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Omaha Magazine

Editor's Letter: Indian Food, Vegetarian Options, and Chocolate

May 28, 2020 08:25AM ● By Daisy Hutzell Rodman
managing editor Daisy Hutzell-Rodman

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

This June issue is devoted to food, and the people in the food and beverage industry who feed Omaha daily. When we began planning this issue months ago, the average American ate out three times a week. When COVID-19 hit, the food industry, like many others, was hit hard. We worked hard to bring you information as accurate as possible at presstime.

I don’t have many vices, but one of them is coffee—nobody wants to talk to or see me before I drink at least 8 oz. of coffee. That’s why I enjoyed the dining profile about Jasmyn and Jacob Wichert, the creative couple who run Amateur Coffee.

One of my favorite types of cuisine is Indian food. More than one company sells pouches of Indian food and rice that can be heated in the microwave in a minute. These were a lifesaver last year when the flooding affected my water supply, and they also come in handy on days when cooking seems too much of an effort. Several Indian restaurants have appeared in the last few years, one of many cooking styles and businesses that have come about as immigrants come to Omaha. One feature article this month discusses immigration in Omaha, and how people moving to this city have created a variety of restaurants since its beginning—from the Germans and Chinese of the 1800s to the Africans of the 2010s.

Appetizers are a fun indulgence when eating at a restaurant. In fact, at my favorite pub in Omaha, my dinner is often an order of blue-cheese potato skins and a salad. At the editorial planning meeting for this issue, a co-worker mentioned one restaurant in town that serves PB&J Wings, which got us thinking what choices do diners in Omaha have to stray from the ubiquitous spinach dip? Obviously Omaha offers six alternatives, including those PB&J Wings.

Traveling encourages people to try new things, but Linda Sue Lichtenwalter and fiance Chris Larkin travel largely to taste new foods. The pair, who work in food service here in Omaha, even bring back some of their finds—such as chocolate from Paris. Their story is quite the adventure.

Last year’s main feature was titled “New Cuisine in 2019,” and it featured food from a variety of restaurants, styled for photography by Sarah Hunt. She is an independent food stylist who has built a career for herself creating plates of food to be photographed. We loved the work she produced for us, and we thought you would like to know a bit more about her—so she is one of our A+C features this round.

This year’s main feature shines a spotlight on service industry workers, from owners to servers to barbacks. Turn to page 30 to read more about this project from senior editor Tara Spencer.

This issue also covers chefs, both sea- soned and starting out. Austin Johnson started his career bussing tables at a restaurant in West Omaha. Today, he is an executive chef in New York City, and in between, he has studied under chefs from Seattle to Paris. Lauryn Niemants is a student at Metropolitan Community

College who has found a passion for food preparation...a far cry from her favorite high school activity of theater arts.

One of my favorite places in Omaha to get a quick bite to eat is Pepperjax Grill. Omaha can thank Gary Rohwer for this restaurant, and the entrepreneur has since sold the chain and moved to other ventures. This story appears in the Sixty-Plus section.

Other favorite places have closed in the past five years. Petrow’s was a nostalgic place to eat comfort food and drink a milkshake, and I miss Amato’s ricotta pancakes on the weekends when searching for brunch. You will find this story in the Sixty-Plus section as well.

Active Living subject Phil McEvoy spends part of his fall hunting for deer with friends...and anyone he meets is considered one of those friends. The health feature, on the other hand, touts the medically-backed Mediterranean diet.

Takeout Tuesday, Fast-food Friday, and Sunday Supper—this edition will, hope- fully, inspire each person to support the food industry in our city. We at Omaha Magazine thank each reader for picking up this edition. We put our hearts, and our stomachs, into bringing you the best of the area.

This letter appeared in the June 2020 issue of Omaha Magazine