Cadry’s Kitchen has been quiet while I took to the skies and went to my hometown, Des Moines, Iowa, to visit family and unwind.
I’ve heard it said that our perceptions of a location say more about us than the place itself. That’s certainly true when it comes to going home again.
There was a time in my life when every visit back meant hitting up the same old haunts I frequented in high school, going to the same places that resonated with me at seventeen. After a while those places didn’t fit me anymore.
Just as I might feel rather conspicuous wearing clothes that were favorites in 1993 or teasing up my hair in the same way that was all the rage in the halls of my high school, as adults we have to rediscover our hometowns or else they can seem stale, as if they’re stuck in a time warp.
After toying with the options of bike riding on one of Des Moines’ many picturesque bike paths or taking a boat ride on one of the state’s human-made lakes, we landed instead on the East Village. With my mom as tour guide, we ventured to downtown Des Moines.
The East Village is full of quaint shops selling clothes, kitchen gadgets, and the work of local artists, eateries, and also includes the state’s Historical Building.
We browsed the Historical Building’s gift shop and then caught a trolley-shaped bus that runs every ten minutes. The D-line is a free and fun way to explore downtown Des Moines.
Outgoing locals chatted with us as we rode to Ritual Cafe, a coffee shop with an all vegetarian menu and a relaxed vibe.
We started our meal with chips and garlicky salsa and then shared a delicious grilled vegetable sandwich on fresh bread from the South Union Bakery. The roasted red pepper hummus smeared on the sandwich gave an almost pizza-like quality.
Finally, we capped the meal with a peanut butter cookie.
The staff was friendly and laid back, and Ritual Cafe seemed like one of those places where you could easily linger playing a game with friends, reading the newspaper, or in my case, bonding with mom.
If you plan on heading to the Des Moines area, check out this post for more vegan Des Moines options.