Bread & Butter 2023

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Ramen Belly Iowa City
old caPitol
38 0 80


Genevieve Trainor


Emma McClatchey


Sid Peterson


Jordan Sellergren


Drew Bulman


Genevieve Trainor, Celine Robins, Abby McClatchey


Megan Bannister, Olivia Bohlmann, Paul Brennan, Erin Casey, David Duer, Sara Elgatian, Dawn Frary, Lindsey Frisbie, Jay Goodvin, Tiffani Green, Matthew Hsieh, Malcolm MacDougall, Cristin Mitchell, Madelyn Orton, Erin Schroeder, Helaina Thompson, Andrea Truitt


Lindsey Frisbie, Britt Fowler, Aaryn Graeve, Matthew Hsieh, Malcolm MacDougall, Cristin Mitchell, Zak

Neumann, Sid Peterson, Amir Prellberg, Chad Rhym, Jordan Sellergren, Alex Smith, Kaleb Wyse


Ethan Edvenson, Sara Weiler






SAY HELLO Little Village 623 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240, 319-855-1474


/LittleVillageMag /LittleVillage /LittleVillageMag


The fun never stops with memberships, special events, and educational programs! 319.625.6255 | Located in Coral Ridge Mall | IMAGINE. CREATE. PLAY! DISCOVER. EXPLORE.
THANKS to distribution partners the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. For information on membership, visit


22 Table Talk

Q&A with six movers and shakers in the local food scene.




48 The Menu

Great vibes don’t come at the cost of good food for this personal chef.

52 Full & Focused

Cindy Smith stocks the kitchen for all Iowa City schools.

54 Fertile Ground

Dig fresh produce? Wild Wood Farms sure does.

60 Can It

Fermented foods to keep on your plate and in your guts.

64 Breaking Bread

Memories of Stone Soup Restaurant in a bygone Iowa City.

66 Nerd Burgers

Live your Bob Belcher fantasy at this Cedar Rapids cooking class.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 7 YOUR Locally-Owned Kitchen Store Located in Downtown Iowa City's Historic Northside Neighborhood
It’s Raining Ramen
bowls of broth from around the area. THE CEDAR RAPIDS & IOWA CITY AREA’S 2023 DINING GUIDE
looks to dazzle diners in downtown Iowa City.
La Queen ShanShan Kong
Scratch n’ Sniff
Vernon is waking up to a new coffee shop concept.
a Mt.
foodie turned food influencer.
Wyse-dom Meet
Phoebe Charles poses in front of Cedar Rapids’ Vietnamese institution, Phong Lan. Matthew Hsieh / Little Village
HOW-TO First Taste Rookie restaurants in Eastern Iowa A Bite to Eat Cures for the midday slumps Far Out Keep Fairfield flavorful Sunnyside Up Brunches of champions Dine Riverside Five cities, fresh options Worth the Drive Plan a hot date in DSM 10 20 30 34 38 40 ON THE COVER: Ramen Belly, Iowa City Sid Peterson GUIDES RECIPE Herbed Strawberry Mango Salsa RECIPE Miso Roasted Brussels Sprouts RECIPE Olive Oil Zucchini Cake RECIPE Baked Eggplant Parmesan RECIPE No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread 13 29 42 53 65 44 46 50 55 58 62 67 8 BREAD & BUTTER 2023 Stout, Dark & Handsome Iowa-brewed beers Nature & Nuture Restaurants near Iowa state parks Specialty Markets From cheese curds to kimchi CSA Guide Where farms meet tables Fight Hunger A local food pantry needs YOU! Pamper a Chef Great gifts from neighborhood shops Foodie Horoscope Your food fate awaits Addis EthiopianCuisine SidPeterson
P r a i r i e K i t c h e n S t o r e J o r d a n S e l grel ner
LaCasita SidPeterson

Notable Newbies

Restaurateurs in Eastern Iowa are serving up fun concepts in fresh formats.

Mesa 503

2302 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City, 319-519-6170, mesa503salvadorancuisineiowacity

Yolanda Amaya and Luis Hernandez immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador in 1993.

Nearly 30 years later, in May 2022, they opened Salvadoran restaurant Mesa 503 on the east side of IC. A sister restaurant to downtown’s Mesa Pizza, Mesa 503’s large menu features pupusas (with your choice of nine fillings), tamales and more, all served with rice, salad and Salvadoran tortillas. The soothing blue walls of Mesa 503 are

decorated with a map of El Salvador, colorful paintings and a drawing of a turquoise-browed motmot, the country’s national bird.

FOMO Food Truck

855 Vernon Valley Dr SE, Cedar Rapids (and elsewhere)

This bright yellow food truck reps the tagline “not ya motha’s food truck” and is owned and operated by Naomi and An-

thony Leonard, a mom and son duo. FOMO officially opened in early May 2023, serving up simple, playful faire like smashburgers, chicken sandwiches, wraps, tacos and more. All recipes are developed by the Leonards and handmade in the truck by their team. Prior to FOMO, Anthony owned a chicken sandwich restaurant in New York and worked in fine dining outside of Iowa. They can regularly be found at their Cedar Rapids homebase (855 Vernon Valley Dr. SE), in addition to occasional other spots around Eastern Iowa. FOMO also provides catering services. For the most updated and accurate information on their whereabouts, check out their Instagram @fomofoodtruck.

The Green House

505 E Washington St, Iowa City 319-259-7404

Iowa City’s coolest new meetup spot is The Green House, a plant-themed cocktail lounge specializing in drinks with a botany twist. They also serve a plethora of Iowa craft beers, ciders and fun non-alcoholic beverages. Conveniently

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Left: Anthony Leonard, Naomi Leonard and Robert Bolden pose in the FOMO Food Truck window. Malcolm Macdougall / Little Village Above: Live music and cocktails at The Green House. Right: Royceann Porter at her new restaurant in the South District Market. Sid Peterson / Little Village situated right next door to New Pioneer Food Co-op and the Iowa City Farmers Market, The Green House is owned by plant-lover Emily Salmonson, who has cultivated a calming, jungle-themed space that feels noticeably different from other bars in town. You won’t find TVs mounted above the bar, but you will see lots of dangling plants. Grab a board game off the shelf and plop on a lawn chair on the patch of green turf in the back under colorful artwork of UFOs. The Green House is an ideal spot for friendly gatherings as well as for getting work done. The bar also frequently hosts bingo, shows and workshops. Stay in the know about these events and others through Instagram @greenhouseic.

Up in Smoke BBQ

92 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids


In the strip of stores along the main street of Czech Village, shoppers can take a break from their antiquing trip and refuel at Up In Smoke BBQ. It’s a traditional barbecue joint, complete with rolls of paper towels stationed on every table and tender, falling-apart barbecue meat. Order to go and they’ll package it all separately so you don’t go home with a soggy mess, or eat in and enjoy the collection of vintage signs that festoon the walls. For a new twist on an old favorite, try the fried cornbread—cubes of chewy cornbread fried to crunchiness and dusted with sweet cinnamon sugar for a delectable dessert. (Or, if you’re feeling bold, top your bread with the blueberry habanero barbecue sauce.)

Royceann’s Soul Food South District Market, 947 US-6 E, Iowa City, 319-804-9650

Royceann Porter has plenty

of experience serving up soul food—ham, ribs, mac and cheese, black-eyed peas, collard greens—for the annual Black Voices Project’s Community Soul Food Dinner, and other area events commemorating Black History Month, Juneteenth and more. In March 2023, the Johnson County Supervisor decided to turn her cooking talents into a business by debuting Royceann’s Soul Food in Iowa City’s new South District Market. Porter was the first to sign on as a vendor in the shared food court/market space, soon joined by Early Bird Cafe, Cachua Cakes and Artesania Mar & More. Royceann’s is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday, so soothe your soul with fried chicken, cornbread, spaghetti, candied yams, cabbage and more.

Barrett’s Quality Eats 3242 Crosspark Rd, Coralville

An Iron Chef from Ohio has put down roots in Eastern Iowa. Cory Barrett won season five of Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship, has appeared

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 11

as a sous chef on Iron Chef America 17 times and serves as a consultant for Big Grove Brewery. Barrett’s Quality Eats opened in north Coralville after construction finished on a brand new building for the combination cafe/deli/bakery. Barrett told the Gazette he filled the menu with “all-day foods that are done well,” including muffins, egg sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, soups, hearty salads, and rotisserie prime rib and chicken—all served in a quick, casual setting. For their coffee bean needs, Barrett’s has partnered with Stone Bru coffee, a Sioux City-based roastery.


1138 7th Ave, Marion, 319-200-1028,

Tucked away in uptown Marion is a new spot for those seeking sushi, hot pot and Korean favorites. Mix is the brainchild of owners and friends Kyle Franklin and Bryan Aung. The restaurant first got its start at the food court in Armstrong Centre in downtown Cedar Rapids. Now, Mix’s location in Marion features a large dining room with a full bar, hot-pot-capable tables and a sushi bar. Available for dine-in only, hot pot is especially convenient for sharing with groups. Hot pots at Mix are completely customizable: folks can choose meat, seafood or vegetarian protein add-ins, complemented by a variety of soup flavors, spice levels and an assortment of vegetables. Mix has a full menu of Korean entree options that shouldn’t be missed. One of their most popular dishes is bulgogi, a Korean marinated beef, thinly sliced and stir-fried with onions, green onions and mushrooms, then garnished with sesame seeds, all served with steamed rice and banchan.

RECIPE Herbed Strawberry Mango Salsa

Colorful, refreshing, sweet and zesty, this salsa is delicious on its own or slathered on top of fish or chicken. Impress your friends and family with this simple (and beautiful) recipe. Grab your favorite chips and dig in!

Prep time: 15 minutes / Serves 4-6


2 cups chopped strawberries

2 mangos, peeled, seeded and diced

¼ cup diced red onion

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup minced fresh mint

½ tsp Tajin spice

Juice of 1 lime


Place all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix to combine. Garnish with extra cilantro and/ or mint as desired.

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Hot pot at Mix in Marion. Sid Peterson / Little Village Lindsey Frisbie, RD, LD


Iowa City offers big-city amenities with small-town hospitality, and is a focal point for arts and culture, education, and fun.

Our community enjoys an extensive parks and recreation system that includes miles of trails, nearly 1,000 acres of prairie, wetlands and forested areas, with almost every resident living within half-a-mile of public open space. Iowa City features a vibrant, walkable downtown, and in 2008, was designated the first UNESCO City of Literature in the United States. Numerous professional publications consistently rank Iowa City as a highly favorable place to do business, receive an education, enjoy arts and culture, and is a perfect place to retire.

Our City is also committed to being a leader in climate action to ensure that we have a livable community now and in the future. In 2018, the City adopted a Climate Action and Adaption Plan that includes ambitious goals to foster resilience and lower greenhouse gas emissions across the community.

To learn more about our plan and how you can help, visit

Iowa City is committed to Climate Action.

We have our eyes on the future! The City of Iowa City and the 74,000 residents who live here have already made great strides toward our climate action goals. There are many ways to get involved:

• Hop on an electric bus and take advantage of our fare-free pilot program

• Charge your EV at a station in any of the public ramps

• Apply for a Root for Trees voucher to redeem for a tree at a local nursery

• Find out if your residence or business qualifies for a grant for insulation or solar panels

• Visit the Farmers Market or sign up for a

• community garden plot

• Join us for Climate Fest in September!

Working together, we can reach NET ZERO emissions by 2050.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 13

Do the Twirl

New ramen shops and pop-ups are causing a stir across the state.

Over the last few years, Iowa has seen a range of ramen-focused shops open, from DSM Ramen Club, a monthly ramen pop-up in Des Moines; to Ramen Belly, an intimate shop in Iowa City’s Peninsula neighborhood; to Broth Lab 641, an Asian-influenced restaurant in Fairfield; plus various pop-ups throughout Eastern Iowa.

Each of these newer businesses have successfully crafted ramen in their own way, which makes sense, given the seemingly endless variations on the dish across the world. Edwin Lee, a cook at the Webster, leads the restaurant’s annual ramen pop-up and has been preparing the dish for about five years. He started making ramen at Pullman Bar & Diner, another downtown Iowa City spot, where he played an integral role in establishing their regular ramen program. Now Lee collaborates with the Webster team, specifically owner and chef Sam Gelman, who worked directly with David Chang of Momofuku for over a decade. (The highly acclaimed restaurant brand’s name is a reference to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen.)

For two nights, Lee prepared two traditional popular styles of ramen for over 100 Webster pop-up-goers. The first type was Tantanmen ramen, a style with even more Chinese influence than other ramens. It consists of a pork broth, Sichuan peppercorns, red chili flakes, chili oils and pickled mustard greens. Lee also chose to offer tori paitan, a chicken whitebroth ramen.

When making ramen, Lee’s main goal is to pay respect to the original dish. He admits that he’s not necessarily reinventing the wheel. “I’d much rather do something very true to its roots, something very familiar, more popular styles of ramen and bring that forward.”

In addition, he believes that good food is all about balance—those multiple components working together to form a unique flavor.

Avid noodle-soup slurpers, take note of Ramen Belly, a quaint Iowa City shop opened in 2021. Founders John Lieu and Andy Diep have been around the food scene for years, having opened the original Takanami Sushi Bar in downtown Iowa City in 2003. Now, years later and in a new neighborhood, they’re

focusing mostly on ramen.

The restaurant’s menu allows guests to choose a base, known as a “tare”—a Japanese word that translates to “dipping sauce.” The tare is a concentrated flavor base that’s added to the serving bowl before the other ramen components. At Ramen Belly, there are three options available. The first two pork-based ramen dishes are classic styles: the house (a miso and pork base) and the classic tonkotsu. The third style, MaMa, is a beef-based homage to Lieu’s Vietnamese upbringing.

“In Vietnam, there’s a dish called ‘bo kho,’ which is a Vietnamese beef stew,” Lieu said. “It’s made from different types of spices, tomato paste and beef concentrate. MaMa ramen is inspired by this dish, a comfort food that your mom would make for you.”

Ramen Belly is a suitable for a group, but it’s also the perfect place to dine solo. The restaurant’s concept is fast-casual, inspired by small ramen shops in Japan, where folks typically venture in individually for a fast meal.

“Ramen shops in Japan are really tiny, maybe 10 to 15 seats, and they only serve ramen,” Lieu said. “You put money in a vending machine, get a ticket, sit down, slurp the ramen in 10 minutes and then you’re out the door. We wanted to create that concept in a way here.”

If you happen to be in the Des Moines area, be sure to check out the DSM Ramen Club, a popular pop-up ramen business currently putting on monthly events in different locations around the city. T. Myers started the business in 2019, initially just serving bowls of ramen to friends for fun before expanding to host small dinners at venues like the Art Terrarium, Bellhop and Allora Cafe, and even selling food takeout-style for a time at Gas Lamp.

Myers began making their own ramen noodles from scratch—a feat in its own right—and then decided to experiment with broths, first

mastering tonkotsu ramen. They quickly shifted to creating more fusion-focused ramen recipes, paying close attention to flavors that are trending.

The style of ramen at DSM Ramen Club is best described as out-of-the-ordinary. Myers, who is Korean American, was served Shin Ramyun by their Korean mother, often enhanced with peas, a hot dog and a Kraft Single. Growing up surrounded by fusion cuisine impacted the way Myers cooks and experiments in the kitchen today.

“Ramen is kind of like pasta: You have your origins, and then you have people that take those origins and make it their own,” Myers said. “It doesn’t make it any less authentic. We play with traditional flavors, but we also like to take flavors that people love so much and make it into a ramen broth.”

One of the club’s most popular dishes is the birria ramen, which is beef brisket braised in chilis and spices, drowned in consomme and topped with pickled red onions, queso fresco, onions and cilantro. A mini quesadilla is served on the side.

“It’s not as easy as getting birria, consomme and throwing it in a bowl. There’s a lot more thought process making fusion food like this, and it’s something that everyone can sit down and enjoy eating,” Myers said.

By the end of 2023, Myers will shift DSM Ramen Club from a pop-up endeavor to a permanent sit-down restaurant in Highland Park. They’ll be opening the restaurant with long-time business partner Josh Hake, and the menu will include ramen and tacos, calling back to Myers’ previous experience cooking up gourmet Korean street tacos for Moar Tacos. The best way to stay in the loop about DSM Ramen Club, they said, is on Instagram, @dsmramenclub.

Another ramen hotspot is Broth Lab 641, which opened in Fairfield in July 2022. Owners

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Opposite: Broth Lab, Fairfield; This page: Ramen Belly, Iowa City Sid Peterson / Little Village

Camp and Teah Boswell operated a restaurant with a similar concept in Asheville, North Carolina, before moving to Iowa during the COVID-19 pandemic. Camp is a chef from Alabama with a background in Southern high-end fine dining and classic French cooking.

The pair share a love and deep appreciation for Asian cuisine, and they always seek it out when traveling. Camp began experimenting with ramen at home, off the clock. They realized Asheville’s thriving food scene lacked a ramen shop and decided to host pop-ups to share Camp’s creations, ultimately leading to a restaurant.

“Our tagline is ‘ramen-ish’ or ‘ramen with a twist,’” Camp said. “It’s in the realm of ramen, but we are by no means trying to be an authentic ramen shop. We’re authentically inauthentic in our ramen because it’s really something that’s our own.”

Camp’s ramen process is notably different from the way ramen is traditionally prepared. When cooking Broth Lab’s tonkotsu, for example, instead of following the tradition of blanching and scraping all the bits off the bones first, he’ll leave them as-is and place them in the oven to roast at high temperatures until they caramelize. Then, he’ll begin making a broth with the roasted bones, and eventually will add in another ingredient like lime zest for a lift in flavor.

