As soon as we walked into Lange's Cafe, the look of the caramel rolls and the crust on the pies told us we had hit paydirt. This is a fine, family-run cafe with a three-meal-a-day menu of hearty, heartland fare.
Beef is the entrée not to miss. Listed as roast beef if it comes on a plate with mashed potatoes, green beans, and gravy, and as hot beef if it is served in a sandwich with mashed potatoes on top and gravy all over, it is pot-roast-tender and deep-flavored. Mashed potatoes are the real thing; dinner rolls that come alongside are freshly baked.
The caramel rolls that so many people eat for breakfast must be sampled any time they are available. They are immense blocks of sweet, yeasty dough – about 3x3x3-inches; and they are bathed in buttery warm caramel syrup that has a burnt smack to its sweetness.
Sour cream raisin pie is a specialty of bakers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa; and Lange's version is in the top tier of great ones, built upon a custard that is dense, packed with raisins, creamy and sweet with the sour-cream edge that makes its sweetness all the more potent. Its meringue is airlight; the crust flakes when poked by a fork.