Entries Tagged as 'Devotay'

In Defense of Iowa’s Food

Yes, meatloaf, casseroles, and other comfort meals can be found in church basements across all of Iowa’s 99 counties, but this is a state that knows its food and wine.


When I read Stephen Bloom’s screed against our mutually-adopted home state I was, like many Iowans (including his boss at the University of Iowa), insulted. I could not figure out which aspect bothered me more. My world revolves around food, and Bloom seems to have gleaned his information about what we eat in Iowa from a high school production of The Music Man.

Comfort food reigns supreme. Meatloaf and pork chops are king. Casseroles (canned tuna or Tatertots) and Jell-O molds (cottage cheese with canned pears or pineapple) are what to bring to wedding receptions and funerals. Everyone loves Red Waldorf cake. Deer (killed with a rifle is good, with bow-and-arrow better) and handpicked morels are delicacies families cherish.

I do not mean to claim that these dishes cannot be found in Lutheran church basements in all 99 counties, even if he is wrong about cottage cheese being in Jell-O molds (the cottage cheese is served on the canned pears, or more often on cling peaches), and even if, as a restaurant professional for 32 years, I’ve never heard of “Red Waldorf cake” nor has my fifth-generation Iowan wife. We think he must mean red velvet cake, which is common, though not nearly as common as the magnificent pies that are baked here. All this food can indeed be “comforting,” but as in so many other parts of his diatribe, Bloom chooses a couple small examples of something he’s seen here and concludes that it must be so for everyone across state.

Read the rest in The Atlantic

Table Wine: Ordering Wine on New Year’s Eve (Plus a great Hoppin’ John Recipe!)

A year ago this weekend, I enjoyed my first New Year’s Eve off from work in 25 years. There are many reasons for this. First and foremost, being in the restaurant business means working when most others do not. On the other hand, having the best dang staff in town did make it possible on the eve of 2010 for me to travel and spend some time with far-off friends.

As is the tradition, we raised a glass (yeah, OK, more than one) in salute to times gone by — a.k.a. auld lang syne — and talked of grand plans for the coming year: what resolutions we were going to break and whether or not the Hawkeyes could beat Georgia Tech. This year’s conversations would be almost the same (insert OSU v. Arkansas here), but I’ll be back at the helm at Devotay this time. Fortunately I love to do that, too!

Many of you will be out at restaurants this year as well, perusing wine lists looking for the best choice of wine with your dinner, and a sparkler with which to toast the New Year. Here are a few pointers to help you pick what’s right for you. [Read more →]

Follow Me Anywhere

Who knew this Twitter thing would get as wildly popular as it has? Call it what you will: Revolution, fad, curiosity, or simply blogging for the ADHD set, Twitter is everywhere these days online and in the MSM. Yours truly is also both victim and perpetrator in the Twitter conspiracy, having first learned of it through a CNN report a couple years ago of a man who used it to inform his friends he’s been picked up by Egyptian police (the State Dept. had him out in a couple days). I have a few accounts under my nimble little thumbs where you can follow me:

@KurtMFriese – This is my main account, where just about anything I have to share (or scream into the Twitter abyss) will be posted, from my postings on this and other sites to tidbits on food politics, even family news and stuff I find funny on the interwebs.

@Winetwit – Exclusive to my wine writing, mostly for the Iowa City Press-Citizen

@Devotay – Here you’ll find all things Devotay, my downtown Iowa City restaurant. Hopefully soon we’ll have the kinks worked out so we can post our features every day, along with news and upcoming events that are already there. We also promote local food issues/events here.

@EdibleIA – The official Twitter site of Edible Iowa River Valley, Iowa’s go-to resource for all things local/sustainable/delicious. We’ll “tweet” the roll outs of new issues, offer previews, and upload photos of great food finds.

@SlowFoodIC – This is the official account of Slow Food Iowa City. Follow along as we Preserve and Revitalize the Flavors of the Heartland. Event announcements, etc. flow through here.

It's Here!

After a painfully long wait, my book, A Cook’s Journey: Slow Food in the Heartland is now available for sale. For the first week or two, it will be available exclusively at Devotay, and then it will be at bookstores nationwide. Stop in today for your very own signed copy.