I was back in San Francisco recently for business. It was one of those whirlwind trips, filled with non-stop meetings and a delayed adjustment to Pacific Time. Fortunately, I was able to squeeze in some social time with friends and colleagues, as well as a few stops at my favorite restaurants. During one group lunch, it dawned on me that a large percentage of conversation was all about food – meals eaten, meals anticipated, restaurants that had opened or closed, and most expensive restaurant check ever (I may share the details of my biggest splurge someday, but the sticker shock is still fresh, even after several years!).
One of the things that made the move from San Francisco to Des Moines a bit easier to bear is the “food” scene right here in Central Iowa. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that I married into a family with a serious focus on food. But even beyond that, I became captivated by the local farm-to-table movement. And how can you not love the concept of a “farm crawl” (haven’t made it to one yet, but on the calendar for 2013!). Not to mention, I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss more than two Saturdays for the entire Farmer’s Market season.
Not too long ago, I extended my Des Moines food experience by taking my first ever group cooking class. And from a French chef no less, right here in Des Moines. David Baruthio chef/owner of Baru 66 teamed up with Wini Moranville, local writer and author of The Bonne Femme Cookbook , to teach a small group how to prepare and cook a 30-minute, 3 course meal. I was the only local in the group, as the other participants had driven in from quite a ways out of town – lovely folks as I got to know them. After spending 90 minutes or so observing Wini and David demonstrate and cook the recipes, each student was then asked to take his her or her turn at cooking a crepe – including the flip of said crepe back into the pan. I managed to keep mine off the floor, in spite of the nerves-induced sweaty palms. After the demonstration portion of the class, we all sat together to enjoy the 3-course menu – aperitif and wine included. Not bad for $75. I have to say, it was pretty “fantastique.” I’ve dropped the hint with the hubby that signing up for the January 13th class “The French Way with Eggs (a.k.a. Great Brunch Recipes)” would make a lovely Christmas gift. There are still several classes coming up, and I highly recommend checking them out at the Baru 66 site.
And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t also share information about my brother-in-law George’s cooking class series that starts in the New Year. George’s classes take place at 6 PM on January 18th, February 22nd, and March 15th, 2013. The classes are $100 per person and include a 45 minute demonstration of how to prepare and cook the menu, the 4 course dinner, wine pairings with each course and a recipe booklet. For more information, check out Centro’s Facebook page.
So whether you’re aiming to connect with your inner French or Italian cook, Des Moines has some pretty amazing opportunities. Santé and salute!