Hotel Julien

Hotel Julien is the fourth location that I’m judging food at for the 2016 Dine Iowa Grand Tasting Gala event.

This is my third year of judging for this event.

Chef Robert Anderson and I are the main judges. It is a privilege to get to work with him, the IRA staff, and members from both the Soy andBeefCouncils.

During the next couple of weeks, leading up to the October 6, 2016 event, we have 10 different restaurants to visit. These restaurants are all across Iowa. 

Caroline’s Restaurant at the Hotel Julien

Caroline’s Restaurant has a great history.

Here is a how the name of the restaurant came to be: “Caroline (Rhomberg) Fischer, was the inspiration for naming this restaurant. Caroline’s husband, Louis, was a partner in the Fischer ice business. When Louis died in 1875 from pneumonia contracted after a fall into the Mississippi River while cutting ice, Caroline took over his ice business, becoming one of Iowa’s first business women. A young widow at 31 with five young children to care for, Caroline was a very hard worker. She eventually bought out her partners, invested in downtown and riverfront property and brought her family into the business that still exists today.

Caroline is said to have followed her ice delivery men around town in her own horse and buggy to be sure her men were doing their work properly. The many taverns to which they delivered would offer drinks to the drivers, in an effort to persuade them to leave a little extra ice. On occasion, upon finding the drivers passed out in the ice wagon, Caroline would drive the team of horses and wagon back to the ice storage warehouse herself with her own horse and buggy in tow.” (via Caroline’s Story)

Guests can look out the East windows, and look out to Ice Harbor which is where the Fischer family started business about 150 years ago!





The Meal


Rules: With this event, each competitor will prepare a main entrée recipe utilizing Braveheart Black Angus Beef Short Rib, donated by Performance Food Group (at least six ounces of cooked beef must be used). Additionally, each competitor will prepare a Tofu (soft-silken or water packed) side dish or sauce (at least a 1⁄4 cup of tofu must be used). 

Main Dish

Chef created a really unique dish featuring ginger glazed short ribs, garlic soy tofu, soy pickled trumpet mushroom and sesame crumb and tofu creme. 



This was such a unique dish. The highlight of the dish was that the short rib pulled apart with a fork. A knife was not needed. Subtle hints of orange and ginger were present with the sesame seed crust. The tofu was prepared in a way that I had not seen before. Out of 3 years of judging this is the first time I had seen whipped tofu. The tofu creme featured whipped cream and and garlic soy flavors. 



If you’re interested in trying this dish, you can order it off of District 36’s menu, or attend the Iowa Restaurant Association Grand Tasting Gala.

For 50% off tickets, use the code: Winner


About Nick Lucs

Nick is the founder of Des Moines Foodster. He was born and raised in Des Moines and has always had a passion for being creative in the kitchen. Des Moines Foodster has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Juice Magazine, amNY, Travel Iowa and the Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau blog. He believes that coffee and craft beer make the world go 'round .

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