Pastime with Pro’s and A Hungry Mind

Who doesn’t love a blog post that features food?  Today I decided to share three local places that Chris and I have eaten in the past few weeks.  We find ourselves having “date nights” and “lunch dates” these days and are trying to explore some of the area eateries that we don’t frequent too often.  Today I will share 3 of those little places with you and tempt you with pictures of lovely food in technicolor.

First stop—Pastime Gardens located on S. Madison in Mason City. I had been to this place only once before with local blogger friend, Jeni, from Jeni Eats.   We both had read a few reviews prior to our visit and they were accurate.  When Chris and I stopped in the place was just beginning to get busy and it is obviously a local hang out.  We ran into neighbors and chatted for a bit so it is a great place for folks to get together.  The cuisine is Mexican and plenty of it.  photo-7 copy

The interior of the restaurant is very eclectic with a variety of things hanging from the walls, ceilings, tucked into little window nooks and it would take a long time to be able to take it all in.  But it works for this place and is all part of the charm. You can find everything from mounted fish to Christmas decorations to Southwestern art .
photo 3-2 copyA must order item on the menu is a basket of chips with either guacamole or cheese dip. These homemade chips are a great treat for the taste buds and sprinkled with just enough cayenne (or chili or something!) to make them have a little bit of heat.  photo 4-2 copy

True to my usual form when my entree arrived I dug in and totally forgot to document with a picture!  I had a tasty quesadilla and Chris opted for a burrito and both were served piping hot and delicious.   I am sorry I did not take pictures as they were beautiful.  Both were accompanied with rice and beans and Chris’s came with a side of special “mexican potatoes” .

This is definitely a laid back place—customers are known by the waitress and served as friends.  Just make sure you check the hours before you go as the place has pretty irregular hours.

Another first for us was a visit to Pro’s Sandwich Shop on S. Federal.   Jeni blogged about it here and we had the same gigantic loose meat sandwich.

Pro's Sandwich

photo 5-2 copy 2Our waitress was amazed that it was our first visit and recommended what every one gets there—the loose meat sandwich.  We were not disappointed. I got mine with a side of onion rings and they were crispy, non greasy and plentiful.  As for the sandwich—-fortunately it is served with a spoon so you can scoop up all the extra

It is normally served with pickles and mustard and that is the perfect way to eat it.  Chris opted to not eat the bun and the waitress told him to order either a cup of meat or a bowl of meat next time if he was cutting the carbs out.  Amazing. Where else can you order a bowl of meat?  Seriously. Oh and if you want to make these on your own, Debbie from Debbie’s Midwestern Kitchen has posted a recipe that has gone viral . Check it out.

Our final first visit was just the other day when we went to The Hungry Mind.  This eatery is tucked in the side of the Southbridge Mall and is another favorite of the locals.  The interior is fairly dimly lit but no bright lights are needed to draw attention to the food here—we both were pleased with our selections.hungry minds

One of the must eats in the Midwest is any kind of cheese curds, fried cheese, cheese balls–whatever they are called.  The Hungry Mind offers cheese balls complete with a side of ranch for dipping. The crispy crusty coating was different than others offer and we both loved the texture and 5-2

Chris ordered a guacamole topped 4-2

I opted for the ever popular BLT. Both were served quickly and were very large and 3-2

My favorite part of The Hungry Mind has to be that they include a little treat with each order.  A flavored tootsie roll.  Reflecting back on my highly coveted role as winner of the 1970 Huron County Snacking and Packing award  I believe that my addition of a small tootsie roll was what clinched the title for 2

So there you have it. Some local Mason City eateries that we had left unexplored until recently.  I apologize for the picture quality—-I used my phone and it obviously did not adjust well to the dim lighting of these establishments but don’t let that scare you away from any of these local eateries.  All had great offerings and we are looking forward to becoming repeat customers.  If you are ever in the area check them out and better still–give me a call so I can meet you !!!



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  1. Where’s the pizza? None of this food appeals to me, can you believe it?

  2. I so love a post about food! And I love a loose meat/Maid-Rite sandwich.. 🙂 CH introduced me to Maid-Rites and he makes a good one! Mexican~Give me chile relleno!!!
    Good Morning!

