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Food Dude

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By Jim Duncan Reviews

Daddy O’s Bodacious Foods
11305 N.W. 54th St., Grimes
Mon. - Tues. 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wed. - Thurs. 10:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. Fri. - Sat. 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Daddy O’s Bodacious Foods

After a recent review of Baker’s Food & Fuel, readers convinced me that gas station dining is an important, under-reported restaurant genre. One letter writer pointed out that alternative papers in other cities include “Gas Station Food” on their “Best of” ballots. Thank you all for making me aware that Baker’s is not the only gas station in the metro with a kitchen of originality. For instance, there’s the Swift Stop 3 Phillips 66 station at Exit 127 off Interstate 35/80. Thanks to vigilant reader Steve C, that’s where I found the latest avatar of 21st century Iowa’s most popular new food religion — barbecue.

Daddy O’s Bodacious Foods is not related to a similarly named barbecue that has been voted Denver’s Best Gas Station Food. Nor is it one of those quasi cowboy franchise joints with imitation barn wood paneling and waitresses in red bandanas. It is a remarkably efficient one-man operation that manages to do things others say are impossible to do with only two or three workers — like deliver smoked meats, even during lunch rush, that have not been refrigerated, sliced, portion controlled and reheated.

Daddy O’s cafeteria line offered smoked and fried foods of distinction. All smoked meats had been pulled or chopped in their entirety. Pulled pork included whole butts with crusted ends mixed into tender bone meat. That’s a typical treatment for pork shoulders around here, but Daddy O’s gave brisket the same presentation. While I would always prefer a freshly sliced brisket like Uncle Wendell’s serves, Daddy O’s method delivers juicier, tender beef than most places around here. I found the contrasting flavors I expect in perfectly smoked brisket without the dryness that cold slicing and heavy trimming delivers. Yes, this version is probably higher in fat but no one on a low cholesterol diet should be ordering brisket or dictating how the rest of us eat it.

Similarly Daddy O’s barbecued turkey was much juicier than most. He sensibly smoked whole turkeys on the bone and then mixed all the meat together. Boneless, skinless turkey breast is the worst idea ever foisted on a barbecue pit. It lacks the necessary fat to endure long hours in a smokehouse without drying out. Daddy O’s turkey, like his other meats, needed no sauce at all. Sensibly they were served naked, with several sauces (including an excellent vinegar-base) on an excellent condiment table that also included treats for which one pays extra at many places: cole slaw, pickles, pickled banana peppers, jalapenos, etc.

Other things were worth paying extra, beginning with freshly cut, home made potato chips, yam fries, potato salad and hand cut, hand breaded tenderloins. My chips came hot from the fryer, heavily seasoned. Other than fine dining restaurants owned by Paul Trostel, I don’t know another place in town that makes potato chips from fresh potatoes. Certainly no other one-man operation in a gas station does! Potato salad was distinctive. I’d return to this place just to demonstrate the differences between yams and sweet potatoes — two foods with no botanical resemblances.

That’s about it for scratch made foods here — this is a one-man operation after all. There were several prepped items for those who want them — regular fries, nuggets, wings, nachos, onion rings, etc. This place acts as home base for a catering business so special orders are part of the show — including freshly sliced brisket.

Side dishes
Mariana’s taqueria moved to 1309 University Ave. Her old venue at 23rd & University is now Tacos Andreas. … Chef Terrie Kohl will teach classes on March 20, 26 and 30 at Country Club Market. $35 each — call 987-5957. … Global grain stockpiles fell in 2007 to the lowest level since record keeping began in 1960. … Rising grain prices caused recent riots in several Africa and Middle Eastern countries and Russia introduced basic food price controls. CV

Food Dude Reviews 2008 2007 Reviews
Splash Raw Oyster Bar (1-3-08) Flavors of India(1-10-08)
Uncle Wendell's (1-17-08) Jesse's Embers (1-24-08)
Taste of Elegance (1-31-08) Old Country Buffet (2-7-08)
Baker’s Food & Fuel (2-14-08) Coffee (2-21-08)
Cool Basil (2-28-08) Sports Bars (3-06-08)

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