Saturday, September 23, 2017

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Posted September 06, 2017in Food Dude

Centro

For more than a century, downtown culture has been driven by one particular restaurant or another. Younkers Tea Room was the bomb up until World War II. National radio shows even broadcast from the restaurant. Then Babe’s took the WACs and GIs out of the tea parlor and into the

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Posted August 02, 2017in Food Dude

Conversion succeeds the wrecking ball

Old Thresher’s Reunion is the most nostalgic recurring Iowa event. Held each year in Mount Pleasant on Labor Day weekend, it attracts a large number of former Iowans who moved their bones out of state but never got Iowa out of their bones. Old timers reminisce with the miracles of

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Posted July 05, 2017in Food Dude

Lucca finds its niche

Des Moines keeps turning out new restaurants at a pace that old timers think is unsustainable. The city also continues to support a number of traditional old restaurants where newcomers are rarely tempted to go. The hardest positions to maintain are in between those concepts — the places that were

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Posted May 31, 2017in Food Dude

A new path

Six flavors of southeast Asia Since I began writing about the dining scene in Des Moines in the 1980s, most innovation has come from immigrant restaurants. A Dong, India Star, Taste of Thailand, Los Laureles, El Salvador del Mundo, Soul Africa, Miyabi 9, Irina’s, Baru 66, Café Salzburg and Kathmandu

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Posted May 03, 2017in Food Dude

Change and tradition at two Italian legends

Analyzing the menus at Sam & Gabe’s and Tumea & Sons When is a comma worth $10 million? When a government dictates “manual of style” etiquette to lawmakers. In Maine, an Oxford comma (one used after the penultimate item in a list of three or more things, before “and” or

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Posted April 05, 2017in Food Dude

Chicago muscles in

Two new eateries — Windy City Style In Carl Sandburg’s America, Chicago was the “stormy, husky, brawling, City of the Big Shoulders.” Recently, its larger-than-life persona begat two local restaurants that cater to big appetites. Pete Faber is a Sandburg-sized native of Des Moines who returned in 2016 after a

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Posted March 01, 2017in Food Dude

30 years ago…

Trostel’s Greenbriar celebrates an anniversary in style When Paul Trostel moved his brand from Ingersoll (Colorado Feed & Grain, Rosie’s Cantina) to Johnston in 1987, there wasn’t much variety in the local dining scene. In fact, Trostel introduced the appetizer menu at Colorado Feed & Grain. Before that, appetizers in Des Moines

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Posted February 01, 2017in Food Dude

New, newer and newest of the year

Remember supersizing? It served the fast food industry a couple decades ago. For a nominal fee, customers could have much larger servings of drinks and fries. The fast food police complained they were prime contributors to the obesity epidemic, and they soon were gone. Remember the Dollar Menu? Fast food

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Posted January 04, 2017in Food Dude

Sweet salsa and grand opera at El Sol Azteca

The year 2016 was disruptive to the status quo. Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature, the Chicago Cubs won its first World Series in 108 years, and Donald Trump became president of the United States. It took some time to get used to it all. Yet one friend

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Posted November 30, 2016in Food Dude

Butler Café defies history

Don’t get into the grocery store business. Margins are so small that only the supersized can survive. That has been good advice for 50 years now. It also helps explain why small towns have either been losing population or ceasing to exist in Iowa. People rue the loss of small-town

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