Holiday Shopping & Eating
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
December 21, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
Presenting Sponsor
Does your home uplift your family and friends, serve your needs, and create a restorative sanctuary? Wishing all of you a bright and happy holiday season, and all the best in the coming year!
A pumpkin pastry made by ICI students rounded out one of the year's five-course gourmet dinners. Photo: Karla Boetel


Writer: Karla Walsh

If you’re craving the flavors of another part of the world (but not all the COVID-19 testing, travel stresses, variant risks, expense and more), an excellent alternative can be found in Ankeny.

Not only is the price right compared with a plane ticket or hotel stay—it’s just $120 per person for four-plus courses with wine pairings, including tax and gratuity—but that rate goes to support the students enrolled in the Iowa Culinary Institute at Des Moines Area Community College. And that’s the best part: The students execute the dishes and serve the food and wine, all under the guidance of executive chef and professor Karla Boetel.

Each spring and fall, the ICI hosts a series of Gourmet Dinners that highlight the cuisines of three or four different regions. Recent focus areas have included Italy, Canada, Indonesia and Korea. While preparing to bring the recipes to life, the students learn spices, sauces and techniques that are prominent in that area. At the same time, ICI staff members choose wines from that region that accentuate certain ingredients in the dishes.

My friends and I experienced two of the dinners in the fall 2021 series—Spain and Australia—and we were blown away by the poise and professionalism of the students and the leadership of chef Boetel and her culinary instructor team.

I hope you’ve had lunch, because even reading this menu is wishing I could enjoy it all over again:
        Queso frito, mojo rojo, herbed goat cheese, stuffed peppadew and pine nuts.
        Grilled grouper, mojo verde, salted potatoes, charred Brussels sprouts, tomatoes.
        Granizado de limon.
        Roasted pork belly, Spanish vermouth jus, pickled onion, squash, mushroom fideua, charred  padron peppers served with sweet egg bread.
        Pumpkin pastry, brown sugar cinnamon cream, goat milk.

ICI is on holiday break, but they will be back for spring 2022 with a new slate of regions to explore. All dinners take place in ICI's Lakeview Dining Room on the DMACC Ankeny Campus, and seats go fast. To be among the first to know about upcoming opportunities, email Kristi Miller at to join the mailing list.

You may not even think of it as a color. But it's a great place to start your design.
Mulberry Street Tavern's grilled chicken is one of several entree options, including cauliflower steak. Photo: Duane Tinkey


Those having a big meal on Saturday may want to take it easy before a full day of cooking. Here are three restaurants we recommend that are open Christmas Eve:

1. Anna Dolce Ristorante: Take holiday visitors out for a classic yet elevated Italian meal at Anna Dolce in West Des Moines. Find creative takes on pastas (lobster ravioli, vodka rigatoni) and pizzas (the Pollo Bianco with chicken, roasted garlic, pancetta and balsamic glaze) as well as a selection of other entrees. Open 3 p.m. to midnight. Reserve a table online

Mulberry Street Tavern: Enjoy downtown views at this window-clad restaurant located inside the Surety Hotel. The remarkably juicy half chicken, with grilled romaine, red onion and aji amarillo sauce, is divine (read more about the dish here). You also won't go wrong with the beef and curry vegetable pot pie or the Skuna Bay salmon (miso beurre blanc, baby bok chop, black pearl king mushrooms). Get the ricotta gnudi as an appetizer. Open 5-10 p.m. Reserve a table online

Splash Seafood Bar & Grill: This downtown mainstay is offering a special menu in honor of the 129th anniversary of the Homestead building in addition to everything on its regular menu. Take your seafood-loving guests there or have a meal before they get into town. Open 4-8 p.m. Reserve a table online.
Mallory and Jordan Richardson run Des Moines Mercantile in Highland Park. The store features products "inspired by simpler times," Mallory says.


If you’ve waited until the last minute to snag gifts for loved ones, or just want to do some shopping for yourself, take a cue from some of the local stores dsm covered this year.

  • Des Moines Mercantile: Find household essentials and local brands like Bozz Prints and Pammel Park Coffee in this vintage-inspired general store located at 3703 Sixth Ave. in the Highland Park neighborhood. Read more online

  • Renovation Jungle: Browse for the plant lover in your life at this shop at 607 37th St. (just off Ingersoll Avenue). You can keep it small with a terrarium full of mini plants and accessories, perfect for an apartment, or customize a selection of houseplants and pots. You'll also get advice on how to help it all thrive. Read about the store here.

  • Zumi: Head over to the Drake neighborhood to shop at the longtime Des Moines store, which has been at 42nd Street and University Avenue since 2001. Zumi specializes in home decor and women’s fashion, and all products are Certified Fair Trade goods from countries in Africa, Asia and South America. Its owner shares some of her favorite local diverse spots here.
Meals from the Heartland sends the meals packaged by volunteers to children in 37 countries around the world.
Photo: Meals from the Heartland


Spread holiday cheer by volunteering, including opportunities this week:

  • Meals from the Heartland has open shifts to pack meals on Dec. 22-23 and Dec. 27-29. Pick a day that works for you and sign up online.
  • The After School Arts Program (ASAP) is asking for donations of holiday art supplies to provide enriching art activities to schools, libraries and community centers. Order from their Amazon wish list linked online.
  • The YMCA is accepting donations of Holiday Kindness Cards to residents of its Supportive Housing Campus through Jan. 1. Learn more about the opportunity online, and contact if you're interested in participating.
  • Children & Families of Iowa is seeking donations of household items, including face masks, hand sanitizer, thermometers and Clorox wipes. Donations can be made on-site with an appointment or be mailed. View a full list of items and find more information about donating online.
"THRESHOLD" depicts a leaf from the Combretacae family of plants, which is known for having simple leaf structures. Photo: Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden


On the heels of the new sculpture unveiled at the Des Moines International Airport on Dec. 6, the past week saw two more sculptures installed in Greater Des Moines. Both were created by Juanjo Novella, an artist from Bilbao, Spain, who focuses on sculptures in public spaces and takes inspiration from nature.

“THRESHOLD” was installed at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden last week. Commissioned by the Greater Des Moines Public Arts Foundation, the 16-foot-tall sculpture is of a Combretacae leaf, a type of leaf that can be found on maple or oak trees in Iowa. The artwork is Novella’s first public art installation in a U.S. botanical garden. “From a distance, [the work] appears to be a delicate leaf that may have floated through the air and gently landed in the dry meadow," Novella said in a prepared statement. "It stands as a towering, twisted form made of iron. Its lace-like surface of veins gives form to a dramatic Combretaceae leaf.”

Representing a welcoming gateway for the city of Pleasant Hill, “Pleasant Hill Gate” was installed in the 77-acre Hickory Glen Park. The 26-foot-tall sculpture was created in Novella’s workshop in Spain before being shipped to its new home. Funding for the artwork was provided by Bravo Greater Des Moines and private donors.


From everyone at dsm, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season. We're not only grateful to be able do what we lovecovering the intriguing people, places and things that make Greater Des Moines such a vibrant place to livebut we're also thankful for you, our readers and advertisers. We appreciate your support throughout 2021 and look forward to bringing you more exclusive and must-read stories in 2022. Remember to look out for our refreshed dsmWeekly newsletter early in the year, which will now arrive in your inboxes on Wednesday afternoons.
Business Publications Corporation Inc.

Submit news:
Advertising info:
Membership info:

Copyright © BPC 2021, All rights reserved.
Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content in any manner is strictly prohibited.

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign