dsmWeekly: July 13, 2021
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July 13, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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Leah Wafful opened the Waffles & Whip food truck this year, serving upjust as the name implieswaffles topped with whipped cream.


Writer: Karla Walsh

Think beyond corn dogs, kabobs and the Iowa State Fair favorite pork chop on a stick. How about doughy Liège waffles (with a caramelized sugar exterior that’s reminiscent of a crème brûlée in texture) on a stick, decorated with sweet and savory toppings? That’s exactly what this new metro food trailer, Waffles & Whip, provides.

The brand was created and is owned by Leah Wafful, whose name actually inspired the waffle food choice. She began brainstorming new potential business ventures after her two Bronze515 airbrush spray tan studios went on a brief hiatus during the pandemic. Last August, she came across several images of horse trailers converted into mobile bars (similar to Aaron Byrd’s Sugarfoot Mobile Bar we reported on last fall) on Pinterest, which sparked the idea of a mobile “Wafful waffle bar” that she could use to pop up at small events.

She found a trailer for sale in Nebraska, tapped a contractor friend to transform the design, then landed on the name: “It’s catchy, plus whipped cream goes really well on top of pancakes and waffles," she says.

Wafful designs the recipes, which she makes in an 80-pound cast-iron Liège waffle maker she imported from Belgium. Recipe names are a nod to some local gems (“The 515,” with powdered sugar) and her childhood favorites (including the toasted pecan and pecan praline syrup-topped “Good Vibrations” waffle, a nod to the 1991 Marky Mark song).

Wafful explains that, unlike typical batter-based waffles, the dough-based Liège (pronounced lee-aisz) waffles have to rise and are made with yeast, pearl sugar, milk and butter. She sizzles them up on the waffle maker, pops in a food-safe stick, then gets to topping with whipped cream and more (such as fresh berries, cheesecake bites and nut butter).

Since it’s a part-time passion project for Wafful, she’s currently accepting bookings on evenings and weekends and for 150 guests or fewer. Think weddings, graduation parties, business open houses, bridal showers, neighborhood gatherings.

Learn more and reserve the trailer for your soirèe at, and follow the brand on Instagram @wafflesandwhip.

Ten great design styles on sale at the best prices of the year. Sofas, sectionals, chairs & more. Thousands of leathers and fabric choices.
During the 2016 “Life is Beautiful” festival in Las Vegas, Justin Favela covered the facade of a motel in paper. Favela specializes in creating temporary, site-specific installations. (Justin Favela, “Piñata Motel” (2016); paper and glue on existing motel. Photo: Krystal Ramirez.)


When Justin Favela visited the city to prepare for his upcoming exhibit at the Des Moines Art Center, he was fascinated with, of all things, taco pizza.

Sure, he liked the combination of flavors, but the acclaimed Las Vegas-based artist was more intrigued by how, in his view, it represents “a certain type of regional history. … It really surprised me how it could be a symbol for so many immigrant stories.”

How immigrant cultures connect, mix and assimilate will be a main thread that runs through his new exhibit, which opens Saturday and will feature large-scale, site-specific sculptures and murals created in Favela’s signature piñata style. Made primarily with vibrantly colored tissue paper and a papier-mâché technique, his works typically convey cheery exuberance.

But behind the festive facade, the works tell more complicated stories that reflect the 34-year-old artist’s eclectic interests. For the Art Center installation, he plans to explore his Guatemalan and Mexican roots, his queer identity, the city of Des Moines, the local Latinx community, Iowa agriculture and farm workers, art history, pop culture and cultural appropriation, and the pandemic—plus that taco pizza and other regional foods.

Read the rest of the story from our July/Aug issue here.
From left: Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel and Henry Zebrowski are the hosts of "Last Podcast on the Left," which will do a live recording at Hoyt Sherman Place in August. Photo: Last Podcast on the Left


It's good to see Hoyt Sherman Place bustling again after a down year for live entertainment. Amid a packed late summer schedule, a live recording of "Last Podcast on the Left," a comedy horror podcast, at 8 p.m. on Aug. 14, promises to be one of the season's highlights.

