So I was in Iowa over the holiday weekend and tried a few things.
A while back while disagreeing with Jim Leff about the the food at A-Dong vietnamese, I had mentioned that the one I preferred was west but at the time I had forgotten the name. It turns out it is Saigon Cafe on 86th street in Clive and they make a nice bowl of pho.
Also tried to check out a place that supposedly had been voted best thai in the area - "thai palace". I don't know if they are in trouble or not but they were running coupons in the datebook (buy one entree get the 2nd 1/2 off) and in the Cityview (2nd entree free)and when we called on sat. night got no answer. We ended up trying another place out west called king & I which was a pretty nice deal - food had apmple spice and avoided the too sweet sauces you sometimes see at places geared towards westerners but the herb content seemed a little low to me (not enough cilantro or mint in the larb, not enough basil in the pad kee mao). It was a pretty good bargain though (if you don't mind eating on paper plates) One thing that was a little odd to me was that apparently they are assuming that folks aren't eating family style as each non-noodle entree came with two scoops of rice on the plate with it.
the real winner though was a place that had been mentioned by the sterns on their road food site. Smitty's --great pork tenderloin sandwiches.
below is a link to the stern review