, ,

Winterset Cidery

d097c3e2-f796-4fcb-b9bd-ac32dfb80ba13a8e7b07-49a1-4d88-80b7-cf5422085ea1We, of course, love to support our local breweries, but when you have Celiac Disease and can’t drink beer, hard cider is usually your tap drink of choice. So, you can imagine how excited we were when we heard Winterset Cidery had opened in May of last year!

It’s just a short ride from Des Moines to Winterset.  The owner and his wife moved down here and built the barn themselves! You have to see the craftmanship that went into the bar, tables, and chairs of the tasting room.  They built it all, it’s amazing.

cc137db8-2a3c-4316-9b16-7d7e0346cdb2 cee5b703-4246-48eb-918e-f7879a4cf566After admiring the venue, we decided to try some flights to get a sample of everything they had to offer.  They had so many choices from different kinds of traditional hard cider to flavors like cherry, peach, and blackberry.  They were all delicious and they have something for all tastes.  I prefer my cider on the sweeter side and the Winterset was perfect me.  My boyfriend prefers not-so-sweet and he was a huge fan of the semi-dry.

They also carry some beers on tap for those who aren’t cider fans because you are going to want to come visit to hang out here with a group of friends either way.  Like most tap rooms, they don’t serve food, but they have free popcorn and they sell chips and you can bring your own food if you need something more.  They also have a patio to sit outside and enjoy b954cdd4-7c58-4ef3-ab18-5c48c34641acyour beverage on.  Hopefully the food truck will jump on this location next year to provide some food options.

They sell bottles (when they are in stock) and hope to have growlers next year.  They definitely didn’t expect to be so wildly successful their first season, but they’ve been greeted with open arms and we’re so glad!

Unfortunately, when we visited last week, it was the last week of their season, so you’ll have to wait until May of 2017 for your first visit if you haven’t been there already.  But add it to your calendar now, because you have to check it out!

At $5 a glass and $7.50 for a flight, you can’t beat it!  “Like” them on Facebook to get “off-season” updates and more info about the 2017 season opening!

Hurricane Grill & Wings


Taco Hangover

Guttenburgers..however you pronounce it.

IMG_6650 IMG_6648So up until today, I assumed this new restaurant, Guttenburgers, which I of course was at my table ready to eat at 11:00 on opening day, was pronounced “Goo-tenburgers”.  As in, the German meaning (and pronunciation)…Good.  It made sense…Good-Burgers.  Then, someone on our Facebook page pointed out that the owner is from Guttenberg, Iowa…So it’s Gut-enbergers.  And all along I thought it was also pronounced “Goot”enberg, Iowa.  Of course I thought Nevada, Iowa would also sound like the place that houses Las Vegas and Madrid was like the place in Spain….I digress….back to burgers…


IMG_6649 IMG_6653I loved the feel of this new burger restaurant.  It’s located right near Jethro’s Jambalaya (West des Moines/Waukee). It is set up a little like Zombie Burger where you can either order at the counter to-go or dine-in for full-service.  Or heck, just stop in for some ice cream or a milkshake.


My burger was solid.  My dining partners and I agreed that the burger toppings stole the show as the hamburger patty was good, but wasn’t the standout item.  My favorite part of the Orchard Burger was the caramelized apples.  I’d order it again, bacon, brie and glazed apples…on a burger…how can you go wrong?


The fries are IMG_6660Hawkeye/Cyclone themed and are darned tasty.  The cyclone fries are more like the spiral cut potato chips you get at the fair with parmesan cheese, garlic and ranch dip.  Nice that you can IMG_6663get a small serving for only $3.49… Fried goodness at it’s best.  The crispy-battered fried pickle chips were also great.  The homemade bacon mac & cheese stood out and would be lovely as a meal by itself.


IMG_6669 IMG_6666My friend really enjoyed her buffalo chicken sandwich.  They also have an impressive selection of ice cream flavors such as Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (I didn’t ask), Bourbon Pecan Pie, Superhero and more…they also have a sweet potato fry dessert that sounds heavenly and comes with a scoop of ice cream on it.  If I wasn’t so dang full, I would have totally tried it.  Next time for sure.