Mixing dark humor with true tales of serial killers, werewolves, hauntings and more, the podcast, hosted by Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel and Henry Zebrowski, garners more than 11 million downloads a month. The live podcast is a part of the "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" nationwide tour. Tickets are $25-$50.
Spacious new townhomes and apartments put you in the heart of Des Moines’ iconic Beaverdale neighborhood, less than a block from locally-owned shopping, dining and services... Read more »
One of the homes featured in the Home Show Expo has a farmhouse vibe, as shown by this home rendering. Watch a video of the homes here. Photo: Home Show Expo


Cumming is one of the region's fastest-growing towns, with Iowa's first agrihood being built over the next few years. Within 10 years, the city's population is expected to quadruple, from 500 to 2,000. The annual Des Monies Home Show Expo, put on by the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines, is showcasing some of the new homes in the area over the next two weekends.

The homes are located in the Grand Western Crossing development, which is part of the Middlebrook agrihood. You can't go wrong with any of the homes, but one of our favorites is Ground Breaker Homes' build, which harks back to a classic farmhouse look with a covered front porch, white siding and a symmetrical face. Another standout is Jerry's Homes' creation, with a brick front and three separate garage stalls.

Tickets are $15. Hours for the final two weekends are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sundays. You can also purchase two-hour private tours at various times on July 15 and 22 for $50. Find ticket information here.
Cecelia Baumhover, 6, of Van Meter enjoys ice cream from the Creamery.


This story was a part of our July/Aug. issue, released this month. Read the rest of the publication online.

Writer: Karla Walsh

Consider this your bucket list of must-eat ice creams before summer melts away.

The Creamery
Bring the family or a group of pals and everyone will find something on the menu at this charming worth-the-drive shop in downtown Polk City. Hard pack, soft serve, frozen yogurt, shakes, malts, floats, sundaes and pup treats are available each day. New to the lineup for 2021: a Disney parks-inspired Dole Whip, which has been a top-seller, according to owners Joe and Ashley Fandel.

Black Cat
You probably recognize the name from its walk-up window at Gas Lamp, and now this buzzy ice cream brand is back. It opened in June in the former Woody’s Smoke Shack space in the Drake neighborhood. Expect the unexpected from owner Alex Carter—creative flavors include Chocolate-Ghost Chili; Cap’n Crunch and Brownie; Blueberry Pancake; and Peanut Butter Puppy Chow.

Classic Frozen Custard
This south-side classic’s digital presence is small—save for rave reviews from fans—so the flavors are always a surprise when you walk up to the window. In addition to mainstays like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, you’ll feel like it’s your lucky day if Caramel Cashew or Ooey Gooey Butter Cake are available. And you won’t go wrong with the hot fudge-showered Turtle Sundae.

Read the rest of this story online.

A tricycle, angel wings, no clothes: There’s nothing quite like “UpDown,” who spent years at Merle Hay Mall and then in a private backyard on Des Moines’ east side.  


It's been quite the summer so far, full of actual in-person events (yes, in-person!) and other happenings. We've had a lot of fun covering all the fun. Here are three of our most-read stories since May, including some restaurant openings and the moving of a legendary(?) statue to the suburbs.

RC's Diner: RC's Diner, a new upscale diner in Windsor Heights headed by Joe Tripp and Simon Goheen, had a soft opening over the weekend. Contributor Karla Walsh has been along for the ride, breaking the news in May, then getting a sneak peek at the menu last week.

Naked trike angel: This statue of a naked, slack-jawed angel riding a tricycle lived at Merle Hay Mall for decades, then on the property of east-side resident Jerri Scott. But it was recently moved to Johnston at the head of a new recreational trail. The original story of "UpDown" is one of our most-read stories of all time, so we know most of you are as fascinated with (and amused by) this whimsical work as we are.

New West Des Moines patio: The new Anna Dolce Ristorante in West Des Moines, owned by Aposto's Tony Lemmo, garnered some positive reviews from Karla Walsh, who said she would "make the drive from my downtown apartment for a slice.” The happy hour menu is enticing—all pizzas and appetizers are 50% off from 3 to 6 p.m. daily.
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