Food & Dining
1,500 People Receive Advanced Food Safety Certification in First Quarter of 2014 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Iowa Restaurant Association   
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 08:48
New Standards Up the Ante for Food Safety in Restaurants -- 1,500 People Receive Advanced Food Safety Certification in First Quarter of 2014

June 10, 2014 – West Des Moines, IA – On January 1, Iowa instituted a new food code which includes a requirement that every food service establishment have a certified food protection manager on staff. This certification is earned by taking an approved food safety and sanitation course and passing a national standards exam. Since the adoption of the new standard, more than 1,500 people across the state have earned the designation – a 30% increase over the number of people who had taken the exam in first quarter last year. 

“Prior to the new requirement, many of Iowa’s 6,000+ restaurants and bars had already determined that having a certified food safety professional is good for business,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “This new standard ups the ante for all food service establishments and will ultimately enhance the experience for all customers.”
ServSafe Food Safety certification classes are offered bi-monthly through the Iowa Restaurant Association and ISU extension offices across the state. The certification is good for five years. 


Iowa Restaurant Association
The Iowa Restaurant Association is an advocacy organization supporting Iowa’s restaurant and bar industry with educational and promotional programs across the state.

"Rock'n Round the Grounds" at the 2014 Corndog Kickoff PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Drew Norton   
Monday, 09 June 2014 15:32

DES MOINES, IA (06/09/2014)(readMedia)-- Join the Blue Ribbon Foundation in "Rock'n Round the Grounds," at the 18th annual Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Fair Food Grazing Party on Saturday, July 12 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Doors to the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building will open at 6:30 p.m. for a night filled with exciting auction packages, entertainment and all of your favorite Fair foods. Gear up for the 2014 Iowa State Fair while raising funds to renovate and restore the historic Fairgrounds!

More than 200 enticing auction packages fill the live and silent auctions. Spend the night at the unique Hotel Pattee and dine at the Chef's Table for a 5 course meal with ten of your friends. Experience bacon at its finest with VIP treatment at the 8th annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. Or, watch Florida Georgia Line's sold out performance during the Iowa State Fair from the second row of the stage seating area.

The Corndog Kickoff has been a pre-fair tradition since it began in 1997. First held in Pioneer Hall, 460 people were in attendance. Since then, the event has grown to raise more than $3.1 million for the restoration and preservation of the Iowa State Fairgrounds. The 2013 event brought in a crowd of 1,600 and raised a record high of $416,000!

"The Corndog Kickoff is a special event for Iowans which serves as our largest annual fundraiser for the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation," said Peter Cownie, Foundation Executive Director. "The funds generated from the Corndog Kickoff make a significant impact on improving the Fairgrounds and exemplifies the support Iowans have for their State Fair. We are grateful for all of the support. Thank you."

Take advantage of the advance ticket price by ordering now. All inclusive Corndog Kickoff tickets are $75 each until June 30. After that date, tickets will be $100. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Blue Ribbon Foundation at (800) 450-3732, online at or at the door the night of the event.

The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Since its inception in 1993, the Foundation has generated more than $100 million for renovations and improvements to the Iowa State Fairgrounds. For more information on the Corndog Kickoff, please contact the Foundation at (800) 450-3732 or


MRDC Strawberry Vodka Back and First Friday! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Ryan Burchette   
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 14:18

Le Claire, Iowa, June 4, 2014 – You can almost taste summer with Mississippi River Distilling Company’s latest seasonal release, Pride of the Wapsi Strawberry Vodka.  You can grab your bottle this Friday, June 6, at First Friday at the LeClaire distillery from 5:30-8:00 p.m.  This is a limited release of this popular summer seasonal with only 1,000 bottles available for distribution.  In an effort to get this awesome summer spirit in people’s hands earlier, the gang at MRDC made extra last year and saved it back for this year in order to release it earlier.

First Friday will also feature a new series of cocktail glasses.  The first series of pint glasses was such a big hit, so this time a set of four cocktail glasses with classic whiskey quotes on them is being offered.  It’s called the "Whiskey Wit" collection.  For every bottle of spirits purchased Friday night, you’ll receive a free cocktail glass with a quote from Johnny Carson, "Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whiskey, and a dog to eat the rare steak."  A new glass will be released at each First Friday with quotes from W.C. Fields and Compton McKenzie coming in July and August.  There are just a few of the May glasses left if you want to play catch up.  Realizing that not everyone can make every First Friday, extra glasses have been ordered that will be available for sale for $10 each in the distillery store after First Friday.  These will also be available online for ordering while supplies last starting on Friday.

There will also be some great summer themed cocktails to sample in the tasting room including a strawberry mojito with the new strawberry vodka and a strawberry bourbon lemonade cocktail!  In the kitchen, Chef Steph is featuring a spicy Cody Road Bourbon grilling sauce and a strawberry vodka rhubarb dessert sauce.

Coming up on June 27, MRDC will release the next new seasonal spirit, Big Peach Liqueur.  The official release will be at the July First Friday on Friday, July 4.

Mississippi River Distilling Company is open from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday and from 12 to 5 PM Sundays.  Free tours are offered to the public daily on the hour from 12 to 4 PM or by appointment.  The tour takes visitors through the entire distilling process.  Tours end in the Grand Tasting Room with free samples of products for those patrons over 21 years of age.


Reasons to Eat Local PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 10:07

How Committed is Your State to Local Foods?
Physician-Chef Shares 4 Reasons You Should Care

Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, respectively, claimed the top three spots in the 2014 Locavore Index, a ranking of each state’s (and the District of Columbia’s) commitment to promoting and providing locally grown foods.

At the bottom of the heap are Arizona, Nevada and Texas, with the Lone Star State dead last despite the fact that it’s the nation’s No. 1 cattle producer and No. 3 for crops receipts, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“There are many good reasons to eat locally produced foods, the first among them that they’re very good for us,” says cardiologist and professional chef Michael S. Fenster, MD, (, author of “Eating Well, Living Better” and “The Fallacy of the Calorie,” (Koehler Books; fall 2014).

“There’s a direct relationship between our food, our environment, our genetics and our health. Eating locally grown foods gives us our most nutritious meals, most flavorful meals. Few choices have as many personal ramifications as that which we decide to stuff into our gob.”

He offers four more reasons – “the tip of the iceberg lettuce, so to speak” -- to go localvore:

•  Money: Eating organically, eating fresh and finding the seasonal local foodstuffs can be expensive – if you do all your shopping at the supermarket, Dr. Mike says.

“Finding healthful produce at venues like a local farmer's market can result in prices that are at least comparable, if not substantially less than, those at the megamarket, which has the additional costs of shipping from the nether regions,” he says.

Likewise, visiting a local fishmonger can result in tasty bargains compared to flash-frozen fish flesh. Shopping for what is bountifully in season, and thus locally overstocked, can mean big savings.

“Finally, by purchasing items produced locally, your money strengthens the local economy and helps sustain the people producing the types of food stuffs that you wish to sustain yourself upon,” he says. “That is the smiley face circle of life.”

•  Freshness: In some ways, it’s amazing we’re alive considering all the food we eat that’s dead, Dr. Mike says, noting almost 60 percent of the modern Western diet is prepackaged, preserved and processed.

“Any time we manipulate our comestibles in such a fashion, we add compounds that are not naturally found in them or remove parts that are,” he says. “Those pre-cut vegetables in the supermarket may be convenient, but they started losing nutritional value and flavor as soon as they were sliced and diced.”

Because local growers don’t have to add preservatives or pick produce weeks early to ensure they’ll produce will keep during shipping, local foods can be consumed at the peak of freshness and ripeness – when they taste their very best.

•  Rhythms: Our great hairy ancestors have always been omnivores.

“There is ample evidence that the reason we as a species became the smartest kids on the block is that we took advantage of a varied diet.  This hardwired drive for diversity in dining is also one reason why restrictive diets that seek to severely limit what we consume almost always, ultimately fail,” Dr. Mike says.

By leveraging the seasonal and cyclic variations that naturally occur, your palate will never become dull and monochromatic, he promises.  A pleasant dining experience directly lights up our primal happy-happy joy-joy place, an experience that contributes directly to overall well-being.

•  Sustainability: All the reasons for purchasing high-quality ingredients locally ultimately circle back and rest upon the concept of sustainability. In knowing where your food comes from, in being able to ascertain both what it contains and what it does not contain, you take a proactive step in determining your own health and wellness, Dr. Mike says.

By focusing on procuring the best for you and those who depend upon you, you act to sustain yourself and your family. By affecting such a posture, you deliver local impact.

“With enough people acting locally, the impact becomes regional and if enough people demand control over their foodstuffs then, like a crazy cat video gone viral, it can have a global effect.”

About Michael S. Fenster, MD

Michael Fenster, M.D., F.A.C.C., FSCA&I, PEMBA, is a board-certified interventional cardiologist. Also known as “Dr. Mike,” author of “Eating Well, Living Better: The Grassroots Gourmet Guide to Good Health and Great Food,” (, he combines his culinary talents and Asian philosophy with medical expertise, creating winning recipes for healthy eating. A certified wine professional and chef, Dr. Mike worked professionally in kitchens prior to entering medical school and maintained his passion for food and wine throughout his medical career.

Rudy's Tacos Celebrates Cinco de Mayo PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Courtney Boothe   
Tuesday, 29 April 2014 12:42

Festivities take place all day at the 11th St. Location 

Davenport, IA/ April 14, 2014 – Rudy's Tacos is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a big party starting at noon on Saturday, May 3rd located at their newly renovated 11th Street location in Davenport.  Bands this year include, “The Blues All Stars”, “Pieces of Candy” and “The Hooks”.  The big news this year is the Taco Eating Contest starting at 5:00pm.  Those who would like to participate for a grand prize of a $100 Rudy’s Tacos Gift Card can register at the 11th Street location in the Village of East Davenport.  As in the past, there will be great food and drink specials to celebrate the day as well.

So what is Cinco de Mayo all about??  Cinco de Mayo or May 5th in English, is a day commemorating the anniversary of a battle where Mexican forces defeated French invading forces against great odds.  This early victory in the campaign to drive the French out, is known as the Battle of Puebla, and it took place on May 5, 1862.

About Rudy’s Tacos: Rudy’s Tacos was founded in 1973 by Rudy and Marilyn Quijas. This first restaurant located at 2214 East 11th Street in the Village of East Davenport, seated 15-20 people. By 1977 the business had out grown the tiny building.  Work began in the late fall tearing down the old building, and the new larger building opened for business in the summer of 1977. Since the late 70’s Rudy’s business has grown to include 11 other locations in both Iowa and Illinois.



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