Friday, January 06, 2006

Food, Dining and a Life of The Table

We are "A" and "D," experienced food critics, writers, publishers and diners. "A" is a successful cookbook author, recipe creator, food writer, extraordinary cook and was a test kitchen chef for several major television cooking series, including The Great Chefs of the World; The Great Chefs of New Orleans; The Great Chefs of the U.S.; The Great Chefs of the Southwest; and The Great Chefs Jazz Brunches. "D" is an avocational gourmand, an author and culinary publisher, and has cultivated a life of gourmandise on four continents, dining in, savoring and reviewing many of the world's greatest restaurants. Both "A" and "D" 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

"A" and "D" dine out often together (and separately) 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 "A" nor "D" 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 anonymous; 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 "A" and "D" 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 measure the cost against the satisfaction. As restaurants (and chefs) age, they tend to rest on their laurels and past history, even as the business loses its appeal for the customers. We do return and review the experience periodically; after all, chefs come and go, menus change, and--now and then--a chef or restaurant owner reads what we write and works to improve their restaurant and its offering. 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. Des Moines has a long and illustrous history of great restaurants. We value them and we passionatley care about the Joy of the Table.

Read . . . Enjoy! Those are the basics. Over time, there will be an ever-growing number of reviews. Search the past months' archives. Respond. Disagree. Create a dialogue. We are particularly interested in what restaurants you would like reviewed. We generally eat out two or three times a week, and we are willing to try almost any restaurant. You can also read our reviews and many other diners' reviews on the excellent website, Des Moines Alive at If you are not familiar with Des Moines Alive, it is absolutely the best and most complete site for all Des Moines entertainment and dining venues.

Our ratings are no nonsense, straight forward and based on a four-point scale. We cannot hide with a rating of 3 out of 5, which is neutral. We take a stance!

1 = No; 2 = Maybe; 3 = Yes; and 4 = Absolutely!


Blogger Bob said...

Thank You!

11:43 AM  

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