“If you feed that to a purist, they’ll say this is not tonkotsu, but it’s our version of a tonkotsu,” Camp explained. “For me, it has lots of flavor, it’s more balanced, and that’s what I’m trying to achieve in all the dishes we put out.”

Guests can order one of the chef’s favorite bowls or choose to experiment with their own creation. Customizable bowls offer myriad choices of broths, sauces, noodles or rice, protein and toppings. The menu is extensive, including their zesty and unconventional tonkotsu broth and other dishes, like lobster red curry and cashew milk and mushroom paitan. Toppings range from flavorful vegetables like Sichuan broccolini to garlic chili eggplant and fried okra to jammy shoyu egg.

“I definitely sprinkle my Southern roots in there,” Camp said. “We’ve got fried okra on the menu, and it’s buttermilk soaked in cornmeal batter—the same way my mom did it when I was growing up as a kid.”

Broth Lab frequently runs specials on the weekends, offering entrees that further incorporate Camp’s Southern cooking style. Expect creative, experimental dishes beyond ramen, like karaage chicken, miso mac and cheese and braised collards with black vinegar and garlic.

While this list of ramen spots is by no means comprehensive, it provides a promising start for any Iowan’s quest for quality, truly satisfying bowls of ramen. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to venture into a pop-up’s innovative new offerings. No two bowls of ramen will taste the same, and that seems to be the point.

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Ramen Night at the Webster. Sid Peterson / Little Village
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Let’s Do Lunch

The Reuben at Shuey’s Restaurant & Lounge

1158 Club Rd NE, Shueyville

Head to the Johnson and Linn County line for one of the best Reuben sandwiches in the CRANDIC. We all dread the traffic on I-380, so take the Shueyville exit instead and become the new regular at Shuey’s. Just imagine Thousand Island dressing dripping from your sandwich onto your fries, juicy corned beef, tangy sauerkraut and toasted rye in every bite.

Chicken Shawarma Wrap at Pita’z

1057 N Center Point Rd, Hiawatha

Beautifully cooked chicken with the classic shawarma flavors, creamy sauce, titillating French fries, crunchy dill pickle—and all of it minding its own business in fresh pita-bread splendor. You can enjoy this harmony of flavors in every bite for less than $10. Don’t be afraid to add some of Pita’z’s tender gyro meat to create a perfect blend of Mediterranean and American cuisine.

Pupusas at Mesa 503

2302 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City

Sure, downtown Iowa City attracts plenty of foodies, but make sure you don’t miss the new and unique outlets springing up all over town! When it comes to local restaurants, the Towncrest area has some contenders gaining steam. You only need a $5 bill to enjoy the Salvadoran delights at Mesa 503. This family institution is doing exciting things with the humble pupusa. Customers can choose from all sorts of styles, each served with a crisp slaw and rich salsa.

Brisket Philly at Q Dogs BBQ Company

895 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Marion

Who doesn’t love the signature sandwich of the City of Brotherly Love? Q Dogs brings the philly from Pennsylvania to Iowa, piling up sliced brisket, caramelized onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese on a fluffy hoagie roll. Need even more kick on your trip to Marion? Squirt a li’l of their many signature sauces and enjoy live blues music while you dine in most Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Mac & Cheese with Smoked Brisket at Thoma’s Meat Market

1331 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City

This meaty destination appeals to the carb-lover in all of us. The southeast side of Iowa City boasts its own band of butchers at Thoma’s. Give your day an “Oh, baby!” moment when you order mac and cheese with smoky brisket and their own housemade barbecue sauce. The deli sandwich menu further showcases the skills of the market’s butchers, and visiting local carnivores won’t believe they can get it all for less than $15!

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Have a long lunch break and don’t know what to eat? These meals will fill you up without breaking the bank, and satisfy a range of cravings.
GUIDE Malcolm MacDougall / Little Village Sid Peterson / Little Village Chad Rhym / Little Village

Crab Rangoonies Pizza at Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery

616 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

The brewery scene is second to none in CR, but add pizza and vintage arcade games, and you’ll never want to leave! You may break the bank trying to achieve the high score during a marathon pinball session at Quarter Barrel, but you won’t have the pizza to blame for your empty wallet. Crab rangoon lovers can rejoice around the Rangoonies pizza with glasses of refreshing craft beer, tunes on the speakers and movies on the brewery TVs that will surely melt the hearts of all ‘80s and ‘90s kids.

Pho at Sun Cafe

953 S Riverside Dr, Iowa City

Sun Cafe is a no-nonsense Vietnamese restaurant crafting gourmet flavors to wrap your chopsticks around. The pho is steaming hot and prepared with a beverage of choices. This is a natural energy booster for anyone needing some home cookin’ to wake up, cure a hangover, break a cold chill or simply enjoy a moment of respite with hot broth, copious amounts of noodles, aromatic veggies, spices, herbs and your favorite tableside condiments.

Signature Sandwiches at Old 218 Tap

108 Main St, Hills

The outskirts of Johnson County can produce some tasty day trips. Hills is a short drive south of Iowa City, and the pride of its Main Street is Old 218 Tap. Its grill, stovetop and fryer baskets get quite the workout from locals, as well as folks peddling in from Sand Road on their bikes, legions of party buses, motorcycle clubs and travelers. The menu is loaded with affordable options: beautiful burgers, all-day breakfast sandwiches, giant wings, huge salads and those pork tenderloins Iowans can’t resist, all for a steal. Get out of town and head for the Hills every now and then!

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Jordan Sellergren / Little Village Chef Anthony Green at Lucky’s on Sixteenth in Cedar Rapids
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Matthew Hsieh / Little Village

Industry Insider

Local tastemakers dish on their go-to meals, best food memories and how to be a better eater in Eastern Iowa.

What are you looking for in a meal off the clock?

Anthony Green: Something very different than what I just spent the last 14-16 hours cooking. Oftentimes if it’s simple, delicious and prepared by someone else, that will hit the spot.

Aaron Hall: I have certain places along my delivery route that I know I can get exactly what I’m in the mood for: Schlitz and oysters at Rodina. Two-for-one Negronis at Iowa Athletic Club. Tacos at El Paso. Oxtail Philly from Rodney’s Jamaican food truck. Sweet potato fries at Trumpet Blossom. A certain pleasure resides in being at these places during off hours when they are usually pretty quiet.

Connor Moellenbeck: In general, I am looking for something light and energizing to keep me going throughout the day. However, dinner for me is the best part, whether that is at the kitchen table on a random Tuesday or out in the city with friends on a Friday night. I have a large sweet tooth, so there is always chocolate being consumed after dinner.

Where do you go out to eat when you’re not working?

Hall: There are a few places in Cedar Rapids that we always return to: Persis, Phong Lan and Nara. We also have a collection of friends that cook really delicious meals and drink wonderful wine and mix great cocktails, so often a “meal out” is a meal with them.

Connor Moellenbeck Co-owner of Daydrink in Iowa City Michael Beyne Co-owner of Daydrink in Iowa City Ian Castillo Co-owner of Daydrink in Iowa City Anthony Green Chef and Culinary Arts instructor at Kirkwood Community College Phoebe Charles General manager and owner of Rodina in Cedar Rapids
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Aaron Hall Founder, bread baker and delivery driver for The Local Crumb, based in Mt. Vernon

Phoebe Charles: I love pho and spring rolls at Phong Lan, poké and Korean fried chicken from Mix and saucy classics from one of Cedar Rapids’ many incredible Indian restaurants.

Green: El Bajio, Lucky’s on 16th, Big Grove and Feedwell.

What do you typically eat in a day?

Michael Beyne: I start my day with a smoothie and oats. Lots of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, depending on what’s in season. Lots of rice, noodles and soups for dinner.

What is your fondest food memory/experience?

Castillo: Cooking enchiladas with my mom during the holiday season.

Beyne: I hold the best memories around the food/bev industry through my travels. My most recent memory has to be experiencing Criollo in Oaxaca. The six-course meal with rare mole alongside drink pairings could never be forgotten.

Green: I have had memorable food from the hands of my mother, life-changing morsels from a

Ian Castillo: Whatever is in front of me.

Green: As a culinary instructor, on any given day I could be evaluating basic potato dishes, or enjoying dishes from other countries/regions or evaluating more housemade mayonnaise than the average person would like.

What would be your last meal?

Hall: I could eat premium tinned seafood on a decent baguette with great wine and friends at sunset forever.

Moellenbeck: The Greens Pizza from Lincoln Wine Bar, with chilies added, of course.

Castillo: Cheeseburger with everything from George’s Buffet!

Beyne: Probably a Thai curry with coconut water to wash everything down.

street vendor in Florence, Italy, and dishes so simple and creative in the Bahamas that I had to hug the cook! I can say I have learned not to judge food simply by its appearance but how it makes me feel when my tastebuds tell me what I am experiencing.

If you could put anyone on to a restaurant or bar in Iowa, what would it be?

Charles: I recently visited Lucky Lotus in Des Moines, and I’m obsessed. Oh, also Golden Delight Bakery in Kalona. It’s wildly unassuming, but they have the most delicious baked sweets from doughnuts to kolaches to half-moon pies.

What do you wish people would better understand about hospitality folk?

Hall: It’s good to know that as a customer, one can never be too kind or gracious. Members of the service industry are some of the brightest and kindest people I know.


Charles at Phong Lan in Cedar Rapids. Connor Moellenbeck, Michael Beyne and Ian Castillo emerge after a meal at Exotic India in Coralville Matthew Hsieh / Little Village
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“I can say I have learned not to judge food simply by its appearance but how it makes me feel when my tastebuds tell me what I am experiencing.” —Anthony Green

Charles: Hospitality folk so often put their own needs aside for the sake of their guests’ experience. Your hospitality folks are often skipping their own hydration or the bathroom break to make sure your time in their place of work is seamless and comfortable.

Green: That this industry can be brutal, even in the best organizations. A lot of the benefits the average person expects from an employer, individuals in hospitality do not necessarily enjoy. A 65to 70-hour work week is common. Health benefits are not always offered. Not much flexibility with schedules. However, there are a number of organizations locally that are trying to change some of that. I just wished that diners understood a little more about what is needed to create the food, beverage and amenities they enjoy.

What is most satisfying to you working in the hospitality industry?

Hall: My involvement as a purveyor allows me to be behind the scenes. I enjoy the quick conversations with chefs and greetings from staff, while selling directly to customers gives me an opportunity to meet and visit with everyone buying and eating the bread I’ve made. Many customers have become close friends.

Castillo: Building relationships with people and businesses that also care about sustainability.

Beyne: I love being able to create a welcoming space for everyone. Having conversations over similar interests and nerding out about coffee is also something I love.

Charles: I find it really satisfying when it feels like my team and I knock it out of the park for a guest. Whether that information comes to us in a review, a personal note or a face-to-face conversation, I never tire of hearing we nailed it for someone.

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Local Crumb’s Aaron Hall takes a bake break. Matthew Hsieh / Little Village
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Bubbles & Barbecue

ShanShan Kong has been making hardto-come-by Korean and Chinese dishes available in downtown Iowa City for three years. She opened La Wine Bar & Restaurant in fall 2019 at 180 E Burlington— the short-lived home of a Zombie Burger and a BeerBurger franchise—and mustered through the pandemic. She now operates several other businesses in town, including La Tea, a popular bubble tea spot on Washington Street.

Kong spends most of her days at La Wine Bar, heavily involved in the kitchen, preparing homemade sauces and doing prep work before dinnertime. She’s also frequently touching base and ordering from suppliers in China, where she sources most items for her businesses.

In the evenings, she’s working front of the house, often cooking Korean barbecue tableside for customers. Kong prefers to cook this dish with guests because, for many, it’s their

first time experiencing Korean barbecue. It’s not typical for Korean restaurants in bigger cities to be so hands-on, but Kong said she enjoys interacting with folks and wants to make sure each meat is properly cooked, as well as paired with the right sauce.

As you flip through La Wine Bar’s menu (which Kong designed personally), you’ll notice the items are different from other Asian restaurants in town. Kong isn’t interested in cooking American-style Asian dishes; she’s focused on flavors that transport you to her hometown in northern China, near the North Korean border.

“Even the seasoning and a lot of the materials we use, I import from Asia,” Kong said. “I try to make exactly the same thing. When you sit in my restaurant and get the food, it’s like you’re sitting in China.”

Aside from Korean barbecue, a few other popular dishes at the La Wine Bar include bibimbap, a mixed rice dish; naengmyeon, a cold noodle with beef broth, which is a particularly great summer dish; and appetizers like rice cakes and fried chicken. The restaurant/ cocktail lounge also serves excellent bubble tea—try the brown sugar flavor if you can.

La Wine Bar has even hosted a Mill Revival Showcase Series, attracting artists from within the community yearning for a smaller, intimate space to play. Additionally, La Wine Bar now has a consistent schedule of shows every Friday and Saturday night, and an open mic night each Wednesday with J. Knight, a musician, former Mill open mic host and a big supporter of rising artists in Iowa City for over 40 years.

In the past year, many folks have been coming to the La Wine Bar not only for the food, but for the music. La Wine Bar is located next door to where The Mill, an iconic venue and restaurant, stood for 50 years before it closed in 2020 and was torn down in 2022. Kong has managed to keep live music going on the block, thanks to a small stage inside La Wine Bar and programming help from local musician Bob Hall.

“A lot of musicians come to check out [the restaurant], we attract new customers, they start to try our food and they’re really surprised that they like it,” Kong said.

On one of La Wine Bar’s interior walls near the stage, there are words hung on the wall reading, “Why are we here? For fun.” That’s Kong’s mentality. She wants La Wine Bar to continue to be a place for people to try something new, return for something great and unwind among good company.

La Wine Bar has turned an unlucky block on Burlington Street into an oasis.
28 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Sid Peterson / Little VIllage
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Kong isn’t interested in cooking Americanstyle Asian dishes; she’s focused on flavors that transport you to her hometown in northern China, near the North Korean border.
The brown sugar bubble tea at La Wine Bar. Sid Peterson / Little Village


RECIPE Miso Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels sprouts get a flavor boost with a rich miso glaze. Miso, a fermented soybean paste, adds a delicious umami flavor while packing a dose of probiotics, good bacteria that can improve gut health and boost immunity. For great-tasting, local, organic miso, look for IOWA MISO products at New Pioneer Food Co-op in Iowa City, Coralville and Cedar Rapids.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes / Serves 4


1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved ¼ cup olive oil, divided

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp white miso paste

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp honey

2 tsp sesame oil

½ cup chopped green onions, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly mix and coat Brussels sprouts with salt and 2 tbsp olive oil. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until sprouts are lightly browned. While sprouts cook, make the miso glaze: Whisk the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil with the miso paste, sherry vinegar, tamari, dijon mustard, honey and sesame oil in a small mixing bowl.

Take sprouts out of the oven and pour glaze over the top. Stir to combine. Roast for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with green onions.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 29

A Food Odyssey in Fairfield

Fairfield is so much more than transcendental meditation (although there is a lot of that). The town has an abundance of food options, including plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.

For the biggest range of choices, schedule your day trip to Fairfield for lateweek; Thursday through Saturday is optimal. Many restaurants only have weekday lunch hours, while others only open for dinner later in the week and on weekends.

Should you choose an overnight stay, your choices include two chain motels, a handful of local hotels and B&Bs and quite a few Airbnb options. My partner Matt and I chose an Airbnb about six blocks from the town square; it was available on short notice (we booked on Monday and drove down on Friday), and we could bring our dog Molly.

It was an easy walk to the square, and I took advantage of this by hitting up a cross-section of food and venues over the course of our casual weekend, often carrying my meals back to the Airbnb to hunker down. Unfortunately, the cold weather kept Fairfield’s plentiful patios closed.

Addis Ethiopian Cuisine

200 N Main St,

The Iowa City area no longer has Ethiopian food, making Addis Ethiopian Cuisine even more of a draw. Stroll down a corridor in the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center on a weekday morning and you’ll come upon owner Genet Areda preparing the day’s supply of injera, a delicious fermented flatbread that forms the base of most every dish (and is the best way to transport food from the plate to your mouth). There are tables in the convention center atrium to use, and on a nice day, you could walk down the block to a public outdoor seating area that includes tables.

I ordered the small beef meal ($11), which includes a serving of beef in a red

stew (sega wat), a yellow stew with potatoes (atakilt wat), a side of cooked spinach (gomen wat) and, of course, a portion of spongey injera. Sides of samosas and salad were available as well, but my meal was already large enough to serve as my Friday and Sunday lunch.

Depot House

500 N 4th St,

Matt and I met up with some Fairfield-based friends, Rob and Alex. They suggested dinner at a restaurant, bar and music venue called Depot House, noting “they’ve got a great vibe there.”

We began with bruschetta and cocktails. Matt and Rob were twinning with a Basil Old Fashioned, Alex had the Rosemary

30 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
You can’t taste all the town has to offer in one weekend trip, but you can sure stay full and happy.
Left: Addis Ethiopian Cuisine owner Genet Areda. Top: A variety of Ethiopian dishes served with injera and fresh salad. Sid Peterson / Little Village


Corpse Reviver, and I had the Lychee Martini, which satisfied my desire for a novel cocktail anchored by hard liquor. I had two, and they packed a punch, which means I forgot to note ingredients or take a photo of the menu. You’ll have to trust me that their cocktail and dinner menus are more extensive in

house than online.

I opted for the tasting menu ($45): you can choose smaller portions of two items from the appetizers/salad course, an entrée and a dessert. I had the soup of the day, a strawberry balsamic salad and Peruvian chicken. The thigh and leg were moist, and it

was served with braised oyster mushrooms, mashed potatoes and greens.

