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801 Grand Prix Fixe Menu

Ok, So I’ve written about this once before, but it’s worth another mention.  801 Grand Chophouse.  Aptly located at 801 Grand Avenue in Des Moines, has this super awesome Prix Fixe menu only offered on Sunday evenings.  It’s not an every Sunday type of meal, but if you’re celebrating a special occasion, you are sure to wow the pants off your date, mom, brother, long-lost cousin (you get the point), etc. with this meal….

For only $36 (waaay back when I first moved to Des Moines about 11 years ago, the price was $25, but alas, we understand inflation), you get a choice of salad, choice of prime rib or filet Deburgo WITH two sides (a veggie and mashed potatoes) and a choice of sorbet or creme brulee for dessert.  This is a lot of food!  And the best value you can get at 801.  And don’t forget that you can still add one of their signature rubs (free) and sauces to your steak to glam it up a bit.  The cognac mushroom sauce ($4) is out of this world and makes the prime rib maybe the best thing I’ve ever tasted.  Their wine selection is of course phenomenal, but you can enjoy this meal and not have to spend extra on alcohol, though Rick thoroughly enjoyed his martini as well!

So like I said, this may not be in the budget for every Sunday night, but you have to give it a shot at least once.  Just look how happy we are after eating! =)

Barn Town Brewing

 

Barn Town Brewing is a new Brewery/Restaurant that just opened up on University in West Des Moines (on the Waukee border) near Jethros.

Since we live close by, we were itching to get in to try it.  We love the local tap rooms, and love that you can bring your own food in, but sometimes….you just want it all, good food and good beer all in one place.  They are open every day starting at 11am and the location is pretty convenient if you live on the west side.

What sold me was how awesome they were when we hosted a 40th birthday party there last week.  They don’t take reservations, but we really wanted to host it here because they were nearby, had something (drink-wise) for everyone, serve food (and they were able to accommodate everyones food allergies as well and vegetarian items) and the prices were very reasonable.  So, Lisa the manager worked with us to get everything arranged and get in early enough to grab seats for our party.  We were assigned two servers who were knowledgeable and friendly and we had a great time!  The food was great, the service was great and we really loved their selection of beer.  They have a cider option and a stock of liquors/wine for non-beer drinkers.  They also brew their own root beer!

As for the food….We went once before the party to sample some items and we thought they were just ok.  I was really excited about the brussell srpouts, but they came out slightly undercooked but with a great flavor from the bacon and we tried the cheesy garlic wings and they came out with buffalo sauce on them and when we asked if we got the wrong order, they said they mix the buffalo sauce with the cheesy garlic sauce, which I had never heard of.  We left the first visit with the idea that, it was a cool place that had good beer and we would come back for a burger/appetizers because it was so conveinent, but it wasn’t out favorite place ever.

BUT, I’m so glad we were back for a second round, because they more than redeemed themselves with the great service and the outstanding food.  We tried the brussel sprouts again…because I just couldn’t let it go…I wanted to love them….and they were fantastic!  Bits of sweet and salty bacon and perfectly cooked sprouts and my boyfriend was over the moon with the Brewer’s burger.  The Iowa gold cheddar sauce and runny egg made the burger.  And everyone raved about the mac and cheese.

They did actually run out of cider the night we were there, but the cider drinkers found a good alternative with the  Jefferson County Oaked Sour Cherry which was actually a guest-draft.   But, another hit of the table was the Iowa Gold which was light and easy to drink.

They were nice enough to serve our cake that we brought in for the birthday party even though they serve their own desserts as well.

We love that Barn Town Brewing has joined this side of town and hope that they are here to stay!

Stop in and try it and let us know what you think!  Oh and bring the kids, Barn Town is definitely family-friendly with a good kids menu and coloring pages.  Check it out! http://barntownbrewing.com

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Winter Update!

Hello friends!  Whew!  Is December really almost gone?  I feel like we say it all the time, but time really does fly.  I wanted to update you all on our December happenings, so today you get a compilation post of everything from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  We’ll leave New Years for a separate post since we have a fun night planned on New Years Eve with some new events we haven’t tried before and will want to fill you in on how they went.  Let’s just say, country line dancing in high heels may be in my near future! Not sure if you’ll get a photo of that….Eek!

