Saturday, March 28, 2015

Annual Manual

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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Posted December 03, 2014in Food Dude

Female empowerment — trend of the year

This year has been one of rising food prices and falling energy prices. That is an odd couple of economic indicators that are rarely allowed to hold hands in public. Other national trends included the strong arm of government inserting itself into public school kitchens, mandating soft drink cup sizes

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Posted November 26, 2014in Food Dude

Hy-Vee Market Café

After touring northern Arkansas, I came home with a new appreciation for the basic comforts of our local food scene. For instance, I ate 13 meals in the Delta and Ozarks, and only three places offered butter. Most served cornbread and biscuits. How does one eat those without butter? Two

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Posted November 19, 2014in Food Dude

November — the best month for dining out

In the local food scene, November anticipates the holiday season with a bevy of special events. Nonprofits try to squeeze fundraisers in before people’s discretionary income is distracted by Christmas shopping. Chefs need to adjust their menus for what is available after the first hard freeze of the year. These

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Posted November 12, 2014in Food Dude

World shrinking at Rolling Wok

Years before Prasong “Pak” Nurack would open Des Moines’ original Thai restaurant, and decades before he would become a Thai national senator, he ran a diner on Court Avenue called Little Joe’s. That place served lunch cafeteria-style, and one day’s advertised special, veal parmigiano, seemed to be exhausted. “No more

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