Once upon a time there was a poor college student. Let’s call her Wachel. Wachel was lucky enough to land a full-time, paid design internship in the great city of Des Moines. She was thrilled. Of course, this internship meant that Wachel now had to pay for her own rent, utilities, food, gas and clothing. This left Wachel with very little money.
But she took the internship, arriving each morning at 8 a.m. with a computer bag over her shoulder and a sack lunch in her hand. And each day at noon, she would enjoy a Lean Cuisine or chicken sandwich. Still, Wachel longed for a day when she could afford one of the magnificent restaurants surrounding her office.
During my three week hiatus from writing on this blog, I spent a weekend at home, completed a three-week online class, moved into a new apartment above the edgy and wonderful Mars Cafe [2318 University Ave], and started a new full-time internship at Meredith Corporation. As crazy as that was, I also made the transition from Drake University hall resident to crap-I-have-to-pay-for-this-apartment tenant, which means money is even tighter than usual. So I’ve tightened my belt and hunted down some cheap joints for lunch and dinner, giving me a break from my EasyMac, Ramen and omelet diet.
This past Saturday, my new roommate, ex-roommate and I headed to Zombie Burger and Drink Lab [300 E. Grand Ave.], a zombie-themed restaurant in downtown DSM. Remembering my last trip, I was careful to wear clothing that would disguise an inevitable “food baby.”
With Drake Relays getting into full swing, Drake spirit is through the roof. And what better place to celebrate our Drakehood than in the Drake ‘hood? So my roommate and I dropped by Drake Diner for a bite before sitting down to watch the men’s and women’s 10K. Nothing like a burger and fries before watching other people run their tails off for 10,000 meters.
But Drake Diner [1111 25th Street] is the place to go for burgers and fries or pancakes and hash browns year round. Even when the Drake spirit isn’t at its annual peak, the diner has cheap, tasty, Iowan food.
The frozen yogurt (also called froyo or frogurt) phenomenon is sweeping the nation. Offering froyo as a low-fat alternative to ice cream, froyo shops are becoming popular hangout spots in Des Moines and in major cities nationwide. But who doesn’t like frozen yogurt when there is an accompanying topping bar?
West Des Moines, home to Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt and Orange Leaf, has jumped on the froyo bandwagon. You can also find frozen yogurt nearby at TCBY Yogurt in Clive, Lemon Tree Frozen Yogurt in Ankeny and Yo2Go in Urbandale. But with so many options, I never quite knew where to go. So with the help of my roommate (a self-proclaimed froyo expert), I set out to find my favorite frozen yogurt spot.
After visiting Menchie’s (4825 EP True Pkwy) and Orange Leaf (6630 Mills Civic Parkway), I decided that I much prefer Orange Leaf.
Dining out on a budget has a tendency to be hit-or-miss. And when it comes to food, a
bad miss can have gastric consequences. However, I am willing to put my digestive tract on the line to bring you the best and cheapest of Des Moines eateries. This week I visited the breakfast staple of Des Moines, Waveland Café (4708 University Ave).
After accidentally driving by once, we turned around and parked in the lot in front of the restaurant. I am going to admit that I was a little thrown off by the anthropomorphic eggs and coffee cups that were painted on the front windows. However, I was charmed inside by the neon OPEN sign and the waft of bacon grease.