Monday, January 24, 2011

Saigon Cafe

While my restaurant list is currently in the vast growing stage, I decided to write about my current favorite restaurant, Saigon Cafe. It's located in Clive off of 86th street across and diagonal from Ryan's Steakhouse, though I think it's become a solid buffet stop nowadays (it's amazing how horrible buffets stay in business while good solid family restaurants are closing left and right). BUT, back to what I was saying.... I've discovered this extremely great lunch spot where you can get fried rice, your choice of stir fry meat, egg roll, wonton, AND soup for no more than $7! And there is no need to order soda here- just stick with the water, it's insanely good (don't ask me why or how). Everything just tastes real and fresh. My favorite would actually have to be the chicken or double beef noodle soup (or pho).
First your server (who will probably be the same man every time) brings out things you can opt to put into your soup should you choose to enhance the flavor and add some heat or texture. Bean sprouts, jalapenos, cilantro, thai basil, plum sauce, and some more items I know I am forgetting. I basically dump the whole plate in and end up adding some hot chili sauce that is served with the egg rolls. It's delicious on a cold day and even keeps to eat the next day (I mean, who can seriously eat that whole bowl)! The broth on its own would make me happy any day.
Though the exterior is probably the reason why I've driven by and never once pulled in or even glanced at it as I drove by countless times and the interior is a tad outdated and worn, the food and service will make anyone come back time after time (or in my case lately, week after week).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Return of the Culinarian

I'm baaaaaaaack! So obviously my whole two year journey through culinary school did not get documented as I had originally hoped. However, I have a new challenge I'd like to take on. I've lived in Des Moines my whole life and I pretty much play it safe and only eat at restaurants I know. Okay, maybe that's not playing it safe, it's just plain boring. I'm a culinary graduate and I haven't been to most of the places on the list of top dining establishments in this area. So, I'm going to change that and bring you along with me (figuratively speaking). My first duty is to make a list of all the restaurants I want to go to this year. Then each time I visit one of the restaurants, I will write about it here and basically be my own food critic for the two people who may read this blog. Sound like fun? Good! Because I'm doing it whether you want me to or not!