A few weeks ago I posted about seven things to do to take the chill out of a Des Moines winter. On Wednesday, I checked two little local adventures off the list!
Joe and I started the morning at Gong Fu Tea with a traditional Gong Fu style ceremony. It was fun to go on a sunrise date, with the sky pink on the east side of the city.
I don’t really recommend trying to squeeze in a whole ceremonial tea service before work, because it’s really not the thing to do in a rush, but I was on deadline. It was still lovely. Tea has been prepared this way in China since the 1300s, and it’s a great almost meditative way to relax because you’re doing multiple steepings in a tiny clay teapot. The service is for two people, and $8 each. It’s available at limited times because it takes the staff about 15 minutes to explain, so they can’t be super busy.
After work, I met up with my friends Chelsea and Holly for fondue night at The Cheese Shop. Check their Facebook for specific fondue nights, and be prepared to wait for a table! The place was bustling right after work. It’s $30 to share a pot of bubbling, delicious cheese and unlimited bread and pickles. We also ordered some roasted veggies for dipping and my lady friends got glasses of white wine while I paired with Ginger Ale. Charcuterie is also a great pairing.
Chelsea lived in Switzerland for a time, so she was like our culinary tour guide, explaining some of their traditions there, like the “nun’s cap” in the bottom of the pot, which is basically a disc of crusty fried cheese that you scrape off the bottom and divvy up to eat. It was so fun to go out with two ladies who I see a lot, but don’t spend much one-on-one time with. Wednesday was definitely a little warmer because of these mini adventures!
This week was frontloaded with awesome. Is it really only Wednesday night?
Monday night date night involved meeting up (on our bikes) at El Bait Shop for their special craft beer/cheese flight paring with The Cheese Shop of Des Moines. We each got one of the $15 samplers, which came with 6 beers and 6 cheeses. Talk about our kind of dinner! The goat cheese and Peace Tree pairing was my favorite. My only criticism is that I would have liked this served with a few slices of bread or crackers. But it was a great deal!
Then on Tuesday, I went to the 100 Chicks for Charity meeting at City Bakery, where the glamorous and generous Chelsea shared the “I Have a Dream” Foundation mission and story with a group of women. I teared up!
But I couldn’t enjoy (really, gorge on) the pastries for too long, because right after the meeting Joe and I met up with my friend Jennic and her husband Justin, who invited us for a double date to see RAIN, the Beatles tribute. I grew up on oldies, so I had a fun time singing along with the mostly Boomer crowd.
Jennic (who I wrote about forever ago) and Justin own KangarooBoo, the coolest little toy store. It has an excellent online presence and sweet shop in Valley Junction. They focus on eco-friendly toys that are made to last. If you have a baby shower/toddler b-day coming up, you have to check them out!
I’m also super excited for my friend Amy, whose book So Pretty! Crochet just came out through Chronicle Books. Two extra awesome things about this book: My dear friend Cara is one of the contributors, and there is a shiba inu modeling some of the crochet cuteness. Hooray for Wilbur lookalikes.
I’m looking forward to a second half of the week that’s a bit slower-paced, but grateful for all of the cool things happening right now!
What’s the best part of your week?