New Clive Restaurant, Valentine's Chocolates, Fine-Dining Takeout
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February 9, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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A basement remodel for a sleek wine cellar grew into a fulfilling renovation roadmap for this Des Moines home. Additional successful projects followed, including a curvy new deck and a kitchen remodel. The dining room even got a custom-built table to seat this family of 12!
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This chopped salad with pork came via one of the chef's suggestions at Papaya Asian Street Food, a new Clive restaurant focused on "Cali-Asian" cuisine.


Writer: Karla Walsh

Papaya Asian Street Food, a new Clive eatery, has been receiving rave reviews on social media. Within days of opening on Jan. 19, feedback poured in along the lines of “Holy smokes incredible!” and “top-notch service and flavor." Based on that, I knew I needed to make my way there.

Papaya showcases “Cali-Asian cuisine, featuring Southeast Asian cuisine with a California twist,” owner Jay Wang, who operates the Wasabi Group of brands, told us. One of my gluten-free friends says she has already visited six times, and found plenty of vegan, paleo, keto-friendly and Whole 30-compliant options.

Wang tapped Jeremy Jessen, previously the owner of Local Yocals and farmHouse, to be Wasabi Group's project manager and jump-start this fast-casual concept and menu. And chances are he'll be on-site lending a hand to build your bowl or Vietnamese banh mi sandwich.

Choose from one of eight signature bowl options. My dining partner gave a thumbs up to "Koreatown" ($10.95), which includes beautifully cooked steak slices, jasmine rice, cucumbers, carrots, scallions, kimchi, caramelized egg, “Street Spice” and hoisin barbecue sauce. Or create your own combo like I did, with a chopped salad plus pork, veggies and green curry sauce ($7.95). You can’t go wrong and will likely leave feeling satisfied—especially if you add a three-piece order of dumplings ($3.50), available with chicken or veggie filling.

On my next visit, I can’t wait to dive into one of Papaya's signatures stuffed inside a banh mi sandwich. Or, if we’re still living amidst a polar vortex, I may pair a 12-ounce bowl of Chinese chicken noodle soup ($4.65) with a side of chips ($1.85) and Papaya guacamole ($2.50 for 2 1/2 ounces) to heat things up.

Papaya Asian Street Food is open daily at 1255 N.W. 128th St. from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tell them I sent you, ask for the caramelized egg and "Street Spice" on whatever you order, and I bet you won’t walk away disappointed. See the full menu and order online here.
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Need last-minute gift ideas for Valentine's Day? Chocolaterie Stam sells these flower-shaped chocolates.


Writer: Wini Moranville

The first time I ever spotted rose-color chocolates from Stam, I thought, “Oh, what a lovely way to color white chocolate for Valentine’s Day and spring celebrations!”

Turns out, the chocolates weren’t tinted with food dyes or colorings at all. Rather, these beauties were made from ruby chocolate, which its manufacturer (European chocolatier Callebaut) describes as a “fourth type of chocolate” (after dark, milk and white).

What makes them so pretty in pink? Ruby chocolate is from a ruby cacao bean, but that variety of bean can also be made to make other kinds of chocolates, too. Rather, according to Ton Stam, owner of Chocolaterie Stam, the curious color is a result of the way these cacao beans are fermented and processed. He added that Callebaut is keeping a tight lid on what that modus operandi actually is.

Callebaut’s website describes the chocolate’s flavor as “a tension between berry-fruitiness and luscious smoothness.” To my palate, there was also a delicate sourness—think of the astringency of a berry—amid a certain creamy, vanilla-y sweetness. If you are a dark-chocolate diehard, you probably won’t adore ruby chocolate (it’s not in any way bitter). I loved their beauty above all else, but truly did enjoy their subtle flavors, too.

Stam crafts ruby chocolates into chocolate flowers (pictured) as well as bonbons with flavors that complement the ruby chocolate’s flavor. The latter include chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache and grapefruit. For now, they’re only available in Des Moines stores. Find locations here.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar provides both steak and seafood in its special Valentine's Day menu for two, available for dine-in and takeout. Photo: Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar


Looking to stay home yet treat that special someone this weekend? Here are three restaurants offering Valentine's Day takeout meals.

