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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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Posted May 11, 2016in Food Dude

Joe’s relentless pursuit of perfection

I’ve reviewed so many good new restaurants the last two months (Gilroy’s, Kue’d, Jetheroni Pepperoni, Reed’s Hollow, etc.) that readers said I was getting soft. I figured that was an excuse to revisit a standard-bearer of Des Moines excellence for perspective. At this time, that means Alba to me. Chef

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Posted May 04, 2016in Food Dude

Candela Modern Mexican

  Cities are dynamic organisms. Empires have been built upon the ruins of previous empires in scores of places. In super young Des Moines, one can observe similar dynamics in the character of the food scene. Ace photographer Andy Lyons recently posted a shot on social media of a vinyl

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Posted April 27, 2016in Food Dude

Reed’s Hollow fits Beaverdale

  Beaverdale marches to a beat that few outsiders even hear. The neighborhood still supports an independent bookstore, a mid-century-style Chinese café and an independent sporting goods store. Its restaurant scene might not draw the buzz that Western Gateway, East Village and Ingersoll do, but it should. Flying Mango, Christopher’s,

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