Hi everyone! Glad you all found the last post interesting and helpful. Such great response.
Over the weekend I was up in Iowa visiting my friends and family while the Train went off to a weekend of bacheloring. I enjoyed some much-needed time with my girlfriends, got some wedding business done, and ate at some really fantastic places. Apparently, word is catching on that us vegan really do love to eat – as long as there were not animal harmed in the process -creating a huge surge in vegan/vegetarian, organic and locally grown, and even raw restaurants throughout the country. Even Des Moines, Iowa has a couple to choose from (do not be deceived, just because it’s Iowa doesn’t mean desolate miles of corn fields and plateful of pork and gravy. Actually, Des Moines was rated one of the top most growing cities in the U.S. by Forbes magazine).
Here are few of my favorites that I make sure to visit when I’m in DSM.
Ritual Cafe “where great coffee is a ritual” is a funky eclectic coffee shop located downtown right beside Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Proudly serving an all vegetarian (and some vegan) menu, Ritual is the it place for a steamy cup of fair trade organic jo, a bowl of hemp granola, a slice of homemade quiche – with all local ingredients -, and a vegan brownie to round it out. Enjoy a glass of wine or a bottle of beer while you listen to a local artist strum away on the bongos, and on your way out grab an OMega Smoothie made with hemp milk, fruit juice and spiked with your choice of nutritional umph. Ritual is the place where Des Moines goes to be hippie chic.
Fresh Cafe is the new kid in town that offers vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and raw cuisine. With pallets of wheatgrass growing everywhere, it’s hard to not be inspired to get healthy as you walk through the glass doors. Freshly juiced mixtures of fruits and vegetables, Fresh offers up life in a cup. After you’re finished downing a colorful concoction, sit down and enjoy an array of salads, wraps, paninis, and soups, all accompanied perfectly with a side of homemade kale or banana chips. Oh yeah, and you MUST try the raw chocolate chip cookie truffles. Trust me, they’re good.
Gateway Market is a market/cafe combo in downtown Des Moines which focuses on good quality food. Everything from fresh asparagus from a local farm to artisanal baked goods, the Gateway Market offers Des Moinians the freshest organic and local foods. The cafe is a popular place for everyone to wine, dine, and kick back. Whether you want a decadent bowl of homemade mac and cheese or a vegetarian bowl of ramen, you can have your heart’s desire paired with a glass of Riesling or a mug of Fat Tire beer as you cozy up in front of the fireplace or stool up to the bar.
Others that deserve (very) honorable mention are Cool Basil, A Dong, Gazali’s, and Campbell’s Nutrition. All creating plenty of amazing vegetarian dishes to cater to those of us who choose a life of animal abstinence. What great restaurants (vegan or not) in your area do love to treat yourself to? Any others I should add to the list and try next time I’m in the Hawkeye State?
Now that I am home, it’s time to get experimenting in the kitchen a little more. I brought home some great finds at Trader Joe’s on my drive back to KC, so I have some exciting things to play with. Until then, I’d love to hear about your favorite restaurants and even some possible recipe suggestions you’d like to see. More breakfast options? Sweeter desserts? Tell me what you’re thinking.