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Local Food in Iowa

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to all you Heartland ChefTalkers to help me out.

I am launching a new magazine, "Edible Iowa River Valley," and while I know the area fairly well, I don't know it all. So please post your recs for the best food, best farmers, best artisans in the region that runs from the Des Moines/Ames metro east to the Mississippi, and I'll try to get some recognition for the folks who are doing the local/sustainable thing really well.
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
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post #2 of 20
Muscatine water melons-best in the country!

Annie's Maid Rites in Waterloo off HW 63.

Almost any Iowa corn fresh from the field and eaten within 30 minutes.

doc
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
There are even better honeydews and canteluoupes down there, Doc!

And watch out for the corn. We do grow the best sweet corn on the planet here, but a vast amjority of what you see zipping through our humble state on I80 is feed corn, meant for cows and cars.:o
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
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post #4 of 20
How far is your Heartland reach?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Shroom,

For the purposes of the magazine, the reach is far smaller than for my book. Our coverage area stretches from the Des Moines/Ames metro east to the Mississippi. As for distribution, while our first issue will only have a 10K run, we hope to be available in strategic locations in the surrounding major metros within a year (Chicago, Milwaukee, MSP, Omaha, KC and StL).

Meanwhile, you're encouraged to subscribe!;)
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
post #6 of 20
Your original post asked about "edible" and "best food", so of course I wouldn't be thinking about field corn but sweet corn when I said "Almost any Iowa corn fresh from the field and eaten within 30 minutes!" :)

I especially liked the sweet corn from Lost Nation, Iowa. And the corn on the farm next to us in Davenport wasn't bad either!

doc
post #7 of 20
I'm not sure this counts, but my brother serves his wife's homegrown tomatoes at his place in Davenport. He uses her herbs, too.

Milwaukee! I'll watch for you, Devotay!
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post #8 of 20

Ames food

Though I loathe helping a Hawkeye, I will give you the lowdown on Ames. I have lived here for 10 years and have eaten in about every place in this town. To start there is about every national chain in the country, both sit-down and fast food. With that said, they we be dismissed as they deserve.

In reference to your original post, there is only one restaurant that I am aware of that make the claim of using local and/or organic products. The restaurant is called the Café and located in the Somerset subdivision. Their menu changes depending on what is available. They think they are pretty cool and in fairness their food is good. I have been the victim of bad food once and poor service another, but the incidents were isolated. Finally the Café features trendy food and was actually bold enough to serve raw tuna over a wonton crisp in Iowa. Strangely, I had to ask for olive oil with meat and cheese antipasto. Even, stranger they didn’t have any. Fortunately, olive oil was recently added as an option. Specials are usually around $15 while sandwiches and pizzas are $10. They also make their own potato chips that are quite tasty.

As for fine dining there is Aunt Maude’s in Ames and The cottage in Story City. The Cottage has better food in my opinion including a duck breast with a ginger Grand Marnier sauce. The Cottage also makes a very nice prime rib and uses blue cheese olives in their martinis. Aunt Maude’s makes a tasty steak and their coconut ice cream is very good. An entree and desert will fun you about $30 at both places.

Great Plains Pizza is an Ames institution. The deep dish pizza has enough cheese to choke on (I am serious) and serves honey to pour on their crust. Some people love it, other realize that when there is that much cheese on a piazza the cheese is of questionable quality. Must be tasted to be believed, you may love it. Other than that most pizza in Ames is unremarkable.

Another Ames institution is Hickory Park. That place funnels hundreds of people in and out everyday like the feed lot it is. They serve massive amount of barbeque and it is decent for the Midwest (I once lived in Memphis). Very reasonable prices and a full soda and ice cream shop add to the historic vibe. Again it must be experienced to be believed. Better barbeque is available at Battle’s Barbeque, but it is a small time operation and only holds about 25 people.

There are two good delis in Ames, Downtown Deli serves sub-style sandwiches and has a good cappicolo. West Street deli serves very large loaf style sandwiches and will put things like coleslaw on it, which is actually pretty good.

Due to a large Asian population all Asian restaurants here are average to good, with stand outs being Little Taipei, Thai Kitchen, and Chinese Home Cooking. All are reasonably priced and supplied by multiple Asian markets in Ames.

An oddity in Ames is Café Baudelaire. They seem to have a South American theme though I am not familiar enough with South American food to assess authenticity. They do have a hamburger with ham, corn, and a fired egg that is very good.

