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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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Posted November 02, 2016in Food Dude

Food Dude: The Café at the Meadows has the Ultimate Burger

Each fall, Cityview holds a contest to let readers select the ultimate local version of a popular food. Sandwich lovers picked B&B Grocery Meat & Deli’s pork tenderloin as the ultimate sandwich. Steakhouse fans went with Chicago Speakeasy, noodle lovers chose Noodle Zoo, and barbecue aficionados selected Woody’s. Twice we

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Posted October 05, 2016in Food Dude

Magnolia and Marlene know what ladies like

Before dinner after a high school homecoming in the mid 1960s, my date advised me on subjects I knew nothing about. First she told me that it was unseemly for a lady to order for herself. Since I would be ordering for both of us, she also added that no

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Posted August 31, 2016in Food Dude

The new old thing at Vivian’s and Bubba

Sometimes the big new thing isn’t new at all. This year, savvy veterans of the food scene have turned their attention to diner food with a third millennium twist. Earlier, Scot Carlson took over the venerable address that once housed Jimmy’s American Café with Gilroy’s. Recently, Jeff Duncan moved into

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Posted August 10, 2016in Food Dude

Garden fresh at Chef’s Kitchen

After 29 years of weekly columns in Cityview (and its sister publications), this is my first monthly column. I chose Chef’s Kitchen because it represents what is best about both the old and new in Iowa restaurants — neighborly, small-town service and a third millennium emphasis on fresh ingredients. As

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Posted July 27, 2016in Food Dude

Dino’s redefines the bar and grill

With a new and improved Cityview coming soon, this will end a streak of more than 1,300 straight weeks in which I have written about a local restaurant. It seems like a good opportunity to review 25 years of observations on this beat. Much has changed. When I began this

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Posted July 20, 2016in Food Dude

Blaze of glory

  Arthur Koestler’s “Act of Creation” suggests that all great inventions are part of a Hegelian dialectic in which an antithetic idea is applied to an existing one. Blaze Pizza is such an idea. Elise and Rick Wetzel had the brilliant idea to apply the “build your own” style assembly

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Posted July 13, 2016in Food Dude

Shanghai brings solid cuisine to Waukee

  I have been writing a lot this year about good places in Waukee — Jethro’s Jambalaya, Kue’d, H Pho and India Tadka. Hot new joints sometimes obscure the memory of the tried and true. Recently I was reminded about one such place after rediscovering its dishes at a graduation

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Posted July 06, 2016in Food Dude

Phat chance of success

Soon after the last snow melted this spring, two of the most reliably excellent services in my life changed for the worse. Almost simultaneously, my postman stopped setting my mail either inside my porch door or in my mailbox; it’s now left on the doorstep, even if it’s windy or

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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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