Locally Grown

Writing About The DD Is OVER.

Well, Tens, it’s been almost a week now.  A whole week without the non-rythmic word stylings of the Artist Formerly Known As The Datebook Diner.  A whole week which we learned that she will still indeed be writing for the Register, albeit on a monthly basis, and that she will continue to milk her Register-hosted blog for all its cook book marketing worth.  I also learned that she will be acting as a server at the newly-taken-over Proof restaurant in the Western Gateway.  Incredible, I can’t wait to have her wait on my table.  I am sure the service will be French-tastic.


Tens, I am here to call the whole thing off.  We have had a good run with Winni as our main subject here, and I am thankful for my friends who slip little notes into my email in-hole early in the morning to tip me off to her…things she does.  I know that the fun contained within the digital confines of this blogular entity has been lost on her for about two years, she doesn’t return my tweets or comments ever, and I am sure that if we were to actually run into each other in public she would either ignore me or give me that “whatevs” look.

Sure, in a movie about the Datebook Diner I would cast Kristin Stewart, And The Cook would be a hybrid shiny vampiristic wherebear who was her sidekick, kinda like a really fucked up Chewbaca. They would argue constantly because The Cookbaca would always substitute olive oil for butter, which isn't very French.

And that is fine, I have earned that look (even if it actually comes from Kristin Stewart) but I would rather meet up with Winni and have this kind of situation transpire:

This is a better, more peaceful, scenario in which I would like to encounter the Artist Formerly Know As The Datebook Diner.

With all of that sort of said, I think that ragging on the AFKATDD is OVER.  Winni, if you are out there, I leave you to market your super amazing cook book and spread the French in peace.  It’s been a great time witnessing and reacting to all of the…stuff…over the years but it is time for this Cook to move on.  Enjoy your not really new life doing pretty much what you were doing before, with the addition of pretending you are a restaurant worker (I did think your old waitress picture was damn adorable), and you can continue ignoring what I write because it…well…I will probably just retire this blog.   So, farewell, see you down the road.

The Cook


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.


Wednesday Attempt At Writing About Food
2011/01/19, 9:47 am
Filed under: Total Rubbish | Tags:

Hello, Tens.  I had originally planned on expanding on a few recent subjects including proper tipping, locally grown food as a “trend”, and some other stuff.  Due to some work related timing problems and a late start to the day, I do not have time to get down with any or all of these subjects, but I did want to drop in to say hello.  So there you have it…Hello.

Also, what do you think about the proclamation that Local Food is a Trend?  I though Local Food was the foundation on which modern human eating was founded on thousands of years ago.

I leave you with this:

Great Hot Dog Bike, but what's with that heinous gear?

The Cook

Late Night Local
2010/12/01, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Local Food Commentary | Tags: ,

Today was a long day of avoiding the outdoors and of avoiding being awake.  I like to call it “I Need A Really Long Nap Wednesday” or INARLNW.  After a long weekend out of town and some manic insomia, this cook needed a little rest before getting back to the kitchen, But there are still some words that need to fly through your eyespace.

Today was also the day which marked the opening of Big City Burgers And Greens, our first of three local restaurants opening of the week. I had planned to attend, but due to the earlier mentioned exhaustion and some other home based nonsense that didn’t happen.  I DID get a good amount of feedback from a number of opening day diners and it sounds like BGBAG is having a few of the common service/confusion/cooking issues which they had better pinpoint and fix quick.  I have stated before that in our current economy it is very easy to alienate people, and if this restaurant wants to take off and reach its obvious goal of becoming a franchise (trust me, I have a good eye for this sort of thing) it needs to tighten up its systems.  Luckily all of the people that I had talked to about their experience were understanding of the situation and have vowed to go back to try more of the food.  I will be there for lunch Thursday, and I am excited.

In the spirit of my being a “Fat Kid” I will be attending another opening before going to lunch at BCBAG.  That’s right, Flour Pizza opens at 11a and I will be there.  Pizza…Burgers…It’s going to be like being a kid again.  But much larger.

One other quick note, Hal Jasa’s Zingaro will see its maiden Prix Fixe voyage set sail at 5p Thursday night.

Oh, if you want locations an links go back to the Monday or Tuesday LG posts.

Now, as for Tuesday’s call to Rep Local, I think this calls for a movement.  Not the eight hours after you ate a meal kind of a movement, but a commitment by everyone in the area to “Rep Local Or….”  I really wanted to say die there, but I don’t want anyone to get hurt and radical statements can make people do some crazy things and the only crazy thing I want you to do is keep as much of your money as you can in your pocket, and to keep the part that you spend in your community.  Pretty crazy, huh?  This is a commitment to growing our community and helping each other out.  Clearly in our post-election time the Fed Gov isn’t interested in the personal welfare of citizens.

Shop Local, Eat Local, Pay Local (try Dwolla a new locally based peer to peer payment system), Get your produce local (here is a listing of local CSA;s), Be Local.

