Fun time in Des Moines

Welcome back with another post on The Italian Guest! After a crazy flight adventure I’m back to the USA ( follow me on instagram for more live stories). Last week my girlfriend @ninamclernon and I went to visit @shannon_cynthia, a friend of us in Des Moines, Iowa. We had a fun weekend checking out Iowa’s capital and found lots of great things to see (and eat)!

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De Moines Farmer’s Market
On Saturday morning we went to Downtown Des Moines to the Farmer’s Market, known as one of the best farmers’ markets in the country. Every Saturday, May through October, attendees can browse hundreds of Iowa vendors, around 300, in the Historic Court District.

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There were so many fresh products, flowers, homemade goods, local art, breakfast burritos and live music. Halloween was coming up so all the stands were decorated and selling candy and much more. I had to take a picture of the chocolate flavored skull bread. They looked yummy but so real!

It was a fun experience but so cold in the morning. However, everything was so much better after a hot chocolate.

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After that, my girlfriend and I went to the Jordan Creek Town Center, a 200-acre retail, dining, entertainment and recreation development. I was impressed by how big the shopping center was. Everything is so much bigger in the USA compared to Italy and Europe in general.

Looking for a place to eat lunch we ended up at the Cheesecake Factory. We were warmly greeted by everyone and promptly seated after ten minutes of waiting. Looking through the menu, I just had no idea how massive their menu is. It makes deciding what to eat very difficult, because everything sounds tasty and mouthwatering. People are often weary of restaurants with large menus, because this equates to the restaurant taking shortcuts, often sacrificing quality for quantity in order to support the large number of choices. However, this isn’t the case for the Cheesecake Factory. They have something for everyone. For the health conscious, there are lots of fresh options that are low in calories.

We skipped the appetizer and we dived into our meal. My girlfriend got a flatbread Margherita Pizza with basil, tomatoes and fontina cheese. The crust was a little overdone but she said it was good and basil was fresh.

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Flatbread Margherita Pizza
On the other hand, as a burger lover, I got a “SkinnyLicious” burger with fries. My patty was juicy, with some great charring, plenty of pepper, and a crisp, uniform crust covering both sides. Toppings were fresh and tasty, and the wheat bun was lightly toasted, squishy, and provided the ideal bread-to-meat ratio.

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“SkinnyLicious” burger with fries
The Cheesecake Factory has more than 30 cheesecake flavors, but it’s the original that made us swoon. For dessert, we shared a strawberry cheesecake, one of their most popular for over 35 years. It was served with glazed strawberries and whipped cream.

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Strawberries Cheesecake
We spent all the afternoon wandering around shops and bought Halloween onesies at Target for the race of the next day.

Dinner lead us to Americana, a restaurant in Downtown Des Moines with a wide range of classic American food from steaks and chops to creative burgers as well as a touch of Asian and Italian flare, and they specialize in hand crafted cocktails.

It’s a very open restaurant. My girlfriend, our friend and I sat down and were immediately drawn to a large photo of old cars. It was a black and white photo with spot-color red to go with Americana’s colors/theme. After a while of looking around the place, we stuck our eyes to the menu. The menu explained a little background information of the building. Americana is located in The Chamberlain Building. It was built in 1879 and was used as a car dealership (Taylor Motor Car Company)  in the early 1900’s (the reason for the big car mural.)

I got the boursin burger : black peppered burger, herb boursin cheese, tomato bruschetta, sauteed mushrooms, buttered lettuce, house bun and my choice of side were grilled asparagus. I liked my burger, as it was different from the usual ones I’ve tried before and the sauce was really tasty.

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Boursin Burger with grilled asparagus as a side
My girlfriend and our friend got the pizza pot pie: baked Sicilian bread bowl, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Graziano sausage, mushrooms and house marinara sauce.

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Pizza Pot Pie
Saturday morning was the day for the running event: Hot Cider Hustle Run – 5k.

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Hot Cider Hustle Run

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The running event was set in a beautiful park next to the shopping district
Caramel apples. Hot apple cider. Who doesn’t like running for delicious treats?!

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I enjoyed running it with my girlfriend @ninamclernon and our friend @shannon_cynthia. So glad we spent a weekend checking out Des Moines and visiting her.

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A medal for this race and a brand new mug for my collection! ( Let’s not forget about the hoodie, the hot cider and best part, the caramel apple!).

The Hot Cider Hustle Run can be a great addition to your running scene. It’s fun and on Halloween be sure to put a costume on it like we did! Check out All Community Events for more! They have many running events trough all the US.

Hope you liked the post and see you to the next one!

Ciao!

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