Des Moines 2017 Restaurant “To Go” List

I know I’m a little slow on posting this considering we’re already 4 months into the year, but in my defense that just means the list is a little shorter than if I posted it earlier! This is a list of the restaurants in Des Moines I want/need to visit- a wish list. Currently I have 15 on my list and a few are a hold over from the 2016 list (shame on me).

The fiancé and I did count all the restaurants we’ve been to in Des Moines and we’re at 95 in 2-3 years so we’re making good progress. Some of the restaurants you may be surprised are on here considering they’re all over the “top places to eat in Des Moines” articles, but that also means they can cost a pretty penny. We’re hoping we can finally get to some of these places this year and break the 100 mark!

For 2017 the restaurants are in order- not by quality, but by desire to visit. I’m only going to highlight the top 3 and list the rest (up to 10).

  1. Reed’s Hollow– The owner and head chef, Zach Gutweiler, had been at Hole in the Wall on the side of Gaslamp on 15th & Grand (where Black Cat ice cream now is), and I heard great things about that little space, but never got a chance to visit before they closed! I’m not going to miss my chance again. I would order the brussels sprouts to start and the bone marrow for my main.
  2. Big Al’s BBQ– I belong to a group on Facebook called “Des Moines Food Lovers” and for about 2-3 weeks the only thing people raved about was this place! I’m not a big BBQ person, but my appreciation has grown as I’ve gotten older and after being exposed to Smokey D’s. As much as I love Smokey’s- it’s my parent’s 1st choice every time we go out to dinner- I want to see what else is out there BBQ wise! Big Al’s seems like a great start. I want to try the fried okra and the Carolina (pulled pork) sandwich.
  3. Alba– This one might be a surprise since it seems like everyone and their grandma have been here since it’s one of the Des Moines staples I mentioned earlier. Now I want go, not due to the hype, but because I’ve seen the pictures and read the reviews, which have been completely complimentary. Also, their head chef- only known as Joe on their website- was nominated for the James Beard best new chef award in 2016. I would have the fritters and short rib stroganoff.
  4. Angry Goldfish
  5. Table 128
  6. Nachos Tequilas
  7. Aposto
  8. Chicago Dog
  9. D’jango
  10. Barntown Brewing

Have you been to any of these restaurants? Did you like it? If so, what should I order? Also, is some place on the list not worth the trip? Let me know!

Peace Tree Brewing Co.

As you know my fiancé and I are huge craft beer fanatics so ever since the second Peace Tree location opened in East Village I was dying to get there. The Des Moines location opened on News Year’s day and the same day I made the foolish resolution to avoid alcohol. So I waited. I didn’t have a set time for my deprivation, but once I felt well enough (and was off antibiotics) from having pneumonia, you better believe this was the first place we went to!

PeaceTree-DSM

Before Peace Tree opened the second location they were already popular in Des Moines despite their base being in Knoxville. Almost everyone here has heard of Blonde Fatale and it’s become a staple beer at music, art, and any other cultural festival. This Belgian style blonde is a sneaky 8.5% and is my favorite Peace Tree brew. I visited the original outpost in Knoxville about 2 years ago and so I was curious to see the new beers the Des Moines location carried and if I would have a new favorite.

When we arrived on a late Saturday afternoon there was already a good crowd. This was back when the weather was uncharacteristically nice and all the cyclist were out to play. In the parking lot was Miss Molly’s Jamaican Patty food truck, which we came to find out like most taprooms they don’t serve food. No worries, we came for the beer anyway and once inside we ordered the way we always do in a taproom: a flight each.

The taproom is industrial looking with tall ceilings and a wall of windows facing the capitol. The room is divided by stacked wooden barrels (as pictured above) and the perimeter is lined with comfy black chairs. We sat at a table against the barrels with the view of the capitol, and all the increasingly inebriated cyclists, which made for fun people watching.

PeaceTree-flight

Pictured in order is the Brett Simcoe, Orange Gose (pronounced go-sa), Templeton Saison Blanche, Rye Porter, and Blondish. For some reason I didn’t save the picture I took of Curtis’s flight, but he had the Dark Sour, Cherry Gose, Ohh! Pale Lager, Red Rambler, and the Jalapeño Pineapple Kombucha. The Orange Gose was a highlight. The beer was fragrant with citrus notes and though sour it was not punishingly so. Another delight was the Blondish, a subtler version of the Blonde Fatale (as you would expect), but just as flavorful. The one beer that I was disappointed about was the Cherry Gose. It was a too sour for my liking (and I used to drink vinegar straight), and had a medicinal flavor I couldn’t get past.

Overall it was a great experience and though Blonde Fatale has yet to be usurped, it was fun trying. Have you been to Peace Tree’s Des Moines branch? What was your impression? Any beer I missed you think I need to try? Let me know!