West End Architectural Salvage, Des Moines, Iowa

Last month I was home in Iowa for a wedding and had heard about an architectural salvage shop in Des Moines, so I made sure to leave enough time on my way to the airport. I stopped in and was blown away buy the scale and quality of the pieces they had. I also didn't know they have a show on HGTV so when I walked in was a little surprised to see a full on TV crew filming. After wondering around, I walked up to the man who was obviously the owner and said, "I'm a photographer from NY and would love to shoot your place". He responded, "Of course you are Troy, go ahead" and my mouth fell. Turns out the owner, Don Short is from Marshalltown and actually gave me my first commercial job ever back in 1997! And to top it off he's the former owner of Maid Rite in Marshalltown, my favorite place to eat when I go back! After catching up I walked around some more and couldn't believe the quantity and quality of the objects they sell. And to top it all of, an awesome coffee shop in the lobby. Five floors of amazing salvage from Iowa and prices about half of what they would be in NY. The only problem being most things I loved would take their own truck to ship. An absolute must see if in Des Moines.

Taylor's Maid Rite

If you ever find yourself drunk and lost while driving cross country and you end up in Marshalltown, Iowa, great food is not an option. Good food is off the table as well but Taylor's Maid Rite is a great place to stop for the ambiance alone.

Taylor's has been around since 1928 serving the same thing since day one. Imagine ground loose hamburger cooked for days on end(Maid Rite meat is to hamburger what the raisin is to the grape), a white grocery store hamburger bun, exactly one pickle slice and a dollop of mustard the size of a canadian dime. Don't ask for ketchup as they will reluctantly get it for you while muttering "tourist" under their breath.(This is one of 7 places in the world where being called a tourist is not a bad thing) After taking a bite and finding half of the meat evacuated the bun through the back door and onto your waxed paper wrapper, you begin to wonder how many of these will it take to fill one up? Four more Maid Rite's and you realize that soda alone isn't enough to wash these through you and you decide you need a shake and this is where Maid Rite truly shines. Absolutely perfect shakes. None of that gourmet ice cream or organic milk crap, just the best cheap vanilla ice cream and whole milk you can eat. And they give you the whole metal blender container as well so the shake comes to just under one gallon . One way or another those Maid Rite's will go down.

In all honesty, I love this place. Doesn't try to be anything it's not and they sure can't be accused of jumping on any "fusion" bandwagons. It's always my second stop(Zeno's will be in another post) when I venture home to see the family.