Food for Thought - Johnny's Italian Steakhouse

Johnny's Italian SteakhouseJohnny's Italian Steakhouse

6075 Mills Civic Parkway

West Des Moines, IA 50266

Phone: 515-333-5665 Fax: 515-309-3359

6800 Fleur Dr.

Des Moines, IA 50321

Phone: 515-287-0847 Fax: 515-287-0850


Today we find Lori Campisi back home after a Friday night out after a long, tedious case. She is speaking through her encoded video conferencing software to her contact back in Washington, D.C.

“How ya doin' Fox!” John Hundt said. He threw his arms wide and his feet dangled off the high backed chair. Lori saw nothing but shadows behind him but knew he faced an array of monitors. She probably interrupted one of his video games.

“Mr. Hundt,” Lori acknowledged. She had long ago stopped cringing whenever he called her Fox but still just tolerated when he called her 'baby'.

“Did my information help you nab the bank babes?”

Yesterday, she received the dossier on one Lucy 'Lucifer' Lynn Kiger who claimed to be Satan's mistress. She ran a coven of witches. While not busy making sacrifices to their evil leader, they robbed banks. One per month for the last four months. Hundt had sent background information for the coven's other robberies in Kansas and Florida.

“Yes, it was very helpful, although the arrests weren't enjoyable.”

“I would have loved to have been in on the capture.”

“No doubt,” she said and gave a wry smile.

Every police force who had previously investigated knew the pattern. Two days after each robbery, officials discovered the ground in clearings in local state parks. Lori was able to narrow down the choices and mustered the necessary forces so that after the most recent robbery, They capture and arrested the coven...dancing naked around a lit pentagram.

“You're back late,” Hundt said.

“I went out for dinner,” she said. “I wanted some place quiet with a serene atmosphere.”

“Did you find such a place?”

“Yes...and no. Johnny's Italian Steakhouse. There are two locations in Des Moines. I visited the one on Mills Civic Parkway about a mile from the interstate. Backside of the Holiday Inn.”

“So what was it like?”

“Very low illumination. Abstract paintings. Deep set booths. Very elegant.”

“You still sound disappointed, baby. What happened?”

She sighed. “I realize that society has changed. People used to get dressed to go out, especially if they planned on going to a fancy place. Now...well, the family seated next to me were casually dressed and I don't mind casual. But the teenage daughter wore frayed jean shorts.”

“Not very haute couture.”

“Hardly. I also didn't get much of the peacefulness I desired. The large family at another table had two young children, one of whom babbled and squeaked and gurgled sounds that I expect from animals. She didn't seem to understand her mother's shushing her. I tried to listen to the Italian-Americanized-music.”

“Too bad. How was the food?”

“I knew going in it was going to be expensive. They did have a variety of Italian style appetizers. Betta Bruschetta, Zucchini Fries, and Famous Iron Skillet Potatoes to name a few. I suspect the latter choice I gave you was a fancy way to say 'hashbrowns with cheese'.

Hundt laughed. “Italian diner.”

“I chose the Calimari for ten dollars. The menu also had several soups and salads, of course, but their main entrees were the steaks. Johnny's Bone-In Ribeye, 18 ounce, for $33. Drunken steak, which was

Top sirloin marinated in Samuel Adams® & special herbs, garlic cream sauce. Stuffed Pork Chops. Johnny's Veal Sinatra: Veal sautéed with shrimp, crab meat, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, roasted garlic and light cream sauce.

“What did you have?”

The Char-broiled Ribeye. Twelve ounces for $25. I ordered it medium but it ran the gamut from medium-rare to medium-well. I was offered only one side with a loaded potato costing extra. I chose the mixed vegetables. I keep expecting the vegetables to have some taste, but I think every restaurant orders from the same place. Or else they all have a standard way of cooking them. The steak was good, though with more fat than I would have liked.”

“It sounds like you had an average experience for a ritzy place.”

She shrugged. “My waitress was very attentive and the other waiters I overheard at other tables seem to act friendly toward the patrons.”

“What are your plans for the rest of the evening?”

“A hot shower and early to bed.”

“Would you like to join me in battling underground leviathans threatening mankind? I just picked up the 3-D version. I could easily tie you in to the home base here?”

“You know I deal with enough actual supernatural monsters as it is. I don't need to blast some virtual demons to smithereens.”

“Leviathans,” he corrected. “Not demons.”

“Good night, John.”

Pleasant dreams, baby!”

And she signed off to go do what she promised. A shower and sleep.

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