Sunday, July 24, 2016


Posted July 20, 2016in Food Dude

Blaze of glory

  Arthur Koestler’s “Act of Creation” suggests that all great inventions are part of a Hegelian dialectic in which an antithetic idea is applied to an existing one. Blaze Pizza is such an idea. Elise and Rick Wetzel had the brilliant idea to apply the “build your own” style assembly

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Posted July 13, 2016in Food Dude

Shanghai brings solid cuisine to Waukee

  I have been writing a lot this year about good places in Waukee — Jethro’s Jambalaya, Kue’d, H Pho and India Tadka. Hot new joints sometimes obscure the memory of the tried and true. Recently I was reminded about one such place after rediscovering its dishes at a graduation

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Posted July 06, 2016in Food Dude

Phat chance of success

Soon after the last snow melted this spring, two of the most reliably excellent services in my life changed for the worse. Almost simultaneously, my postman stopped setting my mail either inside my porch door or in my mailbox; it’s now left on the doorstep, even if it’s windy or

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Posted June 29, 2016in Food Dude

Mexican conquest of America

Mexican is the new Italian. Just as Italian chefs dominated the local dining scene after World War II, Mexican chefs are running the kitchens of many restaurants today. Not just Mexican restaurants, either. Many of the city’s best fine dining spots are dependent on Latino line cooks. This is the

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Posted June 22, 2016in Food Dude

Wasabi moves west

  Twenty-some years ago, American sushi joints began opening outside Japanese neighborhoods in California and Hawaii. Soon after that, a sociologist published an infamous study determining that, at age 41, Americans crossed the “adventure line” — the point in life when one stops being interested in trying new things. The

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Posted June 15, 2016in Food Dude

Happy days return to Prime

The building at 1261 Eighth St. in West Des Moines peaked several incarnations and one nefarious lawsuit ago. As Eighth Street Seafood, it featured live jazz, fresh seafood and a vibe that said “this is the place to be.” Owner Jimmy Lynch, who also owned Jimmy’s American Café, Cabo San

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Posted June 08, 2016in Food Dude

Wong’s Chopsticks

Suburban strip malls are far less predictable than they used to be. One of the greatest restaurant cities on Earth is Monterrey Park, California, where almost all its many great restaurants are in strip malls. Across America, restaurateurs are taking chances locating in aging strip malls with lots of parking.

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Posted June 01, 2016in Food Dude

Bistro Montage becomes a teenager

    Each time I visit Bistro Montage, I see several of the same people. One of them explained that recently by saying, “Hey, it’s the neighborhood café.” Indeed, it fits South of Grand like a velvet glove. Enosh Kelley’s French bistro has shaken things up during his 13 years

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Posted May 25, 2016in Food Dude

Business is bustling at Safari

  At 5 p.m. on a recent Sunday, three hours before closing time, I tried to order a few things from Des Moines’ newest African café — Safari. Fish? Sorry, sold out. Goat, then, with plantain fufu? All gone. Which is gone, the goat or the fufu? Both gone today.

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Posted May 18, 2016in Food Dude

Local Bites redefines food courts

Food courts changed the world’s feeding habits, but not in good way. From their 1971 origin at Plymouth Meeting Mall in Pennsylvania, they brought Dairy Queen, McDonalds, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, Sbarro’s, Subway, Orange Julius and many other fast food chains to the far-flung world. Food courts even replaced cafeterias in

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