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Nov 29, 2007 07:52 AM

Brief Des Moines visit

I may be visiting Des Moines this weekend from MSP. I know nothing of the city. I'd be attending the symphony in order to catch up with an old friend who is coming into town and performing with them. So I have a couple of questions.
First, my reading suggests that I should get a pork tenderloin sandwich at Michaels in Beaverdale. I can't locate a Michael's in Beaverdale, but I can locate a Michael's Restaurant and Lounge on Urbandale Ave. I'm thinking they're the same thing. Are they?

Second, since we'll be right downtown, are there houndish suggestions for a convenient place where two adults can have a quiet well made cocktail, some splendid chow, and a conversation without smoke and raising our voices? This last because my friend is a vocalist, and will want to avoid smoke and shouting. Minnesota, for good or ill, has pretty much outlawed smoking, but I have no idea about Des Moines.
Cuisine and price range aren't big factors, though open late might be. We're more interested in catching up with a quiet drink, and first rate nosh, but I don't want to run into someone in two weeks what tells me after the fact, 'Oh, Des Moines? Did you go to...'

And I am keeping an eye on the Des Moines thread down the page.

Last, any don't miss chow opportunities off I-35, MSP-Des Moines?

Thanks for any and all info!

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  1. Let's see if I can help you out. Michael's is on the corner of Beaver and Urbandale. Beaverdale is a neighborhood and not a city so probably isn't on most maps. Here's a link to the location:

    I haven't tried it but you might try Azalea for a good drink and meal. There's quite a few restaurants and bars around Court Ave, which is just a bit south of the Civic Center where your friend will be playing. There is one bar that's non-smoking on 4th, a block north of Court Ave. It's called "The Lift". I don't think they offer food though.

    Unless you want to stop in Ames I think the best thing to do on I-35 is to floor the accelerator and hurry to Des Moines. That's what I always do anyway.

    Enjoy the symphony. It's usually quite good for a city this size.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dg2445

      I think the best pork tenderloin in the state is a few miles off the interstate at the Mason City / Clear Lake exit. The Colony Inn in Ventura is a dive bar but they do a nice, handmade loin. I like Michaels but I love the Colony.

      It'll no doubt be mentioned again, but there are some good restaurants in the East Village, which is located between the Civic Center and the State Capitol Building. Lucca is probably the best.

      1. re: jwagner

        My thanks to both of you. I ended up having a pre-concert snack at Azalea, starting with a tot of Templeton Rye and then moving to curried onion rings with mango ketchup and a John Generations White Ale. The rye was very welcome after the adventurous drive to Des Moines through a blizzard and ice storm. The onion rings were very nice, though I could detect no curry, the ketchup was great fun. The beverages rocked, and caused me to bring some Templeton home with me.
        The orchestra acquitted itself well, though the seating in the Civic Center is ugly in truly surprising way. The 1970s have a lot to answer for.
        After, I ended up with the conductor and his soloists at Centro, where I had one of the best Cobb salads I've had in a while, after sipping some more Templeton Rye. Several other dishes looked very attractive, too. We closed the joint.

        To-day (Sunday), it mostly went to hell. Since Michael's was fairly close to the Hy-Vee that had my trunkful of rye, I opted to try them. They were very gracious, but allowed as how they closed at 1:30 (I got there ~1:40), and didn't serve lunch on Sundays anyway.

        No worries, I had a plan B. Up the road a piece, I turned west to Ventura, my fallback. The Colony Inn was also closed, though from the outside, it looked promising to this chowhound.

        I had to make do with a couple of apples and a can of, god help me, Sunkist Orange sody-pop.

        Next time I'm down that way, though, I'll try to hit both Michael's and The Colony Inn.

        thank you both for your help!

        1. re: ajs

          You're welcome. I'm glad you found a few good things to try. Too bad about Sunday though.

          Don't drink all the rye at once.


          1. re: dg2445

            Sounds like you did well. Glad to hear it all worked out for you.