Well that’s not the complete story but the highlights and I am running out of the will to type. I know it is long but I am obsessed with food and it is my hometown. Hope this helps.

Bryan
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Bryan,

If it makes you feel any better, I was raised in Columbus, OH. I'll root for the Hawks over anyone but my Buckeyes though (and Satan himself over Michigan):lol:

Your ideas are good ones, and some of them we are using in the first issue (which will be out early next week by the way!). Our staff restaurant critic Brian Morelli paid a visit to your fair little burg this summer and did indeed include Aunt Maude's and the Cafe in his report.

Say, is Battles BBQ still in operation? I was there a few years back and thought it was much better than that feedlot Hickory Park
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
post #10 of 20
Sorry it took so long to get back to you, I have been caring for my Grandmother for the past few weeks. Yes, Battle’s is still in operation but they have moved to a slightly larger venue on Welch Ave. I prefer the old location but they have doubled the seating area so they now have about ten tables. The BBQ is still good and I would recommend trying a slice of their lemon chess pie, common down south but an oddity up north. Take care.

Bryan
post #11 of 20

Local food in Iowa

Hello,

I live in Southern Iowa. I work in Pella and live in Oskaloosa.

A few things I know Pella has to offer are mostly located downtown and are dedicated Dutch! VerPloeg and Jaarsma Bakeries, Intveld Meat market and Ulrich's Meat market. In addition, if you like Pizza Georges receives raving local reviews and Smokey Row is a very good coffee house.

In the summer Oskaloosa holds an annual event called Sweet Corn Serenade downtown which really brings in the crowds with the food, entertainment and that awesome sweet corn ... YUM! The annual lighted Christmas parade paints a similar picture. A few great restaurants that Oskaloosa has to offer are Smokey Row coffee house, Big Eds BBQ, Tasos, and Oskaloosa Family Restaurant just to name a few.

The Rain Forest Project and a resort are on the planning table for the Pella area with construction projected to begin next year. These projects are bound to bring more options to this area as well.:)
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Good stuff MRJ thanks. Can't wait to get to Pella. Need to visit the Slow Food convivium there.

Our first issue is out(:bounce: ). Have you seen it?
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
post #13 of 20
This could be useful for me as both a foodie and eventually a food professional. I've been wanting to try some of the local family owned places. Hrm. I may have to drag my boyfriend somewhere good this coming weekend when we go shopping.

Oh, and yeah, Great Plains. Holy crap, good pizza.

There are a couple places here in the small town of Webster City that deserve a mention. Leon's Pizza, which serves homemade thin crust pizza and a pretty mean fried chicken, and Chuong Garden, which serves really good Chinese food really cheaply. There's also the Emporium, but I've not been impressed with their food of late and they rarely serve anything completely homemade. A place that is soon to open back up is Red's, a REALLY good BBQ place that's about three blocks from where I'm living at the moment. Homemade sauce. Yum. As for cafe offerings, we only have one. Mornin' Glory is hard to find, but they serve an excellent cup of coffee and great sandwiches.

Just in case anyone wants to come and eat in a town of under 10,000. :)
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Stephanie -

Great suggestions. Perhaps we'll get to send our town profile guy, Brian Morelli, up there to investigate soon.

Have you been able to find the magazine? If not check out our website below for locations, or better yet, subscribe!

Thanks again.
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
post #15 of 20
What a beautiful publication, Devotay! Thanks for the link.

BTW my mom was born in DeWitt. My grandmother raised pigeons in the back yard and the neighbor brewed moonshine. I guess "home" products are part of my heritage too. :D
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post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
MezzaLuna,

That sounds like a fascinating story. Would you like to write something about it for one of our upcoming issues? Were the pigeons raised for food or fun?
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Mezza? You there?

Would like to talk to you about your story
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
post #18 of 20
My dad grew up in Pella.....the tulip fest in May is awesome. The ring bologna really special and the almond paste puff S at the bakery are wonderful. Big shroom country too......
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #19 of 20
Devotay, I apologize for the time lag! I confess I missed the thread.

Please send me a PM about the idea of a piece and we can chew it over a bit : if you're still interested.

Again, my apologies....
Mezz
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post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
No worries, Mezz, I've been torn away from here a lot too. Wanna consider something for the August or October issues?
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
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