Our waitress, who also happens to have a sister who could be her twin working there (It took me half way IMG_6672through my meal to realize there were two of them), IMG_6684was very attentive and friendly.  I can’t wait to try more menu items here.  Fun to have a burger/ice cream joint in this part of town!  As you can see, the Oreo ice cream was a hit with our littlest table-mate today.

Family friendly but also great food to nurse a hang-over.  I liked it!  Guttenburgers will be entering our casual dining out rotation for sure!


Sully’s on Grand

1423859072590Have you checked out Sully’s Irish Pub’s revamped website lately?!  They’ve been doing a great job appealing to all ages and making the Pub welcoming and fun for everyone.  You may have remembered when we first introduced Sully’s on Grand in West Des Moines as sponsors and fantastic supported of EPLDSM.  You can check out that post here.

1422454987247They’ve made the Pub super biker-friendly and have been hosting bike-ride events!  They had one this winter and keep an eye out for many more this summer I’m sure!   They’ve been offering fun Happy Hour specials and bringing in the most in demand beers and spirits!

sully's-120x36-list+of+eventsThe Pub and website look great and they have tons of fun events planned!  Of course their most popular event is coming up soon and that’s their annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  But they aren’t just celebrating it one day this year, they are having a “Practice Day” on February 14th, an Irish Pub Sing along on February 18th, a whole two weeks worth of St. Patrick’s Day “warm-up” specials and more!

14224552363771423779542894And  don’t forget about the 32nd Annual Friendly Sons of St. patrick 5k & 10k Run/Walk on March 29th!

Check out their events calendar for more details about all of these fun events at and just stop in to say hi to two of the most friendly Pub owners in town, Amy and Bill!



Baconfest 2015 – BaconMania VIII

get-attachment-78.aspxget-attachment-77.aspxThe much anticipated Baconfest 2015 has come to an end.  I wish I could say I’m baconed-out for a while, but it’s just not the case! I just can’t get enough! EVEN after trying 29 of the savory entries, I’m looking forward to making bacon-wraped chicken for the big game tomorrow night.  Anyway,  I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite photos from the event!

I loved the new venue (this year the event was moved to the Iowa Events Center if you hand’t heard) and even though there were more people (upwards of 17,000), it didn’t feel quite as crammed.  Well, we were also there at 9am and got in everything we want to do before it got too crazy, but still…

So, since there aren’t quite enough words to describe all that is Baconfest, I will just leave you with this gallery of photos.  Enjoy!


get-attachment-76.aspx get-attachment-75.aspx get-attachment-69.aspx get-attachment-68.aspx get-attachment-66.aspx get-attachment-74.aspx get-attachment-70.aspx get-attachment-73.aspx get-attachment-71.aspx get-attachment-72.aspx get-attachment-63.aspx get-attachment-61.aspx get-attachment-67.aspx get-attachment-62.aspx get-attachment-64.aspx get-attachment-65.aspx get-attachment-59.aspx get-attachment-60.aspx

Iowa State Fair

The Fair is here!! The Iowa State Fair funs August 7th to 17th in 2014.  From cows made from butter to everything you ever wanted that you didn’t know you’d ever want on-a-stick, it’s fair time!

Some people like to avoid the

craziness, but I like to dive right in.  Have you ever seen so many mullets in one place before?

Kids love it too.  There are the over-priced carnival-rides of course.  But, if you can keep your kid occupied


with the plethora of animals, the free give-aways (mostly fake tattoos that they want to be covered with from head to toe) in the varied industries building from hundreds of vendors and the little hands on the farm exhibit which is one of our favorites, you can possibly avoid spending too long in line for

a $4 ride that they may or may not puke on. The hands on the farm exhibit is where kids go through the motions of being a farmer and milking a (fake) cow to earn (fake) money to buy something in the store at the end.  I’d say kids at least up to age 9 or 10 would like this.

