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

It’s Not Nearly Over…The Foodmare Continues

Okay, a few of you yesterday spoke your minds regarding my thin threat that I will no longer be posting “things” here at Locally Grown.  I was half full/half empty of crap in stating that due to a change in subject matter that I may not continue to publish this blog. After minutes of deliberation it has been decided that I will continue on with LG, but with a focus on the original intended subject matter: Local food, farmers, markets, chefs, and a little news from around the world.  The rants will also continue, and I know that you tens are most happy to hear that your angry “bi-polar” cook will still be educating the A-Holes of the world how to tame their inflamed dining sphincters.  So, with that said, we will be seeing each other soon with a little report about one of the most important entities within our DMZ, the Downtown Farmers Market and some news about a certain cook’s campaign to be on the show Chopped.

I will leave you with this, a video of the band Tacocat playing their song “Bike Party” which combines four of my favorite things: Cats, Tacos, Bikes, and Palindromes.

Come one, Tens, I couldn’t just leave you all.  It’s been too much fun over the last few years.  Smooch!

The Cook.

The Things The Datebook Diner Should Miss.

Dearest Tens,

Yes, we have been absent again after a big push to start things back up fool time. Full time. BUT DON’T GET SALTY!  The weather blossomed into an early spring which caused me, The Cook, to do my job of cooking again.  Last time we checked in our main subject of honor had announced her retirement from reviewing the restaurants in Our Fair City to pursue her other, more Francophilic, interests.  I, along with my cohorts, have been poring over her increasingly truncated reviews, trying to find something LG-worthy to share.  No luck there, until yesterday.  Last night I fired up my Android (uggg) powered Google Reader application and among my plethora of news items from Cat Fancy and Milk Chugger’s Magazine I found a little post from our beloved DD concerning what she will not be missing upon her leaving the eating scene of the DMZ (Des Moines Zone).

First I would like to state that a person whom after nearly 14 YEARS of writing about a dining scene publishes one of their final articles regarding said scene and chooses only NEGATIVES to outline her nearly 14 YEARS of writing about said dining scene maybe shouldn’t have been writing about our city to begin with.  After all of that time and all those hundreds of reviews all she has to say to the diners, restauranteurs, chefs, cooks, and servers is THREE NEGATIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT WHAT SHE WON’T BE MISSING ABOUT WHAT DES MOINES HAS BEEN DOING WITH FOOD OVER THE LAST NEARLY 14 YEARS.  What will she not miss?  Read Here.  We have all spent a long time reading about her complaints, and I personally think she could have come up with a better list.  (on a little tangent, I can’t help but think when she took the job, nearly 14 years ago, she was in another city with a less French Name and saw an opportunity to live in the “Midwest Riviera” but upon arrival found the dread of gloppy soup, iceberg lettuce, and giant wasteful portions to be so oppressive that she decided that if she has to do this 13 or 14 more times, she is out of here)

Seriously, you serve me gloppy soup 13 or 14 more times, and I am OUT OF HERE! -Datebook Diner

So what do we here at the world’s most dangerous food blog (about Des Moines) think that the list should have included?  First off, it should be a POSITIVE list that doesn’t read like an elementary report card that says “Your kid will never learn, they are hopeless and you should just give up for there is no hope for change.”  Maybe after blah blah blah years said food reviewist could find at least three things to miss about Our Fair City and those whom bring you publicly consumed food?  Here are three-ish things that, after our NEARLY THREE YEARS of writing about the DD, we would expect to see in a list written by her, if she wasn’t being a constant “negative nancy.”  (btw, just because your job title includes the word “critic,” it doesn’t preclude you from making positive statements) So here it is, the….

