Eating well in Iowa

As mentioned in this space, we have planned our trip to Iowa since May. During that time we have made hotel arrangements made plans to see family and friends and scheduled some of our favorite places to eat.

Just two days into the trip, and we have aleady eaten like kings.


After a long drive, we pulled into Des Moines hungry. We made our way to a neighborhood favorite called Skip’s. A small, cozy restaurant that seemed to speicalize in steaks by looking at the menu.

At the urging of my friend and road companion, Justin Acri, I opted for the steak de Burgo. After some research I discovered the dish is a beef tenderloin topped with butter, Italian herbs and garlic.

Turns out, the steak is a Des Moines favorite and was introduced by a Des Moines restaraunt owner who discovred the topping while serving in the military in New Orleans in the 1940s.

image imageIt ended up being a great choice. Tender, corn-fed beef wtih the savory toppings. The baked potato side wasn’t great, but the beef made up for it,



What a food day. The past two years I have made an effort to eat well, and I very rarely eat three meals a day anymore. That was not the case Wednesday.


Acri and Pat Bradley did their radio show from his  Acri’s parents’ house. His stepmother, Nancy, made an egg bake, or breakfast casserole as our family callls it, with spicy Italian sausage. We also were served fruit and blueberry muffins. It was a great way to start the day.

Somehow, we saved room for lunch at an iconic downtown Des Moines joint called Zombie Burger. Most all of my Des Moines friends rave about the long list of theme burgers and boozy milkhakes,

I opted for the double Zombie burger with the secret Zombie sauce. Again, the Iowa beef was rich and fresh, and the patties were the right amount of greasy. I now can see why my friends wait in long lines for these burgers. As an added bonus, we ordered a basket of garlic, blue cheese and bacon fries. Wow. The blue cheese and bacon were an awesome paring on the crisp, hot fries. It was one of the better lunches I have had in awhile.

We pulled into Ames in the late afternoon and after checking into our hotel and walking around campus grabbed dinner at one of the town’s most popular eateries — Great Plains Sauce and Dough Company.

Acri and Bradley and I were accompanied by Acri’s college-aged brother and his roommmate. We ordered two large pies, a pepperoni and a sausage and mushroom. With a list of crusts to choose from we opted for the popular whole wheat variety.

After a short wait, the pizzas arrived at our table piping hot. The first thing you notice is the cheese that is piled high. The toppings rest under the cheese and are plentiful. The wheat crust is a nice change of pace and goes well with the honey that is placed on every table. It was so filling, I only ate three pieces and actually was adequately filled at two, but couldn’t resist one more slice.

Since we loaded up Wednesday, we are eating light today until we grab an early dinner at Hickory Park, probably the most popular eatery in Ames that features smoked meats, and lots of it.