The virtue of Depot House’s menu is that you can mix and match small plates, appetizers and entrees, letting you get a taste of everything. They’re also open for lunch with various sandwich options. It was so lovely to share a feast with friends after a very long time, and it did my soul some good.

Café Paradiso

101 N Main St,

Matt ended up with a small hangover and the spins on Saturday morning, so we kept it lowkey with pastries and coffee from Café Paradiso.

By 9 a.m. the café was full. The coffee menu is exclusively espresso drinks; we went with Americanos. Their cinnamon roll had a nice crisp to it, flaky but thick, and similar to a croissant dough. Kudos for the frosting too: sweet with some cream cheese punch!

The blueberry scone was, in Matt’s words, “nice and hearty.” If you’re looking for a lighter breakfast option in the morning, this is a solid place to start, and in warmer weather, their outdoor patio on the square would be a very nice place to spend the morning.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 31
Paradiso on Fairfield’s historic square. Sid Peterson / Little Village

Maharishi U

How did a small city in rural Iowa come to host a university founded by a world-famous yogi?

The answer is simple. In 1974, Fairfield had a campus without a college, and Maharishi International University was a college without a campus.

Parsons College, a small, liberal arts school, was founded in Fairfield in 1875. After 90 years of educating students, problems began piling up for Parsons. The college lost its accreditation in the mid-1960s, enrollment plunged, debts mounted. In 1973, Parsons declared bankruptcy and closed its doors for good. Those doors reopened a year later for a very different school.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi first became well-known for developing Transcendental Meditation, which he began teaching in India in the mid-’50s. A little over a decade later, his fame skyrocketed when members of the Beatles and the Beach Boys sought his guidance.

In collaboration with some of his California-based followers, the Maharishi created a new center of higher learning in 1971 that implemented his consciousness-based education philosophy. MIU’s first home was in an apartment complex near Santa Barbara, but the new university quickly began to outgrow that location. A campus that could accommodate growth was needed. One was available in Iowa.

In 1974, MIU bought the old Parsons campus for $2.5 million and has been a part of Fairfield ever since.

Hungry Camel

121 W Broadway Ave

I took a solo trip in the afternoon to Hungry Camel, a six-table establishment with its entrance in an alley, adjacent to a municipal parking lot. The casual restaurant is one of the only lunch options open on the weekends, but I went a little after opening and was able to find a seat.

On the recommendation of staff, I had a Shalafel Pita, which includes both chicken shawarma and falafel in a housemade pita. The cinnamon came through nicely on the chicken, and the sandwich had a warm, nutty flavor from the falafel and hummus. The thinly sliced cabbage slaw, diced tomato and cucumber added a good crunch. There were also complimentary cups of Turkish coffee and apple tea, appreciated by all on such a cold day.

Broth Lab 641

102 N 2nd St,

Across the street from Hungry Camel, tucked in a small home with a covered patio, is Broth Lab, boasting an impeccably curated menu of beers, ciders, cocktails, mocktails, wine and sake. The interior is bright and cheery with blue, pink and yellow stripes along the walls.

There are some snacks/appetizers to order; we tried the chili lime peanuts, enjoying a handful with dinner and crunching on the rest on the road back to Iowa City. The menu includes some handheld foods (bahn mi, bao and the Broth Lab Burrito), but we went with bowls. I had the No. 4: aros noodles coated in a miso ginger sauce and topped with chicken karaage, garlic chili eggplant, Szechuan broccolini, fried okra and kimchi. It was a charmer, as was Matt’s No. 3, a cashew milk paitan

with Tokyo wavy noodle, braised mushrooms, citrus-sesame kale, pickled red onion and crispy tofu.

There’s a build-your-own bowl option for those who want to personalize. Both the signature bowls and BYO bowls include plenty of mix-and-match vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free broths, sauces, noodles (or rice), toppings and proteins, so it’s a great spot for folks with dietary restrictions. Meat and fish proteins are also available.

Alex and Rob usually build their own bowls and recommend the pork belly and tofu, along with fried cauliflower and okra for appetizers. Broth Lab 641 has never served them a dish they didn’t like, they emphasized.

Des Moines and Iowa City may eventually get Broth Labs of their own, as their website features a “Coming Soon!” for both cities. I can’t wait!

Bountiful Bakery

303 S Main St, Bountiful Bakery is so nice, we actually went twice. On Saturday, we bought pastries for an after-dinner dessert, and we returned for a Sunday breakfast.

The cinnamon croissant with cream cheese icing went over well; the classic flavor combination makes for an unexpected but pleasant croissant. Our second item was a Cruffin (croissant dough in a vertical muffin format) with a Guinness chocolate filling. Delectable.

The coffee shop is located on the first floor of an old house with plenty of seating inside and a spacious side deck. On Sunday, we ordered brewed coffee, Matt had a hearty poppy seed bagel with cream cheese, and I opted for a silky four-cheese quiche—a decadent start to my last day in town.

32 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Village GUIDE
Sid Peterson / Little
The Maharishi during a 1979 visit to Maharishi University of Management. Public domain
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Sweet & Savory

Beautiful brunch spots with flavor to spare.

DeLuxe Cakes & Pastries

812 S Summit St, Iowa City 319-338-5000,

The Sunday-only brunch menu will make you wish Sundays came more than once a week! DeLuxe’s menu is fresh and exciting, often updated with a variety of specials and seasonal items. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the options, but you can’t go wrong. In the pastry case alone, there are dozens of delectable offerings: tarts, croissants, baguettes and other breads. A pastry and coffee from DeLuxe alone is a worthwhile brunch, but you won’t regret tasting one of their toasts, homemade yogurt parfaits, brioche waffles or bagels. The breakfast grilled cheese is a yummy and unique option, complete with a herbed aioli for dipping. Thanks to the open kitchen, guests can sit back with an espresso and watch DeLuxe’s brunch masters at work.

Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery

1441 Marak Rd NW, Swisher 319-857-4300,

Who says you shouldn’t visit a winery before noon? The brunch buffet at Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery, served only on Sundays, breaks the mold for buffets. Of course everyone’s brunch favorites—like cheesy eggs, bacon and sausage—are on the menu, but it’s the meat and griddle station that makes this brunch buffet stand out. The smoked brisket is phenomenal, and the made-toorder vanilla pancakes are fluffy, light and pack an extra punch when paired with the bourbon maple syrup. Want an insider tip? Drizzle some of that bourbon maple syrup on your brisket, too.

As a winery and distillery, cocktails are on the Cedar Ridge menu, of course. Cedar Ridge uses its own bourbon, vodka and wines to concoct seven brunch cocktails, covering every flavor profile. Feeling bold? Try the Breakfast of Champions Old Fashioned, served with a strip of bacon. Want something classic to share? Order the mimosa pitcher, made with Cedar Ridge’s own white wine.

La Casita Breakfast Cafe

836 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids 319-449-4047,

This brunch spot is bright, fun and delicious. In addition to traditional breakfast and lunch items, they’ve put a Mexican-inspired twist on several classics. The churro pancakes, breakfast tacos and brekkie chimi are among the favorites on their Taste of Mexico breakfast menu. La Casita keeps things fresh by offering seasonal features and drinks. Their hot chocolate pancakes are a wintertime standout.

Pullman Bar & Diner

17 S Dubuque St, Iowa City 319-338-1808,

A diner for brunch, but make it classy. That would be Pullman Bar & Diner. Everything from the moody interior to the bustling open kitchen (if seated at the bar, you get a front-row seat) screams approachable sophistication.

Like the vibe, the menu is classic yet elevated. From the brunch side of the menu, try the biscuits and gravy, croque madam or the coffee cake with maple butter. If you’re feeling in the mood for more lunch-style items, their crispy chicken sandwich, Pullman burger and famous French onion soup are all on the brunch menu. Wash down your brunch with freshly squeezed juice, Counter Culture coffee or one of their boozy brunch cocktails ranging from the classic Bloody Mary to a paloma. Nothing puts the “good” in good morning like tequila with brunch.

34 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Sid Peterson / Little Village
BREAD & BUTTER 2023 35
Brunchers at La Casita Breakfast Cafe in Cedar Rapids. Sid Peterson / Little Village

Up to Scratch

These coffee enthusiasts are opening a small-town brewlab for Iowans to stop and smell the beans.

If you’re familiar with Wake Up Iowa coffee, then you’ll recognize the names and faces behind Iowa’s newest coffee roaster, Little Scratch Coffee. Joel and Katrina Anderson’s path has taken them around the Midwest from Iowa to Madison, Wisconsin, to Chicago and back to Iowa and through careers spanning education, engineering and coffee roasting. After seven years of honing their skills at Wake Up Iowa, the couple are taking their knowledge and passion for the art of

Fresh Cups

Brewhemia 1202 3rd St

SE #101, Cedar Rapids

Breakfast and lunch options, a full bar and all coffee offerings.

Cafe Saint Pio 99 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids “An homage to European cafes named for saints,” in the Czech Village.

Capanna Coffee

Roasters 710 Pacha Pkwy #6, North Liberty Craft coffee shop with a rich cold brew and luscious gelato.

coffee and opening a roastery and brew lab in their adopted hometown of Mt. Vernon, Iowa. I recently spoke with Katrina to get the scoop (the grind? The shot?) on their new endeavor.

First things first, why “Little Scratch?” What’s the origin of that name? Oh, I like this question. It comes from an unreleased Captain Beefheart song about not having a lot of material wealth but being rich in other ways. We also like to play with uses of the word scratch; we have a saying that “Little Scratch stops and smells the roses.” It’s a play on the idea of the thorns on a rose stem, but also a reference to our philosophy of slowing down to really enjoy the flavors and ritual of coffee.

How did you decide on Mt. Vernon as your location? First of all, we’ve lived here since coming back to Iowa from Chicago in 2015, and our location is going to be just up the street from our home. But more than that, we really feel that Mt. Vernon is truly the right place for this. For a town with such a small population (about 4,460 residents), Mt. Vernon has a lot of amenities that we usually associate with bigger cities. We have a great arts scene, a yoga studio, a new vegan restaurant is opening— and they’re all local businesses. This is a really vibrant community that really supports small businesses, and we felt this was the best place for our operation, both for us and because it would bring something new to the community.

How did you get into the coffee industry? We both had other careers before this; I was a middle school English teacher, and Joel was a

sound engineer. We became fans of Wake Up Iowa coffee while we were living in Chicago. When we decided to start a family, we knew we wanted to move back to Iowa, and we started looking around for opportunities. Around this time, Jarrett [Mitchell, Wake Up Iowa founder] was looking for someone to take over some of the distribution, particularly outside Iowa. It was a good fit for us, and when we moved back to Iowa, we started roasting as well. Roasting and doing coffee education outreach allowed us to continue utilizing the skills we used in our previous careers.

It’s clear from the time you’ve spent in this field that you have a real passion for coffee. Where does that come from? What excites you about coffee itself and about the industry around it? Coffee has so much complexity. There are so many flavors, and there’s really no end to what you can learn about it; it’s like wine in that way. Every person can find something different in the same sip. I really like to focus on the idea of coffee as a ritual where you slow down and take note of the flavors and your impressions.

On the business side of things, I love the opportunities there are for connection. You build relationships with your customers but also with other members of the local food community. There’s so much opportunity for collaboration.

Say a little more about that. What are some other local businesses you’re looking forward to working with? For one thing, our walk-up window and patio will be next door to

Coffee Emporium 925 E 2nd Ave, Coralville; 1100 Andersen Place, Unit 500, Tiffin; 301 E Market St, Iowa City

Delicious breakfast sandwiches are served all day long.

Cortado 26 S Clinton St, Iowa City Mediterraneaninspired cafe with shakshuka, falafel and homemade hummus.

Craft’d 333 1st St SE Suite 100, Cedar Rapids The monthly meeting place of Swamp Fox Bookstore’s What’cha Reading Book Club.

Daydrink 125 S Dubuque St, Iowa City Glass jars, oat milk, and they roast and brew their own coffee. Seasonally rotating menu.

Dash Coffee Roasters 120 3rd Ave SW Ste 2, Cedar Rapids A Cedar Rapids staple. We recommend trying one of their monthly rotating drinks.

Dodge Street

Coffeehouse 2790 N Dodge St, Iowa City The perfect place to grab a drink before a drive.

fix! 404 E College St Suite 202, Iowa City Try the Iced Blue Jasmine Matcha or order a slice of homemade cake.

Good Vibes Cafe 121 W Main St #104, Solon Several dozen drink options and a sausage sandwich on cinnamon swirl bread.

Java House 221 E Washington St, Iowa City; 1575 S 1st Ave, Iowa City; 713 Mormon Trek Blvd, Iowa City

Adorned with Tomas Lasansky prints and Claudia McGhee illustrations.

Kismet Coffee & Bloom 1000 3rd St SE Suite 1, Cedar Rapids

A floral studio and coffee shop located in New Bohemia.

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Amir Prellberg / Little VIllage Jordan Sellergren / Little Village

Iron Leaf Press, the local stationery store, and will be sort of a shared space. But we’re also collaborating with several local businesses for our offerings inside the shop. Aaron Hall of Local Crumb is expanding out from the breads he’s become famous for and developing some pastries for us. White Tree Bakery here in Mt. Vernon is going to provide the shortbread for our espresso service. And Rhubarb Botanicals, a farm north of here, is developing bitters for use in recipes and for retail and is creating some custom tea blends for us.

Everyone is familiar with coffee shops, but you’re calling Little Scratch a “brew lab.” How will the experience differ from a traditional coffee shop? Our approach is more similar to the street cafés you see in Europe. There won’t be an extensive drink menu; you can come in and get an espresso or a cup of coffee, but the focus is more on providing beans for use at home. We’ll have a bulk option where people can bring in their own containers to fill up, and we’ll offer pre-packaged beans in compostable bags.

We also want to focus on coffee education. We plan to have cupping events, which are similar to wine tastings or beer flights. You try several different coffees and have the opportunity to talk about what you taste in each one.

Last but not least, when can people come visit the new location? We’re hoping to have our grand opening in late summer or early fall 2023! In the meantime, you can find our coffee being served at a number of local restaurants and retailers.

Little Scratch Coffee

Roasters 113 1st St W Suite B, Mt Vernon A new coffee roaster featuring beans from conscientious growers.

Mammitas Coffee 224

S Linn St, Iowa City

Home to wonderful horchata lattes. Also a great place to grab street tacos.

Press Coffee 1120 N Dodge St, Iowa City Cozy spot on the northside of Iowa City with lots of character.

Stillwater Coffee Co 1275 N Center Point Rd, Hiawatha Owned by Alisabeth Von Presley with musicthemed coffee drinks.

Tru Coffee 287 N Linn St, Iowa City A big, bright space wellsuited for students and remote workers, plus vintage and secondhand clothing.

TSpoons 201 S Clinton St, Iowa City A nononsense cafe serving delicious hot drinks, frozen drinks and Donutland donuts.

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BREAD & BUTTER 2023 37

Get Thee to the QC

The Quad Cities are home to a mosaic of Mexican restaurants, eclectic cafe/venues and vegan playgrounds.

Restaurante El Mariachi

1317 15th St, Moline, 309-797-3178,

The Floreciente neighborhood in Moline, Illinois, is home to a mosaic of excellent Mexican restaurants, food trucks and grocers, El Mariachi among them. The owner, Virginia Castro, left a career at the University of Illinois to open this restaurant, which has a daily lunch buffet, full bar and huge menu. Recommendation: Nopales gorditas. Good cactus is hard to come by, so get it where you can.

Coya’s Cafe

4320 4th Ave, Moline 309-749-7626,

Self-referred to as “uniquely authentic,” Coya’s has menu items that are hard to find elsewhere and done really well. It’s hard to have a bad meal at any of these places, but Coya’s Cafe has food you won’t get elsewhere. Recommendation: Chilaquiles.

Taqueria La Rosa de Michoacán

1821 19th St, East Moline, 309-755-4462

La Rosa is another family-owned spot serving food from the Michoacán region. Their serving sizes are generous, and they boast an XL burrito that is too big to finish. One patron said, “The food tastes like my Mama Ana made it.” Recommendation: Sopa de fideo.

Los Primos

1143 E Locust St, Davenport 563-424-1111,

A Davenport spot that started as a taco truck and worked its way to a brick-and-mortar restaurant, Los Primos have a drive-through window and still employ the truck for special events. Recommendation: Carnitas.

Rozz-Tox Cafe, Bar & Venue 2108 3rd Ave, Rock Island, 309-200-0978

“Opening a cafe/venue/bar made the most sense since that’s what I was doing for the last four years. The other reason was that the Quad Cities needed a space like this, and I wanted to give something back to my hometown,” Rozz-Tox owner and manager Benjamin Fawks said upon opening the venue and cafe on April Fool’s Day of 2011. He had been running a similar space in Guangzhou, China, when he was motivated to return home. Now a fixture of the Quad Cities art scenes and alternative groups, Rozz-Tox is known for its wide variety of events and a unique menu.

Aaryn Graeve
Little Village
Aaryn Graeve / Little
38 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Aaryn Graeve / Little Village

Inspired by Fawks’ time living in China, Vietnam and Japan, the staple menu includes banh mi, Japanese curry, midnight noodles, dumplings and rice bowls, in addition to regular bar fare including Mama Bosso pizza, instant noodles and popcorn. There are several Japanese beers, whiskeys and spirits on the drink menu, as well as fusion cocktails, spirits from six continents and nonalcoholic options. Traditional coffee shop specialty coffee options are available, but Rozz-Tox also offers a global variety of caffeinated cafe drinks such as Yorkshire black tea, milk tea, turmeric tea, Vietnamese coffee, ramune, Topo Chico, Bacchus D and CBD-infused drinks.

