Category Archives: Des Moines

Check out my story in Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s magazine: the Raccoon River Valley Trail

Here it is!  Click here! (This is the photo taken by my friend Denise…that was used below. And yes, that’s me riding….)


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Captain Roy’s – a new spot to stop while biking on the Neal Smith Trail in Des Moines

Good thing Dirck remembered that there is a new place to stop, as we were riding our bikes on the Neal Smith Trail near Birdland Marina  on Des Moines’ East Side Sunday.  We rode right past Captain Roy’s, without noticing it, but backtracked and found a pleasant little clearing with outdoor tables and a deck overlooking the Des Moines River, as well as a food truck serving burgers and chicken and waffles and a small building with a takeout window  for beer and other drinks. We sat in the sunshine, watching the occasional boat go by on the Des Moines River, enjoying a late summer/early fall day.

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Iowa State Fair 2017 – gorgeous weather brings lots of people but doesn’t feel crowded

The weather was so perfect (sunny and almost cool, not hot or humid) last Saturday that I feared the fairgrounds would be uncomfortably crowded. There were tons of people but the fair didn’t feel any more crowded than usual for a Saturday. There was a long line at the Dairy Barn, which is to be expected, and it remains the one place where I always feel sweaty, even in relatively cool temps, because there’s no shade.

But there was hardly any wait to get an egg-on-a-stick from the Iowa Egg Council inthe Ag Building or to get a ticket for the Sky Glider. We sailed right into the Pork Producer’s tent for dinner – maybe because it was relatively late? (about 7 p.m.)

The Midway did look cleaner, brighter and less seedy – as promised with the rebranding as Thrill Park. And I did overhear someone actually ordering a cheesy fried enchilada funnel cake – one of the “new foods” at the fair. No thank you. Other than that, just enjoyed the usual highlights, with the added bonus of having two of our grown kids and their significant others with us!

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Filed under agritourism, Des Moines, Iowa

Real onion bhajis in Des Moines…at a Nepalese Restaurant no less!

I fell in love with onion bhajis in the 1980s when I lived in London and started going to Indian restaurants. But I have rarely found them on menus in Indian restaurants in the U.S. so when I spotted them on the menu at Kathmandu, a new Nepalese restaurant on Des Moines south side, I had to violate my pledge not to eat Indian food at the restaurant (we wanted to stick with Nepalese entrees since we’ve rarely had Nepalese food) and glad I did.

 They were the real deal. crispy clumps of cut onions, battered and fried, served with two sauces. THink Indian onion rings that look more like a sloppy latke. WE also had chicken moma, a Nepalese dumpling and a Nepalese version of saag (spinach) creamed with chunks of potatoes. the restaurant looks like a bodega from the outside, on an uncharming thoroughfare known for ragtag shops, cheap motels, pawn shops, rough bars, used cars and immigrant- owned businesses.

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Finds at the Downtown Farmers Market – Des Moines

“There’s usually nothing new down there,” my husband muttered as I persisted in heading down a side street (near the new HyVee) in downtown Des Moines during the Saturday morning farmers market.

And he’s usually right. But this time of year, chances are he’s wrong – and he was. Spotting a crowd gathered around a vendor, we arrived at Coeur Bread which turns out to be new (or new to us and this particular market location) and makes noteworthy bread, which is hard to do in such a crowded field these days. The flavors are different – raspberry feta is delicious, “hot chocolate” a little odd but not too sweet, jalapeno corn has visible kernels and a kick. And the texture is perfect – dense, chewy, crusty and dusty on the outside, both the little rolls (sort of the size of charcoal brickets) and the loafs, sweetly wrapped in brown butcher paper with a little brown ribbon.

I was also pleased to see the return of Butcher Crick, which sells gorgeous heirloom tomatoes – all kinds of odd shapes, unusual colors and best of all, discernable flavor. And the sellers are so enthusiastic it’s hard not to suddenly drop $8 on a handful of beauties.

With fresh produce so bountiful and widely available this time of year, I’ve come to restrict my Saturday farmer’s market shopping to things I can’t find elsewhere and raspberry-feta bread and dusty red or tiger-striped tomatoes fit that bill.

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Iowa State Fair tips – in a travel story I wrote for the Minneapolis Star Tribune


Here’s a travel story I wrote about the Iowa State Fair in this weekend’s Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Iowa State Fair has much in common with Minnesota’s

Iowa State Fair has much in common with Minnesota's
Iowa’s fair is a more “classic” counterpart to Minnesota’s get-together.


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Japan-like coffee arrives in Des Moines at the Horizon Line – I think

In Tokyo last year, we stumbled upon what seemed like a novel way to prepare and serve iced coffee — a pool of dark coffee in a wide deep bowl with a rectangular chunk of ice floating in the middle, slowly melting and making the coffee colder.

A new coffee place, the Horizon Line, in Des Moines seems to have the same idea – although I’ll probably ask the barista to hold the ginger beer (which sounds too weird) See the photo in this DSM Register story for more details:

Coffee connoisseurs should head to this new Des Moines spot New coffee spot in DSM

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