Staycation: Des Moines 2010

For those unfamiliar with the term "staycation," it is essentially a vacation in your own city. Kelsey and I decided we would do this a few months ago, and with much anticipation the day finally arrived. Our staycation started Friday, May 21. We took the day off of work for a three-day weekend of some R&R.

Rules of the Williams' staycation:

  • The itinerary must include events that Kelsey and I have NOT experienced together
  • We must operate within a budget determined before the staycation begins (unlike the governing body of the United States)
  • Although we are staying in our own home, no house work may be done during the staycation


Waveland Cafe: We have heard some good and some not so good things about this place, so we decided to try it out for ourselves. I liked it. I had the Waveland Skillet and Kelsey had the buttermilk special. It had such a small town feel in the midst of Des Moines that it was like a little slice of home. There is nobody to seat you at a table, just help yourself. You can tell that there are a lot of "regulars" that the wait staff knows by name. It is a neat little place. Kelsey doesn't have a desire to go back, "I would rather go to Perkins, and I hate Perkins." Her words, not mine.

Couples Hot Stone Massage: This was definitely Kelsey's choice for the staycation. We went to Massage Heights. I was kind of nervous and hoping that it wasn't going to be a waste of money, not to mention I felt that I would lose my man card by joining this adventure. So, we had to strip down to our unmentionables, awkward. Luckily we were under the covers the whole time. Once I got past the awkwardness of the strange lady giving my a back rub with ukelyptus oil, it was very relaxing. I almost fell asleep. And when the short hour came to an end I just wanted to book another hour so that I could take a nap. We did go home afterward to take a Friday afternoon nap.

Fong's Pizza: an interesting joint in downtown Des Moines. I have seen people rave about this place for the past few months on Twitter and have been intrigued. We struggled with the menu at first, not knowing what to order, or how this "Chinese pizza" would taste. I took the waiter's recommendation and tried the Spicy Gordo. And boy was it spicy. Pepperoni, sausage, and jalapeno with a very spicy sauce. I was sweating and my nose was running, but it tasted very delicious. I do regret not trying the crab rangoon pizza which is their best seller. I was afraid of tainting one of my favorite foods by trying it in pizza form. I will say that the next time I visit Fong's I will try the crab rangoon pizza and save the sweating and runny nose. Kelsey ventured way out of her comfort zone and tried the garlic cheese bread. ;)

I-Cubs: A unique factor of the staycation is that we could invite some friends to join us for the I-Cubs game. You can't really do that if you are on vacation away from home. We scored some free tickets from our friend Adam, who unfortunately had other plans for the evening. It was a perfect night for baseball and the cubs ended up winning with a comeback in the 8th inning. So Friday turned out to be a wonderful and relaxing day.


Farmer's Market: The goal for me at the farmer's market was to try to acquire the ingredients to make some salsa. I had also heard a good deal about a breakfast burrito so I went in with an empty stomach. I got in line for a breakfast burrito at Dos Rios, which I found out later is not the infamous "breakfast burrito" at the farmer's market. I will say that it was very good though, but now I must go back again to try the real one. We were worried that we wouldn't find anything for Kelsey to eat, but we did. A crape stand. It had her name written all over it. They even sold lavender lemonade which she boldly tried.

I was amazed at all of the dogs that were roaming around with their master's at the market. I wish I had taken some pictures of these beasts as some of them were HUGE! Kelsey and I discovered that we really love to dog watch. We were like little kids pointing out the different dogs we saw. fun times. Kelsey found a gourmet popcorn stand from which she purchased some cheddar cheese popcorn. There was a debate about what size to get. She wanted the giant bag and I thought she should get the small bag. My rational was that she didn't even know if she would like it or not. I won the battle. Until we got home and she tried the popcorn. "This is Amazing! I wish I would have gotten the big bag." Kelsey said after 1 bite. She has since mentioned me not letting her buy the big bag multiple times. She won the war.

We moseyed around the rest of the market and picked up a few other items. I was able to find some cilantro and garlic for the salsa, but everything else I needed came in too large of quantity to buy at the market, so I settled for Hy-Vee to finish off my list. Kelsey picked up some stick looking things called pussy willow, we bought a  1/2 gallon jar of root beer, and I got some beef jerky. Once again the weather was fantastic and we hope to make it to the market a few more times this summer. The farmer's market is kind of like the Iowa State Fair, only every weekend, and a lot of dogs, and no butter cow....

Triple H (the Hardinge Triplets): Saturday afternoon we were able to visit the Hardinge triplets and the new parents hard at work feeding the girls their bottles. What a blessing! Although they are still in the NICU they are all doing very well and hope to be released sometime this week. See more here.

Johnny's Steakhouse: After church we went to Johnny's for supper. We shared a steak and they served it with about 3 pounds of garlic mashed potatoes. It was pretty good, but doesn't compare to Northwest Steakhouse in Mason City. Johnny's does get the award for biggest silverware though...

Movie night: We toyed with the idea of going to the theater--which we don't do very often--but decided that renting a movie from redbox, grabbing some Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and watching a movie in bed would be a lot cheaper and more comfortable. We rented Sherlock Holmes; we both give it two thumbs up.


We caught up on our DVR shows (The Office and Little People, Big World) and went out for supper to Shane's Rib Shack. Even though it's only a mile or so from our house, we had never eaten at this establishment. It was tasty, but nothing to write a blog about. But when you eat at places you have never been before, it really feels like you're on vacation!

All in all, a great staycation. We came in under budget by $8 (thanks to Dave Ramsey, our staycation doesn't follow us home!). It was a great way to experience the hidden gems of Des Moines.