 

Anyway, we kicked off Thanksgiving with a drive through the Jolly Holiday Lights.  We had a feeling it would be pretty busy this season with it being at the new location at Adventureland in Altoona and we wanted to make sure we got it in, so we went early in the season.  This turned out to be a good plan because there were upwards of 2 hour waits closer to Christmas! So awesome to see such a great charity event doing well!  Hope you made it to Altoona to see them this year!  If you didn’t, get there early next year!

 

We spent a lovely Thanksgiving here at home with lots of family.  Cooking a turkey with all the fixins’ makes me not want to cook ever again.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally satisfying to occasionally cook a meal that everyone enjoys, but, there is a reason I blog about restaurants.

Anywho, we also got in another annual tradition of going to the Festival of Trees.  The kids love the scavenger hunt and I love me a good silent auction.

 

 

The kids did a super fun painting class with El Arte Uncorked at Cupcake Addict in Johnston (yummy cupcakes) where they got to paint a holiday penguin and eat a cupcake.  One woman even brought wine and cheese for the adults to snack on while the kids painted!  So fun. Check out their future classes at www.elarteuncorked.com.  As you can see, Nathan nailed his painting.  Just kidding….sort of.  The instructors do such a good job of walking the kids (and adults for the adult classes) through the steps that it’s ALMOST foolproof that you’ll walk away with a masterpiece…..unless you are related to me apparently.

 

 

The next week brought the opening of the much anticipated Hurts Donuts in West Glen Town Center in West Des Moines. This place is awesome!  You can watch them making donuts and they are definitely the most unique donuts around since the closing of Djonuts. The prices were reasonable and the donuts are huge!  You can also get donut milkshakes which we will try on our next visit.

 

 

We also had a great time hosting our annual Ugly Sweater Party!  Maybe some day I’ll dedicate a post to all things Ugly Sweater Party and give you some tips for hosting your own.  But for now, I’ll leave you with some hints…Don’t forget the candy cane shots, photographer (so you can be in the photos. Hiring a family member who wants to earn $50 will do the trick.), prizes for sweater categories, and tacky food.  Fun times.

 
We were able to get in a couple of our favorite restaurants when we didn’t feel like cooking.  I dream about Woody’s ribs often, so I was happy to get my fill.  We celebrated my Mom’s birthday this month with some Hu Hot. And we made sure to get a few Winter White Cosmos from Bonefish Grill.

 

We also can’t forget to give a shout out to our Christmas Eve tradition of eating Chinese food and having a flaming volcano at Shanghai in Waukee.

 

Our month of holiday bliss was only thwarted with one unfortunate ER trip for Nathan.  Note to self: 9 year olds who
are working on their whittling badge for cub scouts shouldn’t be given a knife after 9pm.  And that’s all we’ll say about that. Whomp whomp.

 

So!  I think that about sums up our holiday season. All-in-all, a successful year.  Lots of life changes changes for us, but we are all happy and healthy (aside from the 4 stitches in the thumb) and looking forward to 2017.

 

Thanks for reading! Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

Bonefish Winter Menu

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Luckily Bonefish Grill West Des Moines was gracious enough to invite us in to try their winter menu, since so many of you on social media already knew about this and didn’t tell me!

When I posted this photo from the restaurant, I was flooded with messages saying it was everyone’s favorite!

img_1223Well, I too have my new favorite drink of the season ever, now!  This deliciousness is the Winter White Cosmo and it’s at Bonefish Grill.  Go!  It’s sweet for those of us who like girly drinks, but not overly so, since it’s balanced with white cranberry juice.  My sweet-drink despising, cranberry-hating boyfriend even loved it and ordered one for himself!  And BTW, they are only $5 on Mondays!

img_1227We of course had to try some of the other winter items like the Lobster, Crab and Artichoke dip, YUM!  It was no joke, it was chock full of lobster and crab.

