Vegan Restaurant News – One vegan spot out, one reopening in Des Moines

 

Fresh Cafe and Market, in its big swanky new location at 6151 Thornton Ave., opened to the public on May 11 — sort of in stealth mode. Kerri Rush (aka the wheatgrass girl), who owns the vegetarian/vegan cafe said there is still some minor construction happening and that she and the staff are working out the kinks that come with opening a restaurant. The cafe used to live in a small office building in West Des Moines.

In the meantime, the cafe is open limited hours — 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday — with a limited, takeout-style menu. And since their dishware hasn’t arrived, right now everything is being served in (compostable/biodegradable) disposable containers, although Rush said people are welcome to stay and eat in the space.

If you want to leave a little piece of yourself at the cafe for posterity, people are invited to stop by and write down their favorite quote, poem, words of wisdom or whatever inspires them. Artist Amy Putney Koenig will be painting murals on the walls that incorporate and immortalize your profundities.

Rush is planning a big grand opening fete and ribbon cutting, complete with free food and music “when it’s all done mid-July (fingers crossed),” she said. In the meantime, you can get your fresh wheatgrass shots and other Fresh Cafe goodies at the Downtown Farmers’ Market (find it under the giant green tent at the corner of Third Street and Court Avenue.

AND — yes there’s more. Fresh Cafe is also taking over the former Gateway Market Express space at the YMCA of Greater Des Moines Healthy Living Center (12493 University Ave., Clive), which is scheduled to open “in about 30 days (or whenever the health inspector approves our license.”

In other vegan news

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The New World Cafe, a vegan/vegetarian cafe, will close this summer. (Photo: Register file photo)

 

The New World Cafe, an East Village vegan restaurant (223 E. Walnut) that opened in November of 2012, will be closing sometime this summer. The cafe is owned by Adam Senecaut and Madeline Krantz, the restaurant’s chef. The menu features freshly made (and mostly organic) vegan food.

The pair announced the closing in a Facebook post on May 12 and said, in part, “After months of consideration, we have decided to close the cafe in July (exact date to be determined, and will be announced soon). …Our mission from the beginning was to be able to provide quality vegan food as well as a clearinghouse for ideas and events that push back against … patriarchy, ecocide, white supremacy, homophobia and exploitation.” The restaurant will keep its regular hours until its closing with one exception: There will be no dinner service on Wednesday or Thursdays; Friday and Saturday dinner will continue.

 

 

Geek out on Greek

The 37th Annual Greek Food Fair, a Central Iowa tradition, will be held at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George (1110 35TH St.) on Friday, June 5, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 6, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, June, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The whole Friday night thing is new, plus this year you can get mezethes (the Greek version of tapas), Greek beer, wine and ouzo. Some other changes for this year include foods from fellow Orthodox Christians, who will bring a taste of Eritrea and Ethiopia to the festival. As always, it’s a family friendly event and it’s never too early to introduce your ankle-biters to spanakopita. There will plenty of opportunity to make a happy fool of yourself dancing to traditional Greek music and to tour the historic church.

Traditional Greek dances were taught and performed at the 2013 Greek Food Fair. (Photo: Special to the Register)

 

Admission is free, but to purchase food and beverages you will need tickets. Tickets are $16 and if you buy yours in advance, you’ll get an extra punch worth $1. You can also buy tickets on the days of the event.

As my colleague, Michael Morain correctly noted, “Even after 37 years, the festival is ‘Aegean’ gracefully.” Cue the groans – and remember: I didn’t do it.

 

 

Now we’re truckin’

Des Moines can finally satiate its appetite for its local food trucks in a big way — at least 10 are set to convene at the first annual Iowa Beverage Food Truck Throwdown in the Des Moines Social Club’s Courtyard on Saturday, May 30.

Explore food truck fare, along with special beer pairings from Iowa Beverage and live music by The Maytags, Canby, Sleep Study, Karen Meat & the Computer and DJ Omatic. Attendees will vote for their favorite favorite food truck, with the winner crowned as the 2015 Iowa Beverage Food Truck Throwdown Champion.

Participating food trucks are The Spot Food Truck, Street Eats DSM, Let’s Toast, Powered By Fries, The Outside Scoop, The Box Lunch, Karam’s Mediterranean Grill, Taco Loco, Buddies Bubble Tea & Chef Ott’s Asian Cuisine and Say Cheese DSM.

Participating breweries are Oskar Blues, Lagunitas, Founders, Peace Tree, Boulevard, Smith & Forge, Leinenkugel’s, Coors Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Tecate

It’s all happening from 4 to 10 p.m. at 900 Mulberry St. and it’s free to get in. Naturally, you’ll need to pay for your eats and drinks.

 

 

Amuse bouches

Table 128 is turning 2. To celebrate, happy hour will feature $2 draws of local craft beer and $2 appetizers. Happy hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday and 4 to 6 p.m. Saturdays.

For an up close and personal look at the Wallace Centers of Iowa’s Country Life Center, get thee to Orient on Saturday, June 6, for their spring farm tour and dinner. If you’ve never been there, you’re missing out. The drive is beautiful and the farm is beautiful and of course, chef Katie Porter’s food is always beautiful. The farm tour begins at 5 p.m. and includes live music and wine tasting. At 6:30 p.m., enjoy a four-course dinner. Hours of fun for only $50 per person. For reservations, call 641-337-5019.

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A family enjoys a game of checkers outside The Gathering Table on the grounds of the Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center near Orient. (Photo: Register file photo)

 

Restaurant Week 2015 is happening Aug. 14-23 at restaurants all over the metro — from Alba to Wasabi Tao (where’s that “Z” restaurant when you need it?). During that magical week, you can go to any of the participating restaurants (nearly 40 as of right now) for their special Restaurant Week menu, and pay $25 for two lunches or one three-course dinner. The menus won’t be listed until sometime in August, but you can see the list of participating restaurants at desmoinesrestaurantweek.com.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery is kicking off summertime with some new, light menu items including Tomatillo Shrimp on Sweet Potato Cakes, Ale Portobello and Smoked Chicken Saute, Smoked Chicken Poblano and an expanded salad menu (and yep, there’s a kale salad one).