Locally Grown

Breaking News: Judged Worthy By Food Critics.

well, AMAZING TENS, it’s been a good long while since we have shared screen to screen moments.  When our eyes meet over the same words at different times…it’s like a deliciously delayed serendipity.

A lot has happened in the cook’s life over the last tens of months, I worked my buns off at cooking instead of making up words and ended up opening my own restaurant in the lovely East Village of the most amazing town west of the Mississippi and east of the Missouri, Des Moines.  Things are going swimingly so far (we are only just over a month in), and we have received our first few PRINT REVIEWS FROM FOOD CRITICS.  This is a moment I have been pretty nervous for, as some of you know I have been less than forgiving towards the writers of food article type things.  I sat in anticipation, knowing that my restaurant is doing things NEARLY up to my standards (if you are doing things right as a chef/owner/kitchen cat herder the nothing is going to be up to your standard…because of obsessing and raising the mental bar every day.), and also knowing that I have potentially upset a number of people who would be finally maybe writing/judging my true body of word, Tacopocalypse.  Turns out, either I am a little paranoid about the whole food reviewer thing (duh), or my crew is really doing the job that I am perceiving that they do.  Probably both.  All reviews have been very kind and positive at this point.  Thank you, we have truly worked hard to make sure that the dining experience is top notch for every person walking in the front door.  I know it’s all about personal perception, and the persons perceiving so far have been very happy.  Thank you, again.

Here’s the thing about personal perception: It’s personal.  Every single individual sees similar situations in slightly (or wildly) different ways.  Creating an experience that keeps a majority of the poplulace is a challenge because of this.  What keeps one happy can ultimately infuriate the next.  It’s some really frustrating shit, the kind of frustrating shit that birthed that keeps restaurant folk on their toes and continually aging faster than the rest of the populace, the kind of frustrating shit that caused this blog.  It’s the kind of shit, that if you encounter it for a long enough period of time, you might start finding the humor rather than the stomach grinding pain of it all.

Thank you to all who have visited my new restaurant and have elevated it to a level of medium-ish success with your shining faces, and especially to you critics…I hope that you come back and continue your positive personal perception of what we here are doing.

You know what, I might just start writing this blog again.  It feels good.  Just hope it doesn’t get me into any trouble…hahaha.


The Cook


News! (Kirkwood Lounge, Bacon Fest, Chef Groben)

The question of the day around my brain is this:  What the heck is going on at Locally Grown?  Has focus been un-focused?  What happened to all the updates and pissing-off of other people who mint words attempting to describe what the food world feels like from the standpoint of the old “hand in the bag” what’s that object trick?  Here is a partial answer/cop/out:  I am busy.  I have been busy working a few jobs (because as crazy as it may seem I don’t make a living from being a non-anonymous interweb scribe), and the new job effectively fills almost all of the hours previously allocated to entertaining you, my Faithful Tens of readers.  What is going to be done about this problem?  More coffee, less television, and less laying around on the couch.  This is my pledge to you.

So many subjects have been flying past my eyes…so many things to snark at.  So many laughable happenings which would undoubtedly tickle your morose funny bone.  Today, though, we start with baby steps.  Yes, another edition of Locally Grown News. Or as I like to call it:  something to write about instead of being creative.

The Kirkwood Lounge Will Be Opening In The Next Few Days

Yes, according to my sources (which for this blurb is the Craigslist Help Wanted Ads), we are about to be clobbered by a new-to-the-DMZ concept, the Gastro Pub.  The Kirkwood Lounge, occupying the former Azalea space at 400 Walnut Street, will be the first restaurant to officially claim the moniker “Gastro Pub.” (Note: a Gastro Pub is a bar/meeting house which generally carries a wide beer selection, a chef-driven drinks menu, and a chef-driven bar food menu which includes twists on bar and comfort food classics.  It is meant as a hang out spot with excellent food and drinks)  Chef Sean Wilson has a new simplified menu of classed-up bar foods, which is indicative of the GP concept, along with a drinks menu, beer, and wine.  The new concept is a much more casual venture than Azalea, but the inclusion of Wilson should assure diners and loungers that the food quality will be at a similar level.  Contact the restaurant to inquire about the actual opening date, I do not have that information right now.

Blue Ribbon Bacon Fest Kicks Off Next Week

The Universe’s Ultimate Ode to Bacon, Blue Ribbon Bacon Fest is set to kick off next week, including a number of events such as Bacon Taco Happy Hour on Monday, Bacon Elegance Dinner on Wednesday, and the Big Daddy,http://www.blueribbonbaconfestival.com/blog/ Bacon Fest on Saturday.  Click on the links for more information (the Bacon Taco Happy Hour features Tacopocalypse Tacos made by me, your humble cook)

Carly Groben Of Proof/Flour Up For Best New Chef Award

Carly Groben of Proof and Four restaurants has been nominated for Food and Wine Magazine’s “People’s Best New Chef, Midwest” award.  I encourage you to vote for Ms. Groben, and so does F&W (one of the qualifiers for voting is that you have dined at the restaurant of the chef you have chosen).  Read through the blurbs for each chef, there are some real characters up for the win, but there is only one character from Our Fair City nominated and I expect you to support the local scene and give her your vote.  I already cast mine.

Cityview Best Of Awards Gala and Announcement Next Week

Weekly free-press Newsertainment mag Cityview conducts a yearly reader poll to recognize what the people of the DMZ have deemed as the Best Of Des Moines.  The time has come for the results of this year’s poll to be un-sheathed and weilded mightily around the personal spaces of the general public.  The Gala (invite only, you have to be named in the top three runners for a category to attend) will be held Tuesday night, with the following day seeing the release of the printed poll results to you, the reader.  I am proud to say that a certain restaurant in which I cook has been nominated for no less than seven awards, and that I will be at the Gala.  I will take notes and share the experience with the tens of you reading this blog.


Tens, I hope that you continue being patient with this here alleged writer and cooking machine.  I have many reading pleasure units for your faces, just need to find the time to get it all out in the open.


The Cook