Although I was born in Des Moines, I left when I was three and don't get there very often (This was the second time in 2 years). I was visiting for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. Since I don't know if/when I'd ever come back, I wanted to get in as much as I could. For reference I now live in Seattle.
The first stop after we flew in Friday afternoon was at Ingersoll Wine & Spirits. I needed to get wine for the party. The store seemed well laid out and had a nice selection. It was a little weak in budget French and Italian wines; and it was a little too California heavy for my tastes, but I got enough stuff to make me happy.
For dinner Friday night we ate at Sage. I thought this restaurant compared pretty favorably to an upscale place in Seattle. It was odd in a way because it was about 2 block from my grandparents old house, so my dad kept talking about how the neighborhood had changed. I was quite impressed with the prices and variety on the wine list there. I enjoyed an Alsatian Riesling. My wife and I split and appetizer of the scallops with riesling syrup. I was worried about the sweet syrup overpowering the delicate flavor of the scallops, but it worked wonderfully. It was the best thing I tasted all night. My dinner of duck was very good. The breast was perfect, the risotto was spot on and the sour cherries and duck stock were a great compliment. If I had one criticism it would be that the confit was a tad under spiced and a little dry. It was still very good, but I have had better confit. My wife had a rib eye. From what I could tell (I only had a bite) it was perfectly seasoned and cooked. The steak was also obviously dry aged to get a great beefy flavor. The highlight of that dish though was the mashed potatoes. I don't believe it said so on the menu, but they had a fair amount of white truffle oil mixed in. And I'm a sucker for white truffle oil. My wife had a dessert. It was a mango tart with a sour cream ice cream. It was very well executed, especially the ice cream. This was the best meal I had all weekend.
Lunch the next day some of my dad's old friends wanted to eat at Maid-Rite. I haven't eaten there since I was a kid, but the food hasn't changed that much. What was surprising to me was how many there are now and how clean and modern they look. When did they start expanding?
Our dinner for the party that night was catered, but after wards my wife and my brothers and one of their wives all decided to go down town to try to find the Red Monk. I was surprised at how lively downtown was and how many bars there were. We never did find the Red Monk, somehow we didn't understand that the stairs inside the Royal Mile led to it. So we just had a few drinks at the Royal Mile. Their beer list was pretty good, but the mixed drinks left something to be desired. My gin gimlet was basically just a shot of gin.
Sunday for lunch we went to The Machine Shed. The other places I remember from my youth (Tasty Taco and Smitty's) were both closed. This was actually pretty good though. Nothing to get excited about, but decent food for a really good price.
Sunday night we met more family at Felix and Oscars. Good deep dish pizza is not something I can really get in Seattle, so I was looking forward to this. This is a place that you have to enter with an open mind. It's not the cleanest looking restaurant on earth. And I would avoid getting a salad as the iceberg lettuce seemed a little past it's prime. But the pizza itself was quite good. Not as good as what I'd get in Chicago, but good enough to make me happy.
It was kind of a whirlwind few days there. I wish I had had more time to really explore, but I enjoyed my trip and hopefully will make it back sometime.