Healthy Harvest

Vegan Restaurant & Local, Organic Grocer

1616 2nd Ave, Rock Island

Healthy Harvest, a neighborhood grocer and lunch counter, opened in 2017 selling fully vegan eat-in or takeout meals and local, organic, GMOand additive-free products, including items that cater to specialized diets like gluten-free, grainfree or sugar-free. Owners Chad, Nieko and Angelo Summers, a father and his sons, started with a small farm in 2014 and a mission to make good food more accessible and “to get people to eat more plants.”

The restaurant part of Healthy Harvest serves mostly comfort food: pizzas, burgers, tacos and salads, plus smoothies and coffee (ordered either drip or “fancy”). Chad said he thinks the beauty of the comfort food menu is that “it scratches that itch” for animal products, without animal products.

Each item they serve goes through a long vetting process. Usually a menu item is developed by Nieko and sampled repeatedly by the family, tinkered with and then shared with friends. “If it doesn’t get an ‘mmm,’ we’re not done working on it,” Chad said.

All the produce used in the kitchen and sold in-store is grown within 50 miles of the Quad Cities, and packaged products are vetted closely. Off-season, they use a co-op network of farms to which they belong. Every single item is organic. “Lots of places are green-washing, so we go back to that philosophy [do no harm]. We are what we eat.”

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 39
Aaryn Graeve / Little Village

Des Licious

These date-worthy dinner spots boast creative menus, stylish dining rooms and enough big(ish) city vibes to tempt you west tonight.

Bar Nico

428 E Locust St, Des Moines


Add a little spice to your supper with Bar Nico’s modern Mexican fare. This East Village eatery is a masa-forward restaurant, meaning the focus here is on heirloom corn varieties alongside heritage-bred meat and small vegetable plates. With a menu that changes seasonally, there’s always something new to discover at Bar Nico, though you can count on a few reliable favorites as well. Staples like Nico’s chips and salsa are perfect for sharing alongside rotating offerings like sweet corn esquites, grilled octopus and ahi tuna ceviche. Whether you’re grabbing tacos for yourself or sharing some small plate with the table, this popular spot serves up an incredible selection of tasty options.

Proudfoot & Bird

1000 Walnut St, Des Moines

515-957-2400, proudfoot-bird

Located in the beautifully renovated Hotel Fort Des Moines, Proudfoot & Bird is a fine dining

experience that truly looks the part. Named after the original architects of the hotel, the restaurant serves a touch of history through its ambience and eclectic cuisine. The historic space features classic touches from bygone decades, including marble staircases, intricate gold ceiling inlays and a dazzling circular bar. The menu reflects the restaurant’s commitment to the classics with oysters and wedge salads offered alongside premium filets, pork ribeyes, fresh fish and more. Proudfoot & Bird is also firmly rooted in Des Moines, with many local producers and growers providing the ingredients that end up on diners’ plates.

503 Tasting Lab + Tasting Room

503 E Locust St, Des Moines 515-412-1001,

Fans of the former Clive favorite Table 128 won’t want to miss a visit to 503 Tasting Lab + Tasting Room in Des Moines’ East Village. Chef Lynn Pritchard, bar director Jake Humburg and their team have captured what so many regulars loved about Table 128 in a new cocktail bar concept. The menu

The bar also offers a selection of beer and wine, as well as a small menu of food items like a cheese plate, Brussels sprout salad and shrimp cocktail. Creative, contemporary cocktails are where 503 Tasting Lab really shines, though; custom bitters in flavors like mole, cedar, grapefruit and more add sophistication to the rotating cocktails you’ll find here. But don’t worry, you can still find staples like a strong Old-Fashioned or a Negroni.

Barbarian Restaurant

255 NW Sunrise Dr, Waukee, barbarianrestaurant

Barbarian has quickly become one of the toughest reservations to nab in the Des Moines metro. Located in Waukee’s Kinship Brewing Co., this 32-seat restaurant serves high-end New Midwestern cuisine. You won’t find standard brewery fare here. The plating and presentation at Barbarian is much more akin to

that of a fine dining experience.

Spearheaded by Chef Jacob Demars, the eatery will offer a constantly changing menu that prioritizes seasonality and zero-waste cooking. Artfully decorated plates that are almost too pretty to eat make up the restaurant’s six- and even sometimes 12-course tasting menus.

A meal at this sought-after spot will require some planning,

Bar Nico Britt Fowler / Little Village Britt Fowler / Little Village Parlor Britt Fowler / Little Village

though; the eatery only offers seatings on Sunday evenings, and reservations open up months in advance.

Mulberry Street Tavern

206 6th Ave, Des Moines 515-985-2066, mulberry-street-tavern

Imbibe in style with a meal at the Mulberry Street Tavern in downtown Des Moines’ Surety Hotel. Housed in the 1913 Midland Building, this historically renovated property embraces the building’s vintage charm in both its aesthetic and menu items. The building originally housed the Iowa Loan & Trust Company, and design elements nodding to this banking history can be found throughout the space. Rich wood paneling, plush velvet seating and low, romantic lighting set the tone for this cool and comfy restaurant. Mulberry’s menu features rich dishes like French onion soup and mulberry pie alongside creative twists on popular dishes like bacon-wrapped dates, cauliflower steak and Skuna Bay salmon. Visiting on a weekend? Mulberry Street

Tavern is also a buzzy brunch spot for locals and hotel guests alike.


4041 Urbandale Ave, Des Moines, 515-274-1293

Parlor isn’t your typical pizza joint. At this Beaverdale neighborhood haunt, you’ll find a large selection of beers on tap alongside seriously delectable Detroit-style pizza. With

a thick, focaccia-style crust, these hefty pies are baked in a pan to give them a satisfyingly crispy crust. Parlor’s variety of mouth-watering toppings make the pizzas unlike anything else you’ll find locally. Not in the mood for a slice? Parlor also serves a variety of sandwiches, salads, grilled entrees and a delectable dessert or two. This is a popular spot, so expect a busy dining room that doesn’t overshadow the relaxed vibe of this neighborhood eatery.

The Cave DSM

1437 Walnut St, Des Moines 515-244-3061

From the outside, The Cave looks like any other unassuming brick building in Des Moines’ Western Gateway. But inside this cozy bottle shop and wine bar, you’ll find not only an impressive collection of natural wines but also a warm, inviting atmosphere like no other. While natural wines have been having their moment the past few years, the definition of what it means to sample a “natural wine” can vary. At The Cave, all of the shop’s wines are naturally fermented without manipulation in the fields or by the winery (think additives, pesticides, filtering and more). As you sip, snack on a selection of the bar’s food items from freshly baked baguettes to perfectly savory olives and Marcona almonds. If you find a wine variety you like, The Cave is also a bottle shop, so you can easily stock up to enjoy your newfound favorite at home.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 41
Britt Fowler / Little Village

Wyse Guy

Sitting down with online food influencer and cookbook author Kaleb Wyse.

Kaleb Wyse has made his Mt. Pleasant kitchen, garden and farm internet famous.

The third-generation baker, cook, gardener and canner spends his days creating content full-time for a following of over 300,000 across social media platforms, as well as an email newsletter and website,

Short-form videos are Wyse’s specialty, and

typically show him preparing a new recipe, offering how-to gardening tips or walking you through the renovation process for his farmhouse. No matter what the topic of the day may be, Wyse’s enthusiastic, joyful personality manages to cut through cacophony as you scroll through Instagram or TikTok.

How did you get started as a digital creator? I obviously have a yard, and I knew I was always going to be working in it! It was around the time of blogs being really popular, but I was feeling trapped in the feeling of a blog. I also felt that video was a much better way to get my content across, and being on camera always felt very natural to me.

I started in 2013, but it wasn’t until 2019 that I really felt like I knew what I was doing and how to express it. At first, my following was just a few thousand, and I was discouraged by not growing fast enough. I wanted to prove that I could exist in this space and do this.

I took some time off in 2019, but I never gave up my commitment. I started to mimic what I thought people needed. I found that using the story feature felt more informal and allowed for a more personal connection, so I started to create much more casual-style videos. Facebook was the first to take off. During the pandemic, I think people were really interested in farming and having space and being outdoors. From there, it became a snowball effect. As I got more and more

comfortable sharing and explaining, I just got more excited and my followers grew!

Where do you find inspiration for your recipes? I find inspiration from seasonal ingredients, and since I want my content to be relatable, I try to use what people can find in the grocery store. I also have a sense of nostalgia surrounding food, so I want the food to be recognizable for people, just with more flavor and freshness!

What challenges do you face as a digital creator? Social media is constantly changing, and it’s truly a mental game every day to be, and stay, relevant on social media. I am confident in what I’m doing, yet still trolls and outside pressure can be tough to handle. It’s important to get over the things that don’t matter, and I definitely will not let them ruin my day, but it can be a challenge. It’s all about managing the mental game.

How do you plan your content? I place high emphasis on the story feature and I try to form content around a question. I also have seasonal planning and typically post three videos a week. Reels are seasonal, and I try to stay two to three weeks ahead, except for holidays which I plan out far in advance.

What is something you didn’t expect to learn or gain as you developed the Wyse

For the cake:

2 large eggs

1 cup white granulated sugar

⅔ cup olive oil

¼ cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp almond extract

1 tbsp orange zest

2 cups shredded zucchini

2 ½ cup allpurpose flour

½ tsp salt

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

For the glaze:

½ cup sifted

powdered sugar

1-2 tbsp orange juice

½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a nineinch round cake pan, fit parchment in the bottom, grease the parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Whisk in the sugar until the mixture becomes slightly thick and pale yellow, 2-3 minutes. Add the olive oil, Greek yogurt,

Courtesy of Wyse Guide
Courtesy of Wyse Guide

Guide? I didn’t expect to learn how to teach and relay information to others. Presenting and teaching happened naturally, but I wasn’t intending to do this. I have learned how to present and teach to people.

Are people surprised when they find out you live in Iowa? Yes. However, I find that there are lots of people with connections to Iowa. Urban followers are often shocked to find out I’m located in Iowa!

What’s next from Wyse Guide? Where do you hope the Wyse Guide goes? I have a cookbook coming out, and I am also working on a holiday guide. I love that I am in control of what I do, and I am very selective about changing that course. It’s all in-house, and everything is photographed in-house. Someday it may become bigger, but for now, it gives me creative control and I love that aspect.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to folks who want to garden/produce their own food? Always start with the food that excites you! Don’t try to do everything at once. Gardening is a privilege, but it’s also work, too.

What are your top three recipes? Oh, this is so hard! My top three recipes have to be pork with squash with apples, beef and noodles, and raspberry crumb bars. I also love my butterscotch pie recipe.

vanilla extract, almond extract and orange zest. Whisk to combine and fold in the shredded zucchini.

Next, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Use the whisk to combine gently, allowing the wet and dry ingredients to fall through the tines of the whisk until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the batter until even on top. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the top is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, 50-60 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and set it on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Once slightly cooled, remove the cake from the pan and allow it to cool completely.

Prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, orange juice and vanilla extract until smooth. Add more orange juice to thin or more powdered sugar to thicken. Slowly pour over the cooled cake and spread evenly on top. Slice and serve.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 43

All About Stouts

Eastern Iowa’s stouts exceeded all my barliest expectations.

It was Minneapolis, 2011 or 2012, when I first came upon Left Hand Brewing Company’s oh-so-fine Milk Stout and Nitro Milk Stout, and I have been in love since.

A stout is a dark ale made with roasted barley and hops, and it is the barley that imparts both color and coffee and chocolate notes. On average, they have a higher alcohol content than lagers, which are hopand malt-based. Variations include dry stout, imperial stout, milk stout, oatmeal stout and the eyebrow-raising oyster stout.

Lucky for stout fans like me, you can find every kind among Eastern Iowa breweries—yes, even an oyster stout. (Big Grove’s Creature Stout. Someone please try it because I am not brave enough.)

Many brewers have multiple stouts on offer throughout the year, most as limited releases, so check their websites for availability and cut loose. There are many good day-trip options if you want to get out and about. There are also plenty of at-home tasting options; most of the beers I tasted were available in cans that I bought from New Pioneer Food Coop and John’s Grocery.

As for some food pairing recommendations: Stouts go great with rich, cold-weather meals such as chili and barbecue. And no beer pairs more delightfully with a gooey chocolate chip cookie.



Tip the Cow (6.2% ABV)

Limited Release: Tip the Cow Vanilla Bean (6.2% ABV)

Pro tip: Leave stouts out for about 15-20 minutes after pouring to let the flavor develop. The Sidecar Coffee espresso from Singlespeed was really upfront and mellowed after this waiting period. Tip the Cow is a fine, serviceable stout, but I want to focus on the vanilla bean version. It pairs well with barbecue, its sweetness balancing out the tanginess, and it’s kind of cute when paired with Iowa sweet corn (frozen from last year’s farmers market).

Singlespeed also has multiple flavors to try: toasted coconut, cocoa mint and Tip the Calf, a session (in other words, lower alcohol) stout. I tend to prefer simple flavors, so I remain skeptical of such flavor-packed stouts, but I won’t knock them until I try them.



Start-Up Stout Coffee Chocolate Stout (7.6% ABV)

I found this one to be the punchiest, even after letting it hang out. The coffee flavor, with beans from Café del Sol, was very forward, and combined with the alcohol content, it was a tad more than I bargained for. StartUp comes in pint-sized cans, so one might be all you need. It was loud, like a slap on the back, and it paired well with chili. If you’re into back-slapping gusto, then this is your stout.


Cedar Rapids

Olde 17 (4.8% ABV)

I learned something important with this one: that an Irish-style stout is drier, regarded as a “classic pub stout” among brewers at Lion Bridge, and makes a great session beer. Ultimately, I prefer boozier, creamier stouts, so Olde 17 felt a tad bitter for me. However, that’s no insult to this beer; if you want a stout that you can drink continually at a gathering, or sit at Lion Bridge with friends and roll through a few, this is a great choice. It is made for social drinking experiences. The roasted grain and dark chocolate hints came through most prominently for me. Their other limited-release (much boozier) stouts include two imperials, a milk stout and a macaroon stout, so Cedar Rapids has something for every stout lover.

44 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Sid Peterson / Little Village



Back Road Oatmeal Stout

(6.7% ABV)

This was my favorite by far, and it’s cute. “Cute” does not mean shallow or sickeningly sweet; “cute” means substance with charm. It’s boozy but soft with a round, creamy mouthfeel. The roasted flavors don’t slap you in the face, but its sweetness isn’t gimmicky. It’s just solid, friendly and tasty. Back Road is like a really good hug: firm and sincere with some give. This is not a session stout, so you want to take it slow, or you can get a satisfying buzz going relatively quickly. As the tasting notes state, “If you like thick, full-bodied and smooth stout, this beer is for you!”


Solon, Iowa City, Des Moines

Nitro Irish Dry Stout (4.3% ABV)

Richard the Whale Coffee Russian Imperial Stout (12.2% ABV)

It was 50+ degrees when I headed over to Big Grove Iowa City, and it was my lucky day on two fronts: I sat outside basking in sunlight, and I was able to partake of two stouts. I sampled the Nitro Dry Irish Stout which had a nice mineral finish that, in combination with the nitro, had a light seltzer feel, making it softer than Olde 17.

I also tried their imperial stout, Richard the Whale. This Kentucky-born beer drinker tasted those bourbon-barrel notes and felt that distinct bourbon warmth that hits the tongue, which, in combination with its light syrup sweetness, brought a smile to my face. According to my server, Richard usually makes an appearance in December and sells quickly, but I was able to get it in mid-March due to Big Grove Iowa City’s sixth anniversary. Lucky me.



Rock Island Oatmeal Stout (6.4% ABV)

First, a shout-out to John’s Grocery and its efficient staff for ordering a Quad Cities beer for me. I called on a Tuesday asking if they had anything in stock, was told they could order it, and on Thursday, they called and told me it would be in on Friday. It was with this stout that I realized that oatmeal stouts are my favorite variety. It’s solid and smooth, with the lipids from the oats adding viscosity and sweetness.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 45 Visit the new and improved View programs and register: Support the Library at AIM gives students access to all three local libraries. Check out three books or audios and get access to online resouces. Access ebooks, audiobooks, videos, magazines and more online resources at: Sign up for a library card: 123 S. Linn Street Iowa City, Iowa 319-356-520052240

Hikes & Bites


700 Kepler Dr, Mt. Vernon

Palisades-Kepler State Park is located just outside Mt. Vernon, making it readily accessible for folks in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. It’s also located on the bank of the Cedar River and offers beautiful river bluffs for climbers, a great mix of trails of all difficulty levels and fishing opportunities galore. The park opened in 1922, and many of its structures were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. If you’re

Ethan Edvenson / Little Village


1347 129th St, Dundee

Backbone, Iowa’s first state park, is great for rock climbing, fishing and camping. If tenting isn’t your thing, there are cabins available for rent. Backbone is about a 40-minute drive from Dyersville, best known for the film Field of Dreams. Near the town’s main street area is Textile Brewery Company (146 2nd St NE), a microbrewery built inside a historic building that was once a sewing factory. The interior is filled with remnants: old sewing machine tables, radiators, newspaper articles and other cool vintage objects. One popular beverage at Textile is the Snuggy, an Irish Red Ale that’s perfect to drink before going on a hike. As for food, don’t miss snagging one of Textile’s giant pretzels that they bake in house. One pretzel is about eight inches wide, so they’re perfect for sharing. The options are plentiful: simple salted pretzels with Snuggy beer cheese sauce, or a more unusual option such as the German, a pretzel topped with Swiss cheese, bacon and sauerkraut. For those with a sweet tooth, try the cinnamon roll or French toast pretzel.

