All it took was one quick encounter, and I think I’m in love. It was more than I had hoped for.
Yes, after my first visit to The Cheese Shop of Des Moines, I think I have found my new go-to spot on the upcoming cold, grey winter days. Imagine it — a cozy little spot filled with the fragrance of buttered bread hitting the skillet. It was olfactory heaven.
The Cheese Shop’s lunch specialty is toasties — grilled cheese sandwiches made with cheeses from two Iowa creameries. If you like, you can dress up your toastie with La Quercia prosciutto from Norwalk, salami, pepper jam or arugula pesto. And what’s a grilled cheese sandwich without tomato soup? The Cheese Shop offers it’s own version; a four-ounce serving of tomato dip for dunking your sandwich.
You can also have mac and cheese, made with Frisian Farms gouda and the “lucky cheese bits” the shop has on hand. Meat and cheese plates with all kinds of tasty accompaniments are also available.
I was trying to decide between a toastie and the mac and cheese when my waitress told me about the specials. One of them was a bahn mi — a Vietnamese sandwich I had heard about and wanted to try, so that’s what I ordered.
It was a good decision. This was a sandwich like nothing I had ever tasted. Layered between a chewy, sliced baguette were duck paté, liver paté, pickled carrots, pickled cucumber, cilantro, Calabrese salami and spicy aioli. The richness of the paté was balanced with the pickled vegetables and tangy aioli, and the cilantro added freshness. The waitress told me the bahn mi is scheduled to become a regular menu item, which made me quite happy.
I spent time checking out all the shop has to offer — artisan cheeses and meats, of course, plus wine, beer, crackers, jams, honey, pickles, chutneys, creamery butter, spreads and more tasty bites than I can remember. It would be tempting to fill a basket with all kinds of goodies, go home and nibble a cold, winter afternoon away. I think I’ll put that on my to-do list.The Cheese Shop of Des Moines
833 42nd St., Suite B
Tues. – Thur.: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Fri. – Sat.: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.