dsmWeekly: August 10, 2021
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August 10, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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Brad Magg, left, and Dom Iannerelli will serve up bacon balls at their Iowa State Fair stand.


Writer: Luke Manderfeld

The Iowa State Fair starts Thursday, and Brad Magg and Dom Iannerelli will be ready: They've stockpiled bacon balls, their signature menu item, and are hard at work making sauces and lemonade to serve from their standcalled, appropriately enough, Bacon Box.

And what exactly is a bacon ball? A pork belly meatball wrapped in bacon and smothered in sauce. They come in three flavors: bacon; chicken, bacon and ranch; and BLT (which then-presidential nominee Pete Buttigieg tried in 2019 and mentioned on the "The Ellen Degeneres Show"). Each is handmade and rotisserie-smoked, cooking off most of the fat and grease. And there's a surprise in the middle: bacon cheese, which oozes out with every bite. There are dessert options as well, such as bacon pecan pie on a stick and lemonade "creamsicles," frozen lemonade creations.

Iannerelli, director of restaurants at Splash Seafood Bar and Grill and Jethro's BBQ, and Magg, owner of Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe in Prairie City, started Bacon Box in 2019. Given that the fair was canceled last year, "I think I speak for everyone that we're ecstatic," Magg says. "We learned last time what we can do better, how we can do things a little more efficiently and be more prepared. So that's going to make things a lot easier for us at the stand."

Part of the learning curve is making more food in advance. So Magg and his team whipped up 60,000 bacon balls—about triple the amount they prepared in 2019—to be smoked and served over the 10-day event.

The chicken-bacon-ranch balls and the bacon balls are $6 or $10 for two. The BLT is $7. Find Bacon Box on the main concourse, across from the Grandstand, on the north side of the Varied Industries Building.
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Street tacos from Tacos Degollado are prepared quickly and are among the "best I've found in town," Karla Walsh writes.


Writer: Karla Walsh

On Taco Tuesday or any day—well, besides Sunday when they’re closed—head to one of my favorite places to get tacos,
Tacos Degollado. These are among the best I’ve found in town, and the price is right, too. Tacos are $2 to $2.50 for a two-ply tortilla overflowing with delightfully seasoned protein (steak, pork, chicken, fish, tripe, tongue, shrimp, birria and more are among the options), plus copious fresh toppings and all the salsa you’d ever desire.

The kicker: They serve them incredibly fast. I thought Tacos Degollado only served enough to fuel individual solo snackers, families and midday lunch break work crews that swing by. But a friend told me that you can come bearing a sheet pan, and they will gladly fill it up to the brim with a party-sized batch of tacos.

I admit that I was hesitant to believe this could be true, but what a delightful way to feed a crowd if it were. So I arrived a couple of weeks ago at an “off” time so they wouldn’t feel rushed, two sheet pans and cash in hand, and asked for 25 asada (steak) and 25 pastor (pork) tacos, with all toppings on the side. They were happy to fill the order, so I paid and went back to my car—imagining it would be about a 30-minute wait. Five minutes later, a staffer strolls out with both foil-covered, fully loaded sheet pans ready to go. Another team member followed with grocery bags full of takeout containers jampacked with onions, cilantro, fried jalapenos, sauteed peppers and dozens of individual salsa containers.

Everyone at the party had more than enough to eat, we didn’t have to cook, and I was even more in love with Tacos Degollado. So pro tip: Bring cash. Tip generously. Then depart with a plate or a sheet pan full of goodies. Add a side salad (might I recommend Grade A Gardens watermelon masterpiece?) and margaritas, if desired. Your dinner menu for a crowd of a few is solved.

Tacos Degollado is located at 1817 University Ave. and open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Find them on Facebook to see the full menu, including much more than tacos.

