer Festival that was going on, but instead audibled to a tour of Omaha’s Benson neighborhood. Emily’s husband Chris has joined us at this point, and as an Omaha native, he and his friend Steve toted us around to some of their favorite haunts in their old neighborhood.



The highlight there (really that neighborhood is pretty cool: Beercade, The Sydney, etc.) was Burke’s Pub. This place has it all (I’m typing in my Stephon voice right now): A Great Dane in the couch by the front door, homemade Apple Pie Shots in three varieties, Keno, MyTouchTunes, a friendly barkeep, free/fresh popcorn and a corgi in a bar stool. Oh, and the golf tournament on the only screen not dedicated to Keno. This place was my speed, and if I lived in this neighborhood, I would be a regular. Also, those apple pie shots are for real. Not overly sweet, not alcoholy. Just liquid pie. I have no idea how they do it.

It was now time for a rest/break, and then on to dinner at La Buvette. This is basically a wine bar with a bunch of small plate options. Our dinner party was down to four and we settled in to share some good food and wine.



Here’s the list:
(above)
- A pretty standard and tasty meat and cheese plate
- A surprisingly great hummus plate. Seriously, there was a smoothness and powerfully-subtle garlic taste. Everyone thought it was great.
- An Argyle Reserve Pinot - Carpaccio with pickled onions, crème fraîche and cured olives that was great
(below)
- Six grilled oysters on the half shell that I really didn’t want to share (that’s not true! these are my wife and friends; of course I wanted to share! maybe.)
- Salmon Tartar with avocado that was fresh and delicious and I think everyone’s favorite
- An Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel - And, lastly, a dish of fried sweetbreads with a tomato ragu and creamed spinach. If you’ve never had glands before, there’s a certain slight bitterness that some don’t like. I love ‘em, and ended up finishing off the plate after others had tried them.



A truly great meal I thought. And after hitting up The Dubliner and Sake Bombers Lounge to finish off the evening (there might have been late-night PepperJax Grill too, but I’m not saying), a great day in total.

Finally, Sunday was for hitting up Penzeys Spices and Beertopia after a quick bagel at a Brugger’s before heading home. A wonderful trip.

Again, thank you to: (from blog comments) urwuread, Dustin B., Barbara, The Secret Fork, YanktonIrishRed, Colleen, ska, Cousin Eddie, Susan, (from Facebook) James, Joleen, Jeff, Megan, Roberta, Theresa, Ryan, Staci, Josh, Michael, Tim, Kristin, Thomas, Judy, Charmel, (from Twitter) @BVondra, @Paiger33, @BroTaguchi, @mrkampmann, @awaken and @_Suze_ for all the suggestions.

You guys are the best.