Three-ish Things We Feel The Datebook Diner Should Miss About DSM Dining

(if she wasn’t being such a negative-pants)

  1. The growing of French cuisine in Des Moines.  Back when DD started out in Des Moines there were very few choices for French dining.  Over the years French has come and French has gone, but our current state of French Dining in the city of the monks finds us a plethora of French-based restaurants.  Bistro Montage, Django, Tartine, La Mie, Baru 66…these are all places that should bring joy to a Francophile’s heart.
  2. The Farmers’ Markets.  The Farmer’s Market isn’t a wholly French concept, but it is French enough for a Francophile to come enjoy.  On Saturday mornings you can walk through the market, sample prepared foods, buy fresh baked breads and locally grown produce and meats, and see some of our more ambitious Chefs of des Moines chatting with local farmers and picking out the freshest goods for their menus.  It is my understanding that the DD never really liked the Farmers Market (at least the Down town iteration) and kept visits to a minimum.  The Farmers Market is the life of our Dining Scene during the summer…but maybe now that her job isn’t reviewing food she will stop down more often.
  3. Watching A City Grow.  You get a job reviewing restaurants in Chicago, New York, LA, SF, any larger city and you get to jump right in to a dining scene which has been thriving for many decades.  If you took a job doing the same thing NEARLY 14 YEARS AGO, you were in a very special position to watch what was once a chain restaurant hell with a few local choices, most of which probably served gloppy soup, to what it is now: A growing community of chefs and restaurateurs whom are constantly working to raise the bar in the dining scene.  We have a respected culinary program just to the north in Ankeny (Iowa Culinary Institute/DMACC) and the students of that program are staying in town with increasing frequency, seeing an opportunity for growth…or even of a fast rise to ownership.  It’s a much different world from the day George Formaro was baking bread on South Union to this day after Chef Formaro and his cohorts at Orchestrate worked for over a decade to change the face of what and how we eat (even if he has been damned for portion size).  Things are much different now, and are growing at an increased rate.  DD had the opportunity to watch all of this from the inside, yet it doesn’t seem to matter in the context of her career in DSM.
  4. Influence.  Maybe she should miss the somewhat misguided influence she wielded over the dining public?  Her words have had noticeable impact on the lives of restaurants.  In fact I have watched a few close with a quickness after a Datebook Diner review (not that a few of those few weren’t warranted).  Whatever.

There are many more, but alas, I am out of time and have to go do my actual job.  Keep following along, there are only two more weeks of our current DD’s reign of terror…then it’s time for to pick on the new guy/gal.

Rep Local.

The Cook.

He Who Controls The Friday Spice…

Dearest Tens,

So many things to write about, and so little time.  Today we will have fun in a different kind of way.  A way that we have never had fun here at the LG before.  I am going to personally go on record as agreeing with the DD on her review of the newly owner-ized Library Cafe.  It was a nice preliminary visit write up and made me want to go pay them a visit.  I also have it on good information that they have a great beer selection, including a stand alone tap of my personal favorite brew, Pabst.  I may go there tonight in some skinny jeans riding a fixie to get the hippest experience from my long time love of a beer.  We shall see.

Great Job FCP! You did not invoke the French Connection!

So here is a link to this ground breaking piece of food writing (it does not mention Star Bar or France even in a remote way) (although in a twitter conversation DD did admit that she wishes it was on Ingersoll, which I just figured out was most likely a humor joke related to the SB thing.  That is funny.  I am a little slow on the uptake some days). (Ever seem like there are too many parenthetical statements on this blog?  I thought so.)

Link To Datebook Diner Library Write Up

Go read and enjoy for yourself.  I bet you feel like going there to eat after you read.  Nice job to the Library Cafe staff and the fine folks of Full Court Press for doing a great job.  Making everything in-house is legit.  I will be there soon for some good times.

I love cats and Frank Herbert. And this picture.

See you next week, tens.  I have a few things half written in the que for you all.  It is sure to piss in many many bowls of round oat-laden breakfast cereal.

The Cook.

France>Des Moines?!

Tens, first a thank you for taking your time to read and comment on yesterday’s France/DD/Dessert diatribe.  It’s good to know that some of you have stuck around.  It’s good to have you all back on the bus.

