Locally Grown

2010/06/29, 4:03 am
Filed under: Local Food Commentary | Tags: ,


Good evening my tens of readers. Your Humble Cook is laid out on the couch, head reeling from the misfortunes and other b.s. encountered during the course of the last ten days. And as much as my bottle of whine would gain from decanting all over the interweb, the only breathing going on here is the sigh of relief you can all let escape, as you all can mark the “Exempt” box on the “listening to The Cook Complain EZ Form”.

Today I am here to announce a joint venture betwixt my two blogs, “Locally Grown”, and my cycling blog, “Cyclist…Not Biker.” Two of my loves, cycling and food, are about to become a “Mashup” like a fine JayZ and whiny pro-tools doctored band Linkin Park series-mix. If you are from Iowa you have probably heard of RAGBRAI. In fact if you are from just about anywhere in the US you have probably heard of it as it is the oldest cross-state bicycle tour in the country, drawing riders from across the globe. It even draws cyclists from right here in its home town, DSM/D-MO/DMI, up to and including this humble narrator. This year will be my somethingth ride on said tour, and to mark my inability to procure a riding partner from DMI to SUX (Sioux City), I will be using my free time to document the trip both from a cycling standpoint and from a culinary um…stand…point.

Yes, I, your sometimes maniacal cook, will be riding self supported (that means you carry all of your sh*t on your bike) from DSM to Sioux City, then across the state, then back to DSM solo, making a point to stop at all the Local Food growers/purveyors/restaurants/food stands I can fit in to my 900 miles of cycling, then sharing their stories with you daily. I will also be sharing my cycling stories over at CNB to which you will find a link from in the stories at this site.

It is going to be a fun two weeks filled with food, folks, and fun®, and possibly some interviews with a few teams on the ride who bring their own chefs.

The series will begin July 20th and run til I make it back home. I can hardly wait!

The Cook

P.s. the beloved T+Mobile G1 died tragically in last Thursday night’s thunderstorm, along with the rear deraileur of my beloved Cannondale touring bike (and a little of my already retreating hair line). It has been replaced with a MyTouch Slide which, along with having that heinous television commercial documenting an ice cream vs. Outlet mall family feud, has a very suggestive name and left me feeling dirty for purchasing it. This is my first post from said dirty-bird phone.


A Dangerous meeting….Sand-which?
2010/06/25, 10:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,


Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to a little program we here at Locally Grown like to refer to as

“The I Can’t Believe I Am About To Say This Show”

It is a not-so-rare occasion for LG’s two most talked about subjects to unite for a little synchronized okokokokok whoa! Let me just get down to the business end of this sandwich roll:

The Vegan Banh Mi at Gateway Market (GateMar) is well documented on this blog. My first sandwich, made by George Formaro himself, was tasty and well put together although it needed some small tweeks.

I was looking forward to the day GateMar released thier for-consumer version of the Vegan Banh Mi. Today was that day. I pulled in to the parking lot on my sparkly blue Cannondale, walked to the counter and placed my order. A long while later I received the sandwich to-go style. The two of us hopped on the Cannon and went to work. I opened the box, took a picture, then had two OTHER chefs taste what was going down. I was not happy and neither were they. The little bugger was not properly assembled by any means and the roll was crushed paper thin and burn by a panini press.

I am going to chalk this up to circumstances and will try again, albeit I will have to trick someone into taking me to lunch because I don’t feel I should pay for another fudge-up.

A few other people had much better luck than I did today, and better me than them I suppose.

I have contacted George about the problem and will hopefully help them fix this shit. Yes, I am pissed.


The Cook

Vegan Banh Mi A Reality…
2010/06/25, 2:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I spoke with Chef George Formaro today and got a little tidbit of info.  this is big news for all of you Veggie heads out there in DSM.  George’s Vegan Banh Mi is “dropping” at Gateway Market TOMMOROW, Friday June 25th.  He assured me that the bread issue has been addressed and a new, house made, vegan mayo has been put into play.  I am interested (as I was last week) to see how the “Production Sandwich” turns out.  More on this tommorow.

The Banh Mi is about to hit the fan...

Stay Sassy, DES MOINES

The Cook

Party In The Front, Party In The Rear, Take 3

A few days ago your Humble Cook and Android Powered Phone Enthusiast embarked on a journey.  This journey was more of a quest, and at that a quest to provide you all with my semi-valued opinion on downtown DSM/DMI/DeMo’s newest Food and Spirits Emporium, Mullet’s. The original 1200+ words flowed together nicely, as a fine tartar sauce drips from a very freshly fried fish stick.  With a little warranted pride I leaned in toward the “Upload To Blog” button on my WP for Android application, hoping that as the describe-atory words and pictures flowed from our place on Earth and into the heavens a little peace would come to foodies everywhere.  Then I pictured the words sprinkling back to the planet from some faraway sattelite like tiny little particles of sunlight.  A kind of Blogging Rainbow, if you will.

Moments (nanoseconds, really) later my daydream garden was crappethed upon by a peace shattering “Force Close” message. (Any of you with Android experience has fallen prey to this dispicable animal) My peace was truly shattered as my words which were shatted upon the spacewaves of the interweb dissapated into a cloud of (something) vapor.

I tried again.  300 words, summary of my first attempt.
That too fell victim to Android.  That little robot icon was MOCKING ME!  Now, those of you who have been following along here for a while know how I feel about food writers/restaurant reviewers and their ilk, and had no intention of joining their league, but due to demand I WILL start throwing down some reviews.  Here is our first foray, take 3…


Mullet's Mascot during construction

I am honestly really tired of writing about Mullet’s.  It’s not you, Mullet’s, it’s me.  I will sum this up quickly.

