After a fantastic dinner at Jesse’s Embers the night before, Nancy and I got an early morning, pre-heat start on our State Capital walk. We wrapped up a very pleasant 11k walk in Des Moines just before noon. The Capitol itself was impressive, especially the library.
The walk took us around the many memorials on Capitol Hill, and it wound through East Des Moines, an attractive gentrifying area between the Capitol and downtown, and along the Des Moines River and through a large outdoor sculpture garden. After the long walk, we returned to our starting point, the Botanical Gardens, and discussed lunch alternatives.
I’d noticed a Lebanese Cafe in East Des Moines that looked good, but Nancy suggested Open Sesame, and I agreed. I was surprised to find it was the place with the Lebanese Cafe sign. It was no surprise that we chose a Middle Eastern place after our walk. It’s either that or a small Blizzard at Dairy Queen. What was a surprise was entering a seraglio. No, make that a set from Aladdin.
It was very pleasant, really. And very busy. The restaurant had 32 seats, almost all occupied except for brief intervals, and one visible employee. That’s her behind the bar. She was very friendly and very, very busy.
I ordered a very generous baba ganouj appetizer
and a side order of gyro meat — an option usually for people who want extra meat on their gyro, but the harried server was happy to accommodate me.
Maybe that photo was little too close up. Nancy ordered a vegetable platter.
Both Nancy and I were pleased with the food. It was fresh, tasty, and light, just what we wanted. Nancy thought the felafel was a little dry, but she was enthusiastic enough about the hummus to skip saying that it wasn’t as good as mine. And my gyro meat was excellent, very well seasoned. I gave it an A+.
All in all it was a fine meal, and a nice setting, and Des Moines has an awful lot to offer. Nancy and I both recommend Des Moines and that you try Open Sesame. It’s a very nice Lebanese Cafe.
And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box. Or bookmark us and check in from time to time. If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the destination city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, often close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event). And stick around for news, all manner of recipes, hotels, and the occasional book or movie review and fine arts and architecture commentary. Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome. And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.