Saturday, May 28, 2016


Posted March 16, 2016in Food Dude

Marianna’s shines

The first round of 2016 restaurant openings began in synch with the high school basketball tournaments. Twice I tried to eat at Iowa Tap Room in East Village but moved on after finding an hour’s wait. That’s a stunning opening weekend for a place with 7,200 square feet and 120

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Posted March 09, 2016in Food Dude

Not reinventing the wheel

Do not mess with perfection. Why do so many cooks think that adding ingredients to legendary recipes improves them? In Des Moines, this often manifests itself in the form of cheap cheese. Whether you want it or not, cheese will be included on your hamburger, sandwich, broccoli, mashed potato, hashed

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Posted March 02, 2016in Food Dude

Fish fry season

Lent inspires restaurants to experiment with temporary offerings, showing regular customers that they understand their dietary restrictions while testing new items at minimum risk. Few people will be angered when Lenten specials are discontinued. Church fish fries are the best-known Lenten food deals. They offer the community mingling, which brands

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Posted February 24, 2016in Food Dude

Doors close, others open

Many places in town think lunch is not worth the effort or cost. When Alba owner Jason Simon opened Eatery A, he said the main lesson he learned at his first restaurant was about being open for lunch. “Once you do it, you are stuck. Your customers depend on it.

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Posted February 17, 2016in Food Dude

Teriyaki House Japanese Grill

New Year’s resolutions are obsolete. The real temptations toward gluttony come in the weeks after the drunken singing of “Auld Lang Syne.” Burns Night, Lunar New Year, Mardi Gras, Super Bowl parties, Bacon Fest and Valentine’s Day all demand that some of us indulge in unusual gastronomical pleasures, and all

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Posted February 10, 2016in Food Dude

Gateway Café: The anti-Pizza Ranch

The caucuses drive me nuts. I’m embarrassed that Iowa eschews the secret ballot for a system where everyone goes back to middle school to stand publicly with whomever they perceive to be the cool kids. The entire season is this state’s closest equivalent to a red carpet event where people

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Posted February 03, 2016in Food Dude

Manhattan Grill

Some things are much better than the sum of their parts. Consider mustard. There is a good reason why people don’t often eat straight mustard seed. However, mix it with humble ingredients such as vinegar, salt and turmeric, and you have the world’s favorite condiment. Hagar’s Manhattan Deli on Ingersoll

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Posted January 27, 2016in Food Dude

Guru BBQ

Since I began writing this column, the number of barbecues in the metro has changed from one, to none, to more than one can count. The genre exploded in the 1990s with the popularization of modern equipment and the professional BBQ tour, on which Des Moines has produced multiple superstars.

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Posted January 20, 2016in Food Dude

China quest

Fans of traditional Chinese restaurants absorbed a double shock at year’s end. It had been announced for months that Kwong Tung would close after New Year’s Eve following more than a half century of service. It was barely known that Great China was also closing after 27 years. Those were

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Posted January 13, 2016in Food Dude

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

The steakhouse is a distinctly American institution. They thrive in North America, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay where wide-open spaces have allowed grazing and ample grains to be grown to feed livestock. Usually accented with dim lighting and leather and brass, they represent much of what is macho, excessive and decadent

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