Food & Dining
A Taste of LeClaire Restaurants – all with a River View. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Cindy Bruhn   
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 13:14
You can’t find many businesses in LeClaire that don’t have a picturesque river view and the restaurants are no exception. Combine an amazing view with a delectable meal and you have a winning combination. Following is just a sampling of the full-service restaurants in LeClaire.

When you enter LeClaire from I-80 and turn up river, you will see Steventon’s on the bluff to your left. The restaurant has a full wall of windows that provides a great view for inside diners and a beautiful deck and fire pit for your fun, outdoor dining experience.  Enjoy an extensive menu of exquisitely prepared American Classics, served in a modern yet elegant atmosphere. On Sunday, delight in a brunch that has been voted “Best Sunday Brunch” in the Quad City area.

To your right, next to the river, is the Bier Stube. They offer authentic German fare, sandwiches, soups, full bar and a large selection of German beers on tap, all with a beautiful river view with outdoor seating.

As you enter the downtown area you will find the Crane & Pelican at Dodge & 2nd Street – just one block up off of Cody Road and they also have a river view. They serve wonderful comfort food with locally sourced produce and meat. Crane & Pelican has won awards for Best New Restaurant, Best Kept Secret, and Best Vegetarian Dining in the Quad City area.

Next up on your right is the Faithful Pilot Café & Spirits offering a river view with exquisite menu items created by award winning Chef Robert Day. They offer an outdoor dining experience, too, and have won awards for Best Fine Dining in the Quad City area.

Also on your right is Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor. Voted Best Pizza in the Quad City area, you can also enjoy pasta, sandwiches, salads, ice cream and a weekday lunch buffet. Grab a window seat or sit outside on their new deck.

In the mood for Mexican food, then try the Blue Iguana. It is a fun Mexican cantina with blue margaritas, full bar, great food, and outdoor seating on the street side and riverside of the restaurant.

Beside Blue Iguana you will find Sneaky Pete’s Woodfire Grill, but don’t wear your favorite tie. It will soon become a trophy to be hung from the ceiling of the restaurant.  Fun aside, you will dine on some of the best steaks west of the Mississippi River. Other entrees include hamburgers, catfish, salmon, shrimp, and ham and all are cooked on a wood fire grill. Included with your meal is a full salad bar served up in an old claw-foot bathtub.

Other eateries include everything from snacks like popcorn, fudge, candy, ice cream and shaved ice to casual dining, fast food, and pub food. It really is “All there… In LeClaire!”

A complete list of LeClaire eateries can be found at

LeClaire, Iowa is located at a point where the Mississippi River makes a sharp bend to the southwest. LeClaire's historic bond with the river and the bold men who tamed the Upper Rapids is still visible in the homes and buildings they left behind. On May 7, 1979, their homes were recognized as part of the nine-block Cody Road Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. LeClaire’s other attractions include the Buffalo Bill Museum/Lone Star Sternwheeler, Mississippi River Distilling Co., and Antique Archaeology, home of the American Pickers.

For more information on LeClaire visit

Iowa State Fair Names New Foods Finalists PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Lori Chappell   
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 09:37

DES MOINES, IA (06/27/2013)(readMedia)-- "Happiness Is" new food at the Iowa State Fair! Eight concessionaires submitted tasty treats in the new foods contest to vie for a finalist title. Fairgoers can try these offerings along with countless other Fair foods August 8-18.

Bringing the beach to Iowa, the Shrimp Corndog, available at the Po-Boy Stand, is a savory snack featuring three fresh shrimp dipped in corndog batter, fried to golden perfection and topped with a sweet jalapeno glaze.

The Smoothie On-a-stick at Turkey Time Concessions will offer Fairgoers a sweet and healthy way to cool down. The strawberry smoothie is frozen, put on a stick and ready to be eaten on any hot August Fair day.

The Bacon Wrapped Riblet On-a-stick, available at the Bud Tent, is a pork riblet wrapped in bacon, hickory smoked and then basted with barbeque sauce.

Additional sweet entries included a Fried Brownie On-a-stick, a Soft Salted Chocolate-Dipped Almond Pretzel On-a-stick and a Coconut Mountain, a soft and chewy coconut ball rolled in coconut flakes and dipped in fresh chocolate. These treats join more than 50 foods on-a-stick offered at the Fair.