Secondly, I agree with every one of your comments.  All of them.  I have been “out of the loop” for a while with all of my other dealings and haven’t really been paying attention to any of the food writings being shat out on paper as of late.  You clearly haven’t had the same problem.  Glad someone is keeping their eyes open, and I am rejoining your ranks.  Clearly we have a lot to talk about, old (and new) friends.


(please excuse the swearing about to fall from my fingers into your eyes)

One thing that really makes me sick about this ongoing problem of food criticism is that the local food isn’t being given proper consideration by the Register’s Food Captain.  It is a fucking travesty that someone who has been charged with guiding the Metro’s diners by the area’s largest print outlet has glossed over what is really at the heart of our food scene (which is HEART) and instead has become the self appointed travel spokesperson for France and New York…and everywhere but the city she is writing about.  According to yesterday’s comments and a few other messages from the interrab she has been focusing too much attention on one particular Chef Whom Doesn’t Care For Me Much (CWDCFMM) and much too little time really researching the local food and its movers/shakers/background.

I see where the information comes from in the form of regular lacksadasical (how do you even spell that?) emails/tweets/blog posts stating “I am working on an article about _____, anyone know anything about that?”  and by reading multiple blog posts which are just reprints of press releases from the area restaurant whom bother sending her press releases.

Even though it isn't funny

Is this the type of person YOU are trusting your dining dollars to?  Or are you trusting the other jokers writing nothing but positive internet reviews of every restaurant they visit?  Whichever, and I have to cut this rant short, you are chosing is probably wrong.  Some of you have voiced an opinion that some people need to be replaced.  I suggest not only filing that complaint here, but to contact the “proper authorities.”  You don’t have to stand for this bullshit.  Seriously.  I have to go, sorry to not have time to elaborate further.

The Cook

Life’s (really) Little Questions:
2011/10/24, 7:58 am
Filed under: Dining Tips | Tags: , , , ,

Hello, tens.  It has been a long-ish six months in all of our lives, mine consisting of being too busy to really get any writing of this sort accomplished due to being busy with business, and yours consisting of wondering when you will get some snarky remarks regarding dining out and maybe a funny cat picture or two from yours truly.  Don’t hold your breath, tens, we aren’t out of the proverbial woods yet. (Although if you do decide to  hold your breath, you are lucky that Mom Nature built in that failsafe that causes you to pass out and continue breathing instead of exiting this mortal coil.  Just make sure you are sitting down so as not to fall and bump your little head)

Now, on to our very short subject today:  Questions.

During the last six months I, along with my staff, have heard some questions which have pushed the limits of the old adage that “there are no stupid questions.”  I am here to break it to you now, THERE ARE SOME VERY STUPID QUESTIONS.  I understand that there is a small portion of the population that knows absolutely nothing about the things you encounter in adult life, especially the phenomonon known as solid food.  By small portion I am talking about infants.  Regular sized (or even over- or under-sized) adult humans have all had enough life experience when dealing with solid food and the people whom serve said solids that there should be some expectation as to the direction of questioning directed towards said solid food servers.  Here are a few of my favorites as of late:

  • “So, how does this work?”  This is really the number one bone head question.  You walk up to a business which has food for sale.  Better yet, you are waiting in line for food and get to your goal, the person taking your order.  You then utter the phrase “so, how does this work?”  This is enough to Simon Cowel-ize anyone forced to confront such a situation.  Here is how it works:  Order Food.  Get Food.  Eat Food.  Repeat When Hungry.
  • What is that?” (while pointing to an item with a 12″x8″ label written in chalk beneath it) COME ON PEOPLE!  No matter what time of day, you should always approach this situation like you would approach an intersection: Look Before Crossing.   This is a pretty harmless situation, and made especially entertaining when the person has a dining partner who does the work of making fun of the question asker for the service staff.  Everyone can laugh, and the food staff doesn’t have to say a thing…until later when they talk a bunch of smack.
  • “Is that tofu?” (while pointing at shredded pork) Seriously?

What should you do if you find yourself about to ask a really bone headed question?  Here is a simple guide:

  1. Pause.
  2. Observe.
  3. Evaluate.
  4. Revise
  5. Ask.

Learn It.  Know It.  Live It.