We also had the catch of the day (Swordfish) which is my favorite fish, and Cody (our waiter) was nice enough to bring out a sampling of all of the sauces for us to try!  Rick’s fave was the Pan Asian.

img_1209I don’t think a visit to Bonefish is complete without just a little Bang Bang Shrimp, so we also got an order of the Bang Bang shrimp tacos. So good!

Make sure to try the pumpkin creme brulee while it’s here for the winter!  And look for us enjoying img_1229more Winter White Cosmos this winter, because we plan to live here while they last!

 

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Great River Maple

img_0371I’ve been hearing about Great River Maple all over the place and finally reached out to them to send me some of the good stuff to try!

We made it a pancake breakfast morning and got to enjoy their certified organic, grade A maple syrup!  So good!  We wanted to try it like this to get the full flavor, but they sent us some pretty tasty looking recipes for granola and maple mustard that we want to try too!

img_0374Overall, we loved this syrup!  We love that it’s locally produced and that you can get it at local stores like The Cheese Shop, Gateway Market and Madhouse Brewery, you can also order straight from their website.  http://www.greatrivermaple.com/

We are super excited to try their Bourbon Maple Syrup for our next taste test! The spreadable maple cream also sounds really good!  So much goodness!

If you’re sick of the fake grocery store syrup and want to support local, try Great River Maple and make this weekend’s breakfast extra special!

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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! https://www.facebook.com/Wintersetcidery/

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Bonefish Grill

img_0022img_0024Being from Boston, I normally steer clear of seafood restaurants in the Midwest. The taste of fresh caught lobster and scallops just can’t be replicated this far from the ocean.

So when Bonefish Grill invited me in to try out their new fall menu, I thought it would just be okay.  Boy, was I wrong!  Bonefish has a location here in the metro in West Des Moines at the West Glen Shopping Center.

We started our mid-week date night visit to Bonefish with $3.50 glasses of Merlot, which were fantastic. We caught the tail-end of happy hour and got in on this sweet deal. And how cute are the Bonefish wine glasses?

img_0021Our, waitress, MacKenzie, has been working at Bonefish for SEVEN years! She was outstanding.  She was super knowledgeable, friendly, and ultra-sweet.  They are very accommodating to special diets, so she said all of the staff need to be super educated about what’s in each dish.

img_0030It was recommended to us that we try the “Dine and Discover, Dinner for Two” menu, and who are we to argue?  $50 includes an order of Bang Bang Shrimp to share for an appetizer. And OMG the Bang Bang Shrimp. If you haven’t tried them, you must. They are lightly-battered and pan-fried and served covered in the most addictive sauce. EVER.

The second course gives you a choice of two entrees from a list of four (which is shown above and which all sound amazing) and then you get a dessert to share.

img_0036Here is where we were start to get really impressed…. We ordered the Fresh Swordfish with Pumpkin Ravioli and Fresh Rockfish and Shrimp.

img_0032The swordfish was by far the best we’d ever had.  If you blindfolded me and did a taste-test, I may have mistaken it for beef.  It was cooked perfectly with no “fishy-ness”. We loved it. Rick was raving about the blackening on the shrimp and I thought that it was great as well.  There was nothing healthy about the butter-laced green beans and that’s ok by me, delicious. The whole meal was satisfying and we were talking about coming back for it again before we were even finished.

img_0041And the dessert….Rick quickly proclaimed this one of his favorite desserts ever. It’s called Jamaican Coconut pie and it’s served with rum sauce. It was incredible. Think big, warm coconut macaroon with whipped cream and rum sauce.

I hope they don’t mind me sharing….because Food.com says they got it off the the official Bonefish website, but you’ll love this so much when you try is as part of the three course menu, that you’ll want to make this at home, immediately when you get home:  http://www.food.com/recipe/jamaican-coconut-cream-pie-415547

So thanks again to Bonefish Grill for treating us to an awesome date night! We think you should treat yourself to a date night this week and go try the Dinner for Two, which is a bargain, at Bonefish!

 

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Vines to Wines

Hurricane Grill & Wings