Pianist Yefim Bronfman will kick off the Civic Music Association season on Oct. 20 at Hoyt Sherman Place.
Photo: Civic Music Association


Civic Music Association will pay homage to musical legends and host an internationally acclaimed pianist during its 2021-22 season. The season starts on Oct. 20 at Hoyt Sherman Place with pianist Yefim Bronfman, who will play scores from Beethoven and Chopin. The performance is a part of the new Lauridsen Great Pianists Series, which will feature one of the world's most accomplished pianists every season.

Here's the rest of the schedule:

  • Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles (Nov. 12, Hoyt Sherman Place)
  • Canadian Brass: Making Spirits Bright (Dec. 5, Staplin Performing Arts Center)
  • Sean Jones Quartet (Jan. 15, Staplin Performing Arts Center)
  • Brooklyn Rider: Healing Modes (Feb. 5, Hoyt Sherman Place)
  • Bessie, Billie, Nina: Pioneering Women in Jazz (March 4, Staplin Performing Arts Center)
  • Tessa Lark and Michael Thurber (April 9, Sheslow Auditorium)

Find season ticket and show information here.
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Jordan Weber enlisted the help of local artists and community members to create this mural in Oakridge Neighborhood.


Basketball courts around Greater Des Moines are starting to look a little more colorful, thanks to a new public art project called "SWISH," spearheaded by the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation. The organization is commissioning artists to create murals on courts in ethnically diverse and underrepresented areas.

It is an effort to revitalize public spaces, integrating art into neighborhoods where there is often little or none,”  Jessica Rowe, the foundation's director, said in a statement.

Most recently, renowned Des Moines-based artist Jordan Weber created murals on two basketball courts in Oakridge Neighborhood. The design depicts 14-year-old Yore Jieng, who was killed in 2016 by a stray bullet while sitting in the passenger seat of a car with his family.

You can stay up to date on the series on the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation website.
Discover more about Des Moines in the new Downtown DSM Adventure Series, put on by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Photo: Catch Des Moines


Looking for a fresh way to rediscover downtown? The Greater Des Moines Partnership is holding a series called Downtown DSM Adventure Stories, featuring several weeks of storytelling and exploring in 20 downtown locations.

Here's how it works: Head to this website on Aug. 18 and scroll down to the icons (which are currently grayed out). Click on one to get a starting point for the story, which will be somewhere downtown. When you arrive, whip out your smartphone and scan the QR code at each location. Then read the story chapter on your phone, complete the requested challenge and follow clues until the next chapter. There will be four to six chapters each week.

New adventure stories will be released every week on Wednesdays from Aug. 18 through Sept. 8. Tiffany Tauscheck, chief operations officer at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, hopes the project will help people "experience the uniqueness of Downtown Des Moines and support local businesses."


Join us for a fast-paced, action-oriented look at what you and your organization can do to stop food insecurity in Iowa. The virtual event, "Countdown to fight hunger: Top 10 ways your business can fight hunger now," starts at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 31. The program will highlight leading individuals and companies in Iowa that are fighting food insecurity by giving food, giving time or giving funds—or all of those things.

Speakers include:

  • Chris Blunt, CEO and president, F&G.
  • Rosemary Parson, senior vice president of policy administration and community relations, EquiTrust Life Insurance Co.
  • Jo Christine Miles, director, Principal Community Relations and the Principal Foundation Inc.
  • Meg Kayko, waste reduction specialist, Kum & Go.
  • Ali Brackett, assistant general manager, director of catering, Iowa Events Center/Spectra Food Services & Hospitality.
  • Nicholas Salazar, state director, League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa.
  • Gregory Schmidt, CEO, Festivals International, and director, Teacher Productions.
  • Andrea Rogers, director of operations, Accel Group.
  • Brad Liggett, president, agribusiness, Nationwide.
  • Emily Girsch, chief financial officer, Lincoln Savings Bank.

Iowa Stops Hunger is a Business Publications Corporation initiative to bring awareness and action to food insecurity in Iowa.
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