The mouth watering treats don't stop there. Both the Sweet Corn Corndog, a hot dog dipped in batter enriched with fried sweet corn, and the Rib Shack Cowboy, cowboy beans, brisket or pork, cole slaw, a signature chip and barbeque sauce in a spice-flavored waffle cone, will entice Fairgoers looking for a unique treat.

Concessionaires were asked to submit a creative food item that aligned with the integrity of their current menu. The Iowa State Fair Board judged the food entries based on taste/flavor, presentation/appearance, value and creativity/originality. The contest winner will be announced during the Fair.

More new 2013 Fair foods will be announced in early July.

"Nothing Compares" to the Iowa State Fair set August 8-18, 2013. Save money on advance admission tickets now through August 7 (while supplies last). For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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5 Recipes that Prove Healthy is the New Delicious PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 17 June 2013 14:09

With adventurous food tastes and concerns ranging from personal health to ethical agriculture and livestock practices, more people are exploring alternative diets.

But that’s not always easy – or palatable.

“You have paleo and primal diets, pescatarian and raw foods, vegetarian and vegan, and they all have wonderful merits, especially when compared with the processed foods many Americans continue to eat,” says Holistic Chef and Certified Healing Foods Specialist Shelley Alexander, author of “Deliciously Holistic,” (

“My focus is on easy-to-follow healing foods recipes that make delicious, completely nourishing meals. Some will appeal to those who adhere to a strict diet, such as vegan, and all will make people feel noticeably healthier without sacrificing any of the enjoyment we get from sitting down to eat.”

Alexander offers five recipes that can be used for any meal of the day or night, including:

• Mango chia ginger granola (raw, vegan): 2 ripe mangos, peeled, cored and sliced in one-inch cubes; 2 cups Living Intentions chia ginger cereal; 2 cups nut or seed milk. Put ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! The cereal is gluten-free, nut-free, and raw- and vegan-diet friendly, and extremely nutritious. Preparation takes five minutes or less and is hearty enough to satisfy appetites the entire morning. The ingredients can be substituted for dietary needs or preferences.

• Portobello mushroom and grilled onion burgers (vegan): Marinade for the mushroom is essential – 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar; 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil; 1 tablespoon wheat-free Tamari or organic Nama Shoyu soy sauce; 1/8 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika; 1 peeled garlic clove (grated or minced); 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; 2 teaspoons organic maple syrup – grade B. The burgers include 4 large Portobello mushrooms – cleaned and patted dry; 1 large white onion (peeled and cut into thick slices); olive or avocado oil to cook mushrooms and onions; 2 sprouted whole grain hamburger buns –toasted; Dijon mustard; ¼ cup baby romaine lettuce – washed and patted dry. Marinate mushrooms and onions for 30 minutes. Drizzle with oil and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, turning mushrooms halfway through. Serve immediately.

• Wild blueberry smoothie (raw, vegan): 3 cups vanilla Brazil nut milk (there is an additional recipe for this); 2 cups fresh or frozen wild or organic blueberries; 1 peeled banana – organic or fair trade; 2 to 3 cups organic baby spinach; 1 small avocado – peeled and pitted; ¼ teaspoon cinnamon; (optional) a preferred protein powder or superfood. Blend until creamy. Blueberries are an amazing fruit packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients.

• Raw corn chowder (raw, vegan): 4 cups organic corn kernels (best during summer months); 2¼ cups unsweetened almond milk; 1 clove peeled garlic (remove inner stem); 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice; ½ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika; 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; ½ avocado (peeled and seed removed); unrefined sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Blend ingredients and strain; top with corn kernels and diced organic red bell pepper. Among other nutrients, corn provides lutein – an important carotenoid that protects eyes from macular degeneration.

• Dijon honey chicken wings: 1/3 cup Dijon mustard; ½ medium peeled lemon – remove all the white pith; ¼ cup raw honey; 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt; 2 large, peeled garlic cloves – grated; 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper; 12 whole chicken wings – rinsed and patted dry; ½ teaspoon paprika. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Blend ingredients in a blender, except for wings and paprika, until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove tips of cleaned wings and store in freezer for future stock. Place wings on lightly greased baking dish, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, place in oven. After 30 minutes baste wings with juices from pan, then brush mustard sauce all over wings, sprinkle with paprika and continue baking for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. Wings should have internal temperature of 165 degrees when done. These are a healthy and tasty alternative to deep-fat-fried wings.

