Okay, so I totally fail as a food blogger because I managed to not get a photo of the BEST meal that I’ve ever eaten. I can’t even describe it. Mark took me to The Café in Ames on Friday night and I got their special. The waiter was telling us about it and all I heard was “… brussels sprouts with bacon in a cream sauce over a sweet potato hash.” Say what? Yes. Apparently it came with pork, which I nibbled, but ultimately gave it to Mark.
I’d draw you a picture, but it would not do it justice.
Kudos, once again, to The Café for being so ultra amazing.
However, I managed to capture the rest of the weekend’s eats.
Last weekend I took my friend Amanda and her boyfriend, Dave, to a couple of Des Moines restaurants. One was an old favorite, and one was a new restaurant that we’ve heard SO much about, so we’ve been anxious to try.
First, we went to Fong’s Pizza on Friday night. Fong’s was where Mark and I had our first official date, but since then, its patronage has grown to necessitating a 1-2 hour wait on weekend evenings (yikes!). Fortunately, they are incredibly nice and will CALL you when your table is ready. So you can leave, and there are plenty of great bars in the area, so we never mind the wait. While we waited, we hit up Court Avenue Brewing Company (CABCo) and The Lift.
Finally, we got a call and got a booth. Here are Dave and Amanda …
… and here we are. In case you didn’t notice, I just got a haircut (imagine that) and I’m growing out the left side.
Turns out that Amanda’s boyfriend Dave and my beef are a match made in heaven. They were really chatty, and decided to split a spicy kung pao chicken pizza. Which worked out for Amanda and me because I ordered a gluten free version of the crab rangoon pizza (thank you, Steph for that tipoff — made my world!) and split it with Amanda.
Glad we didn’t do super spicy because we were running a race the next day. Pizza is a great pre-race food, right?
Sunday’s restaurant didn’t fare as well (in my book at least). After our race, we went to Zombie Burger in Des Moines, which I’m not even going to link up because it sucked THAT much. This is owned and operated by a really great Des Moines-area chef, and I’ve been hearing so much about this place since it opened. I had been looking forward to trying one of their spiked milkshakes since most of the rest of the menu isn’t my forté (and also isn’t gluten free). I almost went this summer, but then I instituted the great ice cream embargo of July 2012. However (here’s where this post turns into a rant) …
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
* I also broke a bunch of my design rules here, but it fits the theme of the restaurant and my feelings toward it.
Okay, so Zombie Burger doesn’t completely suck. The decor was actually kind of hilarious.
Not only was the food disappointing, the staff has an attitude. Apparently, they think they’re hot shit because of all the good press (hint: you’re working in a fast food joint, not a high-end restaurant). We were told that we could order and sit outside, get our food fast food style (including PLASTICWARE — seriously?), and do self-serve, unless we wanted to wait to sit inside the dimly lit greasy restaurant. No thanks. Outside and self-serve for me.
I ordered a house salad with the dressing on the side. It featured edamame, corn, red onions and REAL lettuce (not iceberg). I will give them props for having a real option for salad, unlike most fast food places.
I was sent to the bar to order my spiked milkshake. When I asked if they had anything sans gluten, the barmaid told me, “No, you can’t have anything. There’s gluten in everything. It’s a binder, ” and ripped the menu away from me. Who puts GLUTEN in their ICE CREAM. Seriously? What the fuck. Also, um, thanks? Maybe there was something else on the bar menu I wanted?
Extreme disappointment with the shake situation and the bar wench aside, I ended up ordering some fries with my salad, instead of the shake I’d been craving to taste.
Conclusion: Worst french fries ever. They were like Arby’s curly fries, except without the curl, and with an inhuman (and in-zombie) amount of grease. They were soggy, overly salty, and disgusting. I believe this is the first time I’ve ever left a stray fry — in fact, I left more than half unscathed. I didn’t dare try the “zombie sauce” for fear that there was gluten in it (considering they had a hard enough time confirming their fries were GF), not to mention a ridiculous amount of mayo.
And you probably are thinking, “Gee, she’s picky, but Mark isn’t as picky. I bet he liked it.”
Wrong-o. Mark ordered the “Walking Ched” burger — beef between two fried mac and cheese buns.
As you know, Mark is no stranger to the monster burger. But this one? Was entirely too greasy for him. He didn’t finish it (I’ve never seen that happen) and was sick the rest of the afternoon. It didn’t make him full, it just make him feel like crap. Monster burger or not, the grease factor was amped up at Zombie Burger (Oddfellows in Ames wasn’t nearly as greasy) and so was the amount of salt (again, our experience at Oddfellows was less salty).
So if you’re in Ames or Des Moines and are interested in getting a fun and funky burger, do yourself a favor, skip the long and unnecessary wait at Zombie Burger and head down to Oddfellows in Ames.
Edit: For what it’s worth, I’d be willing to give ZB another shot (i.e. order a burger without a bun and see what I think) if it weren’t for the rude wait staff.
Ever been severely disappointed with something that was overly hyped (besides Twilight)?