Surly Brewing and Centro Restaurant Beer Event Coming Thursday March 26th

surlyI just received the following information from Surly Brewing. Sounds like a terrific event with lots of excellent beer and food. Full hog porchetta? Yes please! Here’s more info:

WHAT: Centro is welcoming the Twin Cities’ Surly Brewing to Des Moines with an exclusive food and beer event this week. The event will showcase Surly beer and food prepared by Centro executive chef Derek Eidson and Surly executive chef Jorge Guzman. Both chefs will feature dishes for sampling while guests are able to taste Surly’s beers.
Entrance includes five Surly beer tasting tickets, two paired small plates from Guzman, hors d’oeuvres from Eidson, and a complimentary branded tulip snifter. Additional pours of Surly beer will be available for purchase.

SURLY FOOD MENU:

  • Red Chili Pork Tamale with Cotija cheese, pickled red onion and cilantrocentro_surly
  • Pecan Smoked Brisket, sweet potato bun, spicy pickles

CENTRO FOOD MENU:

  • Full hog porchetta, South Union Bakery bun and pickled vegetables
  • Roman-style pizzas with assorted toppings
  • Charcuterie (assorted cured meats and accouterments)
  • Housemade frites with sauces
WHEN: Thursday, March 26, 6pm – 9pm
WHERE: South Union Bread Café at Centro, 1007 Locust St., Des Moines
TICKETS: RSVP to RDeAngelo@CentroDining.com, $30/person

Guest Review: sLim Reviews The University Library Cafe

libraryUniversity Library Cafe-3506 University Ave
Des Moines IA

Fortunately for all those who dwell in the Eastern and Central Iowa area, more and more craft beer bars are popping up. I always enjoy myself more at these types of establishments. Not just for their expansive beer selection, but because most of them seem to have a quirky, quaint feel to them. You’re usually in for a unique experience each time you go to one.

While the number of bars/restaurants in Iowa with exemplary beer selections is increasing, I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about one that’s been around for quite some time. The University Library Cafe has been around for a few decades. It has certainly gone through some changes during that time period, especially in management. Since 2012, the Library has been managed by Full Court Press, the Des Moines company that owns and runs other highly popular establishments like El Bait Shop, Hessen Haus, and the Royal Mile.

When you first walk in to the Library, you can’t help but notice that it’s, well…quite small (although you likely weren’t surprised at this when you saw the outside of the building driving by). It’s tucked into the western part of the Drake campus right on University Avenue. Upon initial reaction, one may expect a ma and pa type cafe that specializes in comfort food and has limited hours. Quite the contrary, this cafe stays open until 2am every night and opens early for breakfast at 8am Friday through Sunday. Due to it’s location, it has a very eclectic crowd. You’ll see your fair share of college students but there usually are some seasoned veteran regulars along with groups of people out for dinner. While it’s no Outback Steakhouse, it’s still family friendly with several booths lining the wall (which serve as the majority of the dining area).

Onto the food; if you’ve eaten at High Life Lounge/El Bait Shop, the menu is pretty similar. There are a few burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers that are served at both of these locations. Some that I recommend would be the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger, Fried Pickles, and the Homemade Macaroni and Cheese. While you can’t go wrong with any of those selections, the Library does offer several of their own unique entrees. There’s the Library Poutine appetizer, the Jalapeno Havarti Burger, and of course, the fabled Meatloaf Sandwich.

The last time I was there, I ordered that legendary meatloaf sandwich. You get a sizable slab of loaf which is plenty juicy and flavorful served on a hoagie bun. A choice of side comes with it; again, I recommend the mac ’n cheese. The Library is also famously known for its nachos (voted best in DSM in recent years). I also placed a order of these. They were plenty greasy but good.