It’s easy to work up a hunger exploring a state park. Refuel for your next adventure at these nearby eateries.


3525 Hwy 382 NE, Solon

A classic destination for Iowa City residents, Lake Macbride’s beauty and abundance of options for activities makes it the perfect spot to commune with the outdoors. After working up an appetite at the park, hang out at Solon’s Big Grove Brewpub (101 W Main St). This is the original Big Grove and it’s a cozy spot only 15 minutes away from Lake Macbride. Their beer selection speaks for itself, combining their own in-house brews with other Iowa favorites. As you walk in, you immediately see the fully stocked, impressive bar. Their list of apps include fried Brussels sprouts, parmesan fries and lamb meatballs with polenta. I enjoyed the white sausage pizza, a delicious ’za made up of crème fraîche, sausage, fennel pollen and fresh mozzarella. I’ve found the menu to be perfect when out with a group of friends. So the next time you decide to take a trip out to the Iowa Raptor Project, embark on a kayaking trip or just enjoy a scenic trail, plan to stop at the brewery for lunch or dinner along the way.


1884 Wildcat Den Rd, Muscatine

Wildcat Den State Park, located along the Pine Creek River, features beautiful limestone cliffs and caves. It’s near Muscatine and not far from the Quad Cities. This park is the perfect day trip and a great place for hikers, rock climbers, campers and families alike. Close to the park, you can find Salvatore’s (313 E 2nd St), a beloved Italian restaurant in Muscatine. With its wood-paneled interior, brick pizza oven at the front of the restaurant and kind, attentive staff, you’ll instantly feel at home. Salvatore’s was opened nearly 40 years ago by Reno Vitale, who came to the Midwest from his native Palermo in Sicily. The menu is filled with a wonderful combination of Midwestern flavors and Italian cuisine (such as their barbecue chicken pizza). The large pizza menu attracted me, especially because I could order an anchovy and olive pizza, my personal favorite, which is not easy to find at other Iowa pizzerias. The extensive menu also includes delicious pastas such as portabella ravioli and baked ziti.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 47



Meet Alex Smith, Iowa City’s newest foodie transplant from Bloomington, Indiana. She’s the driving force behind Plated Table, a business specializing in small event catering, weekly meal deliveries and dreamy, intimate dinner parties. Smith takes on a variety of events and clients, cooking and creating menus for weddings and celebratory brunches, hosting ticketed multi-course seasonal dinners and everything in between.

She’s been operating out of her personal kitchen along with clients’ kitchens for as long as Plated Table has been around (eight years!). In late summer and fall, she plans to take over the space Her Soup Kitchen used to occupy on South Dubuque Street, planting the roots for Plated Table to grow more in this community. The new brick-and-mortar will serve as an event space and commercial kitchen, ultimately becoming a new place to gather, which Smith emphasized is one of the most exciting parts of seeing this dream come true.

Tell me about your move from Bloomington to Iowa City. I was feeling ready and excited to expand Plated Table (PT) but knew that I couldn’t do it in Bloomington because I would eventually be moving to be with my boyfriend and his daughter here in Iowa City. So, I decided to jump in and make the move! I liked Iowa City a lot the first time I visited. Establishing a business is a big commitment to place, and I am excited to be doing it here.

What is your background and training as a chef? I have an insatiable curiosity when it comes to food. There was a time when I thought about going to culinary school, but I

realized I could also learn by reading, cooking, eating, talking to peers in the industry and making friends with farmers. So I primarily have learned by trial and error, cooking and eating, feeding and being fed.

What inspired you to create PT? I started PT my last semester of undergrad while I was studying nutrition at Indiana University. I was really disappointed by the lack of creativity and curiosity in my nutrition classes, so I started a blog where I posted recipes and political things about food. Someone liked what I was sharing and asked if I would be a personal chef for their family, and I did it! I had already been an avid farmers market patron for a few years, but I was a shit cook at that point. I really devoted myself to learning how to cook good food. I borrowed probably a hundred cookbooks from the library and read and cooked my way through them.

I was also going to a lot of university events where there were tables full of underwhelming or disappointing food—bland deli meats, tasteless cheeses, out-of-season fruits, driedout vegetables. The food feels more like a gesture or a prop than something you’re actually going to enjoy eating. Even though, as I said, I wasn’t very good at cooking yet, I knew I could do better than this! So, when I graduated, I officially started PT, started to advertise and look for personal chef clients. I booked up really quickly and have never looked back. It has grown and changed a lot over the past eightplus years—and me too! I am happy to say I am no longer a shit cook.

Who do you draw inspiration from as a chef? This is a dangerous question because there are so many chefs I admire and am inspired by. First, I am really lucky to have friends that are great cooks and hosts. I learn a lot by eating with them. I have been enjoying reading through Suzanne Goin’s cookbooks lately. She cooks very differently than me, but I love that the books are organized by season and she doesn’t shy away from big, deep flavors and complex cooking methods. I’m always inspired by Iliana Regan, her creativity, how she marches to the beat of her own drum, and how delicate and thoughtful her plating feels. I love everything I have ever eaten from Gjusta and Gjelina—restaurants in L.A. Their food feels very homey and familiar while also having incredible clarity of flavor. There is a restaurant in Portland called Sweedeedee that I have a big crush on. The vibe of their space is very welcoming, like walking into a friend’s kitchen where you know you’re going to drink too much coffee or wine and be served really good food while listening to great music. I love that. I admire how playful Sophia Rose is with

is a boutique experience with Alex Smith as your personal chef.
a community-driven contemporary art center in downtown Iowa City PUBLIC SPACE ONE @p_s_won 48 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Sid Peterson / Little VIllage

her food and how her femininity and curiosity shine through. I respect how Tony Ortiz’s food feels important, big and proud, and I love the stories that inspire his dishes, make them demand respect. That is something I think a lot of chefs want to do, and he just nails it in a pure-hearted way. Gosh, I could go on forever!

How do you go about creating custom menus for dinner parties? After I have talked to the host and gotten a good idea of what kind of event they are having, who they are inviting, what they are celebrating, etc., I talk to my farmer friends and make a list of what I can buy locally. I always use that list as the backbone of my menus. Then I ask myself, “What would I be excited to eat if I was attending this event? What have I seen or tasted or read about lately that was inspiring or beautiful?” Then I start jotting down menu ideas. Sometimes these come first as an idea for a theme, and then I flesh out the full menu later. Sometimes I get really hooked on the idea of a specific main or side and build a menu around that. I usually try to create three to four menu options that excite me, and then I send them off to the host, who can choose any of them. Menu planning usually takes an hour or two of concentrated creative time. I really enjoy this part of the process.

Where do you source your ingredients from? I try to buy as much local produce as possible. I always start there. After buying from local farmers, I go to the co-op and buy the majority of my produce and meat there. Lastly, I go to international groceries—Chong’s Market, Acapulco and Taj—to pick up things I can’t find otherwise. I am hoping to buy more and more meat and produce directly from farmers as I get my new space more established.

How far in advance do you schedule popup events, and how can people sign up? The pop-up events are seasonal, and I release them through my newsletters and Instagram. Tickets can be purchased by emailing me directly (

Let’s go back to our place.
Courtesy of Alex Smith

Secret Ingredient

As of the time of writing this article, my local Target does not carry mirin, a rice wine that’s a ubiquitous Japanese culinary component across a vast spread of recipes.

Enter the hero of culinary diversity: the local specialty market.

If you’re looking for Indian, Asian, African, Mexican or just some great food that supports area businesses, these markets have you covered, though this list is by no means comprehensive. Explore as your palate moves you and who knows—you may find a new favorite dish.

Stringtown Grocery

2208 540th St SW, Kalona

A surprisingly wide variety of food awaits you at Stringtown Grocery, an Amish market nestled in Kalona. Enjoy the subtle hiss of the gas lamps as you shop for bulk goods, an abundant selection of generously sized spices, fresh flowers and seasonal produce. Be sure to pick up some cheese curds at the Kalona Creamery just down the street!

Yumei’s Asian Market & Anime

901 1st Ave SW, Cedar Rapids

The Time Check neighborhood’s answer to Saigon Market, Yumei’s offers Chinese, Japanese and other Asian groceries with a decent frozen foods section and lots of candy and snacks you’ll be hard-pressed to find

elsewhere in Cedar Rapids. It’s also a great place to pick up anime posters, DVDs and figurines for yourself or your sibling/nibling who won’t stop talking about One Piece

Global Mart

89 2nd St Ste 7, Coralville

The smell of fresh-baked pita bread awaits you at Global Mart, a small Middle Eastern outfit in Coralville. Show up for the bread, stay for the housemade sausages, baklava, bulk spices and more. Owner Tawfig Hagelamin started the store in 2000 as one of only 20 Sudanese residents in Iowa City at the time, and he’s been running it ever since.

Al Salam International Foods

787 Mormon Trek Blvd, Iowa City

A large, well-stocked store on the west side of Iowa City, Al Salam provides a taste of snacks, halal meat, dessert pastries and more. Try out some goat meat in a Moroccan stew or a couscous platter or pick up some hot and dry North African spice mixes to remix your classic meals!


365 Edgewood Rd NW, Cedar Rapids

A new arrival just off of Edgewood, this Mediterranean grocery store offers fresh halal meat and a wide variety of products including baklava, fresh-made kofta and a deli and coffee lounge. Stop in and check out the surprisingly large space—you’re sure to find something good for dinner.

Amana Meat Shop & Smokehouse

4513 F St, Amana

Look, with a name like this, you know what you’re getting into. The Amana Meat Shop sells ham, bacon, turkey and more, smoked to perfection. The shop offers online order-

ing as well as walk-ins, so you don’t need to leave your couch to get your hands on some sweet hams. Simply order and let it show up just in time for Thanksgiving.

Asia Plus Asian Market

201 S Clinton St, Iowa City

The best place in Iowa City to pick up your favorite Asian snacks, Asia Plus, is the first stop coming into the University Capitol Centre from the parking garage. Whether you’re looking for a bouquet of Pocky varieties or just a couple off-the-wall drinks to slurp as you perambulate the Ped Mall, Asia Plus has got you covered.

El Azul Mexican Market

415 Community Dr, North Liberty

Opened in 2023, El Azul utilizes relationships with vendors south of the border and around Iowa to stock everything from Jarritos and Mexican Coke to in-house and locally made salsa, guacamole, tamales, pastries, sauces y mucho más—including bilingual document services.

Sisters’ African Food Market LLC

2210 Edgewood Rd SW, Cedar Rapids

A newcomer to Cedar Rapids’ food scene, Sisters’ African Food Market opened in 2022. Run by Congolese sisters Nancy Lusemo and Iphie Basampuka, the market carries several difficult-to-find ingredients, such as red palm oil and cassava products, that are essential parts of African cuisine. If you’re stopping in, pick up the ingredients for Lusemo’s favorite dish, fumbwa, a Congolese wild spinach stew.

Aisles of snacks at Asia Plus in Iowa City. Sid Peterson / Little Village Miles of baklava at Vytyl in Cedar Rapids. Malcolm MacDougall / Little Village
BREAD & BUTTER 2023 51 DESIGNERS IN-HOUSE UNMATCHED BOTH LOCATIONS SURROUNDED BY RESTAURANTS •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• SELECTION Coralville 401 2nd Street 319-354-4344 Cedar Rapids 280 Blairs Ferry Road NE 319-393-1400


the life of Cindy Smith, ICCSD purchasing and procurement director.

Have you ever wondered what really goes into making a school lunch?

Feeding an area the size of the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) requires balancing students’ nutritional needs, dietary restrictions and preferences under a limited budget and federal regulations.

I had the opportunity to speak to Cindy Smith, the purchasing and procurement director at ICCSD, to better understand the process behind ordering food supplies, creating menus and determining the best choices for even the pickiest eaters.

Smith began her career as a chef, and after working in a variety of fine dining establishments, chose to work for the ICCSD lunch program, as it offered more regular hours and a work/life balance well-suited for her family. She’s now been with the district for 30 years, beginning as a kitchen manager before extending into sourcing and recipe development.

Her current role as a procurement specialist requires her to develop recipes for menus across the school district, order the proper quantities of food for their population, adhere to food safety requirements by tracking shipments to and from the hub warehouse, and much more.

The ICCSD serves an average of 8,500 students for lunch across 21 elementary schools, three junior high schools and three comprehensive high schools. During 2020 and 2021, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, universal lunch was offered at no cost to families,

further increasing their numbers. The rules changed back this school year, and families are once again required to pay for their students’ school lunches. The school nutrition association has petitioned to extend the free lunch offering at the state and national levels.

When creating menus, Smith makes a few initial considerations to ensure the week runs smoothly. She considers the ease of use of each product and which producer is the best source. For example, produce and other materials that require more preparation must be put on the menu later in the week to give each staff member enough time to prep the product. Nutrition regulations limit desserts to a maximum of two per week. Lunches must contain a protein, a balanced vegetable and a certain number of carbs. USDA designates the veggie option must be a starchy vegetable or dark green, red or orange in color. Smith must also think ahead about storage length and the most compatible pairings of food. These considerations help schools minimize waste.

It’s important to Smith that ingredients be sourced from the area. Farm to school programs in the 90s encouraged Smith to prioritize local producers whenever possible. Unfortunately, there are barriers to this goal. By law, the school must adhere to bid pricing, which often means the lowest price offered by a producer or company must be chosen, regardless of location. When Smith picks a local product that is more expensive than something offered by another company, she must prove that the choice of a more expensive, local option is advantageous through superior taste and quality, and that it supports small and local businesses.

Grant funding offers expanded opportunities to spice up school lunch while supporting Iowa suppliers. Iowa’s Local Food for Schools grant gives schools across the state approximately $2,000-4,000 to source local products

from structurally disadvantaged farmers. These grant funds, brokered through food hubs across the state, have helped to increase the amount of local foods school districts can offer without worrying about cost.

Beyond taste, local products often have other advantages over non-local options. Amid supply chain difficulties during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic that made dairy products sparse, ICCSD turned to local yogurt options from Country View Dairy. This yogurt has a much longer shelf life and relatively quick delivery period, which lowers food waste. Country View Dairy is still regularly used by ICCSD.

Additionally, Smith must collect feedback from students themselves. To this end, she often talks to students and monitors the cafeterias. She can get a good idea of how well food is received by taking a look at the garbage can and seeing which items are tossed most.

To increase enthusiasm about new foods, she’ll often turn to other school staff. Smith remembers a time when a principal encouraged students to try kohlrabi sticks for the first time by challenging them, saying, “I’ll eat one if you’ll eat one.” When students see an adult eat a new food offered to them, the food can appear less intimidating, and encourage students to try it for themselves, she explained.

Yellow heirloom tomatoes are a new local favorite of ICCSD students. Though hesitant at first, students soon began seeking them out, sometimes even preferring them over more familiar red tomatoes. Smith has said the best part of her job is seeing kids eat and love the food they’re given, especially when they understand where that food comes from. For example, students can visit Wilson’s Orchard and Farm with their families or on field trips. They’re proud to know their favorite entree comes from their own community.

A day in
Sid Peterson / Little VIllage
52 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Cinnamon rolls soon to be devoured by school children. Sid Peterson / Little VIllage


Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Lindsey Frisbie, RD, LD

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes / Serves 4

Make restaurant-quality eggplant parm in the comfort of your own kitchen. The key to getting crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-theinside eggplant is to first dip eggplant slices into an egg mixture followed by a panko and parmesan mix and bake until crisp and lightly browned. Serve alongside some dressed greens and dinner is served.


2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch circular slices

2 eggs

2 tbsp water

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp dried basil

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried parsley

2 cups marinara sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella

Fresh mozzarella slices

Fresh basil, to garnish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk eggs and water together in a pan. In another pan, mix the panko, 1/4 cup parmesan, onion powder, garlic powder and dried herbs (basil, oregano, parsley).

Dip eggplant slices into egg mixture first, followed by panko mixture, coating each side evenly. Spread slices into a single layer onto a baking sheet. Spray each eggplant side with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

In a 9x9 inch baking dish, alternately layer marinara, cooked eggplant slices, shredded mozzarella and remaining parmesan. Put fresh mozzarella slices on top layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 53

Farmer Kate

Amid the rolling fields of Solon, Kate Edwards (a.k.a. Farmer Kate) is hard at work harvesting fresh vegetables at Wild Woods Farm. This local farm has been providing community-supported agriculture (CSA) to Iowans since 2010, feeding close to 300 families.

Starting in June each year, Wild Woods Farm cuts, packs and delivers CSA shares once a week for its 16-week summer season. The farm also has a fall share later in the year. Along with produce, each delivery contains delicious, quick recipes and/or instructions for how to use and store the vegetables so recipients can make the most of a share.

Bread & Butter caught up with Farmer Kate to learn more about the work she does on the farm.

How did you get started with Wild Woods Farm, and what is your mission? I was walking to work one day, and I realized I would much rather be walking to a barn. It felt like an out-there idea, but over the course of the fall of 2009, and into that winter, I started researching it. I wanted to be part of the generation who brought [farming] back.

I moved back to Iowa and rented an acre

of ground. I had that plowed up in the fall of 2010, and I started in the spring in 2011 with 11 CSA members and a stall at the farmer’s market. I stayed there for five years and then lost my lease, which is an issue for farmers. I had another location for four years before Solon. This year will be our 13th year.

How do you balance both your farm life and family life? It’s a cliché answer, but it takes a village. I have a young daughter who loves the outdoors and is willing to tag along with us. I think the first week I brought her home from the hospital, I was holding her in the field.

