Friday, May 29, 2015


Posted March 18, 2015in Food Dude

Los Laureles keeps getting better

Once in a great while, a new type of restaurant changes the way people think about an entire cuisine. Less often, a new café elevates an entire neighborhood. Los Laureles has done both. It opened two decades ago now in a building constructed after the notorious adult theater 1536 had

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Posted March 11, 2015in Food Dude

Little Morocco revives the pop-up

“If Des Moines does not allow unbridled access to food trucks, then the young professional tribe will leave, and this city’s renaissance will be dead and gone.” That mantra has spread now from the manual of hipster talking points to the mainstream media. Here in the local, alternative media, the

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Posted March 04, 2015in Food Dude

Rhyming with history at QT and Pita Pit

Cultural criticism is elitist by necessity. If critics praised that which was popular, they would be redundant. Academy Awards do not go to popular movies so much as to esoteric films. Only a brave critic would praise fast food before it becomes obsolete. Consider the original fast food genre —

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Posted February 25, 2015in Food Dude

503 completes Eighth Street evolution

Neighborhoods evolve mysteriously. A few years and one sexual harassment lawsuit ago, Eighth Street in West Des Moines was the center of the Iowa restaurant universe with Jimmy’s American Café, Eighth Street Seafood, Pain Pane and Cabo San Lucas at its nexus. That was before the downtown scene exploded and

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Posted February 18, 2015in Food Dude

Dos Rios has become a bargain

In Iowa, chili cook-offs have become a rite of winter. Country clubs, churches, taverns and hospitals all hold them. Last week, one transported me to another time and place. The Altoona Fire Department hosted such an event to raise money for state-of-the-art medical rescue equipment. The firehouse was filled with

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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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Barmuda