Saison's Opening, Mini-Review of Waterfront, and More
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Saison Is Open

The long-awaited Windsor Heights venue, which took over the spot once occupied by Mustard's, opened yesterday. David Baruthio (Baru 66 et al.) and Mike Crownover (most recently of Lurra Cocina and formerly of Orchestrate Management) are partners in this venture.

In brief: The culinary niche falls somewhere between Star Bar and Eatery A. (Small plates, sliders, and seasonal entrees including lamb ragu; root-vegetable and barley casserole; winter penne with squash, mushrooms and sage; a three-cheese mac-and-cheese; and other hearty favorites). Prices range from $7 to $15 for salads and sliders and $14 to $26 for entrees.

Saison is at 6611 University Ave., 279-0114; The restaurant will be open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, with brunch items in the works for the weekends. More info in this article I wrote for the dsm Weekly e-newsletter.

In Other News

• Fans of Table 128 might recall that last autumn, co-owner Sarah Pritchard headed to Oregon's Willamette Valley to work for five weeks at the Brooks Winery. On February 23, she's hosting the winemaker and grower for a wine dinner featuring these fine Oregon wines. The menu sounds spectacular!

• Looking for an off-the-beaten-path gift for Valentine's Day? Alexandra Meschini of "Cooking with Alessandra" fame suggests a gift certificate for two to one of her cooking classes. They're on sale through Feb. 10. Details here.

• I recently judged the Iowa Pork Producer's Taste of Elegance chef competition. My fellow judges and I unanimously (and independently) awarded first place to Ben Jones of Brazen Open Kitchen & Bar in Dubuque (pictured, above). It's a great restaurant, which I covered in the 2017 issue of ia magazine.

Second place went to Justin Scardina with the Norse Culinary Team at Luther College in Decorah. Fortunately, the third place winner is a little closer to home: Jordan Walton with Harvey’s Diner & Pub in Redfield. Clearly, a trip to Redfield is in order! If you've been, please let me know. Write to me at I love hearing from other dsm food lovers.

DINING IN FOR VALENTINE'S DAY?: Me too. Check out my five romantic French recipes for Valentine's Day. Better yet, forward my post to the best cook in your duo, and sweet-talk him/her into making your top pick.
TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR IRON SOMM: Saturday night, February 18, two local wine pros battle it out, proposing their best wine pairings with each of four courses prepared by local chefs. Diners decide whose picks best flatter the food. $175 per person. More info here.

MY NEWEST CHEESE CRUSH: I have a love-hate relationship with goat cheese. Frankly, I find the stuff in tubes in the supermarket rather one-dimensional: They're tangy and not much else.

However, I love goat cheeses that are "rind-ripened"—aged long enough to have a wrinkly rind. They're generally more complex and flavorful than unripened cheeses.

One of my current faves is Piper's Pyramid (pictured above), from Capriole cheesemakers. Named for the cheesemaker's red-headed granddaughter, the cheese has a bit of paprika sprinkled on the edible rind. Find it at The Cheese Shop of Des Moines.

MINI-REVIEW: I recently ate at The Waterfront in West Des Moines. With all the new venues opening up everywhere, it's easy to overlook this old-as-the-hills (in restaurant years, anyway) venue. Their fish is always so wonderfully fresh and well prepared, and my trout amandine was no exception. The only trouble was, I had ordered the pan-fried trout (sans the almonds). I lived with it, as I don't like to wait for a remake while everyone else at my table is eating. Are you finding service glitches becoming more common around town? I am, and I wrote about it here.
Copyright © 2017 Winifred Moranville, LLC, All rights reserved.

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