  • Located at 1300 SE 1st street.
  • owned by a conglomeration of Full Court Press partners and employees
  • Menu focused on being a little un-focussed due to Menu-By-Committee planning.  Each owner (last I heard there were 17 or so)had a say in the culinary direction of Mullet’s.  It shows in the menu’s diversity/wide buckshot pattern.  Burgers, Pizza, Seafood Appetizers, Salads, Sandwiches, and a Large Selection of Poboy sandwiches light up the pages.  I was a little intimidated by the size of the menu, and took two sittings to read the whole thing.
  • The service was excellent.  My bartender, Jeff, was a cool cat and I always like being taken care of by another bearded man. Hmm, that didn’t sound right.
  • The food quality was about at the level you have come to expect from the ‘Press organization (save for Sbrocco, Andrew Meek made it abundantly clear that he had nothing to do with this place).  Scratch made, homey food that satisfies your fried food cravings.  I will be going back for regular visits.
  • The Folks put a ton of work into the building, which formerly housed Tommy Ferrel’s, adding a giant two-story deck which overlooks the DSM river, Principal Park, and the DEMS Moines skyline.  I stopped in Friday to witness the Post I-Cubs fireworks from Mullet’s, it was amazing.  I was reminded of being in the Disney compound standing in front of the majical castle thing.  A dude with an ACTUAL mullet walked by during the fireworks and gave a spirited “what’s up, bud?” which added to the almost theme-park like atmosphere.  A stunning experience.  This is a great place for pre- or post-game celebration.
  • Mullet’s is right on the Meredith Trail, making it a great place for Cyclists to stop.  Did you hear that, people?  Cyclists Stop.
  • Vegetarians, you are in luck.  Vegans, you are SOL. There are a number of vegetarian sandwiches, poboys, and the like.  I will get in to that more at a later time.

I had so much more to say, but you get the picture.  I like it.  I like it more than its namesake hair-atrocity.  I give it 17 out of a possible who knows how many triangles.  let’s just say, they scored well.  Please go support this place, it is a great spot to spend a portion of your summer.

This Blog was not written on an Android Phone. Thank Goodness.

The Cook

I Thought I Had Time…
2010/06/19, 1:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,


Today I traveled to my favorite spot to talk about for relatively no reason, Gateway Market, to catch the “for sale” version of George Formaro’s Vegan Banh Mi and to write a thingy about my Field Trip To Mullet’s. There were flaws in my plan.

I was informed that the Vegan Banh Mi will not be starting until NEXT FRIDAY, not yesterday. Thanks for the tip, Food Dude. Flaw #1. I went with the Veggie Burger and Fries. Pretty good, and I received word that they are working on a Vegan Pattie for the near future.

When going places to write, I try to pick spots where I will not be recognized or engaged in conversation. Flaw #2. Gateway is the wrong place for such anonymity. I got nothing done.

This is my apology.

The Cook.

Credit or Debit, Nobody Rides For Fee

Last night as I watched “the Family Guy Movie” with Mrs. The Cook, Bathory, and our dog Mollie The Nervous, fictional fat guy Peter Griffin was throwing down rants on his news bit, “Grinds My Gears” (which this very blog sometimes seems to be patterned after) and MY gears started grinding. Do you wanna know what grinds my gears? Well, other than all of the other gripes that have been crapped out in our short 6 months together, that is.

This grinds my gears:

Restaurants that require their servers to pay the credit card fees incurred by their employers when patrons use their plastic. That’s right, the businesses you frequent are charged by the companies a percentage per transaction for the privelege of running up your debt, and a select few pass that fee on to their servers. Not only are these ambassadors of your business required to work for 4.35 an hour (ok, I realize that the final $ amount earned is MUCH more than that), but an additional tax on their tips is ludicrous, and a great way to say F%CK YOU to your employees.

Yes, I know what restaurants take part in this practice. No, I will absolutely not disclose their names. No hints either. Don’t ask. I am just throwing this out there, kinda like the Game 6 Celtics (I happened to be enjoying a fresh squeezed Salty Dog with said game playing directly in front of mine own two eyes) who seemed to be just tossing caution, balls, and their series lead to the wind. A long wind like this gripe.

Also, in the non griping category, Mullets is open. I had lunch there today. It was good. More on that tomorrow.

And finally, the Gateway Market Vegan Banh Mi “dropped” today. Duncan loves it, I think it’s ok, and now you can love it, too. I will have a second look at this puppy next week. It will be interesting to see the production version, aka not personally made by The Chef Formaro.

Oh, and this rain is really beating my tomatoes. Literally AND figuratively.

The Cook

A special announcement…
2010/06/14, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

First off, group blog EatLocalChallenge has posted a top something-or-other list on reasons to Eat Locally Grown (food, not the blog). I agree with all of their points, although I do feel they could have been a little more snarky. Whatever that means. Read more at: http://www.eatlocalchallenge.com/2006/04/10_reasons_to_e.html

Secondly, I am not feeling up to par so this week will be treated as a “bye.” I think that is a sports term where you have an off week, or no opponent or something. Locally Grown will return next week with some words on local events such as the Grand Opening of Mullets, Winefest, Vegetarian Stuff, and the triumphant return of currently reigning Southeast Asian Regional Karaoke Champion, Bathory, who will be back on the job until he leaves for the South American All-Inclusive Resort Karaoke Circuit this summer. Welcome Back, buddy. (He has been up all night working up his Portugese rendition of “The Unicorn Song” which may have had an hand in my current condition)

You can still find my weekly recipe contribution at the Timber Pine Blog.

See you next week,

The Cook