Tag Archives: great western trail

More good things in Des Moines – Akebono (sushi), new Farmers Market vendors, spiffed up Graziano Mkt, new East Village places

New improved Graziano’s meat counter, DSM

Good stuff keeps coming to Des Moines and this longtime resident remains thankful. Even Graziano’s, the old Italian specialty store on the south side has spiffed up with some major remodeling – and is now surrounded by new apartment complexes.

I didn’t think we’d have many people to watch as we ate on the patio at Akebono, a Japanese restaurant with good sushi, in downtown Des Moines last Saturday night but the streets were hopping. Part of it had to do with a food truck event  nearby at the Des Moines Social Club, some Kentucky Derby partygoers, some Prom kids and a crowd at the restaurant Malo but it still amazes me to see so much happening in a once obscure corner of downtown. We enjoyed Akebono’s food and service too (although the poke didn’t resemble the kind I’ve enjoyed in places like Hawaii and LA.)

The farmers market opened to a huge crowd (the weather was gorgeous) and I was pleased to see new vendors such as 5 Borough Bagels from Clive and Scenic Route Bakery from the East Village. The new HyVee also  fit right in, which is a relief. People on the HyVee patio were eating what looked like good brunch entrees including French Toast.

We stopped at Zombie Burger during a bike ride and were a bit disappointed by their new recipe for fries and the cranberry-Gorgonzola salad. We preferred the less crunchy fries and the salad with a less sweet dressing and bacon (although Zombie kindly added bacon to our salad anyway). Sitting on the patio, we took note of all the new buildings surrounding us, which makes the place feel more urban and busy, including the AC Hotel which has what we’ve been told is a great rooftop bar.

On the Great Western Trail, we were relieved to see that the changes in the trail to accommodate the Microsoft server plant and a highway near Orilla have not messed up our favorite trail. Also pleased to see that the pub Outskirtz looked more open for passing bikers on a Sunday than I’ve seen in the past.

Leave a comment

Filed under bike trails, Des Moines, DINING

British breakfast (what else? Scottish breakfast?) at The Royal Mile in Des Moines



On a bike ride Sunday through Des Moines we were looking for a place to stop for brunch downtown after finding Mullet’s  oversubscribed (perhaps it’s because there was a Cubs game happening soon at the stadium across the river from Mullets’s.) We chanced upon The Royal Mile and glad we did – the brunch menu had a wide selection (“American” and “British” breakfast) and the cozy pub interior was busy but not packed so we got a table for five easily. My poached eggs with Guinness roasted potatos and banger sausage was hearty, tasty. The Bloody Mary, a muddy brownish-red was spicey and good – it came with a little chaser of beer (never seen that before) that I gave to my coffee-drinking husband. The corned beef hash came with cubes of corn beef – I prefer shredded bits (aka “hash). The breakfast pastie – sort of cross between a Cornish pastie and an omelet – was heavy but good flavor. So we’ll be back if we’re in need of brunch. We rode an extra 5 miles or so (we’re not exactly sure since our speedometer is broken) on the Great Western Trail south of Cumming (Iowa) to work off, we hope, some of our brunch.


Leave a comment

Filed under Des Moines, DINING

Dining options during evening bike rides in Des Moines

magnolia kitchen & grocery.jpg

Above is a rendering of what the Magnolia Kitchen & Grocery food truck will look like.(Photo: Special to th

In preparation for Ragbrai, we are trying to ride our bikes at least one weekday evening a week – often Tuesdays so we can eat at Tacopocalypse stand outside the Cumming Tap (in the small town of Cumming, Iowa.) But sometimes we ride on Wednesday or Thursday on the Great Western Trail south from Des Moines when tacos aren’t an option at Cumming Tap (Wednesday, we discovered last week, is steak night there, which is a bit heavy for us.)

So I was pleased to see other options available in Jennifer Miller’s latest excellent food column for the Des Moines Register. See below! They’re not in Cumming but they are along our bike route, which includes Gray’s Lake (where Confluence Brewing is located) and the trail at 63rd and Grand (where Pal Joey’s Lounge is).

