National foodies are in love with the Des Moines dining scene
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The Des Moines food scene is getting some serious love.
Three recent articles in Food & Wine magazine highlight everything from our wines to our convenience store pizza, and Cheese Bar on Ingersoll Avenue was recently named one of America's favorite Neighborhood Restaurants by Bon Appetit magazine.
Food writer David Landsel authored the three Food & Wine articles, all of which published this month.
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"This is an exciting time to be here, to watch the city evolving, adding new people, new ideas, and, of course, a lot of new food and drink, because all of that changing and growing tends to make people hungry, not to mention thirsty," Landsel wrote.
Among other places, he mentioned:
- Harbinger, for its imaginative vegetable-focused small plates.
- The Walnut, for its Kalua pig sliders, lemongrass chicken soup, and a mean Reuben.
- The Cheese Bar, for its menu of cheeses and cheese-related dishes, charcuterie and beers on tap.
- St. Kilda, for its avocado toasts, smoothies, salads and modern decor.
- Peace Tree Brewing Co., for creating a community-friendly space for tasting beer.
- Black Cat Ice Cream, for its innovative homemade ice cream flavors.
Landsel touts Casey's General Stores, with its nearly 2,000 locations across the Midwest, as the most convenient place to go for pizza. And sometimes as the "only place in town for takeout meals."
"Some Midwesterners will tell you that Casey's makes the greatest pizza around; others can't believe that people are so excited by pizza from a gas station," Landsel wrote. "Either way, so closely linked is Casey's to its pizza, you'll see many stores classified as Pizza Restaurants in certain popular map searches."
With its thin crust and robust sauce, Casey's pizza is easy to order with a smartphone app and for a reasonable price.
And since Casey's keeps a rotating heated display filled with pizza at all times, "you'll find yourself on some windblown, remote stretch of I-80, that Casey's sign, with its unmistakable, red-shingled roof logo, rising out of the fields, and you'll say to yourself — you know what? Another slice or two wouldn't hurt."
Landsel also wrote about the more than 100 Iowa wineries and their ever-growing popularity.
"We're making wine everywhere in America these days, and often that wine can be very good, or at least very interesting, often in places you'd least expect," he wrote. "Iowa definitely has that latter bit nailed — most people probably aren't aware that there are now seven wine trails in the state, for example, but there are. Could Iowa be one of those great surprises?"
Landsel said the five varieties of grapes to look for at Iowa vineyards are Marquette, Frontenac, Brianna, Edelweiss and Petite Pearl.
Wineries mentioned in the article include:
- Fireside Winery in Marengo, for its Crownfire, a blend of estate Marquette grapes and California Cabernet.
- Glyn Mawr Vineyard & Winery in Olin, for its estate Marquette.
- Calico Skies Vineyard & Winery in Inwood, for its off-dry Geisenheim wine.
- Tycoga Vineyard & Winery in DeWitt, for its Noiret, a peppery dry red.
- Soldier Creek Winery in Fort Dodge, for its Zwink's La Crescent, a crisp, dry white. Winemaker Anne Zwink was recently named winemaker of the year at the Iowa Wine Growers Association.