Monday, August 31, 2015

Quiches, scones, croissants, and more at Scenic Route Bakery.

With downtown Des Moines lacking a proper bakery, the opening of Scenic Route Bakery this last December has been a blessing for the East Village, quickly becoming a popular place for baked goods both sweet and savory, Intelligentsia coffee and espresso drinks, sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts. I've not taken the opportunity for a sit-down visit to Scenic Route, but have popped through a few times for items to-go.

Tidy ham & cheese quiche. Intensely cheesy! My favorite item at Scenic Route.

An almond scone is a dandy treat! A firm crust, scantily glazed, conceals a soft crumb studded with almond pieces.

Herb and cream cheese croissant. Crusty exterior, airy interior, slightly sweet and buttery.

Cookies! The Peanut Butter offers a crisp exterior, and a moist, slightly underdone center that otherwise exhibits a defined crumb. The cookie breaks cleanly with some effort. The Black & White is a chocolate cookie with white and dark chocolate chips. Decent aroma of cocoa when broken in half; strong chocolate flavor seals the deal.

Bialy: a small focaccia with scrambled egg, mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, onion, red bell pepper, and spinach. A fine treat for breakfast, or any other time of the day.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Quest for Smoked Sausage: Visits to Jethro’s, Smokey D's, and Hickory Park.

On a visit to Jethro’s BBQ n’ Pork Chop Grill in Johnston, above, I ordered a disappointing smoked sausage. Splitting the casing before grilling lets all the juices excape, leaving behind meat with the texture and chew of a Slim Jim. I had a similar experience at Jethro's location on Forest Ave. a number of years back, while having no issues with the kielbasa served at Jethro's in West Des Moines. I fared much better with a side of jalapeĊ„o creamed corn. Insanely rich, its more like a loose corn pudding. Baked beans were decent but chocked full of fatty chunks of pork that I cared not for. My dining companion enjoyed a much better meal with a lean, thick State Fair pork chop, and a double portion of crisp green beans.


At Smokey D's BBQ on N.W. Second, above, I enjoyed a far better smoked sausage. Served already cut into slices, the sausage was well seasoned and exceptionally tender. In fact, its the most tender smoked sausage I've enjoyed in these parts. The potato casserole was equally impressive: I'd eat this as a main course! Even the baked beans were above par. I felt no compulsion to zest them up with barbecue sauce, as I'm prone to do.

Revisiting Hickory Park Restaurant Co. in Ames for its excellent smoked polish sausage, right, I noted that while superbly crafted, it was not as well seasoned as the sausage that I had enjoyed at Smokey D's. There was no disappointment with a side of smooth mashed potatoes and gravy. I was quite taken with the chunky, creamy potato salad. I took delight in the occasional piece of chopped egg white, and crunchy bits of red bell pepper and celery.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Random Bits of Detritus: Urinals, morels, alleyways, bears, bagels, penguins.

The urinal at The Lift always gives me pause for concern.

Move over pork.

The view down the alley outside the Social Club.

Frolicking bears.

Chorizo Jack sounds more like 'a legend of The West' than a breakfast bagel sandwich.

Do Cheddar Penguins eat Goldfish?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mahalo's Mini Donuts: Small is good.

Mahalo's Mini Donuts, located inside the Shopping District at Jordan Creek Town Center, offers deep fried-mini doughnuts, finished with a variety of toppings. A typical order at their Food Court kiosk numbers six, a dozen, and two dozen. Larger orders can be purchased as well.

Doughnuts at Mahalo's can come Classic Style with either Cinnamon Sugar or Powdered Sugar, or you can choose from their line of Island Style doughnuts or an occasional specialty creation.

While on a visit to catch a film at the conveniently adjacent Century Theatres, a friend of mine ordered up a solid six-pack of Blueberry Beach, while I mixed up mine with a pair each of S'More Shoreline, Strawberry Surf, and Bacon Sunrise.

I had to swap out one of my doughnuts to try a Blueberry Beach, below left. With blueberry glaze, whipped cream, and powdered sugar, it tastes like a tricked-out blueberry muffin.

The Bacon Sunrise with a maple glaze and crumbled bacon is lightly sweet and savory. With strawberry glaze, whipped cream, and crushed Nilla wafers, the Strawberry Surf is quite surprising with its light crunch. The decadently rich S'More Shoreline with chocolate glaze, marshmallows, and crushed Graham cracker is my favorite of the bunch, but the Bacon Sunrise comes a close second.

Revisiting Mahalo's a few months later I enjoyed another trio of mini-doughnuts. The Coconut Cove is topped with a rich chocolate glaze and coconut. The Turtle Bay offers up chocolate and caramel glazes, plus pecans for a fun assortment of flavors. The messy, but delicious Apple Tiki is simply adorned with apple and a caramel glaze.

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Random Sips of Detritus: 2015 so far.

Cracked open a 2004 Chardonnay from Oklahoma. Having never drank a turned wine, I'm thinking we have a winner.

The last sentence is positively pornographic! I need a whiskey AND a towel.

How about a 'coid' drink?

The High Life with Emma Goldman, at a backyard plant sale.

Nightcap with Evan Williams Green Label. Slick on the tongue, fiery, oaky. A good buy for ten bucks.

Chillin' at Exile Brewing Co.