Over the weekend, I had an awesome opportunity to attend the Iowa Restaurant Association: Dine Iowa Grand Tasting Gala. I found out that there was a chance to win tickets on Facebook from Ryan Kolder, so I gave it a shot. I didn’t win the first round, but there was a surprise second round, and I had won a pair of tickets!
We walked into the event center, and got our name tags. They had a big ice sculpture that they would pour martinis down into a fancy cup – you had to buy that though. I was there for the free tastes. I tried taking a lot of pictures but I was caught up talking with people and enjoying food. Enjoy the photos!
Who was there for the Culinary Competition?
- Camp David, Iowa Falls, Randy Husted
- Chisme Restaurant, West Des Moines, Jesus Ojeda
- Ferrari’s Ristorante, Cedar Rapids, Chris Meyers
- Hotel Julien, Dubuque, Andrew Weis
- Machine Shed Restaurant, Urbandale, Roger Johnson
- Prairie Meadows, Altoona, Agustin Quintana & Jeff Snowgren
- Tally’s Restaurant, Bar & Catering, Des Moines, Rober Sanda
- Zombie Burger, Des Moines, Thomas McKern
Who was there for the Mixology Competition?
- Alba, Des Moines, Shannon Emmerson
- The Fire House, Sioux City, Tim Nelsen
- The Machine Shed, Urbandale, Cat Wood
- Olde Town Tap, Altoona, John Roach
- The Phoenix, Davenport, Ashley Billiet
- Splash, Des Moines, Rex Schulze
- Winifred’s, Cedar Rapids, Carl Bush
- Wrigleyville, Cedar Rapids, Josh O’Connell
- For the voting of martinis: The Breakfast Martini from Olde Town Tap as well as the Strawberry & Dreams got my votes.
- Randy Husted’s (Camp David) Restaurant definitely got my vote. Smoked Carpaccio was OUTSTANDING!
- I found my new favorite red wine called Hogue Genesis (a cabernet sauvignon from Columbia Valley, Washington). Outstanding body and flavor.
- The desert table was wonderful. Great chocolates, cookies and cheesecake bites from Chocolaterie Stam, Bake Shoppe, Creme Cupcake, and Flarah’s.
It was a really fun event and I was happy that I got to attend. It was great sampling everyone’s dishes. A couple of local restaurants did some things that you normally wouldn’t find in their restaurant. For example, Zombie Burger was there but they had made a vegetarian enchilada topped with cubed avocado that was jelly like.