As far as beer, this is where the Library thrives. Despite it’s small space, they employ a tremendous selection of taps. There’s over 40 available; and none of those are wasted on any Bud, Miller, or Coors products. You have a wide selection of brews from great national breweries such as Stone, Founders, Summit, and Deschutes. There’s also plant of offerings from Iowa breweries like Confluence, Peace Tree (including the Rye Porter, rarely seen on tap), and West-Okoboji. On this previous trip I decided to enjoy a Stone Enjoy By Double IPA which paired nicely with the nachos. I would put this terrifically hoppy yet drinkable Double IPA right up there with other favorites from this category like Laguinitas Sucks and Victory Dirtwolf.

The mark of a good craft beer bar is that you can never run out of something new to try regardless of how often you frequent it (unless you’re a complete barfly like Steve Buschemi’s character in Trees Lounge). Whether you’re a Des Moines area resident or just happening to be in the area, mark the University Library Cafe a place to check out. Even though it’s really small, it can cater to a variety of occasions: a lunch date, an early evening meeting spot for a group of friends, or an after work/night cap bar if you’re looking to unwind with the help of a tasty brew. This place is more than just the quality food and drinks available. The atmosphere is probably what I appreciate most. It’s a tight squeeze in there some nights but I think it plays to their advantage more often than not. It gives the Library a cozy, lounge-type feel which is a nice change of pace from the bustling downtown bars located just a few miles east.

Stop in to this forgotten gem located off the beaten path for an experience you’re not likely to forget.

 

Guest Review: sLim Reviews Eatery A; Des Moines, IA

eatery AThanks for the review sLim!
Been too long since my last guest review. Time to shake off the cobwebs and get back at it! I’ll start it off by getting the word out on a fairly new dining venue in the Ingersoll corridor of Des Moines, located at 2932 Ingersoll Ave . The restaurant goes by the name “Eatery A”. Initially I thought I was going to be dining at an Italian Restaurant. But upon reading the menu, it appears they’re labeled as a Mediterranean. The first of which sLim has ever been to (I mean, would you ever expect a guy who goes by the name of sLim to eat at a place that didn’t have chicken-fried steak on the menu?).
The inner and outer décor suit the place very well. Very modern and artistic, their large, elevated patio overlooks quaint Ingersoll Avenue. The inside was upscale and welcoming at the same time. Think along the lines of a slightly more casual Cheesecake Factory.
Happy Hour-This establishment is really pushing their happy hour specials to bring in customers. It runs from 3-6, EVERY day of the week. At this time, you can get half-price pizzas and half-price wine and draft beers. The pizzas are roughly 12’’ which can easily feed one person or two people with moderate appetites. I was impressed by how many people were there at 5 on a Tuesday. While the restaurant was booming, it still gave off a relaxed atmosphere. I would highly recommend taking advantage of these specials the first time you go there, and with it being offered 7 days a week they are accommodating to nearly anyone’s schedule.
Beer-Their selection is respectable. Their wine selection is a bit more extensive but there are enough beer offerings to satisfy your typical craft brew junkie. It was good to see mostly Iowa breweries featured in their limited tap offerings (Confluence, Millstream, and Backpocket). The more notable beers are offered in bottles (Ommegang Abbey, Stillwater Statewide Saison, and Green Flash Double Stout). They did a good job of making sure all styles were covered so that virtually any food item on their menu would have a corresponding drink that would pair well.
Food-As I stated earlier, the pizza is what I came to try. While they have 14 different offerings, all priced at $13, they are not the types of pizzas you would see offered at Godfather’s. If you’re like me, you wouldn’t know what you were getting yourself into based off of the unfamiliar names of the ingredients.  Rest assured, your server can clear things up for you and help you select one that would like. I went with the #5 which was somewhat of a gyro turned pizza conglomeration. I was impressed; the gyro meat combined with the white sauce is what stood out to me the most. Many of their other menu offerings look very worthwhile in addition to their well established wood-fired pizza.
All in all, this is a fine new restaurant to the Des Moines area, perfect for nearly any occasion. They are doing a lot of things right and I believe it’ll translate to success in the long run. There are several other places nearby so that you could make quite the experience out of a trip to this area. You could grab a post meal dessert/drink at Crème cupcake or a drink on the patio at the original Wellman’s. No shortage of options in this area but whatever the case, be sure to include Eatery A in on your next visit to the Ingersoll corridor.