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A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines

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Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!  I can’t say I have ever been much of a V-Day “lover,” but ever since Jeremy and I started our own Valentine’s tradition last year, I may just have to add it to my favorite holidays list.

Last year we celebrated Valentine’s Day by taking a day trip to Decorah, Iowa.  I actually surprised Jeremy with the location because he had been wanting to visit Toppling Goliath Brewery for quite some time, so I knew it would be perfect.  We almost went back this year, but instead decided to mix things up with a trip to Des Moines.  Let’s be honest, that decision was largely driven by some of my very specific food cravings!

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comDes Moines is only about an hour and 45 minute drive from our house, so we arrived relatively early around 10 a.m. for our first stop: The Iowa Taproom.  This is a fairly new establishment and Jeremy was especially eager to check it out.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comObviously being gluten-free and pregnant, I did not partake in the festivities unless you count water.  But, you should be aware that they do offer several gluten-free options including Wild Culture kombucha, cider, and wine.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comI’m quite certain the next time we visit after the baby is born, I will absolutely be drinking something other than water.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comOur next stop was just a short drive away.  We visited one of our favorite Des Moines restaurants, Fong’s Pizza.  In the past I went with the whole wheat crust and vegetarian options, but this time it was all about gluten-free.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comJeremy and I split two pizzas on the gluten-free crust.  The first was one of our favorites: the honey and garlic.  This contained alfredo sauce, garlic, honey, and mozzarella cheese.  If you are a sweet and savory fan, this is for you.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comThe second pizza we selected was the Polynesian.  It was topped with a sweet and spicy sauce, Canadian bacon, peppadew peppers, pineapple, and asiago and mozzarella cheeses.  This was a great sweat and spicy option that we both enjoyed.  Though after a couple of slices, I was a bit all spiced-out.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comBeing in Des Moines, we couldn’t escape without visiting a few stores that we do not have access to back home.  This was our first time visiting a Buy Buy Baby store.  And while it was fun to see everything in one location, I can pretty much say that I could find just about everything elsewhere for a cheaper price.  But it was still fun to look!

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comWe also walked over to World Market, one of my favorite stores for blogging photography props.  I was actually in search of shelving for the nursery, but simply couldn’t find what I was looking for at a reasonable price.  I guess I will just have to keep looking.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comAfter I got my shopping fix and successfully bought nothing, we visited the new Peace Tree Brewing Co. Des Moines location.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comAgain, there were no gluten-free beer options (this flight was all enjoyed by Jeremy), but they did have kombucha and cider on tap.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comMy food hunger cues have been totally wonky since getting pregnant.  I am literally full one minute and hungry the next.  When it was time to leave Peace Tree, I still wasn’t hungry.  So we made a quick pit stop to Exile Brewing Co.  There were not any gluten-free beer options here, but they did have quite a few options on their food menu that sounded amazing.  I hope to visit again soon to partake in a meal.

Our final Des Moines destination was to Louie’s Wine Dive.  Jeremy and I ate here a couple of years back at their Omaha location and absolutely loved it.  They have an extensive gluten-free menu and a dedicated gluten-free fryer (which is so rare).  On our first visit I ordered the fish and chips and had a craving for this the entire week before our Des Moines visit.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comWe started out with gluten-free cheese curds.  These were amazing, especially dipped in the accompanying aioli.  Neither of us were big fans of the marinara sauce, but I largely blame that on my food aversions.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comBoth Jeremy and I ordered the fish and chips for our meal.  At first sight of our dishes I was a tad bit disappointed already.  The fish looked over-cooked and nothing like what the Omaha location serves.  The coleslaw was also essentially cabbage without any dressing- AKA not a true coleslaw.  Throw in poor service and it was not a great experience.  I’d say the highlights of it all were the french fries and the tartar sauce, neither of which “should” be the stars.

I was definitely a bit disappointed, and I’m honestly not sure if I would go back to the Des Moines location.  While they have a lot of truly gluten-free options thanks to the dedicated fryer (which is especially great for those with Celiacs), I was kind of turned off by Louie’s after this visit.

A Gluten-Free Day in Des Moines | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comAnd since I was so disappointed by our dinner, I convinced Jeremy that we needed ice cream for dessert.  We stopped at Culver’s before arriving home where I ordered a vanilla concrete mixer with peanut butter and Snickers bars.  It totally made everything better.

Another successful Valentine’s Day day date is in the books!

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