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The Dish

Lots of new things

9/5/2018

And the word nugget is passé.

Midsummer cooled down after a blistering, thunderous early summer. This assuaged fears that the hostile storms of June and July had damaged our summer crops. Tomatoes continue to thrive in Iowa’s black soil as fall foods begin to appear with them at local markets. For our money, September is the best time of all for farmers markets in Iowa. Nationally, wheat seemed to be the hardest hit by bad weather, with higher bread prices predicted soon.

Fast food companies turned their marketing departments into chicken chauvinists with chicken fries, chicken tenders, chicken strips, chicken taco shells and naked chicken all turning up in special offers. The word nugget is passé.

Like many formerly trendy chains (Hooters, Kenny Rogers Roasters), Bennigan’s continued a successful strategy of retreating into small towns like Mandan, North Dakota, and Monahans, Texas, and also to entering new countries like Mexico, Cyprus, Panama, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

THE GOOD NEWS

Much-loved French restaurant Django reopened in August in a more modern setting adjacent the sculpture park. Derek Eidson, formerly of Centro, is the chef and a partner…The popular Iowa City café Dumpling Darling opened a store in the East Village to overwhelming crowds. They actually had to close down at least three times to catch up with demand… Lola’s Fine Kitchen opened in the Prairie Trails development in Ankeny, bringing healthy Pakistani and Filipino food to the suburbs… The Poke Company announced it will bring Hawaiian delights to Des Moines this fall with a store at 300 MLK… The Full Court Press gang opened a new chicken-themed restaurant in Orilla Township, in the former digs of Bambino’s and Rusty Spikes. Fried, broasted and spicy chicken dishes are offered. The Chicken seats 100 with another 80 seats on the patio. Unfortunately, the place was ordered to remove its handsome 8-foot-tall chicken sculpture. He was deemed too tall for West Des Moines… Central Standard Craft Burgers and Beer opened in Waukee. The restaurant, which got its start in Bettendorf, serves house-made burgers on brioche rolls, craft beer and milkshakes… Nick Tillinghast, Kyle McClain and Ryan Hutchinson, who brought the bar Hello, Marjorie to downtown Des Moines last year, are opening a tiki bar called Bellhop on Grand Avenue in the East Village next year… From the Barrel — Des Moines Whiskey Festival was announced for Nov. 2-3 at The River Center in downtown Des Moines featuring food, entertainment, cigars, contests, speakers and lots of whiskey. It will kick off with a Women and Whiskey dinner, prepared by female chefs of Des Moines and benefitting Susan G. Komen Greater Iowa. The festival on Nov. 3 will feature more than 100 kinds of whiskey and will cost $60.

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NEW STUFF WE LIKE

Rave apples, a cross between Honeycrisp and MonArks, appeared for the first time recently. They are superior for eating raw, not for cooking. ♦

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