Food & Dining
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.



Ross' Restaurant to be featured on Iowa Ingredient on Iowa Public Television on Friday April 25th at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday April 26th at 11:30 a.m. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Melissa Freidhof-Rodgers   
Thursday, 24 April 2014 11:51
Bettendorf, Iowa  - Longstanding Quad City restaurant was selected to be featured on the show, "Iowa Ingredient," for it's use and support of local foods.

Iowa Ingredient showcases Iowa foods, farmers, and chefs as they explore ingredients with an Iowa flavor. Each episode features a single Iowa ingredient, like eggplant, spinach, cherries, or wine. Viewers will learn where the food is grown in Iowa, learn more about someone who grows it, and see how to use the ingredient in unique and delicious recipes. An Iowa chef will be profiled before helping us make a delectable dish or two in the Iowa Ingredient kitchen with host Charity Nebbe.

The show will feature Ross' general manager, Melissa Freidhof-Rodgers making two of her favorite dishes using local eggs.  "It was so fun to highlight an ingredient that we serve so much of to our customers on a daily basis, we serve over 5,000 per week and are so proud to be using local, cage free eggs fresh from Iowa farms.  I am passionate about local foods was honored to be selected for the show by the producers.  I like to call the use of local food products a triple win:  better for local economy, they taste better and are better for your health."

There will be a live broadcast event of the Ross' segment at the Quad Cities Food Hub on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and a sampling of one of the featured dishes that Freidhof-Rodgers made for the show as well as copies of the recipes from the show.  This will be part of a "Helping Hands Day" (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at the Quad Cities Food Hub, which will involve building a community demonstration garden at the Food Hub.

Mother’s Day is the Most Popular Holiday to Dine Out PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Katelyn Kostek   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 14:00

Mother’s Day is the Most Popular Holiday to Dine Out

Two-thirds of those dining out on Mother's Days this year will have children under the age of 18 in their party


April 22, 2014, West Des Moines, Iowa— Don’t wait to make those restaurant reservations, Mother’s Day surpasses even Valentine’s Day as the most popular holiday on which to dine out according to research from the Iowa Restaurant Association. In fact, nearly half of moms would pick a favorite restaurant as the place to celebrate Mother's Day.

Not sure what to include with that card?  “There’s really no need to worry about how to celebrate the moms in your life,” said Jessica Dunker, Iowa Restaurant Association president and CEO. “Moms love restaurants. Not only do restaurants provide a much-deserved reprieve from cooking at home, they also provide a celebratory atmosphere.”  Restaurant gift cards and certificates are also a top gift pick for moms, with one in five saying this is their preferred gift.

Dunker noted that it is important to get on top of making those Mother’s Day restaurant reservations. “It’s not too soon to make those reservations regardless of the meal you’re planning to celebrate,” said Dunker.  58 percent of Mother's Day diners will go out to a restaurant for dinner, 32 percent lunch, 24 percent brunch, and 10 percent for breakfast.  In addition, one in five Mother's Day diners (19 percent) will go out for more than one meal that day. Atmosphere is also an important factor because children are a major part of the mix when dining out on Mother's Day. Two-thirds of those dining out on Mother's Days this year will have children under the age of 18 in their party.

Find a Restaurant

Looking for a new restaurant to try this Mother’s Day? Dunker encourages people to check out Dine Iowa, a free statewide restaurant directory.  Available online as well as a free smart phone app and on Facebook, Dine Iowa allows consumers to check out menus and hours, as well as run unique searches on everything from Gluten Free offerings to patio seating.  It is available at

Editor's note: in the Quad Cities area, log on to and find that special restaurant for this wonderful occassion.

Iowa Restaurant Association

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

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Freight House Farmers' Market news PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Rick Martin   
Monday, 21 April 2014 13:25

Just a friendly reminder, folks, that the Freight House Farmers' Market is open on Tuesdays from 3pm until 6pm in addition to their regular Saturday hours of 8am until 1pm.

Starting in May the outdoor market will be in full "bloom" as vendors will fill the lots with hundreds of fresh, locally grown and produced items.

For more information, please visit

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