    • Good morning!!!! Yum. I told my NC friend one time I was having loose meat sandwiches and she thought I said Moose Meat. 🙂 Haen’t tried those yet. Can never go wrong with some of these fun little hole in the wall places.

  3. YUM!!!! After reading this and looking at all those yummy pictures, I’m ready to eat! 🙂

    • Haha! They are all great places. We are exploring. Chris went to Mulligans (without me!) yesterday so we are continuing finding places we haven’t been before. Got any to suggest? Next week is Susie Q’s!

  4. This was fun, Beth Ann, because you know how much I appreciate hometown eateries. I am not a chain restaurant diner. Not at all.

    My hardworking hubby surprised me and took me out for pizza and beer last evening at The Signature Bar & Grill in Faribault. It was BINGO night. No, we didn’t play, but the place was crowded. Pizza and beer was great. This place has a lot of character and great homemade food. And why have we not been here in a long time? This will definitely be a go-to eatery for us in the future.

    • Fun to discover those types of places. I don’t know why we haven’t been to some of these places before. Probably because we have not been home as much or as intentional about having “dates” as we are now. Tonight is date night but a bit more upscale . I have a gift certificate. 🙂 Guess the leftover NAPA food didn’t work out last night but you got a good meal out of it in the end!

  5. Everything looks yummy in a fun environment with, I am assuming, good company–at least on your side 😀 (he called me mean) The loose meat sammie sounds a little like Sloppy Joe’s with a bit of a grown-up twist. We love Sloppy Joe’s so I’ll give it a try. . .

    • It was good company, His blood sugar was obviously low when he said you were mean. 🙂 He really is a sweetheart most of the time. They are like sloppy joes without the sauce. Pretty basic but yummy!

  6. I tried to comment earlier but don’t think it worked-sometimes I forget to hit “Post Comment” after I log in. I really love this post and when write about food. Glad you can show everyone how unique Pastime’s interior is and that shot of Pro’s really shows how much meat you get.

    • My photos were awful this time—-I think I was in too much of a hurry to eat! Plus I had my phone and didn’t mess around with the settings like I probably needed to. Ah well. It’s all good! Thanks for the shares!

  7. Officially starving now!!!!!! They ALL look fab!!!!! When is “Teluwut” on your itinerary??????

  8. Mexican food and Southwestern art? You would find me at a “Pastime Gardens” kind of place.

  9. I so miss eating out. when you drop down to one income – it’s the first “luxury” to go. And it must be even harder for my hubby because he is such a foodie. thankfully I get to live vicariously through you. Vacations is when we get to eat out more and sample the local fare of wherever we are traveling.

    • We have been having intentional “dates” and exploring these fun places and the good thing is none are very pricey so it is easy on the budget. 🙂

  10. I love Mexican food, and kind of miss the Tex-Mex we got in the US. We have something not too far off here, but not close enough for my liking. I miss the corn chips, especially. Gosh, I love chips and salsa. We have them here, but just not the same.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • It is funny what you miss in other countries. I really missed ranch dressing in Australia. Of course there are things that take the place of things you can’t get but still—I get missing the chips and salsa. A staple in my diet. 🙂

  11. Can someone pass me a bowl of loose meat please?! lol

  12. I miss Mexican food. Sigh.

  13. Lindsay Prieskorn says:

    Just a couple other stops I thought you’d enjoy are Pete’s kitchen (excellent sandwiches and gyros), Northwestern Steakhouse (obviously for their awesome steak), and Tailgater’s bar and grill (they have excellent pizza).

    • Lindsay, THANKS so much for the suggestions!!! Have been to Northwestern once but not the other two places! Thanks so much! Love getting other suggestions from folks who are in the know!!!! Come back anytime!

  14. The food looked delicious, but I’m not sure about the first place – I might have second thoughts about going there based on the outside appearance.

    • Yea, I know. Some of these places are kind of dicey looking on the outside but they end up being clean and well run places. I guess it is one of those “don’t judge a book by the cover” type of things.

  15. I’m on my way back to the first one right now!


  1. […]  Locally Chris and I visited Pro’s Sandwich Shop and you can read about that experience by clicking here.  My local blogger friend, Debbie, has a great recipe to make them at home in your crockpot. […]

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