Rep Local.

The Cook.


(C)Hump Day Massacre& Birthday Announcement!

Yesterday we saw what has amounted to DeMo’s culinary version of a U.S. invasion of Canada, via Twitter and This Here Blog.  The main players, myself and DH, have since called a truce seeing as it was just all a big misunderstanding (kinda like an episode of Three’s Company or a Genesis Song).

See, eveything always works out in the end!

The drama which ensued was rather unfortunate and some things were said that can’t be taken back by either side, but I believe we can let that water just pass on under the bridge called teamwork.  We will be putting together a dining event in the near future, and I assure you that everyone wins at this event.  Even you poor rubbernecking types who insist on competition over collaboration.

As a self-professed expert in Soy products and vegan/vegetarian food (I have dedicated most of the last 10 years of my life working to improve vegetarian options/food/dining) I felt a little slighted by the recent Relish article on soy foods, as should other notable vegetarian/vegan/raw foods chefs in DeMo.  I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mike Yamamoto and George Formaro, two refreshing pillars of excellence and integrity in the chef world , but they are not the only players in the soy game.  For the second month in a row, Relish, you have outdone yourself.  Will it be three?

Oh yes! Restaurant Week is coming (August 20 to August 29)…only now the name has changed to the Greater Des Moines Restaurant Week.  What are you going to be doing for restaurant week, my little diners?  Will you be taking advantage of this event to find new regular spots to dine, or will you be doing what a seeming majority do and just show up for a one-shot prix fixe dinner and never return again?  I believe the point of this is to showcase local restaurants and to maybe influence/change the dining out habits of the masses.  Admittedly it is a great deal, especially in this continuing Time Of Economic Trouble, but far to many people treat this as a cheap-o coupon-date night out.  Choose your dining spots wisely, visit all that you can, and return for regular dining.  That is what every restaurant taking part is hoping for.  And don’t forget to take care of your server!  Menus are being posted online now….

*A Message To Restaurants* Ensure you are properly staffed for Restaurant week.  Diners will be expecting not only top notch food, but also the service to accompany.

Things I would like to see during restaurant week:  Food education seminars, cooking classes/demonstrations, a meet and greet event with all of the top local chefs, a “Waiting Tables” simulator to be used as punishment for unruly customers, and a step towards really furthering local dining.  It is all feasible, except that simulator…although any of you tech folks out there are more than welcome to start working towards its realization.

Another Local Culinary Event/Tradition starts next week…on a stick.  Yes, it is time again for Games, Gluttony, Gawking, and a little dash of Vanilla(Ice…although I prefer Ton Loc).  I speak of the Iowa State Fair (Aug 12-22).  You don’t need me to tell you about what is going on there…

And one more thing…I will be hosting a Birthday Ride tonight at Mullet’s (1300 SE 1st Street) beginning at 5 ish.  You don’t need a bike (bicycle, not motorcycle), but we will be leaving around 6:30 is to ride south to the Cumming Tap via Orlondo’s, some trail stops, and maybe even the Pink House. Come meet up for some libations and to celebrate me marching ever so closer to the age my writing attitude portrays.  This is open to real-life friends, interweb friends (a great time to become real-life friends), and even my frickin enemies(no weapons please!) Everyone is welcome!   See you tonight!

Get em, Birthday Cat

Happy Birthday To Me,

The Cook


Everyone go grab some snacks, because I will be back soon. I am recovering from our #1 amateur drinking holiday of the year, Wednesday.

But a small report:

Downtown Des Moines was bustling with numerous a-holes hosed down in green garb (also with many nice families celebrating the tradition with their loved ones) running around claiming Irish heritage while sucking down an assortment of green beer, Jameson, and the dreaded Car Bomb. It was quite a sight. I gathered with a few accomplices on bikes to join in the festivities and to bear witness to the spectacle. Beer tents were nearly impenetrable, the Locust Tap was almost as packed, Court Avenue was merely meh, but 4th Street was the place to be. A new sports bar with “all you can drink” for 10 bucks was belching and puking out some of the most amazing D-baggery seen since Friday. Fights, fights, a dude punched out the rear window of an SUV, driver of said SUV tried to run over Mr. Fists. The ATM outside the Royal Mile was abused. Aaaaanannnnnd…..

Chef Andrew Meek hosted a special dinner at Sbrocco. Did anyone attend? Were there any fights?

I am suprised there weren’t more special dinners for St. Pat’s, but then again I didn’t see many people eating.

With that said, I will get back to my recovery diet of Vegetable broth, bananas, and grilled cheese, and will return to the interweb sometime Monday, March 22nd.

Hugs and stuff,

The Cook.

2010/03/17, 3:07 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Everyone go grab some snacks, because I will be back on maybe Thursday, maybe Friday. I am celebrating our #1 amateur drinking holiday of the year, Wednesday.