Wednesday, July 28, 2021

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The Dish

Dinner with 600 farmers and some noble pigs


September is always a month of transition as summer retreats and fall foods finally sprout. Pumpkin spiced foods and beverages, to the chagrin of some, returned earlier than ever and began metastasizing. Starbucks served
pumpkin latte in August, the food equivalent of Christmas decorations in October.

Not all the news was expected, though. The brutal mentor Chef Gordon Ramsey announced, after West Des Moines college student Samantha Daily was eliminated from the TV competition “Master Chefs,” that he will pay for her to attend the culinary school of her choosing. This year’s Niman Ranch Farmer’s Appreciation Dinner at the Embassy Suites drew 600 diners, up from 100 about 20 years ago. Most all were Niman farmers or employees. Three were James Beard Award-winning chefs — Cal Peternell of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Charles Phan of Slanted Door in San Francisco and Andrea Reusing of Chapel Hill’s Lantern. Peternell also cooked here 20 years ago. Also helping was up-and-coming star Ann Kim of Young Joni in Minneapolis, who was the subject of a Wall Street Journal story the
day of the dinner. Many noble pigs gave their lives to attend.


Andrew Martin announced the openings of Cold Stone Creamery shops in Ankeny and Altoona. The Ankeny store is paired with a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory candy shop and opened last month in that town’s red hot Prairie Trail development. Martin also is developing Magee’s Irish Pub & Eatery, which will open in early 2019 in Prairie Trail. The Altoona store sits next to Bianchi Boys Pizza. No opening date has been set.


Prep Iowa

London food marketing think tank Quantzig announced that “gut friendly” foods are the new trend of trends. Foods
that can be cultured in the stomach likekim chi, miso and kefir lead the way. They also listed seafood, which they
predict will become more of a breakfast food, plus more greens like parsnips, Brussels sprouts and, regrettably, kale.


Many of America’s most popular retail brands, according to The Harris Poll, can be found in the metro. The national
research firm conducted its Brand Equity Index survey earlier this year. U.S. consumers’ favorites included: for
pizza: Blaze; for Mexican restaurants: Taco Bell; for burgers: Five Guys Burger & Fries; for coffee shops: Krispy Kreme; for chicken restaurants: Chick-fil-A; for casual dining: The Cheesecake Factory and Texas Roadhouse tied.


Chef Jacob Demars, who impressed us much at Marlene’s at Sevastopol Station, is the new head chef at Trostel’s Dish in Clive. Demars is the latest of a long line of top chefs recruited to Des Moines by the love of an Iowa girl. He worked in the kitchens of some Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-winning restaurants in Chicago. Like Jeremy Morrow (Bistro 43), Sean Wilson (Proof), David Baruthio (Lucca, Baru 66), and Andrew Meek (Sage), romance brought him to Des Moines. We need to send local girls to places like Lyon, Osaka, Parma and Hong Kong… Dishtoured both BAH Brazilian Steakhouse and Teddy Maroon’s in September. Both looked like Thanksgiving would be the earliest either could open on Ingersoll.


“I am sure that long after I have forgotten the names of my wife and children, I will still get up every morning at the nursing home and barge into the kitchen asking, ‘How many reservations do we have today? Do we need to call in extra staff?’ ” George Formaro, owner of Django, Centro, Zombie Burger, Gateway Market Café and Malo.


How arrogant is it for Americans to call a gyros a gyro? We lack respect for foreign languages. We add an “s” to
pizza and pasta to indicate more than one, even though the words are already plural. Gyros is not plural. It does not
need to be rewritten by Americans as gyro. Would anyone call the cosmos the cosmo to be sure we were not thinking about more than one? Is there more one? Pass the reefer, dude. ♦

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