We've been camped just north of Des Moines, Iowa for a few cloudy, rainy days. We're located at a Corp of Engineers campground on Saylorville Lake with a nice view of the lake. I took a nice bike ride from here into Des Moines yesterday on the Neal Smith Trail, but the highlight of our pass through Des Moines this time is the dinner we just experienced at Harbinger.
This is our second time dining here in the last year. The last time was in October of 2020. Then they took our name and phone number for contact tracing purposes as we entered and Melanie and I were two of maybe 6-8 patrons in the restaurant.
While they seemed to be doing a pretty brisk business with takeout, the dining experience felt, well, like there was a pandemic going on. Chef Tripp was then only offering a tasting menu for dine in service which could be paired with wines he'd chosen. Our meal and the wines that evening were outstanding.
Chef Tripp is now offering both a tasting menu or you may order a la carte selections. Tonight, we again chose the tasting menu with paired wines. The five-course meal was delightful and there were many more people in the restaurant enjoying dinner. And, while masks are required to enter, once seated masks were removed and the ambiance became very pre-pandemic. This is our first such experience since being vaccinated.
There's a reason Chef Tripp has received 7 James Beard nominations. We'll certainly be back on our next pass through Des Moines; we highly recommend you give Harbinger a try.
We felt leaving Omaha without having a steak dinner was not sacrosanct so, after soliciting recommendations from fellow travelers on Facebook and checking out various restaurants in the area, we settled on Anthony's. Brother Sabastian's Steakhouse told us they were booked and 801 Chophouse, also recommended, can wait until the next passthrough.
Anthony's reminded us of home and The Bright Star in Bessemer, Alabama. Casual atmosphere, friendly, helpful and competent staff and the steak was great. Melanie had prime rib with salad and two well-prepared sides, I had a ribeye with salad and two side dishes too. Even my martini was righteous.
They've been around Omaha since 1967 and are worth a try. There may be better steak houses in Omaha, but this one is a classic for sure.
Thursday is one of Melanie's "days off." She's often otherwise engaged with her work, but yesterday was a travel day and instead of driving directly to our campsite, we bypassed Ashland and Eugene T. Mahoney State Park where we're now located, and went into Omaha, Nebraska.
Our first stop was the Lauritzen (botanical) Gardens where we spent the better portion of the morning and early afternoon. Hungry afterwards, I did a quick search while we were still in the gardens and found Le Bouillon in the Old Market District of Omaha.
The Old Market is the arts and entertainment district and the location within the district where Le Bouillon is located is a bit reminiscent of the French Quarter in New Orleans
We had a few glasses of very nice Rose and I enjoyed a mushroom pasta dish with a ramp pesto sauce, Melanie had a very nicely done sea bass with a light butter sauce. Menu changes regularly.
Melanie and Steven