dsmWeekly: November 30, 2021
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November 30, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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This roasted beet and pear tartare was created by Rebekah Kohl of Trellis Cafe as an appetizer during the Women and Whiskey event. Photo: From The Barrel—Des Moines Whiskey Festival


Writer: Karla Walsh

Over the past decade, it was not uncommon for chef awards to include a separate category for “best female chef." And to this day, if we look at who leads kitchens around the metro area, those who identify as males far outweighs those who identify as females.

So I was delighted to see the Women and Whiskey event appear on Friday, Nov. 19, in advance of the Des Moines Whiskey Festival—and immediately bought tickets once I saw the lineup of chefs tapped to each take a course on the four-part menu.

  • Appetizer: Rebekah Kohl of Trellis Cafe (roasted beet and pear tartare)
  • Salad: Brandy Leuders of The Grateful Chef (watermelon radish, Persian cucumber and winter spinach salad with lemon vinaigrette)
  • Entree: Megan Snyder of Proof (sous vide Denver steak)
  • Dessert: Lesley Rish of NOSH Cafe and Eatery (chai froyo affogato)

Each course was paired with a splash of locally made whiskey, and the leader was another powerhouse: Gwen Page, operating owner at Whatcha Smokin' BBQ + Brew in Luther.

“Our goal with Women and Whiskey was to partner with a local charity that benefits women,” Page says.

Page tapped the four female chefs, helped coordinate many of the logistics (including a female emcee, Jackie Schmillen) and even sped around delivering plates to the two floors of tables at the
River Center during the sold-out event. With nearly 300 guests in attendance, the event raised about $7,000 for the Young Women's Resource Center, according to Erin Moran, senior director of communications and external affairs for the YWRC.

“It’s important for youth to have examples of successful women and non-binary folks in a variety of fields to help them determine their own future goals,” Moran says. “Many of our participants show interest in pursuing a career that involves creating—whether that is through design, videos or culinary arts."

Plus, I can verify that all in attendance were treated to a terrific meal. To learn more about the YWRC’s future events, visit The gala on April 9, 2022 is the next chance to wine and dine for the cause.
A few thoughts on the biggest, most important piece for what may be your most important room.
Des Moines Community Playhouse will present "The Sound of Music" starting on Dec. 3. Photo: Steve Gibbons


Des Moines Community Playhouse will be filled with "The Sound of Music" over the next few weeks. The classic musical, which will run Dec. 3 to Dec. 19, is based on the true story of a young woman sent to take care of seven children of a retired naval captain, all set in Austria just prior to World War II. Favorite songs include "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain."

Showtimes run throughout the next few weekends, with four midweek performances on Thursday, Dec. 9; Monday, Dec. 13; Tuesday, Dec. 14; and Thursday, Dec. 16. "The Sound of Music" isn't a part of the Playhouse's season package, but members get discounted prices. Tickets start at $47. There will also be live online viewing options. Masks are required to attend.
Jim Jefferies is a native of Australia who is known for this thought-provoking comedy. He'll perform at Hoyt Sherman Place on Jan. 29. Photo: Hoyt Sherman Place


Hoyt Sherman Place has been filling up its calendar for the next few months. Here are some of the upcoming performances.

Jim Jefferies (7 p.m. Jan. 29): A comedian who has appeared on "Legit," an FX show, and Comedy Central, Jefferies was named Stand-Up Comedian of the Year at the Just for Laughs Festival in summer 2019.

Lewis Black (8 p.m. Feb. 10): A Grammy Award-winning standup comedian, Black will bring his comedic yelling and finger-pointing style to the stage. Black has sold out multiple renowned theaters, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City Center and more.

Chris Janson (7:30 p.m. Feb. 11): This breakout country star is best known for his hit songs "Drunk Girl" and "Buy Me a Boat," both of which earned song of the year accolades from various publications. Janson is also a three-time Country Music Award nominee.
The Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will perform at the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs’ Celebrate Iowa Gala.
Photo: Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs


Writer: Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Face it: Zoom has its limits. That’s why the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is very,
very excited to return to an in-person format for this year’s Celebrate Iowa Gala, where guests can see, hear and taste so many things from across the state.

The 10th annual event is set for Dec. 10 at the historic Scottish Rite Consistory in Des Moines, where guests can listen to live music from the Awful Purdies, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Phineas Pope. They can see live landscape painting by Jorge Chavez Colorado, an exhibit of new artwork inspired by Iowa history, and a pop-up display about Iowa’s 175th anniversary.

From the groaning smorgasbord, folks can feast on Fareway ham balls, La Quercia charcuterie, Maytag blue cheese, Jaarsma Dutch letters, Piper’s chocolate caramels, homemade kolaches from none other than the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library—and so much more.

Thirsty? Try the Anderson Erickson eggnog, BLK & Bold coffee, the “Iowa 175” cocktail from the Mississippi River Distilling Co. or the “1846 Corn Lager,” made with old-fashioned brewing techniques at Court Avenue Brewing Co.

Proceeds from the gala’s tickets and sponsorships support statewide programs from the State Historical Society of Iowa, which has been preserving and sharing Iowa history since 1857.
Tallgrass Theatre's last performance was "Bridges of Madison County" at the Lauridsen Amphitheater in West Des Moines. The organization will start its new season on Dec. 3 with a holiday show. Photo: Tallgrass Theatre


Tallgrass Theatre, West Des Moines' community theater, will launch its 2021-22 season on Dec. 3 with the holiday show "Every Christmas Story Ever Told." The play marks the first of three shows for the season, including "The Revolutionists" (Feb. 4-20, 2022) and "The Beautiful Things" (April 29-May 15, 2022). All shows will be at the theater's new home at 2019 Grand Ave. in West Des Moines.

"Every Christmas Story Ever Told" is a comedy featuring three actors tired of performing Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" every holiday season. So they decide to showcase "every Christmas story ever told—plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung," organizers say.

Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights; 2 p.m. on Sundays through Dec. 19. Tickets start at $33.
Jess Desserts specializes in macarons in flavors such as salted caramel, lavender honey and almond raspberry.


Writer: Karla Walsh

Since September 2018, culinary specialist Jess Anderson has rarely been far from her signature apron. She dons it while baking and hosting stands at the Valley Junction and downtown farmers markets. Although Anderson’s specialty is macarons, she can make any sweet. During the off-season, she offers monthly dessert boxes packed with sweet rolls, scones, toaster pastries, cupcakes and her signature macarons.

Follow @jessdessertsdsm on Instagram to keep up the latest selection, visit to see her custom order menu, or contact her at to get the dish about current offerings and availability.

Read about more dessert boxes around town in this story from our Nov./Dec. issue.
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