Until next time, mind your manners and your something that rhymes with manners.

The cook

DSM Food Cart Law Backlash Update

While you are enjoying the holiday season and preparing the list of things you will most likely not be accomplishing next year (aka resolutions), many others are looking toward the future with you.  This year we shall be looking toward a future with at least one less late night dining option, thanks to the Des Moines City Council.

The New Enemy Of The State

I spoke with sources close to the owner of the food cart which formerly took residence in the parking lot across from the Royal Mile on 4th street in down town DMZ.  It seems that due to the new “crackdown” on the troublesome food vendor sector that this food cart will never return to operation.  No, it wasn’t shut down by the city.  It was a decision by the the owner/operator, who is fed up with the treatment that has been doled out upon the food cart dining scene.

That’s right, the Des Moines City Council has made moves that have caused at least one business owner to shut down operations.  Reasons cited by the cart owner include increasingly rising licensing fees, the new hour restriction which takes away the busiest 90 minutes of the service evening, and some new “hoop jumping” put in place by the new laws. Evidently the 1:30 am law isn’t the time you stop serving, but you have to be packed up and out of the area by that time.

I am sickened by this whole situation.  Drunks can’t get a taco or a grill cheese on the streets, but they can get a sloppy beef sandwich or slice pizza then drunkenly spill back out onto the streets to cause the same problems cited by the city in their complaint about the street vendors.  Bullshit.  First the Taco Trucks, now the food carts.

What about the people who get done at work late, bike commute, and find it more convenient to ride up to a food cart, eat without dismounting, then continue on to the next destination?  What about the income lost by the food cart owners who have invested time and money in their venture hoping to one day have a “brick and mortar” spot?  What about the tax revenue lost by the city due to their treatment of small business owners?

What’s next?  No more drive through food after 1?

The Cook

Ban Thai, Banh Mi, and BLACK FRYDAY!!!!!

Here it is, the yin to T-day’s yang, the number one shopping day of the year and the most ironically placed “holiday” on our current holiday calendar (A day of thanks followed by a day of trampling strangers in the name of greed or giving).  I know that most of you celebratorians of the Turkey probably think that whatever you ate yesterday will carry you through the rigors of draining your holiday savings today, but you are kinda sorta wrong.  At some point today you are going to feel a little bonk from all those laps around Mal-Wart waiting for those timed specials to drop and you are going to need some real food.

Black Friday Post-Thanksgiving Meal Group Depository

I urge you to either stop in at a local eatery for a bite of lunch or a small snack, or to pack a sandwich or similar portable item to take with you along the road to bargain shopping.  I know, this is all information you could have used YESTERDAY.  I understand.

With all of that said, I hope that if you are out in the Thunderdome we call Black Friday you are being safe and exercising compassion towards others.  I have already read via Twitter of a few people being trampled early this morning and of security guards having to use force to keep crowds in check.  Come on, people.  Even though this is a tough time for finances and you want to get the most for what dollars you have to spend, don’t drive up health care costs by injuring other people.  Next thing you know the Insurance Industry will recognize the danger of Black Friday shopping and require special insurance coverage for just that day, sort of like flood or fire insurance.  Then saving a little money off your LCD TV turns into more national debt, as the less fortunate who are currently receiving Medicare or Medicaid will benefit most from the sales on Black Friday, but the government will have to pay a higher premium to insure those people for said day.  It’s not that far fetched, and my speculation here put into the wrong hands may be the butterfly effect that pushes this insurance nonsense forward.

But I digress.

