Saturday, September 10, 2016

Restaurant Review: Tacopocalypse in Des Moines, Iowa

Fusion Tacos = Yummy Tacos

This is one of those places we discovered because Guy Fieri featured it on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. What we also discovered was a super cool neighborhood called East Historic Village in Des Moines. What a neat town!

Tacopocalypse is a cool place. I'm not sure why the people here are so into zombie references but there is also a Zombie Burger down the street which we didn't get a chance to try. What is is about death and gloom? The town itself is picturesque and colorful. I would definteily recommend this as a road stop. There is a cute little store called Raygun which was Iowa's version of our "Made in Detroit" kind of branding but their version is more humorous. There are also colorfully painted old buildings in the shadow of the capital's gold dome and a piano right on the street corner.

Tacos have a lot of options. You start with the meats which range from braised pork, bacon chorizo, chicken, wasabi brisket, and vegan options, and then you add delicious toppings. You can customize but they had some good combinations right out of the gate. I chose a Bulgogi (Korean Beef) with spicy mayo and kimchi, and a Sesame Pork with spicy mayo and slaw. I liked them both but that kimchi was memorable and I wish I could have one again. the pork was also very flavorful, with a red curry. This wasn't just some carved up meat with topping for flavor. Every component brought taste to this adventure.

This place also serves burritos and quessidiallas of couse, with many of the same options. Where they stand out is their Masa Fries. These fries are a combination of potatos and corn that are deepfried sticks of goodness. We ordered it with a poutine of bacon chorizo. This is not your standard chorizo which I do not really like but bacon that has been made into a sausage like texture.

There is a lot of swag to buy to commemorate this experience. I will proudly say that I now own a t-shirt from this place. My kids preferred souvenirs from the Raygun next door but I'm happy to own my cool new shirt that I had to order online (they were out of a lot of stock) but it beat me home and was waiting for me when we got back to town.

Restaurant Review: Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Pizza Set in an Old Mining Town


Picturesque Views and Delicious Food


I've been a little disconnected from blogging for a few weeks. We went on a road trip from Detroit Michigan (more specifically Royal Oak) to an ultimate destination of Utah. I say that broadly because we explored so many areas of that massive state and we also had many targeted stops both on the way there and on the way home. We did all of this in a Jeep Wrangler and it wasn't for the faint of heart.

One of the benefits of a road trip, as opposed to flying, was getting to try new restaurants along the way. We always have a goal of hitting at least one of the joints featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives but often this can be challenging with timing and traffic. We had an app this time called TV Food Maps which was really helpful but because we were out so far west our phones and internet were often unavailable to use this as a reference. There was also the consideration that our Jeep was not really the most secure vehicle to leave with all our items in it for long periods of time so often restaurants had to be picked on how close we could park and what our vantage point would be from our table.

We had stopped in Denver first as there was a slew of restaurants to choose from that had been visited by Guy Fieri but it just wouldn't work. . . There was a lot of traffic due to a baseball game the streets were teeming with people. We couldn't find secure parking easily so we decided to continue to head west. The app told us about a restaurant specializing in Colorado called Beau Jo's. I wasn't exactly thrilled by the notion of pizza. We have a ton of pizza places locally including our own Detroit version with Buddy's and Loui's Deep Dish and Chicago interpretations with Uno and Pizzapapalis. What could Colorado truly offer?

The whole town was a lot of fun, set in the mountains. The decor and the whole town played to the tourist's notion of an old abandoned mining town. There were plenty of the typical tourist traps with places to buy t-shirts (I may have bought a few especially since Jeeps were featured), postcards and bumper stickers. The restaurant itself showcased mining history, sometimes a little tucked out of obvious sight as you can see from this man that was down a little shaft that caught your eye if you were at the right angle.

While pizza is obviously the mainstay here, there were plenty of other items on their extensive menu, including cocktails. I chose a Mountain Sunset, which featured Amaretto, Vanilla Vodka, and banana liquor with a little bit of orange juice. At this time it was raining and this really did brighten up my day.

There were also plenty of appetizers to choose from but we started with Honey Cheese Bread. It started with the pizza dough as a base, with Rocky Mountain Honey and cheddar cheese. Definitely worth the extra calories. You might ask how we could do this AND pizza but it wasn't a problem.

Well they offered up this pizza and it was good. That kind of sounds biblical. . . Beau Jo's Mountain Pie pizza is thick dough that they describe as a deep dish but it's nothing like a Chicago or Detroit style. It's round and it's thick but it's more of a bowl to hold in the goodness of the fillings. We tried two different combinations, both with the standard honey white crust. One was a traditional pepperoni because that's how some of us in the family are but the other was chicken, mushrooms and pineapple and Alfredo sauce. The people there dip their crust in pure Colorado honey and that was good too! Pizzas take a little while to make but they are worth it.

We also did dessert. . . With the drive ahead and the time we had already spent in the car, stalling was probably a motivation. . . But we ordered two. The first was a cobbler, again with a pie dough base (lots of carbs that day) basted with butter and topped with cherry  pie filling and a sweetened rolled oats topping. The cookies, baked on a pizza stone were really very good, with that salty taste that resembled homemade.

This restaurant did not disappoint. This pizza was very different and worthy of a road trip destination. I would definitely visit again if we end up in Colorado. They have several locations in their chain but this definitely would be the one to visit for the ambiance of the small mining town.

Restaurant Review: Dangerously Delicious Pie Washington DC

Yes, I visited it in DC but it's here in Detroit too!

Dangerously Delicious Pie was located a couple of blocks away from the hotel I was staying in for a conference recently. This was right on the edges of Chinatown and if someone hadn't literally pointed me to this place I would have missed it.

What's funny about this is that this same restaurant has a location in Wyandotte, Michigan after a guest stint at a Detroit bar. No, I hadn't tried it back home. I was a little leery of the whole pie concept. . . I like quiche on occasion and I do love a good dessert pie, but I don't think I could have imagined all the varieties that this place had to offer.

The older I get the less dessert is important and often I find that after eating a meal I'm satisified, or just need a little bit of chocolate rather than a whole dish of sugar. However, I'm going to let you know how serious I am about this particular pie by showcasing the dessert first. Yep, this pie is the bomb! I wrote that, just now, before I even realized that this pie is indeed called the Bomb. The Baltimore Bomb. A special Baltimore cookie called the Berger, is combined into a chess filling. The results are spectacular.

Savory pies are also pretty damn good. I had the SMOG (Steak, Mushroom, Onion and Gruyere. Yes, it's as good as it sounds. Don't mistake this for quiche because it's not although they do offer a few of those. . . This is a flaky pie crust, covered with more pie crust, with a combination of all those yummy ingredients in between. There's gravy and there's no egg consistency.

Savories come with a side of salad that was fresh and a variety of dressings. This place is tiny and I imagine they do a lot of carry out rather than sit down, but the countertop by the window was excellent for people watching.

There are plenty of pies to choose from. . . Savory offerings of vegan, chicken, seafood and of course beef and sausage. The sweet stuff includes traditional and seasonal favorites with fruits, cream and of course chocolate.

You really can't go wrong and yes, I will try the local one! Yum.