Impromptu finds are the best kinds. Seriously.
Heading for a local dive on Main Street, Historic Valley Junction was alive and bustling. It was a Thursday — market day — and my lucky day. There were lines for tomato vendors, florists and food trucks. The longest line, though, was at the Local Yocal — a bright orange tent featuring grass-fed beef burgers and piled-high hot dogs. The menu was short and sweet and featured a total of six items including the Beeler's Brat ($7), Berkwood Farms Jumbo Dog ($5) and organic iced tea ($3).
Ditching the dive, I ordered (and devoured) the rest of the menu's items. Here's the down-low.
The Farm Burger ($6, cheese or bacon $1 extra each)
About the size of my fist, this burger was thick, juicy and welcomed all the works: ketchup, mustard, pickle, lettuce, onion, tomato and a smear of mayo. The buns were eggy and soft, and tasted almost like garlic focaccia. Hands down the best burger I've had in months.
Iowa Fries with Garlic Mayo ($4)
Any tent with a fryer and you know the food is good. These thick cut Iowa fries were no exception. Every golden handful was a lightly salted mix of crispy and soft textures. No ketchup necessary here — thanks to their signature (and ultra savory) dipper: garlic mayo. And to think I almost didn't have it.
Two words: zippy + refreshing. The formula is simple yet genius: one fresh orange, one squeezed lemon and a generous pour of the premade stuff. The result was sweet, light and perfect for washing down my burger and fries.
And I wasn't the only one enjoying it. Fellow Local Yocal-goers were sharing the love, saying it was "the best burger I ever had" and "worth the wait."
Think I'm making this up? Head out and see for yourself.
You can catch them every Thursday in Valley Junction starting May 21, or look for them at the Des Moines Downtown Farmers' Market — they'll be there 17 out of the 25 days.
Where: Valley Junction Farmers' Market, 5th St., West Des Moines
When: 4 - 8:30 p.m. Thursday