This year our Lovely Datebook Diner, formerly known here as She Who Shall Not Be Named, compiled a list of restaurants which have closed during her twelve year tenure at the super awesome Des Moines Register.  Since that list was released, so were a few more eateries released from the hands of their owners.  One of the closings that has been buzzing on my Twitter Feed (sounds like a very inappropriate gathering) is the closing of none other than Ban Thai (normally I would list the contact info here, but they are closed), a Thai restaurant in the southern quadrant of the DMZ’s East Village.  I used to frequent this spot often, and have a really wicked scar on my left leg from a bicycle accident/failed attempt to make it to Ban Thai in time for lunch service.  I never did make it there for lunch that day, and now there will forever be a void where those vegetable spring rolls once occupied.  Rumor has it that the food had gone way down hill over the last few months before its final demise, and I had noticed the parking lot growing emptier during my travels through that neighborhood.  The owners had been shopping around for a new location (rumor has it that it was to be located in a vacated 4th street dining spot), and some people had been trying to sell off the Ban Thai business for about a year.  Well, all problems aside, you are missed, Ban Thai.  Sorry you had to make “The List.”

Another rumor has dropped that A-dong (1511 High Street,Des Moines, IA 50309 515-284-5632) has decided to throw their hat into the Banh Mi circle.  You may remember this Vietnamese sandwich from such moments as the Banh Mi Craze of Summer ’10, and from numerous articles written by your various food critics (and myself).  A-dong will be selling these happy little sandwiches in to-go form only from a cold case.  I am really excited to see what the A-dong Banh Mi will entail, I have been a fan of that place for years and pass by it every day on the way to Cafe Di Scala, where we have been known to devour our share of Banh Mi.  Banh Mi.  I am not sure when A-dong will officially drop their sandwiches, but rest assured you will be kept posted.

OH yeah, I still haven’t wrapped my tiny brain around how to address this Relish issue.  Maybe Monday.

Well, folks, I am off to Iowa City for the weekend for some New Pioneer Co-op sandwiches to enjoy the Jingle Cross Rock cyclocross festivities.  Maybe I will see you there.

The Cook


Magnetically Violent: Des Moines’ Food Carts

Yesterday we covered the possible origins of this holiday called “Thanks-Giving” as told by my intoxicated friend Burt.  Cold turkeys, rich kids, French cream, and the “Peace Pipe” (which also seemed to play a part in Burt’s glassy-eyed story telling style) all contributed, in one way or another, to this food-ular celebration of American History.  And even though I don’t particularly care for rich kids or the French, and certainly not Rich French Kids, and I have gone Cold Turkey on the Peace Pipe years ago, Burt’s telling of our country’s founding invaders touches me and makes me proud of the accomplishments accomplished by land theft, invasion, and colonialism.  I will thusly be dining in the honor of all that is Thanksgiving.

Dr. Peter Venkman's Worst Thanksgiving Nightmare

We also covered the newly minted battle between the City and Food Cart Operators.  A few of you have wondered why closing by 1:30 is such a big deal, and the answer is THE NEW RULES ARE BASED ON A BUNCH OF BULLHONKEY AND SHOULDN’T HAVE EVEN BEEN MADE.  I stick by my story that at least one small “Food Truck In A Store Front” owner who has given the Food Carts downtown previous grief is possibly part of the problem here.  Food Carts are not the enemy of downtown.  The real A-hole factories: 4th Down, Surf Shack, Liar’s Club, 101, have made more of a nuisance in the streets than a thousand anarchist revolutionary food carts could ever hope to.  (This is not to say that our food carts are anarcho)  One incident outside Club 101 in July of ’09 left a man almost beaten to death in front of a crowd of 60, all witnessed by the operator of the Mooncheez grilled cheese cart (who was not responsible for the incident).  A letter written by a Des Moines Police Detective to Des Moines City Clerk Diane Rauh on July 9 of 2010 (one year from the beating incident) referencing the request for Liquor License Renewal for 101 Lounge supports the fact that the real problem is not the Food Carts. (original .pdf file can be found here)

Reference 101 Lounge over the last year: 70 total trips, 31 fights or disputes, 5 intoxicated persons, 6 accidents, 3 DPQ, 3 vandalism, 2 larceny of motor vehicles, 11 misc. trips.  The owner hires off duty police officers on the weekends which may be some of the reason for this many tips.  The numbers are on the high side but not out of line with some of the other bars down town.

