Autumn is the perfect time for a road trip so on November 11, 2018, members of the Des Moines Bailliage loaded up the bus and drove east to Grinnell, Iowa, a quaint town and home to Grinnell College.

Champagne and hors d’oeuvres were shared and the one-hour drive passed quickly. The destination was the Prairie Canary Restaurant located on the revitalized Main Street in an historic building.

Chef/Owner Paul Durr prepared an Asian inspired fall meal which delighted all the diners. Chef Durr is passionate about using locally sourced ingredients from the surrounding farms and fields and particularly likes shopping at the Grinnell Farmers Market.Also present at the dinner was Jeff Yanecek, a local sommelier. Yanecek works during the day selling wine for Okoboji Wines and in the evening, he shares his wine expertise at wine dinners. A highlight of the meal this evening was Pan Seared Sea Bass paired with an Ichisma Junmai Sake.

Yanecek explained that Ichisma is a family owned sake brewery since 1790 and was one of the first breweries to hire a woman as a kuraibito, or brewery worker. Legend has it that women working in a brewery might anger the gods and cause the sake to be ruined. The tasting notes portray this sake as having notes of apple and banana with smoky components.

After a fulfilling meal, members relaxed on the ride home and watched the moon shining over the harvested Iowa fields.

Menu

Smoked Duck, wood-ear mushroom, shallots, ginger with orange – soy dipping sauce
Jaboulet Croze-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2015

Vietnamese BBQ Pork Belly, Boston leaf lettuce, Vietnamese daikon radish with carrots and peanut sauce
Emanuel Tres Sant Jordi (Grenache/Carignan) Santa Barbara, 2014

Lemon Grass Soup Beef / Pork stock, lemongrass, beef tenderloin, lemongrass, rice noodles, mint, fish leaf, bean sprouts, lime, red chilies
FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Gris, 2016

Mixed Greens Salad, dragon fruit, feta, toasted cashews, bean sprouts, cilantro – lime dressing and toasted sesame Spottswoode; Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2017

Pan Seared Seabass with Green curry – coconut sauce, Thai sticky rice and mango relish
Ichisima Junmai Sake

Vietnamese Rice ball in ginger syrup, mung bean, rice flour, sweet ginger syrup, toasted sesame