Don’t you love finding “hidden gem” spots? I used to stumble upon a lot of great places in my Juice magazine reporting days, but it’s been awhile. This week, I got to experience the amazing dinner deal at the DMACC Culinary Institute. Students prepare and serve what might just be the fanciest $10 three-course meal in the metro at the Bistro. (The Culinary Institute is on the DMACC Ankeny campus in a conference center building. Reservations are required.)
We hosted the “I Have a Dream” mentor appreciation dinner at the bistro on Wednesday night, and it was a great place to provide the kids with training in good table manners. We were able to have a semi-private area partitioned off and Tyson from Dardis Communications put together a dining etiquette program for us. Even I learned something new: Apparently you’re supposed to spoon your soup away from you? Can’t take me anywhere.
The etiquette focus also meant I couldn’t spend the evening snapping photos of the gourmet food. I’ll have to use my words to convince you. We started with a garden salad that featured a decoratively cut deviled egg and fresh shredded carrots, onions, peanuts and other goodies atop a bed of various greens. I ordered pork osso bucco, which arrived terrifically tender on a plate pooled with a rich, brothy gravy. On the side were a white (jasmine?) rice and carrots cooked with cinnamon. The dessert was cheesecake or a berry pie. Our group didn’t order wine, but it’s available for $5 a glass.
Quite the menu for $10, I’d say! The ICI also has options for lunch and a $90 gourmet dinner, which I’ve heard is quite the experience.
The dinner itself was delicious, but for me, the occasion was bittersweet. After the last bite of cheesecake, I let my Dreamer friends know I’m starting a new job in March. I hate goodbyes, but I know that because I live in the neighborhood, I’ll continue to see the students.
The Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation has opened up the Des Moines community for me. I’ve met some really great kids, mentors, board members, donors and community partners through my work. I’m excited for my next adventure!