And then there is the food….ahhhh the glorious food.  Three things I never miss are 1. A pork chop on a stick.  That hard to find french cut of goodness smothered with BBQ sauce. 2. A frozen apple cider slush.  Overly sweet, yet tart and perfect for the hot days at the fair.  They sell them in the same building where you find the butter cow and get your

egg on a stick.  3. those darn buckets of chocolate chips cookies that you can’t resist.  Why are they so good!? With so many choices, why would we pick cookies?  Because they are that good!  We finally came to our senses that we don’t have to eat the whole darn bucket in the few days following the fair, they actually freeze really well and pulling out a Ziploc bag of cookies 3 months after the fair and popping them in the microwave for 20 seconds is like re-living the fair all over again.  Do it I tell you.

Well, that’s all you are going to get about the fair from me….I am far from a fair expert, but I know there are some of you out there with tried and true tips, like “make sure to come on Eat Side night” so, please share with the rest of us what YOUR favorite parts/foods of the fair are.  Thanks!

Bar Louie

get-attachment-57.aspxget-attachment-46.aspxThere’s a new kid in town and I have a feeling this is going to be a popular friend in Jordan Creek Town Center.

I know that these are popular all over the country, but since it’s new to Des Moines I thought I’d share.  Plus, it’s always great to have another place open on Sunday nights!  We needed a late night snack at 10:30pm on Sunday and just couldn’t find many places open, but Bar Louie, which celebrated its grand opening this week, (and offered $2 martinis and free appetizers to each guest this weekend) is open until 2am everyday.  A big plus.

get-attachment-55.aspxget-attachment-54.aspxSince they were offering this incredible deal, we were able to sample, and I mean, stuff ourselves with (because these portions were huge) a lot of the menu and taste 8 out of 10 of the martinis!  You really can’t go wrong with any of the martinis.  They use freshly squeezed juices and they are just awesome.

This isn’t typical bar food.  The salmon sliders were thick cuts of juicy salmon and the wings weren’t the least bit dry. The Schezwan sauce was particularly tasty.  Fresh salsa, guacamole and cheese sauce were tasty on huge servings of nachos and $5 specialty burger night lures in visitors on Tuesday nights.

get-attachment-52.aspxget-attachment-51.aspxThey provide a totally fun atmosphere with dark wood tables surrounding the enormous bar.  Outdoor space is generous and comfortable outdoor furniture make this a great place to relax with friends and enjoy food that is a notch above your typical bar cuisine.

Check it out for a great cocktail, a meal fit for sharing and fun place to hang out.


get-attachment-56.aspxget-attachment-48.aspxOh, and we brought our son with us too on our return visit in the afternoon and he was mighty impressed with his giant chocolate milk and the cheese quesadilla.

Plan a Stay-cation in Des Moines!

Everyone looks forward to that next vacation. Who wouldn’t benefit from a few days away from the daily grind?  Unfortunately, trips that require pricey travel, meals and accommodations aren’t always in the budget or sometimes time just won’t permit leaving town.  Or maybe you just haven’t had a chance to explore everything our own city has to offer?  That’s when the “stay-cation” comes into play!


get-attachment-15-1.aspxFrom The Science Center of Iowa to The Botanical Gardens, Living History Farms and The Zoo, there is always something to do in Des Moines.  Des Moines is becoming more and more of a Vacation destination due to the great festivals and fairs such as the The Art Festival, The World Food and Music Festival, The 80/35 Music Fest, The Italian/American Festival, The State Fair of course, the top-notch weekly Farmer’s Markets and many others.  So it’s no surprise that Des Moines is a great place for a stay-cation.


You don’t have to go to Napa for a Wine Tour. Iowa boasts many local wineries to make your stay-cation enjoyable for the adults, and maybe even the kiddos too.  284106_10152126184460276_827190723_nSunday Tunes at Summerset winery in Indianola is only about 20 minutes from Des Moines, and they have music from 2-5 every Sunday along with wine, cheese fruit and other food vendors, so you can relax and sip in their beautiful vineyard.  Kids are welcomed and ours always has a great time dancing and picnicking on the lawn ($3 per person or $10 per car load).  Jasper Winery in the heart of Des Moines, right near Grays Lake offers wine and cheese or wine and chocolate pairing everyday ($15 for 4 pairings-advance reservation required)!  Sit by the fireplace with friends to savor and enjoy.  We even have our own Dinner Train!  Check out the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad‘s dinner trains in the summer every Saturday night at 5:30pm.


