Food & Dining
Summer Shouldn’t Mean Hunger for Our Nation’s Children PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by By Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services   
Monday, 07 April 2014 07:34

As a child, I always looked forward to the carefree joy of summertime. I remember the long days of playing outside at a nearby park until I needed to come home for lunch.  Unfortunately, many of our nation’s children do not experience the simple joys of summer.  In fact, far too many are left worrying where their next breakfast or lunch will come from when schools are dismissed for summer break.

During the school year, about 31 million American children receive school meals through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program every day. About 21 million of those children receive meals at a discounted rate or for free, based on their family’s income.  When summer rolls around, though, only about 3.5 million of these children participate in USDA’s summer meals programs.

That means millions of eligible low-income children are at risk of going hungry during the summer months. And we know that to thrive and reach their highest potential, children need good nutrition all year long.

USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is working to fill this hunger gap for children who qualify for free and reduced price meals during the school year. The program serves free healthy meals to eligible children ages 18 and under, and is made possible through the efforts of national, state, and local partners, including a cadre of energized volunteers.

While USDA has worked to increase access to summer meals for low-income children for many years, SFSP began receiving priority attention in 2013.  Last summer, USDA employed a new tactic of working with partners to deliver intensive, targeted technical assistance on SFSP in five states.  The result was a historic increase in the number of meals served, nationwide—7 million more than the previous year!  We hope to continue building on last year’s successes with our state and local partners in 2014, and move closer to closing the summer hunger gap.

The key to success this year will be expanding the number of sites open for summer meals. We must spread the word to schools, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and faith and other community organizations across the nation; their participation is critical for the continued success of SFSP. The deadlines to become Summer Food Service Program sponsors vary by State, and begin as early as April 15. Program sponsors oversee and provide meals to summer sites.  In return, USDA, through the States, reimburses program sponsors for the meals served to children.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I say that galvanizing hundreds of faith-based groups, civic groups, recreation centers, food banks, schools, other non-profit organizations, and volunteers takes time, effort and commitment on all sides.  For any community that treasures its youth (and I haven’t met one that doesn’t), we must organize now to fight hunger this summer.

If you or your organization is interested in helping us reduce the risk of hunger among our nation’s youth, visit our website, The summer meals outreach toolkit includes sample outreach plans, templates, customizable flyers, door hangers, letters to parents, examples of site activities, best practices, and more.  State representatives are also available to answer questions and facilitate sponsor enrollment and site registration.

This year, let’s work together to make sure every child in our great nation has a hunger-free summer.

Iowa Distillery Hauls In International Awards PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Ryan Burchett   
Friday, 04 April 2014 13:59

Le Claire, Iowa, April 2, 2014 – A small distillery in Eastern Iowa is turning heads all over the country with their award winning handmade spirits.  Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire, Iowa has recently been recognized with 8 different awards at international tasting competitions.

Most significantly, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition has awarded MRDC’s River Rose Gin with a gold medal.  This competition is widely regarded as one of the top competitions in the US and features brands from all around the world.  Distillers and importers submitted 1,474 spirits from 63 countries into the competition.

“We are obviously big fans of our gin, but we are blown away by this recognition.”  Said owner and distiller Ryan Burchett.  “It is such a distinctive spirit that we were afraid it might be too unique to do well in a broad tasting like this.  We were thrilled to hear the judges liked it as much as we do.”

River Rose Gin wasn’t the only spirit from Mississippi River Distilling Company recognized in the competition.  Cody Road Bourbonreceived a silver medal while Cody Road Rye Whiskey and River Pilot Vodka also received bronze medals.

The Beverage Tasting Institute in Chicago sent more accolades for MRDC spirits as well.  The annual tasting event there honored Cody Road Bourbon and Cody Road Rye with silver medals with River Rose Gin grabbing a bronze medal.  BTI relies heavily on highly experienced, professional guest tasters who are either retailers, restaurateurs, or prominent writers that are especially knowledgeable about the beverage category being reviewed.  All panelists are rigorously screened and audited and then trained in BTI’s proprietary blind tasting methodology.

Tasting notes for Cody Road Bourbon included, “Bright amber color. Interesting aromas of singed praline, waxed wood, fruitcake and faint pepper smoked jerky with a supple, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a racy, candied citrus and nuts, baking spices, cocoa, salted caramel, white pepper, and cedar finish. Good depth and intensity for cocktails.”

The BTI team “highly recommended” the Cody Road Rye Whiskey by noting, “Golden amber color. Aromas of oily roasted nuts, suede, dried fruits, and toasted meringue with a silky, dryish medium body and a smooth and even, rye dough, honeyed raisin toast, cedar, and mineral finish. Refreshing restraint, refinement and subtlety that grows on you when sipping.”

BTI described River Rose Gin as, “Clear. Aromas of licorice gum, white balsamic marinated pears, pepper muffin and a whiff of latex with a satiny, dryish medium body and a mint-herb lozenge, grass, and white pepper accented finish.”

The final award came from the American Craft Distillers Association where a group of MRDC’s peers selected River Rose Ginas a bronze medal winner at their annual conference in February.  The event in Denver brought together craft distillers and professionals from all around the country.  The tasting allowed distillers to get feedback from others in the craft business.

“This award might mean as much as any of them.”  Said owner and distiller Garrett Burchett.  “When the people who are out trying to make a living out of this stuff every day tell you you’re doing a good job, it is exciting and truly humbling.”

These awards are on the heels of additional national recognition in Country Living Magazine where their Cody Road Bourbon was selected as one of the magazine’s favorite bourbons made outside of Kentucky.  Whisky Advocate Magazine also recently featured the Cody Road Whiskies in their tasting notes and buying guide along with a feature on the distillery on the magazine’s blog.

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.

Pancake Breakfast PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Blue Grass American Legion Post 711   
Friday, 21 March 2014 15:11

American Legion Post #711, Blue Grass, Iowa, is hosting an All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Serving will be from 6:30am until 10:00am at the Blue Grass Legion Hall, 106 S Juniata St.

The menu includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, homemade syrup, potatoes, biscuits & gravy, cinnamon rolls, juice, milk and coffee.

The event is open to the public. Cost is $7 for adults, $3.50 for children ages 4 thru 12, and free for those under 4 years old.

Eastside Bakery opens in the Hilltop Campus Village PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Scott Tunnicliff   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 12:18

Eastside Bakery, for years a well-regarded provider of baked goods, has just opened on the corner of 15th and Harrison Street, in the heart of the Hilltop Campus Village.

“We are just so excited to be here; it just feels right.” said owner and baker Nikki La Tray. “We remain close to our valued customers, and now have the visibility to attract more business. This gets us close to lots of churches, schools and residential neighborhoods, all of whom we look forward to serving.”

The new space is across the street from the new Harrison Lofts residential/commercial complex, and just north of the Hilltop Plaza.

“This project involved many people, each putting the extra effort in to make it work.”, said Hilltop Campus Village director Scott Tunnicliff. “Nicky came looking for space at the behest of one of the churches in our area. We ran a few location options by her, and she fell in love with this older, really cool building. From there it was a matter of her dealing directly with the owner and the city to make it happen.”

The Hilltop Campus Village has conducted multiple surveys of students, residents and employees in the area asking what type of service business were most desired. According to Tunnicliff, a bakery and a place to serve fresh pizza were at or near the top of the list.

Ms. LaTray has been in business for several years and has a loyal following. “People love our bakery items, as well as our pizza. They didn’t want to see us move, but I they understood our situation. I opened this morning, and was nearly sold out by 11:00am. That’s a good sign.”

March 2014 Events and Concerts at Trumpet Blossom Café PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Katy Meyer   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 09:52

Greetings from Trumpet Blossom Café--

We hope this finds you well and that you’re enjoying what promises to be the most anticipated Spring in recent memory. Time to get those seeds started; time to go back to wearing one pair of socks; time to smile a little bit wider when you walk out the front door in the morning!

We can barely put into words how excited we are about the great thaw of 2014…

So what’s going on these days? Well, we have some pretty great events planned for this Spring and I’m here to tell you that I am really looking forward to seeing everyone out & about!

Check out the calendar on our website:

Or on our Facebook page:

I want to make sure to tell you about the new menu too!! We’re getting ready to head into the best part of the year for local veggies and it’s time to make some changes to our menus so that we can get the best out of what our home has to offer. (Don’t worry, the reuben will always be on the menu.) I want to keep most of it a surprise but I will say that we’re working on an amazing (and gluten-free) baked mac & cheese for the dinner menu, made with a creamy cashew-roasted winter squash sauce that’ll be topped with crispy cornbread and lightly-dressed fresh veggies. We acquired a few hundred pounds of winter squash last year and diligently roasted, peeled, pureed, and froze it so we can enjoy it all summer ‘til it comes around again! There are tons of other new items in the works so make sure to come by and get the last taste of your favorites from the winter menus and leave room for your new favorites come Spring. We’re aiming for the new menu to debut when April begins.


Yoga Dinner -- Event I
We are bringing back the Spring Yoga Dinner series, which will start this Sunday March 9th at 5:30 pm. The lovely & talented Sarah Driscoll will lead a one-hour hatha yoga class after which I will make you a delicious organic vegan 3-course meal! Beginners (to yoga & vegan food) are always welcome & encouraged to participate. Please bring a yoga mat & any props you normally use but do let us know if you need to borrow a mat—no worries! Please email me if you have any questions about our Yoga Dinners. My email is  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Wine Dinner -- Event II
We’re also hosting our first Wine Dinner in partnership with Okoboji Wines. Our wine rep, Brandon, will be guiding you through four courses of wine we’ve selected, each paired with some tasty dishes we’ll prepare especially for the evening. Our good friend, Pete Balestrieri, will also be joining us to lend a delightful saxophone soundtrack to the evening. It promises to be a cozy and informative night so make your reservations soon. (Call 319-248-0077 or email me!)

March Concerts --
We have a couple great shows this month (Low Forms from Duluth on March 14 and Speedy Ortiz from Massachusetts on March 20) and we’re planning our first ever Drink & Draw night on Thursday March 27th. Drink & Draw is basically just what it sounds like and we’re in the process of figuring out a theme for the night and some fun prizes and maybe some live music to draw by as well. Stay tuned and please be sure to check out our Facebook page for more details about upcoming shows.

APRIL 2014

Iowa Ingredients -- Event III
As some of you may know, I was lucky enough to be asked to be a part of Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Ingredient last year. The crew came here to tape some segments and I traveled to Des Moines for the studio portion of the show. It was quite the time and I had to get over some silly-ish fears about being on television and being made the center of attention, if only for a minute. The whole experience was a blast and everyone was so, so kind. The episode is set to air on Friday April 11th at 6:30 pm on IPTV. You can learn more about the show at their website:

I’ll make sure to remind you again soon because self-promotion is another thing I’ve had to wrap my head around since this whole adventure began! (That whole modest Midwesterner thing is quite true.)

Second Anniversary Party -- Event IV
And lastly, mark your calendars now for our Second Anniversary Party on Saturday April 19th!! Details to follow but plan for a full day and night of food, drinks, music, friends, and FUN! Thank you to each & every one of you who has helped us along the way the past two years. I can’t believe it’s been that long already! It’s been amazing and is only getting better!

Don’t forget—join us on your birthday for a free dessert! Just show your server your ID and the birthday dessert is on us! If you’re not into sweets, you can always enjoy a fresh-squeezed juice or a fruit smoothie.

Thanks for hangin’ in there this winter, Iowa City (and beyond), and we’ll see you soon!

Take care & thanks for reading,

Katy Meyer, chef/owner Trumpet Blossom Café

310 E. Prentiss St. :: Iowa City, IA :: 319-248-0077

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