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Oprah Magazine spread John's Grocery mentioned in Oprah Magazine

John's Grocery, and more specifically Wally Plahutnik our wine expert, were mentioned in length in the May 2004 issue of the national magazine Oprah in regards to world-class cuisine in the heartland of Iowa and work of chef Matt Steigerwald at the Lincoln Cafe in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

Excerpt from article follows:

A man named Wally Plahutnik, known to all as Wally the Wine Guy, began collecting extraordinary selection of international wines in the back of a small grocery called John's. To have lunch with Wally, who wears a long braid and a beatific expression, is to be besieged by a dozen people asking if the Steele 2000 Pinot Blanc is in yet. Wally is both fiercely proud of the local food scene and outraged on its behalf. "We have more pigs than people in Iowa, and yet no one is making a decent prosciutto," he says. "People call Smithfield for their Christmas hams."

Wally is frankly dazzled by the work of Steigerwald, who, as of this writing, has gone entirely unnoticed by anyone other than the local press. On a recent night, my husband and I got six people together. We call Steigerwald to ask what he was cooking and swung over to John's Grocery and asked Wally to pick out three wines. He gave us a Gary Farrell Pinot Noir for the pork chop with blue cheese polenta and roasted pears, a Ripassa Valpolicella for the grilled quail served atop a basil-y white bean pistou and sided with a fennel-artichoke salad laced with sweet white anchovies, and a Steele Pinot Blanc for the maple salmon with black pepper and sweet corn relish and sage-roasted potatoes.


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