Friday, October 9, 2015

Posted October 07, 2015in Featured Story, Food Dude

New kids in the skywalk

Two weeks ago, we wrote a paean here to the wind-grieved luncheonettes of central Iowa. We mentioned that they were victims of urban renewal and moms joining the workplace. One wily reader reminded us that we had forgotten a third likely reason for their demise in Des Moines — the

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Posted September 30, 2015in Featured Story, Food Dude

The youngest old pro

Long ago, in a restaurant world without bistros, gastropubs, sports bars or media buzz, Des Moines’ food scene was personality driven. Excellent cafés bore the names of their owners — Babe’s, Vic’s, Rocky’s, Johnny & Kaye’s, Gino’s, Aunt Jenny’s, Noah’s, Lemmo’s, Mr. V’s, Ricceli’s, Raul’s and Chuck’s to name a

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Posted September 23, 2015in Featured Story, Food Dude

Paula’s sweet nostalgia

Lunch counters have gone the way of soda fountains. When most folks liked Ike, and Ozzie & Harriet ruled the airwaves, both genres were ubiquitous. Then teenagers found less innocent places to hang out, and at least half a dozen downtown lunch counters gave way to urban renewal projects. Their

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Posted September 16, 2015in Featured Story, Food Dude

Renaissance of indulgent dining

When it comes to food choices, so much has changed for the better here the last 50 years that it’s tempting to think we live a golden age of culinary indulgence — unless you’ve read Suetonius. That second-century Roman writer described a class of decadent foodies like no one today.

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Posted September 09, 2015in Featured Story, Food Dude

El Tapatio moves west

Mexican cafés have overtaken barbecues as the No. 1 growth industry in Des Moines’ restaurant world. The metro can’t get enough Mexican food. It’s reasonably priced, fresher than most cuisines and usually features well-balanced diets. Two businesses sparked this revolution. Los Laureles anchored the marvelous development that was rebranded La

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Posted September 02, 2015in Food Dude

Krunkwich Ramen House

Maverick chef Sam Auen opened Des Moines’ first ramen house, Krunkwich, last spring and 105 years after Japan’s first ramen house. Japan may own the genre today, but Chinese immigrants delivered it there. The unique ramen noodle requires kansui (a mineral water that contains sodium carbonate, potassium carbonate and phosphoric

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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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