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8 Items to Extend Your Cultural Experience Past the World Food and Music Festival Booths

Diverse Menu Items

September 16, 2022

Try these eight food and drink items from restaurants surrounding the World Food & Music Festival in Western Gateway Park during the event, Sept. 16 – 18, and once it concludes in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). While The Festival is a great place to get that cultural experience, you can find plenty of options outside of the event dates, and past where the street transitions to The Festival site. Read on to see which menu items to try when you’re looking for that local cultural experience.

Cultural Menu Items Near Western Gateway

1. Katsu Sandwich (Japanese)

Restaurant: Akebono, 215 10th St., Suite 120

The “Katsu” sandwich at Akebono features a choice of breaded chicken or pork, lettuce, tomato, provolone and togorashi mayo. akebono515.com

2. Succotash-Stuffed Chile Relleno (Mexican)

Bubba, 200 10th St.

Chile Relleno is a well-known Mexican dish. At Bubba, this vegan menu item features crispy fried chile stuffed with lima beans, onions, corn, tomato, garlic, fresh herbs, zucchini, squash and bell pepper. bubbadsm.com

3. Handmade Cavatelli (Italian)

Restaurant: Centro, 1003 Locust St.

Centro’s “Handmade Cavatelli” features Graziano’s Italian sausage, mozzarella and marinara sauce. centrodesmoines.com

4. Country Pork Pâté (French)

Django, 1420 Locust St.

Try Django’s charcuterie option, the “Country Pork Pâté,” a house-made traditional French pâté. Pair it with the “Double Cream Brie,” “Comte” or the “Roquefort,” all French cheeses on the menu. djangodesmoines.com

5. Tamales de Carnitas (Mexican)

Malo Des Moines, 900 Mulberry St.

Luisa’s spicy pork tamales feature tomatillo salsa and queso fresco. Before you receive your “Tamales de Carnitas” entrée, order up “The Trio,” a pick of three Malo salsas along with tortilla chips. From “Julio’s Hot Salsa” to “Charred Jalapeno & Serrano,” the flavors are strong and satisfying with this side item. malodesmoines.com

6. Our House Drink (French/Italian)

Proof, 1301 Locust St. C

The “Our House” drink at Proof is made with grapefruit and rose vodka, lime juice, St. Germain, a French liqueur, and Aperol, which originated in Italy. proofdsm.com

7. St. Blaise Bowl (Indonesian)

Ritual Café, 1301 Locust St., Ste. D

The “St. Blaise Bowl” features grilled tempeh crumbles — a traditional food in Indonesia made from fermented soybeans — on a bed of fresh spinach, vegan slaw, serrano peppers. This lunch item is served with organic BBQ sauce and hemp nuts. ritualcafedsmiowa.net

8. Chicken Pita (Mediterranean)

The Walnut, 1417 Walnut St.

Try the “Mediterranean Chicken Pita” with its feta cheese, herb vinaigrette, spring mix, tomatoes, red onions and grilled chicken breast on grilled pita bread. walnutdsm.com

Western Gateway in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is home to the World Food & Music Festival, where diverse cuisine, live music, cooking demonstrations and other performances offer a place to experience culture every September.

More Downtown Des Moines (DSM) restaurants are opening all the time. Don’t miss out on bakeries, brunch, breakfast, lunch, dinner, pizza, seafood, bars and breweries in downtown. Here’s the in on where to eat locally in Downtown DSM.

Amelia Klatt

Amelia Klatt is the Director of Events for the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Her background working with nonprofit organizations has led to skills as a relationship builder and events professional. Klatt received her MPA from Drake University in 2019.