Tag Archives: Des Moines



A few of these pictures have already made their way onto the interwebs, so I figured I might as well get the actual post up. I spent the 2nd weekend of August in Des Moines with my best friend, Anna. She generously gifted me a one day pass to 80/35, an annual music festival. Over the weekend saw sets from St. Lucia, Jenny Lewis, Talib Kweli, Wilco, The Maytags, The Olympics, Christopher the Conquered, and a few others. Saturday we saw exclusively free music and entertainment that 80/35 offers, which was amazing and totally the way to do 80/35. That day we also sought refuge from the heat at one of our favorite spots, Royale Mile, and eventually ended up dancing the night away in a club.

1. Anna and Zach — if only they lived closer so we could take selfies everyday.
2. The crowd on Friday night for Jenny Lewis.
3&4. Anna, Zach, and I were in the front row to see this megababe, and Bernie Sanders supporter, Jenny Lewis.
5. My traveling vanity.
6&7. Anna and I caught a free aerial act at 80/35 on Saturday. We were both highly impressed.
8. Ran into my sweet friend Abby. Can’t wait to catch up with her in the near future.
9. Part of Saturday night’s crew at The Maytags set, before the champagne.

80/35 was absolutely amazing. I can’t wait for next year.

Des Moines Botanical Garden

To say I loved the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden would be an understatement. I basically skipped in. If you read my previous post, you know that the admission was free! I was so excited and ready to check out the garden I barely understood what she as saying. It had been raining pretty steadily all day, and the poor roof of the botanical garden was leaking everywhere. But that certainly didn’t stop us from having an excellent time. I really don’t have much to say along with this post, so here’s a ton of plant pictures.

The lilies, the orchids, the cactus. Ah-May-Zing. I would highly recommend the Des Moines Botanical Garden. I loved every part of it, inside and out. Next time we go we want to check out their cafe. Apparently they have a soup sampler! What a genius idea for all those who love soup. This has definitely put botanical gardens are my radar. I will be searching them out anytime we visit a new city!


For the majority of our relationship, Audrey and I have dreamed of going to New Orleans. Around tax season we got pretty serious about making the trip. I saved some of my refund, and so did Audrey. But, then reality set in that I’m barely working 20 hours a week. I kept having to dip into my savings to live my life the way I wanted on a regular basis. So we put our NOLA trip on hold, but still wanted to take a vacation.

Anna, one of my favorite ladies in the world, was taking a trip to Seattle. I offered to housesit, and watch her cats for her while she was away. The perfect mini-vacation for Audrey and I, complete with a free place to stay! Anna lives in Des Moines in the historical Sherman Hill Neighborhood. Sherman Hill is conveniently located right off downtown. We never went anywhere that took us more than 10 minutes to get too. It was perfect.

We arrived on Wednesday evening, and headed straight to Krunkwich Ramen House. We both had the classic ramen dish, which included chicken, braised pork, green onions, a soft boiled egg (my favorite part), and of course ramen noodles. The portions were generous and the bowls were adorable. It was delicious, and something that I hope that Audrey starts making at home. Next time we visit we are looking forward to trying something off their tator tot menu!

On Thursday we headed straight to Smokey Row Coffee so I could work on homework and Audrey could do some admin stuff. A couple hours later we headed downtown to one of our favorite bar and restaurants, Royal Mile. We split a BLT, and discussed our plans for the remainder of the day.

It had been raining on and off all day, so we decided it would be the perfect time to go the botanical gardens. Audrey had mentioned several times that her Grandma used to take her there when she was little, and how amazing it was. I was thrilled to finally get a chance to go, not to mention I’m a little plant obsessed at the moment. Unfortunately for the Botanical Center, but fortunately for our wallets, the roof has some serious leaking issues. It was basically raining inside, so admission was free! I have an excessive amount of photos I want to share, thus I’m going to do a separate post for them.

For the size of the garden, I was highly impressed. It was absolutely beautiful. I do wish more plants would have been labeled so I could really nerd out and Google them and figure out how to turn my house into a rain forest, but maybe it’s for the better.

That evening we met up with some of our friends for drinks, ordered a late night delivery pizza, and watched Dexter.

Bright and early Friday morning we grabbed breakfast at Mullets with Audrey’s Dad. I would HIGHLY recommend Mullets. Tons of options, delicious bad-for-you food, and cheap prices. I spent the remainder of the morning and early afternoon doing school work while Audrey relaxed.

