Locally Grown

News: Tacopocalypse Voted #2 Taco In The DMZ
2011/06/15, 12:18 pm
Filed under: Personal | Tags: , , ,

Yes, it is again time for the self tooting of the Cook’s cooking horn, and also time for a break the normal bitching emanating from this sexy otter of a blog.  You may remember my last post from this week where I was whining about not being chosen to take part in the DSM Magazine (or DMZ in our hearts and minds) Top Competition-ular Contest.  I wasn’t so much searching for validation within the confines of some cooking competition dreamed up and executed by most likely non-chefs (or as they like to be called, foodies), but looking for some sort of response as to how I could have been left out when I was assured by my tens of fans that they had all voted at least one time for their favorite chef (me).  Well, no official response was received BUT TODAY a little validation floated down the information pipeline.

Tacopocalypse, my vehicle for putting food in front of Des Moines’ mouths, was voted by the readers of Juice/Metromix as the #2 taco in the metro area (or DMZ).  You can read my post over at Tacopocalypse.com for more details.

Yeah, but can you make the #2 taco in the DMZ? We Can.


Thank you, Tens, for making this year an amazing time for this bearded human.

The Cook.


DMZ Top Chef…Who Will Be Bottom?

Good afternoon, tens.  It seems that I have been cheating on you all with another blog, but you can go there and read the same nonsense with more of a taco flavor.

Yes, I went there.

Ok, so now that you are back from checking out Tacopocalypse.com, let’s get down to business.  I am going to say some things here that are going to please, offend, REALLY offend, and probably piss in the Cheerios of a few people around Our Fair City.  It’s OK, they drew first blood.

I am just so tired of all this first blood...

Today’s subject is the DSM Magazine Top Chef Challenge and all its wiles.  As was reported to me last month, and then subsequently BY me in the same month, I was almost certain to be selected as one of the three contestants in this inaugural challenge.  This is a fact I learned from an insider, and something I had suspected since all of you out there in the virtual world had casted your virtual actual votes for your favorite local chef and master blogginator.  I was a little shocked to find out after this shoddy assurance that I was in fact NOT going to be a part of the competition and that, in my opinion, maybe ONE of the actually chosen contestants had garnered enough of the internet vote to be a chosen.  I would be interested to see the break down of the voting in percentage.  I know that there were a reported 350 votes. Well, what the fuck ever.  Look at me being a bad sport.  Although this isn’t the first time this has happened (in high school, I ran unapposed for Junion Class VP and lost.  As an unapposed candidate.  The next year I ran for Student Body President against nine others, and I won)  What this tells me is that someone at DSM Magazine deemed me not worthy of competing against other chefs (no offense, guys, but I think I would have a pretty good shot against any of the three up there, especially against someone from the Embassy Club…sheesh)

Ok, you get the point.  I am a little miffed that even though I am sure that more than 75 people voted for me that I was not chosen.  Maybe Tacopocalypse just isn’t big enough to be recognized as a real entitiy.  Maybe I have an enemy at DSMM.  Maybe somehow Sean and Michael, extremely well known on the internet with thousands of followers managed to legitimately squeak by my thousands of contacts.  Maybe.

Now that I have all of that negative energy out of the way, I would like to say that Michael Bailey, Hal Jasa, and Sean Wilson are all deserving of being part of this competition.  I have worked along side Wilson for a few years, he is solid.  Jasa, also solid and shares the same affinity for Dolce & Gabbana eyewear as me.  Bailey, I don’t know him, but I imagine that years at the controls of a private dining club have rendered him a veritable master of the Beef Tenderloin/Demiglace combination.

I really don’t know where this is going.  I suppose this is just going to be one of those moments where I air out my bruised little taco of an ego and reap some wrath for the words at a later date.  Whatever.

Tens, thank you for your votes.  They may have been mis-counted, but they were all appreciated.  Even the ones with Hanging Chad Syndrome.

The Cook




LG Two Cents On Two For $20

Hello, Tens.  I have once again made a small clearing in the haystack of my precious-esque time to bring you a little gripe regarding a poorly performed food review job-type-thing.  It has been a while since I have had a complaint about food writing that I deemed worth the energy to spout forth towards your internerd browsing ocular apparati, a fact to be taken not-so-lightly when the news about to be broken to you is finally broken to you in the next paragraph, just after this upcoming title thing. I present to you:

The Great Datebook 2 For $20 Debacle Of Ought 11

Let me re-start by saying that the staff of the Des Moines Register (save for the Illustrious Datebook Diner, who is most likely too busy planning her cooking-book promotional tour of the Greater DMZ this fall to stop by the Farmers’ Market and visit my booth) and DSM Register published Juice magazine have been more than amazing to me during the last few weeks of my fledgling foray into chef/ownership.  Thank you to all who have become friends and regular stoppers-by.  This debacle has nothing to do with you.  Unless one of you happens to be Trevor Fisher.  If one of you happens to be TF, please accept my light backhand slap to your face for your writing infractions and continue on with your taco liking.

(Finally) The story: This past Friday I was enjoying a sub-standard breakfast during the course of an unplanned “ride of shame” brought on by hanging out with a very good chef-friend until the wee hours, when I spotted the day-old-doughnut Datebook in the newspaper rack at the never-to-be-named restaurant of choice.  It has been a number of weeks since I have peeled apart the pages of DSM’s # 1,2,or3 weekly events magazine, so I said “What the heck.”

I opened up directly to an article written by TF (who I don’t know or recognize, is this guy a regular contributor?) entitled “Two for $20” which is meant to outline a good place to get lunch/dinner/a meal for two human adults for around the $20 price point. TF chose/had chosen for him the task of reviewing American/Bosnian cafe Kula Grill.  Here is a link to the original article, in case you are into that sort of stuff.

TF opens up with the standard review fare, and the writing is solid (no Matt Miller-isms here), then we get to the food.  Now, before we go forward let me axe you a question.  If you were going to review food from a cuisine of which you had no knowledge whatsoever, in the Year Of Our Gourd 2011, the age of Interdork Information Searches, for an ACTUAL PRINTED PUBLICATION WITH A SERIOUS DISTRIBUTION, would you not at least do some research as to what the basics of said cuisine entail so as not to be the one bringing the pointed stick to the gun fight?  Not TF.  TF don’t need no posse of information, as shown by this excerpt from said infractuous artice:

Possessing no knowledge of, or experience with Bosnian food, we deferred to the waiter, who suggested the goulash if we craved genuine homestyle Bosnian. When in Sarajevo, right?

Un-f’ing-believable.  This is just stupid. But it doesn’t even scratch the surface of what comes next, which is the description of Kula Grill’s goulash:

The first thing you notice about Kula’s goulash — mashed potatoes and hunks of beef smothered in a thick gravy — is it resembles prison-cafeteria slop.

What?  Seriously?  This is printed in our #1 newspaper?  NOBODY along the chain of writer-to-printer read this and found anything wrong?  Nobody said “um…why does TF know what prison cafeteria slop looks like, and why is he invoking its visual vehemence in the confines of a restaurant review?”  Maybe the summary line softened the blow?

Sounds gross, looks worse, tastes great.

Clearly, TF should forego the attempts and restaurant reviews and slip directly into a comfortable marketing executive position.

Bosnian Goulash at Kula Grill: Sounds gross, looks worse, tastes great. (photo by actually awesome photo editor Eric Rowley)

The rest of the review is of equal tragedy to both the restaurant and to the credibility of TF’s writing career.  If you haven’t read it, check it out for yourself.

As a restaurant professional, if I were to read a review of this caliber in a print publication of the food I was serving to the public, I would probably

A.  Call my lawyer to ask for legal advice

B. Call the editor of the register and lodge a formal complaint, and request the reviewer be tossed from the nearest window accessible from his/her cubicle.

C. In the words of N.W.A., Start some shit.

I can not believe this review  written by someone who possesses even less candor and skill than even the most amateur of amateur food blogists was allowed to be printed in an actual paper.  I would expect those words from maybe a cast member of Jersey Shore.

Kitteh Want To Smush-smush! (I was going to post a picture of the JS cast with a funny line, but realized that nothing in the world makes JS funny or worth promoting. They are kind of like Prison Slop)


Trevor Fisher, you have just landed yourself an award from Locally Grown.  I just can’t remember what we used to call it.

The Cook