The numbers are on the high side but not out of line with some of the other bars down town?  So, is the City trying to push the blame for congestion and violence off on the Food Cart operators?  I haven’t been able to find one official statistic for Food Cart related incidents, yet the Council seems to think that the Downtown’s problems are rooted in the presence of food carts AFTER 1:30 AM AND BEFORE 5:30 AM. Do you see what is going on here?

I am not trying to single out 101, but to show you, as stated by the authorities, that these kind of numbers are not uncommon within the down town bar scene.  Remember also that these are the number of reported incidents, a number which is known to be much lower than actual incidents.

What I am saying is that Food Cart Operators are being unfairly and unjustly targeted, and that this new ruling by the Des Moines City Council is about as ludicrous as the City of Des Moines 1942 ban on dancing from 2am to 6am.  There are still some facts that need to be uncovered regarding this decision, but it smells to me that the Council is trying to once again move Our Fair City in reverse.

On a side note, the Crusader Against Ingersoll Bike Lanes, Chris Coleman was the only council member voting “nay” on this issue.  Thanks for your marginal support.

The Cook



Yet Another Manic Monday

Here it is, the day that is celebrated around the world as being the one day of the week to not celebrate.  What used to happen around these parts when the Un-celebrate-able showed up on our doorstep in that cute little basket with a note stating that it is our duty to tend to Little Orphan Monday, was a report on the news.  I think it is about time we continue that tradition by talking a little about an upcoming tradition, and some presently-forming traditions, and a little smidge of news.

“Here are some blankets for those Turkeys, mister Native person. They look awfully cold.”

Now, I don’t know what “historical” account of what went down between the Natives of what came to be North America and their pasty white devil guests you believe, and I don’t really know what to believe either as the IRS wasn’t around to require the “pilgrims” keep track of their receipts and Facebook wasn’t around to record the status updates of all parties involved.  I am also not entirely sure what significance the Turkey had on the original ‘Uh…Thanks for Giving us this Stuff” meal, but I would bet all the buckled shoes and goofy hats in all of history that none of what we have been taught is historically factual/accurate.  Since everyone has their own version of this lovely holiday story, I thought I would relay to you, the Faithful Tens, an abridged version of MY favorite story of Thanksgiving and the significance of the Turkey in all of this history stuff, as told to me by a very intoxicated friend who we will refer to as uh, Burt.

Burt wasn’t there for the first, as he calls it, “Turkey Holocaust Day,” but he thinks that the Wild Turkey he has been imbibing has given him some historical insight that those of us not holding the Shot Glass of Knowledge just wouldn’t get.  Here is Burt’s story:

Some a-holes from Europe decided to float their boats toward China but the dumbasses didn’t know that America was in the way.  A lot of people say that they left Spain or England or whatever so they could practice their religion, but that’s a load of crap.  Who loads up a bunch of boats and people for a million mile trip when they could just move to France, where nobody gives a shit about anything but butter and cream anyway.  I say they were just bored rich people like those teenagers who decided that they would try to sail around the world until their parents were like “oh no you aint” and the courts agreed and there were a few failures.  It’s amazing what bored rich people are capable of.  So they got in their fancy boats and went for a trip.  They landed here, and met some Indians who were like “oh, these guys don’t have cool red beards and fancy animals carved on their boats [I think he is talking about the Vikings at this point], they look awfully uptight and probably need to chill out” so these Indians, you see, have the peace pipe and they offer it to the Pilgrims and they smoked.  The pilgrims, used to “snuff” and uppers got really high and paranoid.  They asked if the Indians had any snacks, and were like “hey, you don’t look like yer from China.”  The Indians brought the Pilgrims some potatoes and berries and gave them directions to their “guy” in case they needed the hook up later.  The Indians went about their business, but the Pilgrims were high, paranoid, and freaking out.  So they gave them Smallpox.  Not a very cool trade if  you ask me…hey, can I get another shot? So anyway, the Pilgrims start taking out these Indians like they were all gangsta.  They were doing some real damage, then decided to take over the whole country.  Most of the Indians moved away from the East Coast because the hostile ass Pilgrims were always acting up, this is also why the East Coast is so much more hard core than the West Coast.  It was the pilgrims, man!  The Pilgrims then started killing turkeys.  The TURKEYS are a symbol of the Indian.  That’s why we can’t eat the Turkey man, it’s totally racist.  We should only DRINK the turkey. Then the Pilgrims got into a big war with the French over some shit that wasn’t theirs in the first place, totally a white man thing to do, and shit they should have just moved to France to begin with and taken over France.  Then maybe Paris would be New York City and America would be safer.

