Meal Man and Jersey Guys come to Iowa10/17/2012
Baseball’s post season was the biggest television event in American sports through the mid 1970s. Today those games are hard to find, even in sports bars, if they conflict with football telecasts. So this nostalgic fan spent the first week of the playoffs in front of his home TV catching up with the latest carryout and home delivery options. Happily, a new service has increased available options.
The Meal Man, a successful home delivery service in Phoenix, New York and San Diego, opened in Des Moines. It provides home delivered meals from restaurants that would otherwise not offer the service. At press time these included: Appare Japanese Steakhouse, Bandit Burrito, Beverages and More, Biaggi’s, Big City Burger and Greens, Champps, D.R. Deli, Dos Rios, Fire Creek, Granite City, Haiku, Hooter’s, House of Hunan, Keller’s, Legends, Mi Patria Ecuador, Quizno’s, Ruby Tuesday’s, Sam and Louie’s NY Pizzeria, Sbrocco, Smokey D’s BBQ, The Standard, The Garden Grill, Vietnam Café, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, Bistro Montage, Cosi Cucina, Mickey’s Irish Pub and Bonefish.
That list considerably upgraded Des Moines’ home delivery menu. In my experience, service has been upgraded, too. My first order was made at Cosi Cucina, a 20-minute drive each way from my house. It arrived hot less than 45 minutes after I placed the order and was delivered by a polite, professional driver wearing a spotless chef’s jacket. As my previous experiences with home delivery often resembled something from filmmaker Richard Linklater’s early period (“Dazed and Confused,” “Slackers,” etc.), I was pleased and impressed.
I had been hearing really good things about Cosi since it was purchased by Ohana’s Cy Gushiken recently. For instance, that they gave guests five courses, instead of three, for the same price during Restaurant Week. Cosi was once the buzz of the town. Clint Eastwood visited several times during the filming of “Bridges of Madison County.” It introduced wood-fired pizza to the west side and baked garlic to the entire metro. I found their pizza better than ever, even 20 minutes after being taken from the oven, with blistered crusts, burnt edges and superb cheeses, marinara and meats. I also tried a variation of one Gushiken specialty from Ohana that is now served at Cosi — large, oven-roasted scallops with julienne tomatoes and leeks over a citrus jus. Both my pizza and my scallops included bonus roasted peppers. My delivery included an unexpected bag of Cosi’s marvelous little yeast rolls with containers of olive oil and spices for dipping. Ordering online, I paid $4.95 for the service plus 11 percent for “tax and service” (Iowa sales tax is six percent). On top of that, I paid a “suggested tip” that was another 19 percent of the actual order.
I also used baseball’s playoffs as an excuse to try carryout from the new Jersey Guys Pizza in Beaverdale. Its methods lived up to the name. My 14-inch pizza ($10) was a perfect example of what most Iowans call “New York style” — thin crusted but supple enough to fold over and eat like a calzone. As on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, sausage was quite mild by Des Moines standards and cheese dominated tomato sauce. A Philly cheese steak ($7), the professed specialty of the house, was by-the-book with a customer’s choice of American, provolone or Cheese Whiz. Chicken cutlet hoagies ($7), also mild by local standards, were freshly breaded and crisped. Unlike most local hoagies, my Sicilian ($7.25) was prepared with meats and provolone laid across the entire width of the sliced bun so that they completely surrounded the vegetables and dressings when closed.
Des Moines Meal Man Hours differ with restaurants but are displayed on line http://www.dmmealman.com/order.htm#content or 855-271-8646 ($1 extra).
Tacqueria Jalisco changed its name to The Taco King. All its wonderful recipes remain unchanged… New Des Moines spice company Mo’rub has seasonings for sale at Gateway Market. CV