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Des Moines trip report

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Went to Des Moines for a whirlwind trip. Did research on here beforehand and thought I would report back.

Dinner (takeout) at Open Sesame: Not bad. Ali baba eggplant generally tasty, but I thought it was a little weird it used a big globe eggplant. I think I've had something similar at other restaurants and they used smaller, more delicate eggplants. The falafel unfortunately was way too salty and not very satisfying.

Breakfast at La Mie: fantastic. Total highlight of the trip. I could spend all day here if I weren't worried about accidentally eating all the pastries in sight on the big center table. Croissants had the nice shatteringly crisp crust that is so hard to find. French macarons were still good the next day also.

Lunch at A Dong: Just so so. The pho had a nice flavor to the broth, but was a bit on the salty side for me. The side of herbs was not very fragrant - perhaps the herbs were not as fresh? the bean sprouts hadn't had their roots picked at all unfortunately. Cha gio was a bit greasy and did not have the kind of filling I usually expect from a vietnamese imperial roll - seemed americanized. Any other recommendations for vietnamese that I should try in the area?

Dinner at Tasty Tacos: So we tried Flying Mango and a bunch of other casual sit down restaurants but they al had pretty long 1.5 hr waits at 5:30 pm on a Saturday night. Ended up figuring we would grab a bit here as it was reported as a Des Moines institution. Generally I didn't think it was all that tasty, although I could see that it might hit the spot if it is a local tradition. Tried all the fried tacos on offer, plus some other items. The fried tacos were a disappointment - was hoping for something puffy and crisp, but these were puffy, doughy, and soft. The fillings were very low quality meat - "steak" was a flat out misadvertisement. Maybe we ordered wrong. Figure it was good to have said we went once but we won't be back.

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  1. I find Tasty Tacos is a better lunch establishment in part due to the size of the tacos (large), as well as their restaurants lacking haute decor. The tacos are definitely filling and the hot sauce is homemade, fresh, and "hot." Back in the day, the flour taco was crispier (and more greasy as a side-effect), but I think they have changed them slightly over the years to better suit their diners.

    1. Lived in Des Moines all my life. When my son comes home from Colorado he walks in with a bag of Tasty Tacos. I still don't get it. I'll take a couple from La Pena please.