I started out doing this as a single person, and then back in 2018, my husband and I got married, and he’s really become part of what the farm is today. Although he has an off-farm job, he’s very much invested in what we’re doing and with the community. I feel like we’re really a family farm now, and it’s been such a joy. To go from one acre of farm to having a farm family and training the next generation really makes it feel like it’s come full circle. It’s a very special thing to me to be part of both the Iowa City community and Solon community.

What’s the best and hardest thing about running Wild Woods Farm? The interaction between people and the landscape. During the season, we’re working really hard to create an interaction between land and humans, and as we give the food out, we get to see the families who receive the food. I get to be a liaison between the land and our community.

When I first started farming, access and zone issues were the hardest thing. As time has gone on, climate change is the metanarrative of what’s hard. If I think about the big picture, every season is completely different,

and I will never have the same season twice in my farming career, especially with the increasingly warming climate.

What do you wish the public understood better about Wild Woods Farm and the services you offer? One misconception is that people can’t get into the farm, but it’s important to get on that waitlist. It may take a year to become a member of our farm, but we don’t turn people away. People think it’s hard to use a CSA, and I want to assure people that we walk them through the process, through recipes and ideas. And I’m always available for questions. We have an opportunity to bring fresh and local food to people. If you sign up for our CSA, you’re choosing to eat with the season, and what the weather has provided that year.

Can we find your produce in any locally owned establishments? We sell some, and we also donate a lot of food to one of the local food banks so people who are low income can access it. We have a community fund people donate to, so if people have a hard time affording the CSA share, families can get a scholarship for it. Sometimes it’s a partial payment, or we create a payment plan. We like to have CSA as our market because we find that it gives our customers the best we have to offer.

How can the community support Wild Woods Farm outside of signing up for CSA? If anyone is interested, we’re always talking to people about volunteering. Word of mouth is wonderful. Even if you don’t want to get a CSA share yourself, someone else may. Buying direct from a farmer is always better than buying from a third party because 100 percent of that food dollar goes directly to the farmer.

Wild Woods Farm isn’t just out to feed families, but foster the next generation of mindful farmers and eaters.
Amir Prellberg / Little Village 54 BREAD & BUTTER 2023


CSA Guide

There are many different types of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) options within Iowa. We’ve compiled a list of those located within one hour (and often much closer) of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids or offering pickup in those areas. Many of these CSAs sell a combination of items, so be sure to check out what is unique about each.

Abbe Hills Farm

Laura Krouse

825 Abbe Hills Rd, Mt Vernon, 319-895-6924,,

Products offered: Vegetables, Fruit, Eggs

Pickup: Abbe Hills Farm on Thursday from 4-6 p.m.

Season: Summer & Fall. Payment plan available.

Bountiful Harvest Farm

Angie Scharnhorst and Marla Looper

4045 245th St, Solon, 512-644-1623,,

Products offered: Vegetables, Fruit, Flowers, Eggs, Dairy

Pickup: Bountiful Harvest Farm on Wednesdays from 5-5:45 p.m., or at the former North Dodge Hy-Vee parking lot (1201 N Dodge St) in Iowa City.

Season: Summer. Workshares and payment plans available.

Buffalo Ridge Orchard

Mary & Vern Zahradnik and Emma & Marcus Johnson

1337 Rollins Rd, Central City, 319-521-1353,

Products offered: Vegetables, Fruit, Flowers, Bread

Pickup: Buffalo Ridge Orchard on Saturdays from 9 a.m-2 p.m. Iowa City Farmers Market on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m.12 p.m. Jean Oxley Building on Thursdays from 4:15-5 p.m. Morning Glory Farm on Thursdays from 4-6 p.m. Home delivery available.

Season: Summer & Fall

Cultivate Hope Urban Farm

Zach D’Amico 437 G Ave NW, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-2214, cultivatehope.,

Products offered: Vegetables, Fruit

Pickup: Cultivate Hope Urban Farm on Thursdays from 4-7 p.m.

Season: Summer & Fall

Echollective Farm

Derek Roller and Molly Schintler 879 Echo Ave, Mechanicsville, 319-325-3910,,

Products offered:

Herbs, Fruit

Pickup: 1003 Ginter Ave, Iowa City on Wednesday from 5-7 p.m., and Saturday from 9-11 a.m. NewBo City Market on Thursdays from 5-6 p.m.

Season: Summer & Fall. Accepts EBT/SNAP. Workshares and payment plans are available.

Garden Oasis Farm, LLC

T.D. and Sarah Holub 3262 York Ave, Coggon, 319-435-8588,,

Products offered: Vegetables, Herbs, Broiler Chickens

Pickup: Garden Oasis Farm on Thursday and Fridays from 2:30-5 p.m. Home delivery is available on Fridays from 7

Iowa Grown Market

Bethany Fischer and Vince Waters

2613 Newport Rd NE, Solon, 563-886-7506,, iowagrownproduce@gmail. com

Products offered: Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs, Mushrooms, Flowers

Pickup: West Branch on Tuesdays from 5-6:15 p.m. Iowa Grown Market on Thursdays from 4-5:15 p.m.

Season: Summer & Fall

Jupiter Ridge Farm

Will Lorentzen and Adrian White 35217 Jupiter Rd, Garber, 563-255-2021,

Products offered: Vegetables, Herbs, Mushrooms

Pickup: Rodina on Wednesdays from 1-10 p.m. Home delivery available.

Season: Summer & Fall

Kroul Farms

John and Kaylene Kroul 245 Hwy 1 South, Mt Vernon, 319-895-8944,,

Products offered: Vegetables, Fruit. Flowers, eggs and firewood available as add-ons. Pickup: Kroul Farms on Thursdays from 12-6 p.m. Home delivery available on Tuesdays.

Season: Summer

Illustrations by Ethan Edvenson / Little Village

Midwest Best Beef

David and Annette Hill 26564 US-52 N, Holy Cross, 319-481-8641,,

Products offered: Beef

Pickup: Theisens, Cedar Rapids on the first Sunday of the month. Hiawatha Farmers Market on Sundays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Iowa City Farmers Market on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Morning Glory Farm

Donna Warhover

681 Hwy 1 S, Mt Vernon, 563-451-6676,,

Products offered: Vegetables, Eggs, Honey, Fruit, Jam, Coffee

Pickup: Back in Line Chiropractic, Hiawatha on Mondays from 4-5:15 p.m. Zion Lutheran Church, Iowa City on Wednesdays from 5-6 p.m.

Mercy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids on Thursdays from 3-4 p.m. Morning Glory Farm, Mt. Vernon on Thursdays from 4-5:15 p.m.

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall Accepts EBT/SNAP.

Over the Moon Farm & Flowers

Shae Pesek and Anna Hankins Coggon, 319-777-6519,,

Products offered: Meat, Flowers

Pickup: Meat: Home delivery first Thursday of every month from 2-8 p.m. Flowers: Home delivery every Thursday from 12-7 p.m.

Season: Meat is available year round; Flowers are available in spring and summer.

Rainbow Roots Farm

Corbin Scholz

3167 Rapid Creek Trail NE, Iowa City, 319-331-3991,,

Products offered: Vegetables, Fruit. Flower bouquets, microgreens, eggs and honey available as add-ons.

Pickup: Rainbow Roots Farm on Monday and Thursdays from 4:30-6:30 p.m. NewBo area on Mondays from 5-6 p.m.

Season: Summer & Fall

Small Frye Farm

Susan Frye


Farm & Local Harvest CSA

Carmen & Maja Black, Carlos Williams, and Helaina Thompson 5025 120th St NE, Solon, 319-331-3957,,

Products offered: Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs, Eggs, Bread, Coffee, Flowers, Broiler Chickens, Meat

Pickup: Feed Iowa First, Cedar Rapids on Mondays from 5-6 p.m. Sundog Farm on Mondays after 4 p.m. North Liberty Community Pantry on Thursdays from 5-6 p.m. Fiddlehead Gardens, Iowa City on Thursdays from 5:15-6:30 p.m.

Season: Year round. Accepts EBT/SNAP.

The Millet Seed Farm

Jon Yagla

911 S 7th Ave, Iowa City, 319-471-0807,,

Products offered: Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs, Mushrooms

Pickup: Millet Seed Farm on Monday and Thursdays from 5-6:30 p.m.

Season: Summer, Fall. Alternative payment options available.

Trowel & Error Farm

Carly McAndrews and Bryant Mann 4811 Melrose Ave, Iowa City, 203-668-1278,,

Products offered: Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs

Walker Homestead

Farm & Winery

Ben Weber

3867 James Ave SW, Iowa City, 319-351-4791,,

Products offered: Vegetables, Flowers

Pickup: Walker Homestead on Thursdays from 4-8 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Season: Summer, Fall

Wild Woods Farm

Kate Edwards

4065 245th St NE, Solon, 319-333-2980,

Products offered: Vegetables, Herbs, Fruit, Eggs, Flowers, Meat

Pickup: Wild Woods Farm on Thursdays from 5-6:15 p.m. Iowa City (52 Sturgis Corner Drive) on Mondays from 5:15-6:15 p.m.

Season: Summer, Fall

56 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Ethan Edvenson

Food Festival Guide

Sweet Corn Festival, West Point, Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 10-13, 2023, Free

Taste of Iowa City, Downtown Iowa City, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, Free

Latino Fest, Downtown Iowa City, Saturday, Aug 26, 2023, Free

World Food & Music Festival, Western Gateway Park, Des Moines, Friday-Sunday, Aug. 25-27, 2023, Free

Northside Oktoberfest, Northside Iowa City, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, $10-85

Latino Heritage Festival, Western Gateway Park, Des Moines, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23 and 24, 2023, Free

Jaycees Bar-B-QC, Downtown Davenport, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23-24, 2023, Free

German Fest, Kaiserslautern Square, Davenport, October 2023, Free

Art of Wine Dinner, Des Moines Art Center, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023

Brrrfest, Coralville, January 2024, $50-65

Think Iowa City Restaurant Week, Iowa City, February 2024

Top Chef, Downtown Iowa City, Late February 2024

Maifest, Amana Colonies, Early May 2024, Free Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, Des Moines, May 2024

Greek Food Fair Festival, St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Des Moines, Early June 2024, Free

Ice Cream Days, Le Mars, June 2024

Cajun Fest Boil & Brew, Cowles Commons, Downtown Des Moines, June 2024

North Liberty Blues & BBQ, Centennial Park, North Liberty, Early July 2024, Free

BrewNost, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, Cedar Rapids, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, $85-135

Food Truck Fight, Riverside Park, Muscatine, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, $25

Pork + Pinot, FFA Enrichment Center, Des Moines, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023

Whiskey Festival, The River Center, Des Moines, November 2023

CelebrAsian, Western Gateway Park, Des Moines, Late May 2024, Free

Iowa Craft Brew Festival, Lauridsen Amphitheater, Water Works Park, Des Moines, Early June 2024, $50-65

Nordic Fest, Decorah, July 25-27, 2024, Free

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 57
World Food & Music Festival Sid Peterson / Little Village


Food Pantry Directory

As pandemic assistance dries up, grocery prices surge and state legislators vote to further restrict Iowans’ access to SNAP benefits, food pantries are becoming more important—and strained—than ever. Donations are down at many organizations, including CommUnity Food Pantry in Iowa City.

“Many local families are not eligible for other assistance programs, and the food bank is their only source of groceries each week,” said Sarah Nelson, CommUnity’s CEO, in May. “But what we’re currently able to provide is just not enough. They need more food per visit than we’re able to give, and without help, the situation is only going to get worse.”

Use this guide to find your local food pantry and get involved—as a volunteer, donor or beneficiary. Before using a pantry, reach out to find out if an ID, proof of residency or appointment is required. Many orgs also offer household items, clothing, diapers, pet supplies or even work skills, immmigration and mental health assistance. Workers are eager to answer your questions—and, of course, explain how you can help them fight hunger in your community.

The Alliance Church of Cedar Rapids - Abundance of Love

Food Pantry

1622 42nd St NE, Cedar Rapids 319-393-4606

Bethany Lutheran Food Pantry

2202 Forest Dr SE, Cedar Rapids 319-364-6026

Bridge Under the Bridge Mobile food pantry in Cedar Rapids, 319-804-9009

Open Hands Food Pantry

6455 E Ave NW, Cedar Rapids 319-396-6608

King’s Kitchen Food Pantry at Christ Holiness

Apostolic Temple

355 19th St SE, Cedar Rapids 319-365-9594, info@

Church of God 7th Day

Food Pantry

1691 Marion Airport Rd, Marion 319-377-8505

Churches of Marion Pantry 864 12th St, Marion 319-377-7309,

Elayne Fisher Community Cupboard / Unity Center Cedar Rapids 3791 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-393-5422

The Harambee House 404 17th St SE, Cedar Rapids 319-366-1408,

First Baptist Church: 29th Street Mission 1260 29th St, Marion 319-377-3275 (Craig Beadle),

First Church of the Open Bible 1911 E Ave NW, Cedar Rapids 319-363-3117

Kingdom Encounter Church Free Grocery Saturday 701 25th St NE, Cedar Rapids 319-200-5040

Lifeline Ministries 1101 Oakland Rd NE, Cedar Rapids 319-366-1787,

Linn Community Food Bank Pantry at the First Presbyterian Church 310 5th St SE, Cedar Rapids 319-364-3543,

Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry

1030 5th Ave SE Suite 1700, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-7185

Metro Catholic Outreach Food Pantry

420 6th St SE, Suite 120, Cedar Rapids, 319-739-5490

Mission of Hope Food Pantry

1700 B Ave NE, Cedar Rapids 319-365-1782, ext. 4 (Kathy)

Olivet Neighborhood Mission Kitchen Pantry

230 10th St NW, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-7946

River of Life

3801 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-393-3709

Cedar Rapids Society of St. Vincent de Paul 928 7th St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-365-5091

Southeast Linn Community Center

108 S Washington St, Lisbon 319-455-2844,

Freedom Foundation Veteran Pantry

4001 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-826-2010

The Salvation Army Food Pantry

1000 C Avenue NW, Cedar Rapids 319-364-9131, sacedarrapids@

Together We Achieve Community Resource Center 1150 27th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids 319-432-9754

Linn County Veteran Affairs (VA) Food Pantry

1240 26th Ave Ct SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-892-5160

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church

6621 C Ave NE, Cedar Rapids 319-364-6592

St. Raphael Church Food Pantry 722 E College St, Iowa City 319-337-6784,

Coralville Community Food Pantry 804 13th Ave, Coralville 319-337-3663

The IC Compassion Food Pantry 1035 Wade St, Iowa City 319-330-9883

The Food Pantry at Iowa Iowa Memorial Union, Room 278, Iowa City, 319-335-1162

CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank 1045 Highway 6 E, Iowa City 319-351-0128,

North Liberty Community Pantry 89 N Jones Blvd, North Liberty 319-626-2711,

Food Pantry of The Salvation Army - Johnson County 1116 S Gilbert Ct, Iowa City 319-337-3725, michelle.graham@

River Community Church Food Pantry 3001 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City 319-354-3118, foodpantryrequests@

Clear Creek Amana Community Food Pantry 551 W Marengo Rd, Amana 319-545-2281


Don’t Throw Away Good Food!

The Love Food, Fight Waste program is a collaboration between nonprofit Table to Table food rescue and the City of Iowa City to offer community members resources and information on how to reduce food waste.

Smell it, taste it, and use these guidelines to determine if an unopened package may be OK to eat after its “best by” date. Remember: dates on food packages indicate best flavor and peak quality, but are not food safety dates (the only exception: infant formula).


Eggs: 1 month

Milk: 7 days

Yogurt: 7 days

Shredded cheese: 2 weeks

Block cheese: 3 months

Baking mixes: 1 year

Canned goods: 1 to 2 years

Cereal: 6–12 months

Sauces: 1 year

Love food and fight waste

• Before you shop, check your fridge and pantry for what foods you already have.

• Make a shopping list to prevent over-buying.

• Eat a snack before shopping to ward off impulse buys.

• Don’t place milk in your fridge door. Frequent temperature fluctuation from opening the fridge can make milk go bad faster.

• Keep foods that need to be eaten soon at the front of your fridge so they aren’t forgotten.

• Store onions, apples, tomatoes, citrus fruits and bananas separate from other produce to prevent speedy ripening.

• Mark opened food containers and leftovers with a date of when they were opened or prepared to keep track of how soon to eat them.

• Freeze meat, cheese, produce and bread you won’t use right away, on or before its “use by” date, and it’s good to eat for another 4-12 months.

• Package food in portions before freezing for easy meals later! Use a muffin tin to freeze stews, casseroles, chili, etc. in lunch portions and put them in freezer bags.

• Do the same with ice cube trays to freeze sauces, juices and condiments.

• Stale bread makes great croutons, breadcrumbs, French toast, bread pudding or stuffing.

• Over-ripe bananas make good smoothies: Freeze them, peeled and broken into pieces, to use in a smoothie later.

• Simmer chicken bones, veggie peels and off-cuts from carrots, onions and celery, eaves included, in water with a few peppercorns to make stock.

These are just guidelines. Details can be found at Dive deeper at lovefood. Pick up your free fridge magnet of food extension reminders at Iowa City’s City Hall or at Table to Table.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 59
Coralville Food Pantry Sid Peterson / Little Village

Some like it sour

What might bread, cheese, pickles, beer and wine have in common?

Well, they all have their beloved flavor thanks to an age-old magical (OK, scientific) process called fermentation. Fermented foods have become increasingly popular in the food and wellness space. In fact, sourdough baking at home was the “breakout star of pandemic-era kitchens,” says the New York Times.

