Sunday, January 30, 2011

For the love of food

Darcie is our expert on food. Yes, she loves to cook – she runs our cooking club. She loves to eat – she also heads Taste of Des Moines. And she has been with us for almost 4 years now, so she has a plethora of restaurant dining experience. So as you plan your Valentine’s Day dinners, remember to subscribe to Groupon or LivingSocial, scrape the papers for those discounts, and make a reservation at one of these restaurants! Des Moines has a lot to offer the palate, so don’t wait!

$ - Cheap
$$ - Middle
$$$ - Expensive

  • Latin King – Italian, East side $$/$$$
  • Appare – Asian (great sushi and other Asian dishes, love the spice tuna roll and the California roll), Urbandale $$
  • Famous Dave’s $$
  • Tasty Taco (If I could, I would eat here at least once a week) $
  • Legends – American $/$$
  • Hessen Haus – German $$
  • Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Co – American $$
  • Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery – American $$
  • Palmer’s Deli – sandwiches $/$$
  • Manhattan Deli – sandwiches (not open at night, ask for Saturday’s special), $
  • Chips, Ankeny (like Applebee’s) American $/$$
  • Granite City Food & Brewery – American $$
  • Buffalo Wild Wings $$
  • P.F. Chang’s – Asian $$
  • Joe’s Crab Shack – Seafood $$
  • Olive Garden – pasta $$
  • Red Lobster – seafood $$
  • The Machine Shed – American $/$$
  • Cheesecake Factory – American $$
  • Champs – American $/$$
  • B-Bop’s (fast food) $
  • Maid Rite (fast food) $
  • Bakers Square – American $/$$
  • China One International Buffet – Asian $
  • Riccelli’s (hole in the wall, but fantastic food) $$/$$$
  • Waterfront Seafood Market $$/$$$
  • Cracker Barrel $ (one $ sign because of the amount of food you receive)
  • Red Robbin (love the turkey burger) $/$$
  • Breadeaux Pizza (great pizza and cheap) $
  • Mi Mexico Restaurant (Dr. Mortensen suggested this place and it was fantastic) $ (a ton of food)
  • A Dong – Asian $
  • All Play – American$/$$
  • Applebee’s $/$$
  • Baby Boomers – American $
  • Bennigan’s – American $/$$
  • Brickhouse American Grill – American $/$$
  • Fongs Pizza – Um Asian, Italian $
  • Centro – Italian $$
  • Dos Rios – Mexican $$
  • China Moon – Asian $/$$
  • Cool Basil – Asian $/$$
  • Drake Diner – American $/$$
  • 5 & Diner – American $
  • Fuddruckers – American $
  • Granite City – American $$
  • Big Steer – American $$/$$$
  • Jason’s Deli – sandwiches $/$$
  • Uncle Wendell’s BBQ $
  • Kin Folk Texas Style BBQ $$
  • Coney Island – fast-food $
  • Wellman’s Pub – American $$
  • Zimm’s Food & Spirits – American $$
  • Irina’s Restaurant & Bar – Russian $$/$$$
  • Okoboji Grill – American $/$$
  • Old Country Buffet $$
  • Panera Bread – sandwiches $/$$

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cafe di Scala

Looking for the ultra romantic spot for an anniversary dinner or special date night? Cafe di Scala has the ambiance, the decor, the menu, and the wine list to meet your needs! Known as one of the most romantic restaurants in Des Moines, Scala is not really a cafe. Premiere Italian food from an ever evolving menu graces the tables of this century old Victorian mansion in the Hoyt-Sherman neighborhood. Though not inexpensive, the quality is worth the price. And the best thing, you are just a few blocks from Smokey Row for dessert!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dubuque - Masterpiece on the Mississippi

This is a Mississippi river town with a long and rich history of trade and commerce from the early days of the country. Those of you from parts of the country with more interesting terrain would happily note that Dubuque is much hillier than Des Moines, due to the fact that it was mostly untouched by glaciers like the Great Plains, and because of the might Mississippi’s carving effect. It’s a small city of 50k people with a lot of charm. If you are looking for a long day trip or short overnighter, this might be a good destination.

This town has the typical things to do in cities this size, with a good mix of restaurants, shops, etc. There’s the river where you can catch an old fashioned riverboat, or visit one of the scenic overlooks, or the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. There’s an opera house and theater if you’d like to catch a show. For those who like gambling and that sort of thing, there’s a fairly good casino with all the typical games and amenities (including a huge bowling alley).

If you decide to stay a few days, then you might want to venture out from Dubuque and checkout the sites nearby. Across the river on the Illinois side is the town of Galena, a famous Illinois resort area, complete with the best ski slopes you can find in an area without real mountains. In Wisconsin, you could go to House On the Rock, a famous, beautiful house built on a column of rock in the middle of Iowa County (coincidentally). On the Iowa side of the border, Dyersville, IA is home to Field of Dreams, the actual location of the filming of that famous movie, and a mecca for baseball lovers.