About Shelley Alexander, CHFS

Shelley Alexander has enjoyed a lifelong love of delicious, locally grown, seasonal foods. She received her formal chef’s training at The Los Angeles Culinary Institute. Alexander is a certified healing foods specialist, holistic chef, blogger and owner of the holistic health company, A Harmony Healing, in Los Angeles.

News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Laurie Johns   
Friday, 14 June 2013 14:09

There are some things we can agree on that we don’t like about summers in Iowa: mosquitos, humidity, road construction.  But all are quickly forgotten once we catch the waft of juicy meat sizzling on the grill or pork ribs slowly smoking in the Cookshack.

Neighbors who were previously only seen waving from their cars in winter magically appear in our backyard to debate the finer points of meat rub recipes and barbeque sauces.  “Do you make your own rub? Do you sear the meat first? What’s the internal temperature?”  Such conversations are done in the same serious tones of nuclear physicists measuring alpha particles.  These are the Mensa’s of Meat.

Mensa’s of Meat congregate and compete each year at the Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest ( at the Iowa State Fair.  This year will be the 50th Cookout Contest and I’m sure competition will be stiff as county Farm Bureaus begin their contests.   It’s intense, but it’s just as fun to stand on the sidelines and watch; hundreds of State Fair-goers do that (and get free samples in the meantime).

I, and other women in my neighborhood, have surrendered the whole meat grilling/smoking endeavor to our husbands.   Some of these men, who admittedly can’t seem to do a single load of laundry without turning everything gray, are transformed into subject matter Experts on Everything, simply by standing at their backyard smoker/grills.  They gather to debate every culinary detail and nuance of spice rubs and sauces: “You’ve added one teaspoon of cayenne, right? I use two, and a touch of cumin.”

It’s refreshing to surrender the evening meal to the Mensa’s of Meat.  No challenge is offered, no criticisms leveled.  None dare; although I heard one year, one spouse got tired of waiting for dinner to start, so she went on the patio, lifted the lid of the smoker and complained loudly.  She hasn’t been seen since.

But seriously, I don’t  interrupt the bliss, the adventure, or traditional domain of the Mensa’s of Meat gathering.  Any attempt to enter the backyard and I get waved away by my husband, who is gamely armed with a rather ominous-looking stainless steel seasoning injector.  Our two small dogs hover nearby, sniffing the air, respected ancestral members of the same carnivorous pack, bound by a mutual pursuit of the perfect steak.

Tonight, we’re having smoked pork ribs.  Or, so I’m told.  Don’t ask me how they’re done, or when they’ll be done, but the men and dogs are gathering.  The way I look at it; what better tribute to Father’s Day than to patiently pay homage to the Mensa’s of Meat?

News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Andrew Wheeler   
Friday, 14 June 2013 10:00

County Contests Kick Off June 15th

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – June 13, 2013 – The sweet smell of barbeque and smoked meat will soon be wafting in the air when the state’s best grillers gather to compete in the 50th annual Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest on August 13 during the 2013 Iowa State Fair.

The championship pursuit begins in June when county Farm Bureaus host local contests to determine winners in several categories of outdoor cooking. Interested grillers and attendees should contact their county Farm Bureau office for more details and information on rules and local contests.

Local finalists from around the state will compete at the state fair for the coveted 2013 Cookout Contest Championship and cash prizes.  A gas grill, donated by Iowa Propane Gas Association (valued at $1,000), will be given to the winner in the youth category.

“Iowans take their grilling seriously and every year contestants from around the state look forward to showcasing their skills at our annual state cookout contest,” said Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Coordinator Denny Harding.  “It’s a great way for grillers to demonstrate their creativity while preparing high-quality meats produced here in Iowa.”

Contestants will compete in six categories: beef, pork, lamb, poultry, turkey, and combo/specialty.  Entries in the beef category will be limited to chuck or round primal cuts, including ground chuck or ground round.  Combo recipes combine two or more meats from the five other categories.  Specialty recipes may feature venison or any other Iowa domestically raised product.  All wild game is excluded.  Dishes will be judged on taste, appearance, and originality.  Special recognition will go to contestants in showmanship, youth and team cooking categories.  Youth grillers must be between the ages of 13 and 18 years, as of August 1, 2013.  Farm Bureau or affiliated company employees are not eligible to compete.


About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to helping farm families prosper and improve their quality of life.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve economic growth, educational improvement, and environmental quality in their communities.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at

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