Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gusto Pizza - El Mariachi

For lunch, I decided to grab some pizza at Gusto Pizza Co. on Ingersoll & MLK. It is a quick drive to the edge of downtown so you can get there and back to the office in about 15 mins driving. Savings alert: if you have an entertainment book, there are a couple coupons for Gusto in 2013's book; part of the reason I decided to go with them for lunch. I've had a couple of their pizzas but I went with a new one this time...

El Mariachi
Ancho chile lime sauce, mozzarella, Chorizo sausage, black bean-corn salsa, red onion and cilantro

Per usual, had to eat first before I documented my research
It tastes like sophisticated Taco Pizza. All the ingredients make an appearance in your mouth and you can tell that they use fresh ingredients. Likely a big reason why Gusto was named best pizza in Des Moines by Cityview's readers.

I've had a couple of their specialty pizzas before and they were all good. They do have a lot of UN-traditional ingredients--at least compared to that of the commercial pizza that is usually served. I still might steer away from some of the combinations but the ones I've chosen I have enjoyed.

I am throwing this in the class of Taco pizza and I rank this only slightly behind Happy Joe's Nacho Joe pizza and Casey's taco pizza. This one definitely deserves to be in the conversation for best taco pizza. What is your favorite pizza?

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - Healthy Breakfasts and Protein Bars has some pretty nice recipes for healthy breakfasts. Some of their recipes use some ingredients that I am not sure exist in Des Moines; so I stuck with these recipes.

Egg White Puffs:

Pretty healthy and tasty if you like those ingredients. It took me about 16 of the 20 servings from the tall container of egg whites (32oz container) to fill up. I like to throw a couple on a tortilla after my workout so I can get eggs in the morning without having to cook each morning.

Here is a link to the original recipe:

Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 1 serving
Amount per serving
Calories 372
Total Fat 6 g
Total Carb 45 g
Protein 33 g

Cottage Cheese Pancakes:

Makes about 3 and a half medium pancakes
I am not huge on pancakes but wanted to try this out since I had the ingredients. They mostly looks like thinner pancakes but they taste ok. You don't get the fluffiness of pancakes but they aren't a terrible substitute. The inside tasted like creamy mashed bananas while the outside has a similar texture of pancake "crust" but with some egg white in it. Just be careful with the syrup or you can negate the benefits of eating this.

 Here is a link to the original recipe:

Nutritional Info Per Serving (makes two servings)
Calories: 282.5
Carbs: 39g
Fat: 7.5g
Protein: 20.5g

 Homemade Protein Bars:
 I started making these because protein bars are expensive and supposedly Soy Protein isn't great for you--the jury seems to still be out on that though. This recipe is ridiculously easy and doesn't taste bad. It essentially turns out to be a protein version of a No Bake cookie. Now these don't usually harden up as much as I would like but for a quick morning snack before my workout, it gets the job done.

Combine in large mixing bowl:
3 Cups Oatmeal
1/2 Cup Natural Peanut butter
1 cup Skim Milk
4 Scoops Protein Powder
dash of cinnamon

Mix until a sticky batter is formed (may take a few minutes). se a large spoon to spread out the mix into the bottom of a Pam-sprayed glass or metal cooking tray (spread until even),top with 4-8 packets splenda, put in the fridge overnight and cut into 8 equal bars that yield:

Nutritional Info Per Serving (makes 8 servings)
11g fat (good monounsaturated fats)
26g carbs
21g protein
285 calories

Link to thread where I pulled this from (has quite a few other recipes on it).

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Django is a french restaurant in the western part of downtown. It is what I like to call: Des Moines Classy....meaning it is nice place to eat but you probably won't be judged for wearing t-shirt and jeans. They feature an extensive wine and cocktail list along with a wide ranging menu. Wide ranging in that it has some upscale entrees mixed in with pizza, sandwiches and burgers.

George’s Garden Chicken Salad Seasonal greens, tomato, cucumber, red onion, bacon, bleu cheese, hearts of palm and grilled chicken breast with buttermilk herb dressing

After being on a restaurant food bender, I had to get something a little lighter. It certainly isn't the lightest salad as it is covered in dressing and blue cheese but it was decent. The chicken wasn't anything to write home about but everything else tasted fine. It wasn't a very memorable salad for me but there wasn't much wrong with it either. I don't know that I will look to order it again but I don't think I would steer anyone away from it. That might be the least opinionated food description every, right?

My Django recommendation would be Le Royale with Cheese..(White Chedder Cheeseburger with a fried egg on top). Probably a top 3 burger in Des Moines.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fong's - Bacon Cheeseburger edition

Fong's has always been one of my favorite pizza places since it opened up a couple years ago. They have great ingredients to go along with their creative specialty pizzas. They also have an amazing mixed/tiki drink menu and a fun atmosphere. The only knock on the place is it needs to be about twice the capacity.

Bacon Cheeseburger:

ketchup & mustard blend, ground beef, bacon, onion and pickle with a blend of mozzarella and cheddar, topped with lettuce and tomato

Plain, simple but awesome. It tastes just like a bacon cheese burger. The bacon quality is actually very meaty instead of the burned, "Baco-y" type bacon bits you get on some pizzas. The pizza actually comes with lettuce and tomato too but this was a to go order so they put it on the side. This is the second time I've had this pizza and I would definitely get it again. I've had almost every pizza at Fong's and it is hard to differentiate them because I've enjoyed all of them (except the Loaded Baked Potato). Some of the specialty pizzas can be a little crazy but if you want to try one of their specialty pizzas without going out of your pizza comfort zone...this would be your best bet.

My favorite pizza at Fong's would be the Big Delicious. All their ingredients are pretty quality and even though it is a place with crazy combinations--they do a good job making their pizza actually taste good instead of relying on wow factor. I also recommend the Pizza Rolls appetizer. What is your favorite Fong's pizza?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The High Life Lounge - Manly Edition

Out with the co-workers after work, we wanted to go to Zombie burger but due to their ridiculously long wait,we decided to "settle" for the High Life Lounge; which really isn't settling at all since everything on their menu is good.

I was going to keep it simple and get their club sandwich, then some strange urge of spontaneity came upon me and I decided to order....The High Life Man.

The High Life Man
a 1/4 lb. burger, an italian sausage patty, three strips of bacon, swiss and american cheese, grilled onions and jalapenos, mayonnaise and bbq sauce. and topped with a powered doughnut

I am now a High Life Man!
Yeah, this burger is ridiculous. Probably the most ridiculous combination of items put together on a burger that I've had, but it was pretty damn good. The beer was definitely talking because I decided to get an order of tots on the side; oh and I decided to eat the entire burger. I do NOT recommend eating the whole burger in one sitting unless you are cool with having a food coma for about 2 days. It isn't the best burger sandwich but there was nothing bad about it. The bacon on it was probably the best part because it was thick and very flavorful. I just had this burger two nights ago but I still don't know how to explain it. It is an experience you must try; I recommend it in two takes and not all at once.

A couple of the people in my party had the broasted chicken and mentioned it was the best piece of chicken they ever had. I've had the burger basket which is simple, good and cheap. The chicken pot pie is rich and amazing-maybe the best thing I've ever had there. It is between that or the meat loaf sandwich. What is your favorite High Life meal?