Foodie 515: Des Moines Restaurant News, 12/18/23

Des Moines Food, Foodie 515 from Seeta Lee

Ooooo, it’s been quite the week for restaurant news, Des Moines! Welcome back to Foodie 515!

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WTF, Des Moines?

  • Why Good Riddance to Kava?
    • Kava’s owner cited area construction. I’m skeptical. I’m sure it didn’t help, but that wasn’t the only reason. Several businesses have struggled in that building, and the struggle started long before construction.
    • The reasons behind my “good riddance” are more value-laden sociological objections. In other words, I dislike the way they do shit. I want to stress that this is MY PERSONAL TAKE. I’m allowed to have and express opinions. Please note that I would never try to harm a small, local business unless I thought they were doing something harmful themselves. Once I see something harmful, I talk about it.
      • Questionable wellness claims: If you know me, you know I’m already skeptical of white wellness culture. Kava DSM was an offshoot of that culture.
      • Potential cultural misappropriation: Kava, the food, didn’t originate in white cultures.
      • Reportedly harmful views: Previous visitors reported anti-mask, anti-vaxx, and pro-Trump perspectives from ownership.
      • Personal dislike: I looked into all of this a couple of years ago, and I was threatened with a lawsuit. I got the receipts somewhere. But they are a major reason why I quit that part of my business. But I guess you can’t take the snark out of the snarker forever.
  • Concerning Inspection Pattern
    • Speaking of restaurant inspections, I struggle to look at them every week, but not for the reasons you might think. Certainly, seeing some of my favorite places with violations always gives me an “oh no” feeling. However, what bothers me most is seeing a pattern regarding who has the most violations. For instance, since November 1st, these were the central Iowa eateries with ten or more violations:
      • Cheng’s Garden
      • El Toreado Mexican Bar and Grill
      • International Buffet
      • El Sabor Peruano
      • Mini Super La Victoria
    • The month before, it was La Centra Americana, Tacos la Familia, El Palomino, La Favorita, Taqueria la Esperanza, and Pho All Seasons.
    • Does anyone else see what I see? Is this discriminatory treatment? Is it a question of cultural differences? Are crappy, racist Iowans reporting Asian and Latinx places more than others? I’m not sure.
    • Several years ago, the Iowa DIA was involved in a mini-scandal regarding Taylor’s Maid-Rite in Marshalltown. Maybe that was a one-off, but it’s always in the back of my head.
    • I want badly to be wrong in my suspicions. The people in charge of restaurant food safety need to be unbiased and detailed in their inspections. It’s literally a matter of health.
    • All of the grossest local places I’ve eaten at have fewer than five violations. Two of those, which consistently have flying insects, do not mention those issues in the reports.
    • Someone tell me I’ve got it wrong. Please.

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