Despite a resurgence in modern kitchens, fermentation isn’t a fad. Fermented foods and beverages have been around for thousands of years, contributing to the social evolution of human history. They continue to be a part of cultures on nearly every continent. There’s sauerkraut from Germany, kimchi from Korea, tempeh from Indonesia, miso from Japan, crème fraîche from France and injera from Ethiopia, just to name a few. Despite fermentation’s longevity, the science behind the process is only more recently understood.

that understands the art of fermentation is Hedge Apple Kombucha. Created by Kyle Sieck, founder of Local Burrito and Heartland Burrito, and his wife Lindsey Morrison, it was a passion project to share their love of kombucha with their local community in Fairfield.

“We’ve both been brewing kombucha for the past 10 years at home, and it was always a way for us to show our gratitude to friends and family by bringing it with us anywhere we went,” Morrison said.

Kombucha is a fermented drink made from black or green tea (or a blend of both), sugar, bacteria and yeast. Herbs and fruit can be added to enhance flavor.

“It plays to both of our strengths,” added Morrison. “I enjoy creating more of the herbal-inspired recipes from my background as an herbalist, and Kyle has been a chef forever, and it brings out the best in both of us. It’s been a culmination of all of our talents and interests.”

Hedge Apple has flagship flavors incorporating everything from reishi mushrooms and rose petals to spirulina and Iowa hops. “It’s like a blank pallet for a painter. You have a slate, you have your options, and you go to town,” Sieck said. “That is the case for our small-batch kombucha. It’s painting a picture of what is unique to us.”

While painting this picture, a number of factors must be considered. First and foremost, you need microbes—without live microbes, you cannot ferment. “Wild ferments” use microbes found naturally on plants and

in the air. Fermented vegetables make use of naturally occurring bacteria on the vegetables themselves. The microbes on cabbage, for instance, used to make sauerkraut, feed on the sugars in the cabbage itself and convert them to lactic acid with byproducts like carbon dioxide.

Fun fact: You’ll know your sauerkraut is thriving in fermentation glory when it starts bubbling and burping! The flour and water mixture of a sourdough starter demonstrates wild fermentation as well; microbes on the flour and in the air in your kitchen will feed upon the sugars found in the flour. After one to two weeks, the starter has the ability to cause bread to rise without using store-bought yeast. Pretty cool, huh?

Other fermented goodies, including kombucha and beer, rely on adding a specific group of microbes to assist the beginnings of fermentation. Since starter cultures are already rich with beneficial microbes, when you add them to a food or beverage, they’ll multiply quickly and jump-start the fermentation process.

For Sieck and Morrison, kombucha itself kickstarts the process. “We use a percentage of our kombucha from each batch to act as a starter for the next batch,” explained Sieck.

Logan DePover, brewer at ReUnion Brewery in Coralville and Iowa City, offered Bread & Butter a better understanding of the fermentation process when brewing beer: “We take grain—which may include barley malt, wheat or oats depending on what type of beer it is — and grind it down with a mill that cracks it. It’s then mixed with water and heated to 152 degrees, which activates enzymes that are within the grain that change the starches in the grain into sugar.”

After the liquid is extracted, a sugary water, called wort, is left.

“As brewers, we ultimately make fancy sugar water,” DePover noted. “We’ll take this fancy sugar water, boil it up with hops and let it cool to 68 degrees. We’ll add yeast to it, and the yeast will go to town and change all of the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.”

Microbes prefer different environments. When fermenting vegetables, for example, a salty, oxygen-free environment is needed to support growth of lactic acid bacteria, creating an acidic environment which prevents mold from growing and kills any harmful bacteria. As the acid levels increase, it lowers the pH of these foods, giving them their sour pucker. The lower pH also prevents growth of harmful microbes and improves shelf life. For kombucha, sugar is first fermented into alcohol and carbon dioxide, and then oxygen is needed to convert the alcohol into organic acids to give it its tart, vinegary flavor.

Without fermentation, cooking, brewing and baking would be much less magical.
60 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Sid Peterson / Little Village

Temperature and timing control is not to be overlooked. Microbes are less active in colder temperatures, taking more time to ferment, and more active in warmer climates, taking less time to ferment. For kombucha, Sieck has found that fermenting between 75 and 80 degrees is a good range.

“It’s a two-week process to make kombucha. You make the hot tea and let it cool. You add a percentage of kombucha back into the tea. You monitor it over a 10- to 14-day time period. Over that time period, it changes from a sweet tea to a slightly sour, pungent, acidic, healthy beverage.”

For beer, DePover said it depends on whether you’re making an ale or lager beer. “Each yeast strain has a sweet spot for temperature. Most ales are around 68 to 70 degrees, while most lagers are around 50 degrees.” This cooler temperature for lagers means fermentation takes longer, sometimes several weeks, whereas for ales, it’s a shorter time frame, anywhere from two to three weeks. This impacts the flavor for both styles immensely.

“Generally speaking, lagers will create a more neutral, smoother flavor because they ferment cooler and slower. The yeast doesn’t produce as many flavor compounds that a warmer ale yeast would. For instance, for our hazy IPAs, we ferment them at warmer temperatures and use an ale yeast that kicks out a lot of really fruity notes, and that’s where you get some of that juicy quality from. Plus, we don’t filter a whole lot of our beer at ReUnion, so these hazy IPAs especially have a lot of live yeast floating around in them.”

Not only can fermentation transform food to taste amazing, but it’s one of the few processes that may actually make your food healthier. Perhaps the most widely known benefit of many fermented foods—including yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha— are the probiotics they contain. Probiotics are live microbes which are good bacteria that help strengthen gut health and restore balance in the digestive tract. A community of trillions of microbes known as the “gut microbiota”

Microbes on the flour and in the air feed upon the sugars found in flour. Sourdough from Local Crumb. Sid Peterson / Little Village

live and thrive in the intestines, which can influence almost everything going on in the body, including boosting brain and heart health and supporting a strong immune system.

Unfortunately, probiotics aren’t in all fermented foods. The probiotics may die off or be removed during processes involving heat or filtration. Even so, don’t write off potential benefits. As bacteria and yeast feed on sugar during fermentation, they release enzymes, which helps break down large food particles, making food easier to digest. That might explain why some people find fermented dairy products easier to digest than unfermented dairy products, and why individuals with irritable bowel syndrome may tolerate sourdough bread better than other breads.

Many fermented foods contain B vitamins and antioxidants called polyphenols. B vitamins help the digestive system break down and convert nutrients from food into energy, while polyphenols may help reduce inflammation and may also serve as prebiotics, which feed probiotics, stimulating growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Nutrients in the food itself or anything you add to it may also become more bioavailable through fermentation; Morrison and Sieck love adding herbs to their kombucha for this reason. Case in point is their reishi rose-flavored kombucha.

“You can make reishi into a powder, and your body isn’t going to assimilate much of it. But if you drink it in kombucha, your body will be able to assimilate almost all of it because the fermentation process makes it bioavailable,” Morrison explained. “All of our kombucha has medicinal benefits. We wanted our kombucha to have meaning behind what we were choosing to put in it.”

Trends in the culinary world come and go, but rest assured, fermented foods and beverages aren’t going anywhere. Science has proven that food can be transformed with a little help from living bacteria. If you are curious and want to broaden your taste buds, head to your local co-op to try a variety of Iowa-produced fermented foods and beverages. Currently, you can find Hedge Apple Kombucha at Breadtopia, Cafe Paradiso and Bountiful Bakery in Fairfield, with an expansion to the Iowa City area planned for the future. They also ship nationwide.

Locally owned since 1993 Voted BEST PIZZA in the CRANDIC 363 N 1st Ave, Iowa City • (319) 351-2327 WIG & PEN NORTH LIBERTY 201 Hwy 965 NE, North Liberty • (319) 665-2255
BREAD & BUTTER 2023 61

Retail in Detail

Sometimes you have a specific need, and sometimes you just need a little treat. Whatever the case may be, these items found around the CRANDIC are sure to fill the void.

Skoy Scrub Prairie Kitchen Store, 160 N Linn St, Iowa City A kitchen scrubber really ought to achieve two things: functionality (the ability to remove dried scrambled eggs from a pan) without structural sacrifice and, so often overlooked, beauty. Skoy scrubs do both.

Stuffed Vine Leaves Cortado Mediterranean Cafe, 26 S Clinton St, Iowa City

The perfect picnic appetizer might just be a tabbed can of stuffed grape leaves. Keep one in your bag for whenever you crave a lemony, garlicky, Vitamin A-rich snack.

Mushroom Grow Kit Rot’s Bounty, There is something very special about watching, tending to and harvesting oyster gourmet mushrooms in your own home. Purchasing a 10lb production block from Rot’s Bounty will produce up to four rounds of mushrooms.

Common Good All-Purpose Refillable Soap Basic Goods, 125 S Dubuque St, Iowa City No, that’s not a box of wine, but it sure comes in handy after a night of boxedwine drinking! This multi-purpose soap from Ped Mall retailer Basic Goods is ideal for bulk buyers and will make your dishes, surfaces and even produce sparkly clean.

Smithey Hand-Forged Carbon

Steel Oval Roasting Pan SCOUT of marion, 725 11th St, Marion The perfect setting for a lovingly-roasted chicken—a hand-hammered, all-cast iron pan that’ll keep your food warm and look gorgeous doing it.

Climbing Kits Cannabis-infused Sparkling Water Local Craft Cellar, 7085 C Ave NE A1, Cedar Rapids Relax a little, why don’t you! Whether you’re simply looking to unwind or seeking an alternative to alcohol, these refreshing drinks contain 5mg THC and 10mg CBD—just enough to take the edge off.

62 BREAD & BUTTER 2023

Origami Dripper Prairie Kitchen Store, 160 N Linn St, Iowa City This colorful ceramic cone, crafted in Nagoya, Japan, sits comfortably on your cup to guide the perfect pour. The only downside: you’ll want a more stylish mug.

Big Dipper Wax Works 100% Beeswax

Hand Dipped Tapers New Pioneer Food Co-op, 3338 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids; 22 S Van Buren St, Iowa City; 1101 2nd St, Coralville Level up your next dinner party with these colorful, elegant hand-dipped tapers. Big Digger’s wicks are made from 100% cotton and contain no lead or metal. These candles are long, even-burning and make for a lovely centerpiece.

THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING FUN TO DO Drinks at your new favorite patio. Meeting friends at a summer festival. Spending a day on the trails cutting through the community. Watching sunsets in the park with the kids. An 405 B Ave | 319-656-3335 BREAD & BUTTER 2023 63


When I moved to Iowa City in the fall of 1975 to start classes at the University of Iowa, I immediately discovered I could stop by Stone Soup Restaurant at lunchtime, wash dishes for an hour and get paid with a hot lunch. Stone Soup was a cooperative, natural-foods vegetarian restaurant located in the basement of Center East, a square, three-story brick building on the corner of Clinton and Jefferson streets.

I was drawn to the idealism and activism of the people involved in the food co-op movement. Stone Soup had become a gathering place for vegetarians, artists of all stripes, hippies, nonconformists, feminists and left-wing politicos. One could get a “home-cooked” meal for a couple dollars and stick around to meet and talk with interesting folks (not unlike the vibe at Trumpet Blossom Cafe and Dandy Lion today). As a regular volunteer, I was invited to a staff meeting. They decided to hire a night baking shift; I expressed interest in the job and was hired on the spot. The easiest job application and interview ever.

I did have some baking experience. I started baking bread when I was in high school, often giving away loaves to friends or bringing them to parties. My girlfriend at the time still fondly remembers the loaf I left on her front porch with a romantic note. And when I started hitchhiking, I cultivated the habit of baking bread to thank the people whose home I was crashing at.

Of course, the Stone Soup bakery operated on a larger scale, but it retained that sense of reciprocity. We were baking for not only the restaurant but also New Pioneer Co-op, then located less than a mile away on the corner of Gilbert and Prentiss streets. Our shift would usually start at 10 p.m., just as the dinner crew was finishing their cleanup, and wrap up at 5 in the morning. The two or three staff on each shift would bake up to 100 one-pound loaves of bread, 10 or 15 pounds of our two types of granola (regular and deluxe), a batch or two of cookies and, on some nights, 10 dozen bean burgers made from a recipe featuring cooked and mashed soybeans.

The core of the bakery staff were hired in short order. We each worked three or four shifts a week. Pat had just blown in from the Santa Cruz Mountains community of Mount Hermon (population 715 hippies, minus one). After her ’67 Dodge Dart ferried her cross-country, its passenger seats were removed so the car could haul baked goods to New Pi as well as 50-pound sacks of whole wheat flour, brown rice and

other products from Blooming Prairie Warehouse.

Cheryl grew up in a Mennonite family just south of Iowa City, raised to value practices that support environmental sustainability. Edith, a university student majoring in science and minoring in studio art, had an array of kitchen skills learned from her Italian-American mother. Michael was a jazz clarinetist studying composition in the university’s school of music. Nancy was a native Iowa Citian and an avid organic gardener.

I had a crush on all the women I worked with, and six years later, I married one of them—the woman from Santa Cruz. (Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three other married couples who either worked alongside each other or met at Stone Soup.)

Center East was the former home of St. Mary’s School, which served grades one through 12 from 1893 to 1968. It was sold to the Newman Catholic Student Center in 1975. The Newman Center staff was repurposing the building as a community space. Stone Soup Restaurant rented the cafeteria kitchen and a small adjoining dining room for a nominal fee.

The large basement cafeteria was occasionally transformed into a space for benefit dances for local nonprofits like the Emma Goldman Clinic, Free Medical Clinic, Dum-Dum Daycare Center, Willowwind School or the restaurant itself, featuring the Magic Goat Band, which was mostly composed of New Pioneer and Blooming Prairie Cooperative warehouse staff. Upstairs was the Free Store, where one could address their clothing needs or grab a sweater on an unexpectedly cold day. Clemens Erdahl and Sue Futrell helped set up an office for United Tenants for Action, offering free legal aid to oppose predatory and deadbeat landlords. Barbara Welch, working on a doctorate in Communication Studies, had converted a classroom, with its tall windows and dark woodwork, into the Iowa City Yoga Center.

The restaurant had inherited the school cafeteria’s large gas stoves and acquired a used industrial bread dough mixer. We religiously followed the recipes in The Tassajara Bread Book, written in the late 1960s by Edward Brown, a student at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Retreat tucked away in central California’s Los Padres National Forest. We’d mix lukewarm water, yeast, honey or molasses, milk powder and whole wheat flour, forming a sponge with the consistency of a thick slurry. We’d give it time to rise and then add oil, salt, more flour and other ingredients particular to the bread we were making.

We always made a batch or two of whole wheat and three or four other breads, such as Swedish rye, sunflower seed, challah, oatmeal, poppy seed, cinnamon raisin. At the beginning of the shift, we’d check out the dinner leftovers on the chance they’d inspire us to concoct a new bread recipe. My favorite was “pizza bread,” made by sprinkling a thin layer of marinara sauce and mozzarella over the dough before rolling it into a loaf.

When the dough had risen to twice its size, we would punch it down and begin to pinch off one-pound hunks, using a kitchen scale to measure. Then we’d get to it, loafing on the two long, low countertops that filled the center of the kitchen. It was work that felt like play, work filled with tactile joy. We all developed similar methods for shaping the loaves: kneading the dough, flattening it into a large square to remove any remaining air bubbles while flipping and patting it to smooth its surface, then folding it once, folding in its ends, rolling it into a loaf shape and pinching the seams shut. We’d drop the loaves into seasoned pans strapped together in groups of four and set them atop the warm

“When I cook, another body comes alive.”
—Edward Espe Brown, The Tassajara Bread Book
One townie’s memories of working as a baker at Iowa City’s Stone Soup Restaurant in the ’70s.
The Stone Soup bakery operated on a larger scale, but it retained that sense of reciprocity. We were baking for not only the restaurant but also New Pioneer Co-op, then located less than a mile away on the corner of Gilbert and Prentiss streets.
64 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Cheryl and Pat in Stone Soup bakery, 1975-76; right: Stone Soup Restaurant and Morning Glory Bakery ads. Courtesy of the author

stove to rise one last time.

As the night wore on, the sensory stimuli would become more robust, helping us power through the wee hours. We’d start pulling steaming bread out of the ovens, removing the brown loaves from the pans and putting them on cooling racks in the dining room. While the loaves were still hot, we’d run a stick of butter over the top crust. Some granola might also be cooling, or peanut butter cookies, perhaps a batch of cinnamon rolls.

Because the restaurant was rarely closed and one could get a meal for working in the kitchen, it drew street people, many of whom were named Rick—Rick the Hobo, Red Rick, Crazy Rick. The bakery’s aromas also attracted attention. My friend Tony, who lived nearby and kept odd hours, might stop in to hang out and share a new poem. The basement kitchen’s windows were at sidewalk-level along the route from the downtown bars to the eastside dorms. In the summer, a few weak box fans would move the heat around, and we often stripped down to the minimal amount of clothing (although we at least kept our aprons on). A lot of foot traffic passed by at 2 a.m. after the bars closed. When the windows were open, we’d hear our share of catcalls. Believe me, we gave as good as we got.

The restaurant had a portable record player and maybe 20 well-worn albums, most of their edges decorated with dried bread dough. Those albums provided the soundtrack to our work—Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like a Wheel, Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, the Grateful Dead’s American Beauty, Joni Mitchell’s For the Roses, Jackson Browne’s Late for the Sky

After the baking was done and the loaves had been bagged up with their handmade labels, we’d sit down at one of the dining room tables and pull out a runt loaf. We’d slice off thick, hot chunks of bread, slather them with melting butter and enjoy the flavor of our work. We’d talk about the night, or the approaching day, while listening to songs like J.J. Cale’s “After Midnight” or Bonnie Raitt’s “Nothing Seems To Matter.”