That afternoon we visited the Iowa State Capital Building. I hadn’t been on a tour since I was in elementary school. It was so beautiful, and a lot more meaningful as an adult. Sometimes I think I could be a politician, but I think I will stick to local city council dreams over Congress Woman Hannah.

That evening we were invited to a family cookout by our mutual long-time friends. It was a wonderful time with their family of seven, and so generous of them to invite us over. It was great to catch up with everyone, and meet April’s three-year-old daughter Gretchen. I didn’t take any photos because I was too busy water coloring Doc McStuffins.

On Saturday morning we visited the Farmer’s Market for breakfast. I had an amazing grilled cheese with a friend egg and bacon, from Say Cheese. We saw lots of adorable dogs of all shapes and sizes. There was a lot of “I could live here” and “I want that dog” moments.

Audrey had a show in Iowa City that night, so she left Saturday afternoon. In her place arrived Zach! We went shopping at the mega mall, where I proceeded to spend every single dollar I had left on make-up items that I had been dreaming of for months. I’m totally irresponsible with my practically non-existent money and I don’t care who knows it! I LOVE MAKEUP!

After going broke, we grabbed a couple sandwiches at Smokey Row, and then went on a wonderful long walk around Sherman Hill. Talking with Zach is always very good for me, because it reminds me how much life can change, even between 21 and 25. It is so important to remember where you came from, and to appreciate where you are now. He is an incredibly wonderful friend, and always makes me laugh. All in all I walked over 8 miles on Saturday. At least that’s how far my phone walked, and I believe it. So we ended the evening with pizza and watched Nightcrawler (4.5 stars!).

It was an absolutely perfect vacation. If I couldn’t have NOLA, then Des Moines was an almost totally equal trade. I love Iowa, and all of the people that reside here that I call my friends. I also love vacationing with Audrey. She is more than willing to do all the tourist-y things with me, and then

I will return later this week with pictures of stuff! You know how I love stuff.

Valentine’s Day | Des Moines


To say we were excited to return to Des Moines for our second Valentine’s Day together would be an understatement. We literally booked dinner at Proof in December. So Saturday morning we grabbed a couple slices of infamous Casey’s Pizza.. along with some grape juice (my must-have with breakfast pizza) and a heart shaped donut because Valentine’s Day, and headed out!



Our first stop in Des Moines was El Bait Shop. I tried Wyder’s pear cider, which is aged in tequila barrels.. Match made in heaven. Audrey had a Founder’s IPA nitro, another great combination. We grabbed some lunch with Audrey’s family, checked into our hotel, did some shopping, and then headed out for more drinks and arcade games at Barcadium.








Lucky for us, this year Valentine’s Day fell on the second Saturday of the month. At Proof, every second Saturday of the month, they have a 10 course tasting menu. Yep, 10 flippin’ courses. Each dish is portioned for 2 to share, and we shared the wine pairings. I was lucky enough to snag a menu (usually the waitstaff just tells you what you’re eating), so here we go!



The Valentine’s drink of the week .. A blend of plum, peach, and peychaud’s bitters dropped into a flute and topped with champagne.


1: Beef Heart Capaccio paired with Prosseco — This was my first time having organ meat. My friend Luke is the biggest advocate of trying organ meat, and let me say, as gross and weird as it sounds for those of you who have never tried it, it’s AMAZING. This particular cut was thinly sliced, and seasoned with pastrami flavors, topped with reconstituted button mushrooms, braised cipollini onions, and microgreens (edible flowers).. So that’s how this whole meal started. I could have cried.



2: Leek and Potato with Chocolate paired with Pecorino — So this little golden nugget is actually mashed potatoes. It is cooked so that the outside is crisp, like a doughnut. It happen to taste a lot like doughnut too. After eating this dish I am seriously considering putting chocolate syrup on my mashed potatoes. No shame.


The wine paired with this dish was from Abruzzo, Italy. Abruzzo is one of those most beautiful regions in Italy. I spent 2 nights there on a farm stay. The owners of the farm made an amazing wine, much like this one, so obviously I took a picture of the wine at Proof.


