It really struck me last weekend when I celebrated my birthday on several occasions that Des Moines has so many more interesting dining options than it used to have, just a few years ago. Here’s a few:
Tacopocalypse – This hipster taco place in the East Village serves some creative tacos – including Korean versions like bulgogi – in a funky old building just east of the restaurant Alba. It was a little too quiet on a Saturday afternoon – but nice to be able to sail in and out quickly mid-bike ride. (We originally tried Zombie Burger but it was way too packed and the wait way too long.) Our favorite was the lemongrass pork taco but also want to try the sesame pork and one of the bahn mi sandwiches next time.
– The Cheese Shop – I’ve been here for lunch before but not for a pre-theater snack, which it turned out to be perfect for. On a Saturday at 5:30 the little place in the Roosevelt Shopping Center was packed but we still found a table and had a lovely cheese board and some hard cider for me (hazy dazy…good!) and beer for D. Just enough to last through a performance of the fantastic musical “Once” at the Des Moines Civic Center.
– Creme – And then after the theater we went for dessert and a drink (tea for me, wine for D) at this cute little place off of Ingersoll Avenue. I had an over-the-top flourless chocolate torte. Dirck was very happy with his pineapple upside down carrot cake. Cute place and glad to see it busy too at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night.
– Trellis – On Sunday at 11 we met two friends who also have April birthdays for our traditional joint b’day celebration, this time at this lovely new restaurant (-top photo) at the Des Moine Botanical Center, which is getting a major overhaul and already looks much better. The chef is a friend, the talented Lisa LaValle, who used to work magic at the Des Moines Art Center restaurant and is doing it again at the Botanical Center. I particularly liked my red curry chicken soup – and my bloody Mary – and a superb piece of strawberry rhubarb pie (a b’day treat from Lisa.) There’s a cool exhibit of hanging plants (for lack of a better description) at the Botanical Center right now and I was impressed with the high-quality crafts and toys and garden-related stuff in the gift shop. We’ll be back!