After my shift, I’d usually go upstairs to the yoga studio to sleep. Greeted by the lingering scent of incense, I’d lie down on a yoga mat and snooze until someone from the breakfast shift came up to wake me for my 9 a.m. Intro to Philosophy class that fall semester.

I held this job for a full year until I left for Mexico the next fall. When I returned in the spring, the bakery was being relocated and revamped as Morning Glory Bakery. I helped its staff move into two classrooms upstairs, lugging out all but two of the heavy slate blackboards, power-sanding those buckled oak floors down to their light brown grain, removing 75 years of Catholic school memories. In their place, we offered a passionate energy inspired by the aromas and traditions of baking bread.

Born in Akron, Ohio, David Duer has lived in the Iowa City area for 47 years and, most recently, taught English at Cedar Rapids Washington High School. The story above is part of his “Jobs of My Youth” essay series; read more at

RECIPE No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread


2 cups warm water (around 95 degrees)

1 package of dry instant yeast

1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

4 cups of flour—wheat or white works!

1 tablespoon olive oil


In a bowl, mix 2 cups of water with the package of dry instant yeast. Whisk with a fork and let the yeast bloom for 2-3 minutes. The top of your water will look foamy. Mix flour and salt. Stir together and create a well in the middle of the bowl with your fingers. Add the water and yeast mixture. Wet your hand and mix the flour and water. It will be sticky! Mix until combined. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until the flour is saturated. If the dough is too wet, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until water is absorbed. Don’t give up on mixing! It starts dry, but it comes together into a shaggy pile of dough. Cover with a tea towel or kitchen towel and let rise for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Remove the towel. You should be able to poke the dough with your finger and watch it deflate a little. Using a rubber spatula, pull the dough in from the sides, working in a rotation, bringing it to the middle. Rotate the bowl until all the dough has been pulled from the sides and folded toward the center. Cover with a towel again and let rise 1.5 to 2 hours.

Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer from the bowl to a lightly floured surface, such as a counter or cutting board. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough, and with your hands, shape into a loaf. Fold the dough under itself several times to form a ball, and pinch the bottom of the loaf along the seam.

Place a six-quart Dutch oven (or heavy cooking pot with an oven-safe lid) in the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (230 degrees C) with the pot inside. Leave in the oven for a total of one hour.

Place the dough seam-side down in a clean bowl that’s been lightly coated with 1 tbsp of olive oil and dusted with flour. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. You can let the bread rise during the same time the pot is heating in the oven.

When the pot is done heating for 1 hour, remove carefully from the oven and place on a trivet or heat-safe surface. Place dough inside the pot. (Note: Parchment paper works great for this dough if you want to avoid having to wash the pot later!)

Place the pot and dough in the preheated oven with the lid on, and cook for 45 minutes.

Remove the lid after 45 minutes, and continue cooking bread without the lid for another 15 minutes.

Remove bread from the pot, cover and let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 65

Stupid Good

TV sandwiches come to life at Emma Berry’s Cedar Rapids cooking class, Nerdy People Cooking.

Like many devotees of Bob’s Burgers, I’m a sucker for humor and hamburgers. When I learned about NewBo Market hosting a new cooking series called Nerdy People Cooking, I was immediately intrigued. I was the target audience for this particular series of classes; over the years, I have devoured so many episodes of Fox’s Bob’s Burgers that my television practically smells like the fictional diner’s sizzling griddle top.

This was my first cooking class, and I was drawn to it for simple reasons: I have little experience making burgers, am a fan of Bob’s Burgers and have always been fascinated with the way food and cooking can unite people.

I know I’m not the only one out there who has caught themselves daydreaming about fried food after watching 22 minutes of Bob’s Burgers. It’s easy to see why the writers of the show compiled each episode’s burger special into an official cookbook. Using her own personal copy, instructor Emma Berry of Lion Turtle Makings demonstrated how to make Bob’s season 5, episode 5’s burger contest entry: the Bet It All on Black Garlic Burger.

“I love cooking, and I love nerd cooking,” Emma announced to the attendees of her class— another in the books for her cooking series. Emma has always loved nerding out while cooking at home, so creating the Nerdy People Cooking series was a logical next step.

The class was located in NewBo Market’s spacious culinary kitchen, which was formerly deemed Kirkwood Kitchen. Kirkwood College ended their partnership and lease with NewBo Market last April in 2022, an initiative that the college undertook as a financial boon to the area hard-hit by the 2008 flood. Kirkwood College donated $46,000 of

state-of-the-art kitchen equipment to the attraction, as reported by the Corridor Business Journal, strengthening NewBo Market through their former partnership.

Some cooking classes are hands-on, while others are more like demonstrations. This one was the latter. I sat with the seven other class attendees around a large countertop inside NewBo Market’s kitchen. Emma stood on the other side, taking us through the steps of assembling and cooking the burger of the day. Made with mostly easy-to-find ingredients, the Bet It All on Black Garlic Burger (a.k.a. Stupid Black Garlic Burger) is stupidly good—juicy, rich and oh-so delicious!

The setting was loose and fun. Emma established a playful tone right away. She made us feel as though we were in her home kitchen by letting us taste the ingredients as she prepared them. Emma’s charisma — and snack offerings—helped ease any nerdy nerves. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I shared the experience with a friend, which made everything more comfortable. (Shout-out to my burger buddy, Anna!)

It may seem like an unrealistic expectation, but feeling at home is exactly what I had hoped to feel during a cooking class. I was raised in a family for whom cooking is a bonding ritual, so gathered around a kitchen counter with good people and food is my happy place. With our focus on the demonstration at hand, we laughed, shared stories and communed with one another.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of cooking something you love. I always enjoyed watching my grandmother cook. I treasured seeing the passion and joy radiating out of her. I noticed this same thrill in Emma; her joy in the kitchen helped make the class so special.

When you’re trying to hone a new skill in the kitchen, it’s usually necessary to follow recipes exactly as they are written. On the other hand, it can be way more fulfilling and joyful to ignore the impulse of perfectionism. So it was a welcome surprise to me when, while assembling the ingredients for our burger of the day, there was a bit of improvisation.

Unable to source a bulb of black garlic, Emma substituted ground fermented black garlic, which can be found at Trader Joe’s. If you’ve seen the episode “Best Burger,” you understand how critically important black garlic was to the characters of the show and the pandemonium that unraveled because of it. Naturally, we were all curious about the ingredient from the moment we showed up to class. Emma passed around the container for everybody to take in a whiff of its sweet, rich flavor. Then, she mixed it in with some mayonnaise and—after getting the go-ahead from all eight of us—sriracha! We each got a dollop on our small plate, anticipating the tantalizing taste of the sandwich to come.

Later, while Emma was kneading the ground beef like dough, we made the unanimous decision to turn this burger up a notch, veer from the recipe and add the ground black garlic directly to the ground beef. The best chefs put their own spin on things, and I loved how Emma encouraged that skill in us.

Soon, the black-garlic-infused burgers sizzled on the griddle top and filled the kitchen with a mouthwatering aroma. Piled onto buns and topped with black garlic mayonnaise, mozzarella cheese and spinach, the climax of the event was finally here. Stunning in appearance and rich in flavor, the black garlic burger was perfect.

It was refreshing to be brought together through everybody’s shared enjoyment of a popular show. More importantly, it served as a good reminder to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and into situations where we can enjoy spontaneous experiences with old and new friends. By the end of this event, I believe we all got closer in that intimate way only food and sitcoms can foster.

66 BREAD & BUTTER 2023
Photos courtesy of Cristin Mitchell; collage by Jordan Sellergren / Little VIllage
If you’ve seen the episode “Best Burger,” you know how critically important black garlic was to the characters of the show and the pandemonium that unraveled because of it.

Dine By Your Sign

continues to serve as one of Iowa City’s favorite refuges.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Zoey’s Pizzeria

Aries (March 20-April

19): Cobble Hill Go big or go home. Isn’t that how you roll, Aries?

Dynamic and competitive, this fire sign is always dressed to impress (literally and metaphorically) and will feel right at home nestled into Cobble Hill in downtown Cedar Rapids. Inspired by the sights, tastes and vibes of Brooklyn, NY’s neighborhood of the same name, Cobble Hill boasts an upscale fine dining experience where every meal is made from scratch with a local twist. Cool that fiery Aries energy down with one of their freshly squeezed juices or Prohibitionera-inspired cocktails.

Taurus (April 20-May

20): Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar Taurus, you understand that it’s important to treat yo’self. Strong, sensual and attuned to the sumptuous, this earth sign tends toward the finer things in life. Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar leans into that same luxurious philosophy by offering full-service dining, a well-stocked bar, cheese boards, soups, sweets and, of course, wine. A homebody at heart, Taurus will also appreciate Brix’s retail shop, which provides an opportunity to take some treats home to be enjoyed at one’s leisure.

Gemini (May 21-June

20): Marquee Pizza

“Inspired by a backyard get-together with friends and family.” If this isn’t the embodiment of Gemini energy, what is? This you have in common with Marquee Pizza, Gemini: it’s an ideal venue to wine and dine your adoring entourage. Come for the vibes—Marquee Pizza was awarded Best Atmosphere by Restaurant Guru in 2021—but stay for the housemade mozzarella, naturally leavened dough and Italian wood-fired oven. With happy hour specials every day, Marquee also features an expansive beer and wine selection that keeps the party going—just like you, Gemini.

Cancer (June 21-July 21): Groundswell Cafe

You wear your heart on your sleeve, Cancer, and while putting your soft, tender bits out there can be risky, it is also your superpower. Sensitive and empathetic, Cancers feel good knowing they are putting good into the world. That’s why Groundswell Cafe in Cedar Rapids may be your perfect dining match. Groundswell Cafe’s mission is to provide a place where everyone has access to healthy food regardless of their ability to pay. Customers can “pay it forward” by rounding up their bill or making a donation which in turn provides meals for those who can’t afford to pay.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 22): La Regia Taqueria

Leo, you are adept at spicing things up, so why not indulge your spicy self with more of the same at La Regia Taqueria. Dramatic, bold and never one to shy away from attention, a Leo lives to stand apart from the crowd. The same can be said of Iowa City’s award-winning Mexican restaurant. La Regia’s humble beginnings as a taco truck paved the way for what has become a local pillar of Mexican cuisine. Offering favorites like tacos, burritos, tostadas and more, a meal from La Regia will always be the star of the show (unless, of course, there’s a Leo around).

Virgo (Aug. 23Sept. 22): Sanctuary

Pub Practical, loyal, dependable … these are qualities you possess in abundance, Virgo, much like Iowa City’s iconic Sanctuary Pub. Since 1972, Sanctuary has been, well, a sanctuary for generations of townies, students and visitors, offering a menu and general ambience that Iowa Citians have come to rely on. With classic pizza and pub food made from locally sourced ingredients, live music and trivia nights, Sanctuary has endured for a reason and

The sign of Libra is represented by the Scales, a universal symbol of fairness and balance. Libra wants everyone to be included, for all to feel welcome, for everyone to have a piece of the pie. At Zoey’s Pizzeria in Marion, this sentiment is expressed through their menu, offering forever-favorites like pizza (obvs), subs, calzones and the Zookie cookie dessert pizza. At Zoey’s, there is truly something for everyone, just the way Libra likes it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23Nov. 21): George’s Buffet Scorpio, you’re all about playing it cool, and what’s cooler than George’s? An Iowa City Northside tradition since 1939, George’s is dark and divey in the best possible way (kind of like you, Scorp). Serving up simple items from a small menu—who among us has not waxed poetic about a George’s cheeseburger?—this well-loved watering hole knows what they do best and sticks to doing just that. Open late with local beers on tap, George’s is the perfect place to lurk for any Scorpio worth their sting.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 20): I Love

FuFu You’re always up for an adventure, Sag, so why not explore the menu at I Love FuFu, Iowa City’s own taste of African cuisine? Transport your taste buds with West African, Caribbean and Mediterranean flavors like plantains, cassava, jerk chicken and kebabs, with options for carnivores and vegans alike. It might not be the same as jetting off across the Atlantic, but your taste buds won’t know the difference. Destination: Known!

Capricorn (Dec. 21Jan. 19): Pullman Bar & Diner You get stuff done, Capricorn. That’s

kind of your thing. And while you are perhaps the most driven, responsible and tenacious sign of the zodiac when it comes to getting things done, life can’t be all work and no play. That’s where Pullman Bar & Diner comes in. Offering an elevated take on classic Midwest diner fare like burgers, fried chicken, salads, all-day breakfast, a selection of desserts (Nutella pie, anyone?), plus an array of adult beverages and craft cocktails, Pullman tempts even the most disciplined of Caps to cast off the constraints of the workaday world and have some tasty fun.

Aquarius (Jan. 20Feb. 17): Goosetown

Endlessly interesting, quirky and wholly original, ever-evolving Aquarius is always on the lookout for the next thing to captivate their imagination. Behold: Goosetown.

Named in honor of Iowa City’s historic Northside neighborhood, once populated by Czech immigrants whose geese roamed the streets each morning, Goosetown is no stranger to growth and evolution. First opened in 2018, this eatery has since undergone an updated menu and interior renovations. Their seasonal menu featuring “items that could be grown in your backyard” is playful, curious and unexpected—also true for any Aquarius.

Pisces (Feb. 18-March 19):

Maestro Empanadas

Dreamy, creative Pisces appreciates great art when they see it. At Maestro Empanadas in Coralville, they believe that “cooking our empanadas is an art.” Like attracts like, which is why, Pisces, Maestro’s may be the answer to your dining dreams. Born out of a desire for the traditional culinary flavors of Argentina not readily available in the Midwest, Maestro’s offers both frozen to-go items as well as freshly made empanadas stuffed with beef, chicken, corn, veggies and more. An Iowa City favorite since their first appearance at the Farmers Market in 2011, an empanada by the Maestro is like a little pillow upon which to lay your head and dream.

BREAD & BUTTER 2023 67
For millennia, humans have looked to the stars for insight, direction and orientation. So why not let the stars guide your next gastronomic adventure with this zodiac-inspired dining guide to the CRANDIC?


While we celebrate terrific foodie options all year round, dining locally takes center stage during Foodie February

FEBRUARY 17-26, 2023 FEBRUARY 1-29, 2024

Articles inside

Dine By Your Sign article cover image

Dine By Your Sign

page 67
Stupid Good article cover image

Stupid Good

page 66
Loafers article cover image


pages 64-65
Retail in Detail article cover image

Retail in Detail

pages 62-63
Some like it sour article cover image

Some like it sour

pages 60-61
Don’t Throw Away Good Food! article cover image

Don’t Throw Away Good Food!

page 59
Food Pantry Directory article cover image

Food Pantry Directory

page 58
Farmer Kate article cover image

Farmer Kate

pages 54-55
MASTER OF LUNCH article cover image


pages 52-53
Secret Ingredient article cover image

Secret Ingredient

pages 50-51
Gold-Plated article cover image


pages 48-49
Hikes & Bites article cover image

Hikes & Bites

pages 46-47
All About Stouts article cover image

All About Stouts

pages 44-46
Des Licious article cover image

Des Licious

pages 40-43
Get Thee to the QC article cover image

Get Thee to the QC

pages 38-39
Up to Scratch article cover image

Up to Scratch

pages 36-38
Sweet & Savory article cover image

Sweet & Savory

pages 34-35
Maharishi U article cover image

Maharishi U

pages 32-33
A Food Odyssey in Fairfield article cover image

A Food Odyssey in Fairfield

pages 30-31
HERE FOR THE DRAMA. article cover image


page 29
Bubbles & Barbecue article cover image

Bubbles & Barbecue

page 28
Industry Insider article cover image

Industry Insider

pages 23-27
Let’s Do Lunch article cover image

Let’s Do Lunch

pages 20-22
Do the Twirl article cover image

Do the Twirl

pages 14-19
Notable Newbies article cover image

Notable Newbies

pages 10-13
OUTDOORS! LEADING YOU article cover image


pages 76-79
ASTROLOGY article cover image


pages 69-75
Ingersoll article cover image


pages 62-64, 66-68
Three Women, FilmScene—The Chauncey, article cover image

Three Women, FilmScene—The Chauncey,

pages 58-61
EDITORS’ PICKS: AuguST 2023 EVENTS article cover image


pages 51-56, 58
Dog Days Are Over article cover image

Dog Days Are Over

pages 48-50
top that article cover image

top that

pages 46-48
FEATURED FALL 2023 EVENTS: article cover image


pages 43-46


pages 41-42
the DIY Warden of Iowa City article cover image

the DIY Warden of Iowa City

page 40
gossip tea Coffee article cover image

gossip tea Coffee

pages 38-39
Student, Activist article cover image

Student, Activist

pages 32-37
tired of transphobia? Join the Club. article cover image

tired of transphobia? Join the Club.

pages 29-31
Roe Across the Border article cover image

Roe Across the Border

pages 26-28
A Lack of Dialogue article cover image

A Lack of Dialogue

page 25
Falta de diálogo article cover image

Falta de diálogo

pages 24-25
A Lot to Learn article cover image

A Lot to Learn

pages 22-23
Fully Booked The best Star Wars novels in the galaxy article cover image

Fully Booked The best Star Wars novels in the galaxy

page 21
Half-price gift cards article cover image

Half-price gift cards

pages 18-20
HAVE AN OPINION? article cover image


pages 13-17
LV encourages community members, including candidates for office, to submit letters to To be considered for print publication, letters should be under 500 words. Preference is given to letters that have not been published elsewhere. article cover image

LV encourages community members, including candidates for office, to submit letters to To be considered for print publication, letters should be under 500 words. Preference is given to letters that have not been published elsewhere.

page 12
36 the Mixtape Macgyver Let’s go to Leo’s article cover image

36 the Mixtape Macgyver Let’s go to Leo’s

pages 5-7