Monday, June 9, 2008


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

For those of you living in Iowa or traveling to Iowa in the future, I have a tip I want to share with you. First of all I want to say that the Latin King is owned by my baby brother and his wife, Bobby and Amy Tursi. But over the past month I have had two of the greatest meals ever at their restaurant.

The Latin King is a Des Moines area landmark, located at 2200 Hubbell Ave. across from the A/D dairy and near the Iowa fairgrounds. ( The first occasion was a celebration for my son Patrick upon his graduation from Medical School combined with a 60Th birthday celebration for my husband, Bob. The second time we feasted there was for a Groom's Dinner.
On both occasions, the antipasti was unbelievably delicious. Bobby and Amy have that piece of it just right. The artichoke and olive salad is light, crisp and very fresh tasting. The roasted asparagus is brought in from a local farmer and is crisp tender and flavorful. On one occasion we had fried onion rings that are a signature item and I love the fried calamari with a robust marinara sauce or spritz of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Marinated zucchini in a light vinaigrette was also served as well as an assortment of Italian meats and cheeses.
On both occasions, Pat Morris, the Latin King's Long time chef got the pasta just perfect. Bobby and Amy have just returned from Italy with some new recipes. Amy's new version of a spinach and cheese ravioli were a hit and will be on the menu on select days. The evening of the groom's dinner we enjoyed the usual pasta, penne with a spicy marinara sauce with just enough heat to it that it made you want to eat more.

The entrees were outstanding for both events. The first was a sage stuffed chicken breast with the bone and skin on the chicken which made it succulent and moist. For the groom's dinner we had a choice of salmon, chicken spiedini or a New York Strip. The salmon was a huge portion of moist salmon with a light tomato sauce served with a potato croquette that is both crisp on the outside and smooth and cheesy on the inside. Bob ordered the New York Strip Steak, that was perfectly prepared at medium rare. The steak was juicy and the garlic butter over the top was just the right touch.

On both occasions we had cakes from outside bakeries to celebrate the special occasion, but what made the dessert special was the large scoop of Spumoni ice cream that was served with it. Strawberry, chocolate and cream de menth ice cream with large chunks of pistachios and candied cherries. creamy smooth and delicious.

On your next stop to or through Des Moines make sure and eat at the Latin King. With any luck my Dad will be there to greet you. Just make sure you let them know that the "big sister" sent you.

Buon appetito,
Carmela Tursi Hobbins

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