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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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“Amish Paradise”

Thursday, April 8, 2010 @ 09:04 AM

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Spring has finally sprung!  Thank goodness, because this winter was surprisingly snowy and cold in Texas, and I am very much ready for the warmth and sunshine.  When warmer weather begins to hit (and that looming thought of swimsuit season :)), I tend to gravitate towards a lot of fresh and light foods…fruits, veggies, smoothies, salads, etc.; and there is something so refreshing about choosing those items instead of hot comfort foods when it is super hot outside.  Don’t get me wrong, I love comfort food as much as the next person, and when it is cold out, there is nothin’ betta! 

And on that note…the next spot I want to feature for you all is exactly that, warm comfort food at its best.  Das Dutchman Essenhaus, located in Middlebury, IN, has been serving up traditional Amish style meals since 1971.  Originally created as a 120 seat restaurant, it can now accommodate 1,100 and is considered the largest family restaurant in Indiana.  Under normal circumstances I would not typically seek out heavy comfort food joints like this.  However, my wonderful husband grew up less than 5 minutes from here and has often raved about it.  Also, many travel magazines and local television programs have gone to visit the Essenhuas, thus making it a well known, must visit establishment around the Midwest and for anyone looking for traditional Amish cooking.  All of that being the case, I knew at some point I would have to give this spot a chance and a true review; and, I recently got the chance.

This past Christmas while back in Indiana, we had the perfect opportunity to visit this place when we had plans to to meet our good friends Jay and Angela out for dinner.  I was pre warned that I would be experiencing a tried and true Amish experience…meaning when we pulled up I was not to be surprised by the REAL horses and buggies tied up outside.

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…and just look at that.  That is one legit horse and buggy!  Look at that caution triangle on the back and everything. :)  Well, that wasn’t the only thing that took me by surprise.  I was never expecting just how big and expansive Das Essenhaus truly is.  It is an entire compound complete with hotel, massive grounds, shopping village, noodle factory and more.  Let’s just say…it’s massive!

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My husband he has often mentioned his love for the Amish noodles that come from this place and has at times tried to recreate them for our family.  He talks about his meals there with such joy that I have always known must just be good home cookin’. 

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Essenhaus is known for a lot of things.  Besides the noodles (which they sell all over the world), their fried chicken is very popular.  Also, they are famous for their apple butter and Amish style peanut butter, which is nothing I’d ever had before…but is YUMMY! (we bought a jar of both ;)); so when we sat down to dinner, I knew exactly what to order.  Of course (if you know me), I went with…FRIED CHICKEN!!!  Not only is it one of my favorite comfort foods, but there is something about it that just always sounds so homey and comforting.  Adam…well it was a foregone conclusion that he would definitely incorporate Amish noodles into his dish some how 😉 (he got the traditional Amish style chicken and noodles).

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This fried chicken ain’t messing around!  It is a perfect piece of fried chicken.  Crispy outside, juicy center, and is perfectly seasoned and not overly greasy.  Like I said…PERFECT.  Sure, I know….it is fried.  But will every once in a while kill us?  NAAAA….so I guess it’s ok. ;) 

Overall, this meal does not need much explanation because it was just plain ol’ home cookin’ good!  It is exactly what you want from a home cooked meal…tasty, fills you up, and does just what comfort food should…makes your belly…well just that…COMFORTABLE (maybe too much so! :))  However, what really did it for me at this place is that they provide you with fresh homemade rolls complete with apple butter and their homemade peanut butter spread right at the table!  I mean who are we kidding?  Me and anything peanut butter related will be a good time.  Let’s just say that roll didn’t have a chance!  (and what is better…they made it easy on me by putting it in easy to use squeeze bottles! The little fat person in me was SOOO happy. 🙂

Well…in the super cold winters of Indiana, this is the type of food you often crave, so good thing it’s just around the corner for us when we visit.  Still, if you’re a random visitor, you are even able to buy a few items to bring the down home goodness back with you, so we can feel that Amish love all year long (I mean, who can’t find an excuse for peanut butter spread and apple butter? :)).  So if you are in and around Northern Indiana, I definitely recommend that you pay Das Dutchman Essenahaus a visit; and they receive 4 little Piggies.

 

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2 Responses to ““Amish Paradise””

  1. Paige says:

    Mmmm now I’m not Amish, but I have a feeling my mom’s homemade chicken and noodles are just like the ones your husband ordered! She serves them on top of mashed potatoes and they are like…the best thing ever. If I ever make it to Indiana in the colder months I have got to try this place!! Sidenote: I just looked at their website and – HILARIOUS. haha

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