Thank you, Burt, for your amazing telling of the first Thanksgiving.  I feel as though we all should have been wearing buckles on our shoes and hats for that one.  Burt may be full of crap and Wild Turkey (I honestly thought he would pass out right after that last shot, before the France Rant), but his version brings up some very good points.

  1. America is not China.  Fact.
  2. History, no matter how factual, is still very subjective.
  3. Turkey probably wasn’t served at the first “Thanksgiving”
  4. There was a land dispute between the colonies and the French.
  5. Bored Rich people can come up with some stupid things to do with their money.
  6. The Native Americans gave the Pilgrims food that they had gathered LOCALLY.

That’s right, no matter what the real story surrounding this Novemberly holiday encompasses, the real reason to celebrate is this

The Natives of our continent ate locally, as we should.

That’s right, everyone.  Whether you rock the turkey or the tofurkey, this year make it a point to give thanks for the real bounty produced by your local farmers and livestockists.  Am I going to give you all the resources to contact the sources for this Locs-Giving feast?  No, as a local news person has been working on an article about said subject and I am pretty sure all of you are going to read said juicy article when it drops in your local orange colored news stands.  I think she has a good start and look forward to seeing what she has to say.  Seriously.

On to the News…

Taco Bike, oh Taco bike.  Two weeks ago the Des Moines City Council passed a new set of rules for food carts.  New rules state that food cart vendors can not operate between the hours of 1:30 am and 5:30 am due to drunk people.  The DMPD claims that the one or two food carts that set up in the 4th and Court district are causing drunks to fight, and that it is too much of a strain on the city to police these trouble-makers.  Ok. The food carts serve food, not alcohol.  The food carts do their business serving drunks like anyone else, but BETTER because they are on the street and can see/look out for people who are passing by or eating.  They have more control over their crowds and have more of a reason to control what is going on with the drunks in front of their stands than the other store front businesses in the area. The Food Carts do not manufacture drunks, the bars do.  Food carts don’t make a society full of pushy, macho assholes, society does.  Food Carts don’t cause traffic congestion, especially on 4th street where traffic is pretty minimal, drunks stopping in the middle of the street to “holla at their bros” do.  Food Carts don’t cause more Police off-duty overtime, drunks do.  Food Carts aren’t the only reason people have to interact socially outside of store-front businesses, the smoking ban causes quite a bit of sidewalk run ins with drunks and aggro homeless peoples.  This all reeks of some business owner (I suspect the initials TF are involved) getting upset and claiming that the food carts are “stealing their business,” (a similar cry that caused the stunting of our Food Truck revolution) then the Powers That Be make up a story that is full of speculation and about as air tight as my buddy Burt’s account of Thanksgiving’s historical roots, causing a quiet vote and rule change.  Or maybe I am just paranoid as a Pilgrim…  At any rate, you can read about it here at the Des Moines Register site and here at Eater PDX (thank you, DMZ City Council for causing Portland to say it “Sucks To Be You, Des Moines”).  You can also watch a spot on the subject tonight on WHO TV in Des Moines at 5 p.m.  It may be time to start taking some action/writing letters.

The Downtown Farmer’s Market is over, aside for two winter markets.

Trader Joe’s is open and is potentially adding to a tradition here in our city, driving small natural food stores out of business.  Don’t forget the little guys.

That’s about it for the news.  Stay tuned for my upcoming Vegan’s guide to getting harassed at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table.


The Cook