Four years ago, I (Dave) started a tradition of heading over to Iowa City with my friend, Josh, to catch an Iowa Hawkeye Basketball game. Last year, our friend, Rob also joined us on the trip. It’s something that all three of us now look forward to each year. We have two main goals for the day: First, eat great food. Second, watch the basketball game. We accomplished both, and we saw Iowa pull out a win for the first time since we started our tradition!
The day started with a trip to John’s Grocery. This little grocery store has one of the best beer selections I have ever seen. This picture only covers about 1/4 of their beer!
After that we headed to a local coffee shop called the Java House. I ordered an Espresso cooler (two shots of espresso, cream, and vanilla, on ice). So freaking good.
I wish it would have been bigger, as it was gone WAY too fast. After we ordered at the Java House, we realized there were no seats available…dang college kids and their studying. So, we headed down the street to a used bookstore. I picked up a used hardback copy of Where The Wild Things Are for our kids. Oh yeah…and there was a cat hanging out in the bookstore.
After killing some time there, we headed over the best burger joint in the state of Iowa, Short’s Burger and Shine. Words and crappy iPhone pictures do not do justice to the goodness of Short’s. I can not stress this enough…you HAVE to go there sometime if you are anywhere near Iowa City. The fries are, hands down, the best fries I have ever had in my life. The burgers are all fresh and fantastic. This was my third trip to Short’s and it ended up being my favorite. The other burgers that I have had there in the past (Maynard and Dundee) were fantastic, but the burger I ordered this time was probably my favorite burger of all time. I ordered the Gravity (caramelized onions, bacon, green chili, jalapeño cream cheese), and as soon as I finished eating it, I wanted to order it again. I relented, knowing that I had two (yes, two) desserts ahead of me.
After Short’s, we made the annual trip over to Whitey’s. There is a reason why Whitey’s was voted “Best Ice Cream in the Midwest.” It is unbelievably good. I ordered a scoop of espresso chip ice cream to help satisfy the craving I was still having after my espresso cooler at the Java House earlier. This did the trick for me, and my craving was now subdued.
After Whitey’s we made our way over to Carver Hawkeye Arena for the basketball game. My family used to make a trip to Iowa City every year to catch a basketball game, so walking into this place always brings back great memories.
One of my favorite memories is ordering a raspberry soft serve ice cream cone. Carver Hawkeye Arena is the only place I have seen that serves raspberry soft serve and that is probably a good thing. If I found a place in Des Moines that served this stuff, I would probably end up bed-ridden. I could eat this all day long!
Following the Hawkeye victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, we headed back to Des Moines. Another trip to Iowa City in the books, and I’m already looking forward to next year.