Thursday, December 01, 2005

Food, Dining and a Life of The Table

We are "D" and "A," experienced food critics, writers and diners. "A" is a published cookbook author, recipe creator, food writer, extraordinary cook and was a test kitchen chef for several major television cooking series. "D" is an avocational gourmand, an author and culinary publisher, and has cultivated a life of gourmandise on four continents, dining in many of the world's greatest restaurants. Both of us have extensive knowledge of various cuisines, techniques, specialty ingredients, U.S. and world wines, and the practice, service, lore and Joy of the Table.

Having each returned to Iowa from lives spent in the food meccas of the west and the east, we believe Des Moines to be one of the great treasures of American living and one of the developing culinary bright spots of the Midwest.

No Agenda . . . No Allegiance

"D" and "A" dine out often together in the Des Moines area, each spending their own money, not that of a local newspaper--mainstream or alternative. We are committed to nothing except the quality of the dining experience from the customer's point of view. We have no interest in advertising revenues, high-powered connections, positions in local society, or anything other than superb food, well-prepared and well-served at a reasonable cost for the experience. That is what we write about.

Diners Like You

Neither "D" nor "A" are known to local restaurant owners or chefs. For those few who do have a passing familiarity with us, it's only because we are fairly regular customers of their restaurants, returning often when the dining experience is worthy. We are similar to the Everyman or Everywoman of literature; representative and little different from any other customer who goes to a restaurant hoping only for "superb food, well-prepared and well-served at a reasonable cost for the experience." We are not into the 'foodie' scene and we don't seek out the companionship or recognition of local celebrity chefs or restaurateurs. We are in this for the food and the Joy of the Table, and we hope our experiences will help you to have great dining experiences in the Des Moines area--and avoid those less than great experiences.

The Rule of Quality

Both "D" and "A" are probably somewhat ruthless in their critiques, both of the dishes and the operation of the restaurants. We don't 'coat' the truth with a verbal 'sauce' designed to provide a mediocre restaurant with a soft landing, or give them a 'second chance' because of an 'off night.' If a restaurant charges $70 to $100 or more for dinner, it doesn't deserve an 'off night' and we probably won't offer a 'second chance' to merit a more positive review. Like you, we tend to measure the cost against the satisfaction. We do return to restaurants to compare the current and past experiences; after all, chefs come and go and menus change. But, there is always that wretched category of restaurants we describe as, "Let's try it again just to see if it's as bad as ever." Usually, it is.

Read . . . Enjoy!

Those are the basics. Over time, there will be an ever-growing number of reviews. In the meantime, have patience. Send comments to We are particularly interested in what restaurants you would like reviewed. The ratings are no nonsense, straight forward: 1 No; 2 Maybe; 3 Yes; and 4 Absolutely!


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