Django: Chef Derek Eidson's four-course meal includes cheese and charcuterie, scallops, beef Wellington and pot de creme, with Vollereaux's Brut Reserve Champagne and a choice of Lola chardonnay or Roth cabernet for drinks. Reheating and baking instructions are included. The price is $160.50. Meal pickup at the restaurant is 3-5 p.m. Sunday. (Read why Django was one of our top takeout spots in 2020.)

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar: This three-course "Prime Surf and Turf" for two features a 35-ounce tomahawk steak with lobster tail scampi and crab-stuffed shrimp. Available Feb. 12-15, the package is $225. Curbside pickup starts at 11 a.m. each day; delivery is at 11:30 a.m. Explore the rest of Fleming's Valentine's Day menu here.

How's this for a fully loaded deal? Proof's Valentine's Day dinner for two includes an appetizer, brunch snacks for the next day, a three-course meal and drink—all for $175. The entree is a duck leg, topped with blueberry glaze, black garlic, jus, chestnut mushrooms and pickled pearl onions. Pick up at the restaurant from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday.
    Contributing photographer Joelle Blanchard captured this shot of artist and model Allysha Cora Jean Walters in an old concrete pit behind Barnum Factory on Indiana Avenue.


    For the January/February issue of dsm, we asked local model and artist Allysha Cora Jean Walters about her style and how she puts together her look.

    Age: 24

    How you describe your style: Hobo chic. Cozy, laid-back clothing that’s self-expressive, always including an eclectic blend of layers, patterns and colors.

    Style icons: FKA Twigs, Lisa Bonet and Erykah Badu. I feel like they never dress to conform but to please themselves—that’s the energy I want my style to have.

    Piece of clothing you couldn’t live without: A trench coat. I feel like it’s the top layer that brings the whole outfit together and complements my “hobo” style. It represents my free spirit, ready to flow where life takes me.

    The part of your style you’re most known for: My hair. Just like my clothing, I change my hair to match my mood, so I consider it a big part of my style. Wearing any hair color or style I want helps me represent my creativity.

    Where you shop: I mostly upcycle donated clothing myself or buy from local thrift stores. It’s important for me to take something and make it my own and to buy within my own community. I try to avoid fast fashion, so I use my clothing to represent my DIY lifestyle as much as possible.

    Read of the rest of the January/February issue here.

    The cover of "Begin Again" by Eddie S. Glaude Jr., a story that follows activist and writer James Baldwin.


    February is Black History Month, and the Des Public Library is offering suggestions of books for adults, teens and children written by Black authors or featuring Black characters. Here are three with links to reserve on the library's website. Find the rest of the list here.

    "Begin Again" by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.: Set in the wake of the civil rights movement, this story follows James Baldwin, an American writer and activist, and his activism for social justice in America.

    "The Black Kids" by Christina Hammonds Reed: Ashley and her friends are high school seniors in Los Angeles when Rodney King is beaten in the streets by police officers. Ashley tries to live normally but is quickly forced to confront issues involving family, friends, race and identity.

    "For the Better Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World" by Michael W. Waters: As a young Black boy, Jeremiah struggles to understand police shootings and social injustice. His father doesn't have easy answers, either. This book provides an intimate look at one family's response to racism and gun violence.  
    "The Agitators," the second show in Iowa Stage Theatre's spring season, explores the lives of two civil rights titans. Photo: Iowa Stage Theatre


    For your calendar: Iowa Stage Theatre's virtual season, which will feature three shows, begins March 5. Each performance will be pre-recorded and broadcast by Broadway On Demand.  

    "Bright Half Life" (March 5-14) looks at the long-term relationship between two women. Over four and half decades, they see each other fall in love, marry, have kids, divorce and more. The second show, "The Agitators" (April 16-25), explores the enduring yet tempestuous friendship of civil rights activists Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. The season ends with "Exit Strategy" (May 21-30), which follows the staff of a soon-to-close high school and their efforts to keep it open.

    A season pass is $50; individual shows are $20. Find more information here.
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