Saturday, August 29, 2015


Posted August 26, 2015in Food Dude

County Line Café is a classic

An out-of-town journalist recently asked me what turned Des Moines into a significant food town. I said something I had not previously given any thought to: The best chefs and restaurateurs in Des Moines are total food enthusiasts. They support little ethnic joints that are off beaten paths, old-fashioned bar

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Posted August 19, 2015in Food Dude

The Beerhouse — the latest sports bar on 86th

“How many of these different kinds of bars have you been to?” asks a social media survey. There were 27 choices — full bars, wine bars, neighborhood bars, dive bars, fern bars, singles bars, women’s bars, gay bars, lesbian bars, brew pubs, topless bars, tapas bars, English pubs, drag bars,

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Posted August 12, 2015in Food Dude

The go-to place for detox dining

Chef George Formaro recently discovered a 1922 menu from a Fort Des Moines Hotel restaurant. The fare offered was far more classically French than anything I remember here growing up in the 1950s and ’60s. Appetizer menus in my youth consisted of maybe four things. The Fort Des Moines’ menu

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Posted August 05, 2015in Food Dude

First and last chances at great stuff

Traditionally, Des Moines diners resisted change. Restaurateurs have told me that customers complain about the slightest menu alteration. Panic ensues when a restaurant is sold, or, Lord forbid, closes. It’s been a trying couple of years for fans of everlasting tradition. Linda Bisignano (Chuck’s) died. Gino Fenu sold his namesake

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Posted July 29, 2015in Food Dude

Farmhouse elegance

The worst part of caucus season is the pandering to outdated rural stereotypes. Event planners import bales of hay, fiddlers and square dance callers to modern Des Moines corporations. That encourages candidates and national media to mock contemporary Iowa. Agriculture built the state and made it rich and powerful, but

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Posted July 22, 2015in Food Dude

Forbidden fruits no more

Most Iowans eagerly anticipate this time of year because it’s the season for fresh sweet corn and tomatoes. Thanks to recent developments in local supermarkets and a United States Department of Agriculture decision in 2007, it’s also the peak of tropical fruit season. Last week at C Fresh, I found

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Posted July 15, 2015in Food Dude

‘There’s nowhere to eat on Sundays’

Some people believe that Sunday dining options are limited, at least if you are not interested in brunch. Sunday is actually my favorite day for going out to eat in Des Moines. Here’s why. Most Asian and Latino restaurants have their best days on Sunday. They also do some special

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Posted July 08, 2015in Food Dude

Stir it up at Eastman’s Jamaican

Jamaica has the world’s least dogmatic cuisine. It’s a wild mix of native foods and others brought by slaves, indentured servants and immigrants from India, China, Africa and Europe. Ital, Jamaica’s most famous style of cooking, is vegan — unless you want some fish, goat, poultry or a few other

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Posted July 01, 2015in Food Dude

The art of the hot wing

Buffalo wings revolutionized the economics of chicken as well as the image of Buffalo, New York. Invented either at The Anchor Bar or John Young’s Wing’s ‘n Things in the mid-1960s, they employed what was then the least desirable part of a chicken. At that time, when most chicken was

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Posted June 24, 2015in Food Dude

New Honduran, Moroccan and Jamaican options

Growing up in Des Moines during the 1950s and ’60s, I graduated from college before I knew what an avocado tasted like. Ashamed that I did not know what this fruit was when first offered one, I bit into it as if it were an apple, skin and all. I

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