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Tacopocalypse, The Cheese Shop, Creme, Trellis – expanding dining scene in Des Moines!

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!

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Spring construction report from the bike trail in downtown Des Moines

Grays Lake

Gray’s Lake (above)….For fantastic “zoomable”  Des Moines area trail maps see: http://www.dsmbikecollective.org/mapcentral!

We really haven’t gotten that perfect spring weather for biking yet (except for last Monday, when temps rose to the 70s, but then plummeted a day later and it got rainy). But last Saturday under overcast skies and with a cold wind, we did our first ride of the spring on our favorite loop through Beaverdale/Drake neighborhood to South of Grand to downtown Des Moines and back to Beaverdale/Drake, which includes bits of several officially-named trails (Walnut Creek, Bill Riley, Meredith, John Pat Dorian and the Inter-urban).

Each spring, we’re braced for various construction projects that may hamper our journey but the three c0nstruction projects we came upon all had handy detours that takeyou around the bridge construction at 63rd and Grand);  past the closed footbridge west of I-Cubs Stadium; ); and around the construction at the Botanical Center.  It also was nice to see that last year’s construction on the west side of the Riverwalk by Court Avenue appears to be done (or at least done enough that you can now ride along this stretch of the trail by the river.)

A more detailed look at our favorite 18-mile loop: We ride from our Drake/Beaverdale neighborhood house south from the Franklin Library to 56th Street, then south through the woodsy trail around there to 63rd street and Grand; then east along another wooded trail  to Waterworks Park and Gray’s Lake, past I-Cubs stadium and the East Village downtown;, then back north along the river along the Dorrian trail (which I always confuse with the Neal Smith trail further north) to the trestle bridge that leads west to MLKing Blvd;and then uphill on the Urbandale trail and over to 38th Street (or so) and south to our house. Our ride was about 18 miles.


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