If I stumbled upon Des Moines’ East Village in another city, I would be all over it, excitedly popping into one interesting shop after another but because this East Village is so nearby, I tend to take it for granted. Big mistake. I don’t shop there (or anywhere) often but when I do I always find something new and worthy, and visit several standbys that have withstood the test of time. So today’s visit was great. We were originally going only to Raygun, our favorite witty-snarky T-shirt shop, to buy gifts, but ended up wandering around on an unexpectedly balmy December day when more stores than usual were open, for a Sunday, due to the holidays.
At Allspice, I used up the gift certificate I received last Xmas, refilling my bottle of fig vinegar and buying a few spices and rubs as gifts. Then onto petal and moss, which was like entering a tiny jungle full of mossy plants (we bought an unusual orangish-pink poinsettia). And we finally tried a “Dirt Burger” at the restaurant of the same name, which specializes in veggie burgers. The dirt burger looked like a meat burger and sort of tasted like one. I liked it. Dirck, the unrepentant meat eater wasn’t quite as impressed. We both liked the crispy pencil-thin fries a lot and I would like to try other menu items. Certainly preferred the place to zombie Burger, which used to be our favorite burger spot in the East Village but during our last few visits we have been disappointed by the service and the food.