Many wooden desks in concentric semicircles fact the center of the House of Representatives chamber.

Des Moines

Susan and I took a day trip to Des Moines, which aside from our day at the State Fair in August, was my first real trip to the state capital. We started off by visiting a sandwich shop on the edge of town that boasted “Guinea Grinders”, a Midwestern term for Italian sandwiches. The proprietress asked why I was photographing her shop and I explained that I had seen the sign advertising Guinea Grinders. After talking to her, I found she knew it was an offensive term for Italians, but that it was Midwestern term for a sandwich that dated back to the 1904 Saint Louis World’s Fair. The sandwich was pretty good: a spicy ground Italian sausage and beef parmigiana hero.

We had time to visit the State Capitol, a beautiful building built in 1873. We didn’t take a tour but were able to explore quite a bit on our own, and visited the two legislative chambers. On the tour we might have been able to see the governor’s office and the law library. I took lots of photos of the capitol before we headed off to our afternoon show.

After the show we searched in vain for the Italian meats shop that made the sausages for the Guinea Grinder, had some coffee and hit the road. We weren’t hungry enough to eat dinner in Des Moines, but we stopped in Grinnell so I could show Susan the Cafe Pheonix, which Ava and I discovered during our Iowa food odyssey. The place is very nice–in an big old house a block from downtown–and serves great food with local ingredients. We took some delicious baklava and chestnut bread home with us.

What a nice day.

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Adam's artificial habitat is my official website and blog. I write as often as I can, so it is the best way to keep up to date on my goings-on.

4 thoughts on “Des Moines”

  1. Growing up in Cleveland we said “sub” and occasionally “hoagie”. In Columbus there was a sub shop called “Grinders”. I never heard the term previously and always thought it was an east coast word.

  2. I first heard of “grinders” in New England. In New York we called them “subs”. In Philly they call them “hoagies”. That’s a lot of dialects for just a few hours of driving.

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