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Apr 8, 2008 03:13 PM

What to do in Des Moines

I'm coming to Des Moines to visit family, and though I lived there as a kid, I've only been back one other time in the last 10 years. I'm going to be there Friday Night - Monday morning of Memorial day weekend.

I've already made a dinner reservation for Sage for Friday night.

On Saturday I'm doing family stuff all day, but I'd like to find a wine shop to get a few bottles to drink during the festivities. What are the good shops in the area? My favorite wines are Loire Reds and Whites, Alsatian Whites, Burgundy, German Riesling, Cru Beaujolais, and Oregon Pinot Noir. I don't need a shop that has all of those, but some good choices in that vein would be great.

On Sunday I will probably have most of the day free for at least one meal. I'd like to get something casual, and hopefully something unique to Des Moines/Iowa. Growing up I remember loving Tasty Taco, but I'm sure it's better in my memories than it actually ever was, so I need other ideas.


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    1. re: Bobfrmia

      I found some decent food recommendations, but didn't see much in the way of wine stores.

      1. re: vanillagorilla

        The new Gateway Market on Martin Luther King, just north of Ingersoll, is an upscale, locally owned grocery store that is worth a visit. I am not much of a wine drinker but have found that their staff of oenophiles are able to make worthwhile suggestions to me whenever I need to find a well-priced bottle for some sort of function. They have a large selection of Iowa wines, if you want to give that a try (they are getting better all the time; I think Jasper Winery does some pretty drinkable stuff). They also have your selection of wines from around the world. It think it will suit your needs.

    2. In my opinion the store with the widest selection is Ingersoll Wine at the corner of 35th and Ingersoll Ave. Tou will be very surprised by their cross section of everything you have listed. For certain try the Panther Creek Pinot Noir. They are south of Portland and for some time were owned and operated from a husband and wife from Des Moines. Ingersoll is the only spot in the city that carries this fine wine.

      On Sunday make sure you have breakfast at the Waveland Cafe on University. Hash browns with everything are a revisit to your childhood days. Tasty is still going strong but you might want to try one of the Mexican cafes on East Grand just east of the capitol building. You would be surprised at what has happened in that part of the city and will be surprised. Another good "local" spot to try would be A Dong for the pho. Or you might want to try Dos Rios, a new spot on Court Ave. with an interesting take on Southwest. Welcome home and have a great Memorial Day weekend.

      1. One suggestions for your wine store search -- I will give a quick plug for my helpful friend Howard at Casa di Vino on NW 86th Street in Urbandle (just north of the I-80/35 interchange). He started his own place after leaving The Wine Experience, & although I don't suppose he has the largest selection in the city (it's an "intimate" store, you could say), he knows his stuff & usually has some interesting selections you don't run across everywhere.

        He is much stronger internationally than domestic, & like you seem to, that is what I tend to prefer.

        I believe they have a website you can Google, if you'd like hours/directions.

        Everyone (well, at least the people I know) raves about The Wine Experience down south at Jordan Creek Mall -- where you can also get a bite to eat -- but I was singularly unimpressed during my lone visit there.


        1. For a real IOWA experience I like the Iowa Machine Shed. I get to Des Moines twice a year and always go there, (the other place I always go is Sage.)

          For Iowa fed beef at a reasonable price I always go to the Iowa Beef Steakhouse very campy but good beef.