Sunday, June 16, 2013

Recent eats: Olympic Flame, Peace Tree Brewing, Smashburger.

Just a week shy of Olympic Flame's 25th anniversary celebration I stopped in for lunch. The Gyros Plate appetizer with sliced, grilled gyros meat, fried zucchini, pita points, and tzatziki sauce was a much lighter alternative to a full gyros sandwich with fries. Zucchini fried in a light batter were quite surprising, and even more delicious dipped in cucumber-laden tzatziki. A side appetizer of spanakopita was superbly crisp. An unexpected lagniappe: shots of ouzo with the proud chef. Opa!

On my way with friends to a birthday party in Ottumwa, we stopped off at Peace Tree Brewing in Knoxville for refreshments in the taproom. While they sampled a beer flight, I dove right into an impressive Imperial Stout. Deeply flavored, truly a warriors' drink! After such a heady quaff I backed down on my next pint, settling for Peace Tree's sweet, lightly effervescent root beer. Needing more solid sustenance I was pleased to find available extraordinary bar snacks: small batch Gouda cheese curds from nearby Frisian Farms of Oskaloosa, and flax-fed, 90% lean beef sticks from Timber Ridge Cattle of Osceola.

At an unexpected visit to Smashburger's lone Iowa location in West Des Moines, I ordered up an Iowa burger with Maytag blue cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, topped with crispy fried onions. A little greasy, not unlike a previous experience a few years back. Strongly flavored Maytag blue predominates. A side of fried dill pickle chips were okay, but pale in comparison to Fat Tuesday's less oily cornmeal-encrusted chips [see blog post]. What did I enjoy the most from this visit? The Mint Oreo shake.

Olympic Flame on Urbanspoon Peace Tree Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon Smashburger on Urbanspoon

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