Friday, October 24, 2014

Annual ManualInternship

Bike World
Posted August 13, 2014in Food Dude

Escaping the fair

Some of the folks who love the Iowa State Fair refuse to eat there. Each year I hear from readers who find the fair’s concessions disgusting, unhealthy or overpriced. So the first week of that big event seemed like an appropriate time to revisit a couple institutions that offer something

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Posted August 06, 2014in Food Dude

Cool Basil finds new garden

Liam Anivat is a visionary. When he opened Cool Basil in Clive in 2007, Thai cuisine was still pretty much an inner city thing. His place also expanded the genre’s demographics by adding a full bar with exotic cocktails and the most extensive Thai menu of its day. A date

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Posted July 30, 2014in Food Dude

Dungeons and dragons

Is the Downtown Farmers Market even a market anymore? Are farmers still its main feature? Are its administrators a clan of overpaid bullies? These questions are being asked since Lee Rood of the Des Moines Register broke a story about how certain vendors had been singled out for punishments. Among

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Posted July 23, 2014in Food Dude

Something new, something old at Cosi Cucina

When David and Bonnie Bartels opened Cosi Cucina 20 years ago, it was an instant sensation. Super farmer Larry Cleverley recalls it being the best restaurant in Iowa when he began growing things that restaurants didn’t serve here — radicchio, arugula, green garlic, etc. The café’s casual mix of jazz,

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Posted July 16, 2014in Food Dude

Taj Mahal moves Indian cuisine west

Prodigal sons and daughters are returning to the Des Moines restaurant scene this year. Thu Phan and her family came back from a long trip to the desert and reopened their cutting edge Vietnamese café Pho All Seasons. David and Bonnie Bartels, the original owners of the pioneer restaurant Cosi

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Posted July 09, 2014in Food Dude

Food trucks hit the spot

Food trucks inspire as much passionate debate as politics. Supporters say they provide an entry-level opportunity to the American entrepreneurial dream. Opponents claim they poach customers from other businesses by avoiding rent, taxes and other overhead costs. I frequently read that Des Moines lags behind other Midwest towns in food

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Posted July 02, 2014in Food Dude

Keepers of the fire — Opa’s Deli

Civilization happened when societies determined to keep a public fire burning, so that each home fire could be started without rubbing sticks together. The Hestian devotees of ancient Greece and the vestal virgins of Rome were keepers of such fires, which developed into temples, churches and restaurants. Even before the

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Posted June 25, 2014in Food Dude

El Cameron, Taqueria Jalisco — indoors, outdoors

Food trucks are more American than apple pie. Actually invented here, the trucks evolved out of the Great Plains cattle drives’ chuck wagons. Those were invented by the legendary Charles Goodnight, the real-life model for Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones) in Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove saga. In the east, their

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Posted June 18, 2014in Food Dude

Tamales Industry trending up

As surely as the first strawberries follow asparagus and morels, every spring the food media declares the latest trends. If several such recent stories are correct, then kale and bacon are still somehow rising in popularity. I’d rather note less obvious trends. This week’s column continues three happy themes we

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Posted June 11, 2014in Food Dude

Nick’s finds its niche

Is it possible to move a restaurant without altering its character? Iowa café owners have been mulling that question for decades. In Des Moines, both Full Court Press and Orchestrate found success avoiding duplications, choosing instead to expand with completely new concepts. Orchestrate’s one exception — a second Gateway Market

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Barmuda