It was fun to see a lot of familiar faces and the new kid on the block, El Banditos. I pinch myself to remember that Iowa City is a very small town of only 65,000 people with such an active and high-quality local foods community. Looking back on my first post, I now see just how much I've gotten to know these people, places, and foods over the last three years. Not only did I run into lots of great friends who were also attending the walk, but I was also satisfied to see just how many farms and products I recognized from my grocery basket and freezer. We are truly lucky to have so many passionate farmers who are willing to supply our restaurants and grocery stores with high quality ethically produced food. I will never take it for granted, and couldn't be more excited to bring my daughter up in this environment.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous, as it has continued to be this week, making the walk extra enjoyable, especially for those of us who are nine months pregnant.
We started the tour at Atlas where we ate lots of elk, pork sliders with slaw, a mushroom tart, and a pork belly bun with kimchi-style cucumbers on top. The bun was the standout with its chewy dough, savory meat, and crunchy hot vegetables.
We walked to Devotay next, where we were given Spanish-style tortillas (this is basically an egg pancake, thick and filled with potatoes, onions, and spices with sour cream on top.) a meatball, a slice of watermelon, and a piece of toasted bread with dry cheese drizzled with dark chocolate. The toasted bread was the highlight for me, hitting the right notes of salty and sweet.
The next stop was El Banditos where we each got a tamale. The vegetable tamale was actually much better than the pork one, having a more tender dough and flavorful filling. The salsa on top was spicy and good.
The next stop was New Pioneer. It was really nice to stop here because it made me reflect on being there a year ago when Rosie's Best was still just a twinkle in my eye. Now my product is on their shelves, which feels really great. They loaded us up with Maytag blue cheese, first on pizza and then on a cracker with fig preserves. They were both delicious.
There was also some tasty apple cake from the bakery.
We washed it all down with some local wines, beers, and Shaktea Kombucha, which devastatingly lived up to my expectations and was totally delicious, forcing me to buy more soon.
Next we walked to Red Avocado where we ate some fresh and crunchy green beans in a spicy sauce and had some delicious cake that must have been pumpkin. The frosting was SO good.
We enjoyed the patio and the warm weather while sipping on local brews.
Finally, our last stop was 126 which had a sprout salad from Organic Greens, tomatoes and mozzarella and their own pork pate served on their house made bread, which was perfectly chewy with a little crunch.
They also served up a vegan carrot soup with some kind of cream on top.
We both enjoyed the full walk, spending the two hours eating great food, seeing people we love, and soaking up our last precious moments as a duo before the little one gets here.
If it weren't for her impending arrival, I would be doing this Culinary Ride which benefits the ICCSD Farm to School chapter and the JCLFA. If you're in the area and are able bodied, don't miss it! Here are details about how you can participate by riding OR driving.
How's the weather where you are? It was in the 90s yesterday and we're looking at lows in the 30s in the northern parts of the state by the end of the week. Oh Iowa.