Monday, April 27, 2015


Posted February 11, 2015in Food Dude

Pig bellies and wood sheep

Bacon Fest 2015 belly-upped with drama. This year’s event, at the Iowa Events Center for the first time, nearly doubled in size. Shorter lines to buy food and beverages pleased customers, but many vendors said sales were down considerably despite the larger crowd. Twenty-five portable bathrooms filled an entire hallway,

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Posted February 04, 2015in Food Dude

The gut-busting state of bacon elegance

This year Bacon Fest coincided with Super Bowl week, creating a perfect storm of hyperbole. The pork belly celebration marked its eighth year as a bona fide tourist attraction by passing several milestones. Ticket buyers came from 10 foreign countries and 40 different states. Those are Drake Relays-like numbers. The

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Posted January 28, 2015in Food Dude

Sakura is packed for good reasons

Taki brought Des Moines its first urban style sushi in 2002. After Food Dude raved about its uni (sea urchin roe) and toro (fatty tuna belly), one reader wrote that I had completely “betrayed dudedom” and that the column should be renamed “something more accurate, such as ‘The Food Metro

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Posted January 21, 2015in Food Dude

Scenic Route Bakery

Des Moines is in the midst of a bakery boom. La Mie expanded twice recently, and Strudl Haus opened to great acclaim. The most ambitious new player is Scenic Route Bakery, which opened at the end of last year in a handsome new, mixed-use building in East Village. The place

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Posted January 14, 2015in Food Dude

Salween Thai is Something Special

The Salween is a legendary river that flows out of the Tibetan Himalayas through China, Burma and Thailand to the Andaman Sea. It is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the world, though the Chinese have numerous plans to dam it to the horror of environmentalists. Several key parts

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Posted January 07, 2015in Food Dude

Strudl Haus — a trip to Austria

  Des Moines’ food scene began simply some 20 years ago with flour, yeast and water. Before George Formaro built a Sicilian-style brick oven and Steve and Joe Logsdon began making French-style breads, Des Moines travelers often carried loaves of bread home from San Francisco and New York City. After

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Posted December 31, 2014in Food Dude

Restaurant love stories

  On a recent visit to Lincoln, Nebraska, I stopped at a charming French café in the Indian Village neighborhood. The Normandy specializes in French comfort foods like cassoulet with duck cracklings, rillettes, mussels in saffron sauce and crocque madame. A sign greets patrons inside the door: “All Because Two

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Posted December 24, 2014in Food Dude

Joe Tripp and other new year blessings

  The old year goes out bestowing gifts to the local food scene. Michael Leo’s Strudl Haus returned after years in limbo. This time the Austrian chef’s divine pastries set tables on the south side (1951 Indianola Ave.) instead of in Altoona. Leo also features a line of sausages (Grobe

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Posted December 17, 2014in Food Dude

Wobbly Boots BBQ

Theme restaurants originated with the best of intentions. By using trappings and menus from another time or place, they transported diners into a more romantic experience. New York City’s Russian Tea Room, opened in 1927 by Russian expatriates from the Imperial Ballet, became an escape to Tsarist times for émigrés

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Posted December 10, 2014in Food Dude

Eatery A — new place of the year

Good new ideas enriched the local food scene this year. The Drake Law School premiered Second Course. Students learning about hunger, waste and food insecurity partnered with Sodexo and Eat Greater Des Moines to develop a network that redistributes food that would otherwise go to waste. At press time, they

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Barmuda