3: Sweet Potato and Foie paired with Trebbiano/Semillon — For me this was just one mind blowing course after another. I am clearly no food expert or critic, so my describing words are mostly just amazing and awesome, but seriously.. All this food was amazing and awesome. This dish was one of my favorites; a black truffle puree, hard boiled quail eggs, foie gras tourchon, and sweet potato. Yeah, I don’t know what half that stuff is either. The foie gras tourchon was smooth and creamy, almost like butter. Audrey and I were all about making perfect bites for each other for each dish and then we fed them to each other. WE ARE THAT COUPLE. (insert hairflip emoji girl here)


4: Oysters and Champagne Sabayon paired with a Fiano — I can just imagine my Dad reading this, thinking to himself, ‘I couldn’t even get you to eat (insert practically any food that isn’t pb&j, cheese, or potatoes), who are you, and what have you done with my daughter?’. But Dad! YOU WERE RIGHT! Turns out food like oysters is actually good, when prepared correctly. These oysters were topped with sabayon which is “very similar to a hollandaise, but a little sweeter,” says the menu, and topped with tarragon. Apparently this Sabayon was made with a raspberry champagne reduction. GTFO.


5: Grapefruit Pulp and Champagne – Intermezzo — All I know about this course is the pulp of the grapefruit was frozen with liquid nitrogen. So that’s cool.. literally.


6: Squash Tortellini and Duck Confit with a Plavina — I got a little too excited for this dish and started eating it before taking a picture, oops. These little tortellini’s were filled with squash. I don’t actually know what confit is, but the duck was a texture I had never eaten before, very crispy and yet somehow still juicy. The dish was topped with goat cheese and cherry sauce.


7: Pork Belly and Beer paired with Founders Porter — This was another favorite dish of mine. The pork belly was marinated in beer, soy, ginger, and brown sugar for 3 days. Yes, 3 days. Do you know what that does to pork belly? Well I will tell you, it makes it AMAZING. Served with collard greens and black eyed peas, topped with warn bacon vinaigrette.



8: Every Lamb Has It’s Thorn paired with Aglianico Del Vulture — That’s what the menu calls it, so I’m going with it! This is a lamb chop grilled to absolute perfection, served on top of a celery root puree. So this ‘menu’ that I have, actually has the chef’s notes on it, and it is totally hilarious. Served with this lamb chop is a small parcel of saffron/rose water rice pilaf. “When I say parcel, I mean baller ass parcel made of parchment paper and tied with butcher twine.” Baller. Ass. Parcel. And it was.



9: 20 Month Aged Comte with Manzilla Sherry — Cheese! From a french cow! This little cheese slice is “one of the best aged french Gruyeres at this moment,” paired with balsamic roasted grapes.


10: DESSERT paired with a Ruby Port — The saddest part of the meal, the end, but also one of my favorite parts. My menu doesn’t have what dessert was, but as you can see it involved chocolate, and lots of raspberry. For those of you don’t know, I’m obsessed with waffles right now, so I was pretty excited to see a little chocolate waffle. Audrey basically let me eat this whole plate because she was “full,” really I think it’s because she’s the best girlfriend ever.


All in all, another brag worthy meal from Proof, not to mention they have a phenomenal staff. I wish I could eat there everyday. We headed back to our hotel very full, pretty drunk, and SO HAPPY! But how could you not be after 10 courses of some of the best food of life?


Sunday we grabbed lunch with Audrey’s family again, and then headed home to relax. It couldn’t have been a more magical weekend. I am one lucky lady. A special Happy Valentine’s Day to my sweet Audrey. Thank you for the perfect weekend.


Weekend Wrap-Up: Des Moines with Peas and Carrot

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Another great weekend! How am I so lucky to have all this fun?! On Friday night I went to BBQLoo with The Hoeckers. Maranda and I decided to eat as much as physically possible. We had pulled pork, brisket, smoked corn, ribbon fries, and funnel cake. I tried to stop by tropical night at Octopus but I was just so freakin’ full I could only handle one, very blue and tropical ‘Pool Water’ drink, and then I had to go home. On Saturday Jessica and I went to Eisley’s first birthday party. I got her a picnic table, which she seemed to like! It was great to catch up with Eisley’s Mom, Nicole, and a few other pals I hadn’t seen in a while. After we left I felt so old.. I was ‘catching up’ with ‘old pals’ at a little kids birthday party. I can remember when I was little my parents would sometimes have a ‘kids party’ and then an ‘adults party’ for my birthday, and now I’m going to the adults party. What the heck.

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