Passing through Des Moines, I suggested we visit a place I hadn't been to for more than twenty years. The decor fits The Machine Shed name and is in keeping with the fact it is located near the site of "Living History Farms" which originally served as a dairy farm operated by the Iowa Department of Corrections. It now serves as an open-air museum demonstrating the past 300 years of Iowa agriculture. The restaurant is large and has several eating areas. Before entering any dining area or the bar, all patronspass through a store stocked with a variety of unique products and "farm related" gifts.
We arrived mid-morning on a week day and there were very few diners in the dining room. We ordered from the breakfast menu which was vast with the usual offerings. Remembering past experiences with large portions being served, we kept it simple. I ordered pancakes, a sausage patty and two eggs for $7.29 and my wife ordered the Farmer's Benedict for $8.29 plus coffee for $2.19. The server was very friendly and was dressed in the standard bib overalls. While waiting for our order to arrive, we did notice the place was generally very clean except many of the items hanging from the rafters and walls could have used a good dusting, particularly the items made of fabric. But I guess if one eats in a farm building, a little dust shouldn't bother anyone.
Our orders arrived and the portions were very generous as expected. The pancakes were huge but not very warm when they arrived. The syrup was quite warm though very short of flavor and didn't begin to resemble anything that came from a maple tree. Eggs were as ordered and the sausage was the best of the offering. My wife was very disappointed in the Hollandaise sauce and the ham was a bit dry. Cooks tend to forget almost all smoked hams are ready-to-eat and slices only need to be heated through. Plus the slices would have been better had they been cut a bit thinner even though we were supplied with massive and awkward "sawing" instruments imitating knives. All and all, the return to The Machine Shed for breakfast was very disappointing and probably won't be repeated even though the dining room and staff dressed in bib overalls gave us a down-on-the-farm feeling.
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