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Food Dude

Brazil, Bosnia and state-of-the-art sports bar


Sandwiches at Terra use exceptional rolls and churrascaria meats.

Because soccer and Caitlyn Clark are best appreciated with a crowd, this writer ventured out to many new sports bars since autumn became spring. The owner of Terra Grill and Churrascaria generously hosted watch parties of Brazil’s World Cup games. A new Brazilian Café has since opened in the same Clocktower Square strip mall. 

Terra Grill is the only remaining Brazilian steakhouse in central Iowa. Because it shares a parking lot with my favorite supermarket, I have noticed that license plates come from several Iowa counties. It’s a draw for people who like endless portions of meat sliced at their table.

Churrascaria is a Portuguese word for BBQ, but meats are not smoked; they are flame roasted. Servers bring them around on skewers and slice them on your plates. Most cuts of beef are sirloins and tri tips, but there is flank steak for dinner only. Linguiça (a sausage) is my favorite of five pork cuts. Chicken seems to be breast meat in many styles, but hearts are available on request.

Terra’s salad bar is extraordinary. Among the delights I have found are biquinhos — teardrop-shaped peppers that look like and have the texture of tomatoes. They are drop dead delicious with a light chili flavor. Also on the salad bar are superb beet salads, potato salads, black beans and rice, chicken stroganoff, crab salad, fresh fruits, pasta salads, pastries and soups.   

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Next door, Terra Café offers Brazilian style pizza and sandwiches. Owner Kleber (not just Brazilian soccer stars go by a single name) is from Parana, which he says is as Argentinian as it is Brazilian. The pizza reminded me of the best cheese pies I ever tasted, in Argentina. Cheeses used at Terra are imported from south Brazil. Sandwiches made with sirloin and flank rocked. 

Refillable non-alcoholic beverages included Pepsi products, coffee, tea and Brazilian lemonade made from fresh limes and sweetened condensed milk. Guarana Antarctica is a Brazilian soda that packs a wallop of stimulation. Coffee and hot chocolate are Brazilian good. 

3916 N.W. Urbandale Drive, Urbandale
Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – midnight; Sunday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.Bix & Co.
111 Fifth St., Valley Junction, West Des Moines
Daily, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

2800 University Ave., Suite 405, West Des Moines
Grill open Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.;
Café open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Caipirinha is the signature cocktail of Brazil. It’s made from cachaça, which is brandy-like, made from fruits and about 60 to 80 proof. It’s also like tequila in that its variations are classified by color. Terra touts a variation called the copa caipirinha made with Leblon cachaça, simple syrup and lime juice, along with a choice of muddled strawberry, pineapple or mango. Specialty juice beverages like pineapple-guava, coconut-mango and açai-pomegranate are also available.

Because Royal Mile was closed on Easter, Arsenal and Liverpool fans ventured to Tito’s Lounge for a big morning game. Tito’s is resourceful. They took their name, logo, font and signage from the vodka company. Why not? They invested the savings in a first rate Bosnian-American kitchen. Pljeskavica (veal/beef patties) and cevapi (beef/veal sausages) were superb. Calamari strips were tender. Burgers and fries were first rate, and flatbreads were tasty. I had my first rakija (a sort of brandy) and will have more. 

The state of the art sports bar now in the metro is Bix & Company. They make superb pizza, pork tenderloins and burgers. Thin fries and onion rings are a strength. Toasted cheese sandwiches are made with smoked Gouda, an idea that should be copied. They have more than 30 super-high-def TVs. ♦

Jim Duncan is a food writer who has been covering the central Iowa scene for more than five decades.

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