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LV Recommends: The Agape Café, 25 years of free, feel-good fare

Iowa City’s Agape Café proves true to name. Since 1993, the café, located in Old Brick Church on Market Street, has been serving free, restaurant-style, made-to-order breakfast to the Iowa City community on Wednesday mornings, 7 to 8:30 a.m. […]

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Mercy Hospital Chef Ron Hall serves some of Iowa City’s best food

Mise en place. That’s the term that comes to mind when Jeff Donar thinks about Chef Ron Hall. It’s a French phrase Donar learned in culinary school; it means “everything in its place.” Donar, a cook, has worked for Hall in the Mercy Iowa City kitchen for nearly four years. “You can tell when [Chef […]

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How Pig & Porter Chef Matt Melone makes time for family dinner

Matt Melone worked all day in the kitchen, and he’ll work more tomorrow. It’s December, an especially busy time of year at Pig & Porter, the downtown Cedar Rapids restaurant Matt co-founded with his business partner, Will Monk. Outside, the temperature sits below freezing. “I see people I work with more than I see my […]

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Rent a kitchen with Iowa’s new community kitchen website

Maybe you’ve been told, “This tastes so good — you could open a restaurant.” But starting a food business is a lot harder than it sounds. A new website makes that leap a little less daunting, partnering commercial kitchens in Iowa with people looking for a licensed place to prepare food. […]

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Big Grove Brewery and Pullman Diner usher in fall with seasonal dinner

On Sunday evening, Sept. 17, nearly 90 people gathered around picnic tables at Kroul Farms to celebrate summer’s transition to fall with a six-course meal prepared by Pullman Bar and Diner and Big Grove Brewery. “The idea behind this when we started writing the menu was to … show this [seasonal] transition,” said Ben Smart, […]

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Family Dinner: Husbands Matt and Rob entertain friends with Iowan flare

Matt Van Maanen and Rob Lancaster are hosting dinner for the third night in a row this week in their Cedar Rapids home. Earlier in the week, the couple received their weekly summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share, including a bounty of summer squash, which prompted tonight’s main dish: a zucchini-loaded pasta primavera with just-plucked basil and balsamic drizzled on top. On the side: kale salad with sliced almonds and a lemony emulsion, garnished with decorative-yet-edible nasturtiums.
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Family Dinner: The Toïngars gather for African cuisine

Ask Judith Toïngar, 5, what she wants to be when she grows up, and she will reply, “A lot of things.”

A police officer, a doctor, a nurse, a cashier at Dollar Tree: Considering the examples set before her, Judith’s vision is perfectly logical. Her mother, Brigitte Toïngar, is a part-time nurse, landlord and graduate student; her father, Ésaïe Toïngar, is a manager at Rockwell Collins, the author of three memoirs and the founder of two immigrant rights organizations. Both are parents of five children; Judith is the youngest. […]

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Family Dinners: The Chávez-García family keeps traditions going

When their mobile home began to sway back and forth as their son, Pablo — 6 feet 2 inches tall and built like a football player — walked down the hallway, Pedro Chávez and Malena García agreed it was time to buy a bigger house. So last summer, the Chávez-García family of five moved into their new Iowa City house on a cul-de-sac near Sycamore Mall. But an updated kitchen and two-car garage could not change family tradition. […]

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Family Dinner: Vegan Delights with Cadry’s Kitchen

Cadry Nelson’s dinner table is not centered in the middle of her dining room. Instead it’s pushed to one side, so the head of the table meets a window where natural light comes in. Nelson, the writer behind the vegan blog Cadry’s Kitchen, captures photos of her recipes, plated and garnished, on this end of the table, sometimes standing on its sturdy top to peer down through her camera. […]

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LV Recommends: Nile Ethiopian Restaurant

“Finally” seems to be the most frequently expressed response to the recent opening of Nile, an Ethiopian restaurant just off the Coralville strip. Finally Iowa City transplants who once hailed from big cities rich with international food scenes can reconnect with a long-lost comfort food. Finally Eastern Iowa natives, young and old, can again enjoy a lesser-known cuisine without a long drive — or trial-and-error in one’s own kitchen. […]

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