Here’s the options:

TUESDAY Magnolia Kitchen & Grocery at Pal Joey’s Lounge; Tacopacalypse at Cumming Tap

WEDNESDAY Magnolia Kitchen & Grocery at Confluence Brewing 

THURSDAY  Magnolia Kitchen & Grocery at 515 Brewing on Friday evenings or The Levee, patio on the east end of Court Avenue. Woody’s Smoke Shack food, and Confluence  beers.  open 4 p.m. to midnight Thursday.

FRIDAY  The Levee, patio on the east end of Court Avenue. Woody’s Smoke Shack food, and Confluence  beers.  open 4 p.m. to midnight Thursday.

SATURDAY   The Levee, patio on the east end of Court Avenue. Woody’s Smoke Shack food, and Confluence  beers.  open 9 p.m. to midnight

Leave a comment

Filed under bike trails, biking, Des Moines, DINING

NPR reporters ride RAGBRAI and my last minute bike repair!

<p>Some Aloha spirit in Iowa.<br />


Some Aloha spirit in Iowa.

Join 3 NPR reporters as they explore the Iowa they didn’t see on the presidential trail.

Don Gonyea, Scott Horsley and Brian Naylor will tour the state by bike this time around, as part of the Des Moines Register’s 41st Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, better known as RAGBRAI.


FUN to see three NPR political reporters from Washington on Ragbrai this week as part of the cleverly-named No Pie Refused team!! http://www.desmoinesregister.com/VideoNetwork/2557490429001/NPR-s-No-Pie-Refused-trio-rides-RAGBRAI-XLI.

They’re blogging about the adventure – of course and posting some classic RAGBRAI photos. see: http://returntoiowa.tumblr.com/?ft=1&f=2,5,1013,1014,1016,1017,1134,1929301

We ended up riding in the rain (there was a boom of thunder as we set off) yesterday so I could get in one pre-RAGBRAI ride after three weeks away from serious bike riding. Unfortunately I had a little mishap that now requires a last minute bike repair job before I ride RAGBRAI tomorrow. This is not the the best time to be taking my bike into the shop – the bike stores here are stressed, to say the least, not only because they have mechanics along the RAGBRAI route but because the whole shebang comes o Des Moines tomorrow. But they promise to have my bike repaired (I need a new rear wheel rim) by the end of today. Here’s hoping – otherwise I’ll use my husband’s bike.

We’re lucky our mishap didn’t lead to serious injuries. My tire got caught in a slick rut along the Great Western Trail (that trail is getting a tad old and the makeshift repairs to the asphalt – black tar poured into cracks – are themselves a danger, especially in wet weather). My bike tipped over  but somehow I managed to right it and not hit the pavement. We didn’t realize until later that the bike got banged up in the process. Poor D, who was riding behind me, wasn’t as lucky. He braked to avoid crashing into me and fell, landing on his chest on the asphalt. He got a few cuts and bruises but professed to be okay. Scary.

Leave a comment

Filed under bike trails, biking, Des Moines

Two places to fix your flat along the bike trail in Des Moines!

The tire fixing station near Mullet's in Downtown Des Moines

The tire fixing station near Mullet’s in Downtown Des Moines

We have come across two flat-tire repair stations along the bike trails in Des Moines – how great! Each station has a number of tools you need to fix a flat (all attached to cords that attach to the station so someone can’t walk off with them) and even a hook so you can hoist your tire up to fix it. How cool is that? (It would be even cooler if I knew HOW to fix a flat but that’ s my issue.) I found one at the start of the trailhead south of Ashworth Pool in DSM  (en route to the Great Western Trail ) and another downtown by Mullet’s along the Principal Riverwalk by the baseball stadium.

Both were gifts from some charitable soul whom I need to mention here (when I collect her name.)  Thank you!!

Leave a comment

Filed under bike trails, biking