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Diego Rodriguez at Proof is one of the under-30 chefs setting the city's dining scene on fire.


Old food and drink lore leads us to believe that an aged 1960 wine is far superior to a younger 2009. But take into account conditions, care and other factors, and that 2009 wine could easily blow away the 1960 vintage in terms of quality and taste.

The same goes for the talent cooking the food to pair with those wines. Inspired by the annual "Young Guns" awards curated by the food website Eater, we decided to tap our inaugural crop of Des Moines Young Gun chefs. They’re all under 30 and all qualified for the hat tip.

Click here for the story from the current issue of dsm magazine about the culinary talent that’s destined to push boundaries—and please palates—for decades to come.
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Could any lunch look much fresher? On a recent visit to Trellis, the mushroom bisque and the salad with roasted potatoes, red peppers, zucchini and more were stellar.  


By Wini Moranville

It was a really bad soup that finally made me resign from my near-15-year stint as the Des Moines Register’s restaurant reviewer. Back in 2012, as I was dipping a soup spoon into yet another gloppy tomato-basil soup that was so thick and one-dimensional that I felt like I was eating a bowl of red pasta sauce, I said aloud, "I can’t do this anymore." This seemingly minor moment, alas, was the proverbial last straw.

I thought of that experience recently as I spooned into chef Lisa LaValle’s thoroughly perfect mushroom bisque. If more restaurants served such beautiful soups, they would have had to pry the reviewing gig from my cold, dead hands. Made with a mix of mushrooms, plus onions, celery, vegetable broth, a touch of cream and no thickeners to mask the flavors the soup did this neat trick of being deeply flavored yet fresh, opulent yet ethereally textured.

The thoroughly gratifying salads at Trellis never make me wish I’d opted for a heartier pasta dish (which they also serve); with its lively mix of roasted potatoes, red peppers, peas, zucchini, mint, cashews and a coriander vinaigrette, the Samosa-Inspired Salad was no exception. My dining buddy was equally pleased with her Sicilian Tuna Cake Caesar Salad.

And what, pray tell, ever happened to the dessert tray? It’s alive and well at Trellis, and just you try to give the enticing platter a pass when the server brings it to the table. We snagged an irresistible Bananas Foster Cheesecake, and we were glad we did. Desserts, by the way, are crafted by ace pastry chef Nik Pugmire of Doré Bakery.

Trellis is in the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, 909 Robert D. Ray Drive; 515-323-6288

Incidentally, since my aforementioned 2012 soup fiasco, more restaurants are upping their soup game, including Table 128. Read about chef/owner Lynn Pritchard’s take on the first-course soup. 

Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.
A detail from Stephen Steininger's portrait of Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck, which won the professional category in the 2019 Women's Club show.


The Des Moines Women's Club presents its 112th annual art exhibition this week at Hoyt Sherman Place. A free public Gallery Night with refreshments will be held Friday, March 13, from 5 to 8 p.m. The exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, March 15.

The annual exhibition has provided a showcase for top local artists since the 1800s. The Des Moines Women’s Club was established in 1885; its primary purpose: to develop and maintain an enduring free public art gallery in Des Moines. Well done, ladies.
Joseph Giunta will lead the Des Moines Symphony plus 200 vocalists in this weekend's performances.


Des Moines Symphony conductor Joseph Giunta casts his baton widely the weekend, directing the symphony plus some powerful vocal backup from local soloists and choirs—200 voices in all. Together, they present Carl Orff's choral masterwork Carmina Burana at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at the Des Moines Civic Center.

In addition, the program opens with Beethoven’s ebullient Eighth Symphony and includes Wagner’s tender "Siegfried Idyll." For more information about this weekend's performances, click here.

Single tickets are $15-$70 online through (up until two hours before performances) and at the Civic Center ticket office. Ticket prices are subject to a $5 increase on the day of the performance.
James Kolnik, Stephanie Schneider and Charlie Reese star in "Singin’ in the Rain." Photo: Steve Gibbons.


Broadway lights up with hit shows every season, and then there are legends that shine on for decades. Two of those classics are revived on Des Moines stages this month with enduring characters and timeless show tunes, from "The Rain in Spain" to "Singin' in the Rain."

Do musicals get any bigger than Lerner and Loewe’s "My Fair Lady"? A new production opens next Tuesday, March 17, at the Des Moines Civic Center and runs through March 22. Ticket prices range from $40 to $174 at the Civic Center box office and online here.

A love story with raindrops and unforgettable music ... the Des Moines Community Playhouse can't go wrong with "Singin' in the Rain," which originated on film and transferred effortlessly to the stage. The Playhouse version runs March 13  through April 5. Tickets range from $29 to $46, available at the Playhouse or online here.
Seattle native Sara Gazarek sings Friday at downtown's jazz club Noce.


Des Moines' Civic Music Association and the jazz cabaret Noce have teamed up to present Grammy-nominated vocalist Sara Gazarek, lauded for her sophisticated jazz and standards-based style. Gazarek rose to acclaim while still in high school as the first winner of the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation's Outstanding Jazz Vocalist Award. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "the next important jazz singer," Gazarek seamlessly combines the intimacy of singer/songwriter stylings with the improvisational elements of jazz.

Her performance at Noce is scheduled from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 13. Tickets are $40 and $70, available online here.

"Sara Gazarek has been one of the leading lights of an impressive generation of jazz vocalists since her brilliant emergence at age 20," notes CMA executive director Peter Stevenson. "She has since recorded five acclaimed albums, developing an ardent fanbase, enthusiastic reviews, and opportunities that have taken her around the world."
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