When I travel to other cities, I make use of my "TV Food Maps" app on my phone to search for good local restaurants that offer something not only appetizing but unique to the area. The app (also a website) searches for restaurants that have been featured on more than 40 television shows across numerous networks.
One of my favorite shows is Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. I love the concept of featuring hidden gem restaurants across the country. I estimate that in my travels over the last few years, I've been to at least 50 alumni of the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives show. There are a lot of people like me who hit up these spots when they travel, too. I can't recall ever having a bad meal at any of stops.
Guy Fieri brought his show to Iowa in October of 2014 and visited several spots, mostly in the Des Moines area. One of those spots is an Ecuadorian Restaurant in West Des Moines called Mi Patria. I've eaten there a handful of times over the past few years but thought it was time to feature it on Iowa Adventurer.
If you have never had Ecuadorian food, you'll be in for a treat when you sit down at Mi Patria. However, it's not necessarily located where you might expect to find a popular restaurant. It's located in a strip mall between a large Michael's craft store and an "Affordable Dentures" store. Across the parking lot is a McDonald's.
They are open for lunch and dinner but offer slightly differing menus depending on the time of day you show up. I've never been to Ecuador nor have I ever eaten at another Ecuadorian restaurant, but I've been told that it is an authentic "introduction" to the cuisine of that country.
They also offer a limited menu of alcoholic beverages.
On the recent Saturday evening that I dined here, the place was definitely well full of hungry patrons.
The decor on the walls includes artwork, clothing, and other items that fit with the culture's cuisine.
As I've mentioned before, the food is quite a treat...but come hungry because the portions are not skimpy. If you leave Mi Patria and you are still hungry, it's your own fault!
I ordered the Hornado Con Mote and could not at all finish it. I believe this is also one of the things that was prepared for Guy when the show filmed. It was a massive plate of food. The menu describes it as, "Slow roasted marinated pulled pork, served with white corn, steamed white rice, delicious potato patty, and ensalada criolla."
I was with my cousin and one of my brothers. My brother ordered the Fritada Con Mote which is "marinated pork tips served with white corn, steamed white rice, bean menestra, slices of fried ripe plantain, and ensalada criolla."
My cousin went the vegetarian route with the Bandeja Vegetariana, a "dish served with steamed white rice, bean menestra, white corn and fava beans, fried ripe plantains, patacones, grilled potato patty, lettuce and ensalada criolla."
Whether you live in the Des Moines area or you are just visiting sometime, Mi Patria is worth your visit. Trying new restaurants is always fun and Mi Patria might soon become one of your favorites if you are willing to give it a shot.