IMG_8309If beer is more your taste, check out one of the craft breweries popping up around town.  You can check out Confluence in Des Moines after a stroll around the lake or ride your bike the leisurely 6 miles to 515 Brewery on the bike trail in Clive.


Is nature and sports your thing?  Check out hundreds of miles of bike and running trails just in Iowa!  You can get pretty much anywhere in Des Moines using the bike system.  In the summer, take a leisurely ride from Orlando’s to The Cumming tap on your bike for Taco Tuesday.  IMG_0359About 16 miles round trip will take you back and forth from two fun bar/restaurants where The Cumming Tap has Tacopocalypse tacos every Tuesday night for riders.  Or rent a paddle boat or canoe for just a few bucks at Gray’s lake for the day  or take a moonlight float.  Catch an ICubs game in the summer or watch the Iowa Wild tear up the ice in the winter.


Is food the main attraction in your stay-cation?  Des Moines has lots of options and you can check out the local flavor at lots of locally owned farm-to-table restaurants like HoQ in the East Village where more than 90% of all the food is grown locally and you can shop the local stores like Raygun while you’re there.  Burgers more your style? How about one of the only Zombie-themed restaurants in the country, Zombie Burger!  Make sure to grab a gourmet cupcake at Scratch Cupcakery or Live, Love, Bake if you’re out by the Jordan Creek mall for some shopping.  Or have a cocktail and dessert at Des Moines dessert lounge, Creme Cupcake.


394509_10151154789170276_365490208_n-1Like to swim?  Even in the winter you can check out The Ramada Tropics Water Park Resort for a one-night getaway close to home.  The kids love the pirate-themed splash area and large water-slide.  In the summer, choose from many aquatic centers around town or hit one of the many free splash pads Des Moines offers!


What? You were thinking a Broadway Show would complete your stay-cation…Well, we don’t have Broadway, but we have the next best things!  You can catch a musical or play at the Des Moines Playhouse or The Civic Center or laugh your head of at The Last Laugh Comedy Theater or The Funny Bone.


Looking for some free and low-cost educational activities? Check out the State Historical Museum, The Des Moines Art Center and Rose Garden, The Iowa Hall of Pride or visit the Salisbury House and Garden for some great photo ops!  The Sculpture Garden downtown is lovely in the evenings and with lots of great restaurants nearby, you can grab a bite and have a picnic on the lawn.


IMG_2117Check out the Union Park Carousel to entertain the kids or head to Altoona for a roller coaster ride at Adventureland or try your luck at the Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino.  The kids love to watch the live thoroughbred horseracing in the summer and in July they even have ostrich, zebra and camel races!


We hope you consider a stay-cation in Des Moines for your next vacation and of course check out for over 300 restaurant reviews, a kids eat free list, free stuff to do and more!

Freezer-meal party @ Confluence recap!

get-attachment-42.aspxget-attachment-43.aspxWe had a great time at our first Freezer-Meal Party at Confluence Brewing Company last month!  As you know, our group of friend love freezer-meal parties!  We usually host them like this.  But, our sponsor, Kristina Postma -from Wildtree also hosts freezer-meal parties, so we decided to give it a shot!


The big difference between this party and the ones we usually do was that you don’t bring a bunch of the same meal and then swap, you bring the ingredients for 10 of your own meals and then add the Wildtree ingredients at the party.


get-attachment-40.aspxget-attachment-37.aspxI really liked doing it this way too, especially because you have the option to spilt the meals into 20 half meals for smaller families and since you know that ways of picky 6 year-olds, it was great to team up with a friend who also has a small family and split the cost and the meals.


If you want to know more about Wildtree or hosting your own Wildtree freezer-meal party, contact Kristina at or check out her Facebook page here: