Gift Giving, the Avenues, Holiday Culture Events
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December 8, 2020  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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A fireplace can make a huge statement in any room. When Santa comes down these chimneys, he might just stay awhile to marvel at how beautiful they are.
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Gift towers from Chocolate Storybook, which can be delivered locally or shipped elsewhere.


Writer: Wini Moranville

As the pandemic news gets scarier by the day, it’s tempting to stay in our huts and order all holiday gifts through, Harry & David and other major online retailers. And yet, plenty of local spots have made it just as easy to buy online without having to share the air with anyone outside your household.

Allspice Culinarium: This has long been my go-to for fun stocking stuffers and gift boxes for the cooks in my life. Even non-cooks can appreciate gift sets such as the Popcorn Seasoning Set or a Double Chocolate Gift Set (designed for making a killer-good cup of hot cocoa).

Chocolate Storybook: If you love Harry & David’s Tower of Treat gifts, check out the equally stunning gift towers from this West Des Moines chocolate shop. These and other festive and fun gifts can be delivered locally or shipped elsewhere.

Eden: While Amazon overwhelms you with options, this East Village apothecary, with its tight focus on beautifully curated self-care products, brings joy to the online shopping experience. For the cooks on your list, find kitchen and tabletop candles, natural household cleaning products, and thoughtfully chosen cookbooks.

Gong Fu Tea: Go big with a “Tea Wall,” a selection of 17 tins of quality loose-leaf tea beautifully presented in a handmade paper gift box. Or simply select a few ounces of various tea varieties as great stocking stuffers. There are plenty of options in between.

Kitchen Collage: Shop the website for this city’s loveliest selection of kitchenware and tabletop items. Or call and chat with one of the passionate food-loving sales pros for ideas. Either way, in addition to out-of-town shipping, this East Village store offers free local delivery after 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Zanzibar’s Coffee: Delight the coffee-hound in your life with some freshly roasted single-origin coffee beans from this beloved local coffeehouse. The seasonal and limited-edition selections look especially enticing.

Other Ideas: For gift ideas that support local businesses while also supporting local causes, check out Karla Walsh’s recent story, Food Gifts for Good.
    Understanding and empathy are critical. And the results speak for themselves in this New Classic style room. Read about the project:.
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    Manhattan Deli co-owner Carey Hansen specifically wanted a mural of Frida Kahlo on the side of her restaurant, as she views the artist as an inspiration.


    Writer: Allaire Nuss

    Life may have slowed down since March, but the Avenues of Ingersoll and Grand—which stretches between Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and 42nd Street in Des Moineshas continued expanding.

    A new mural, plant store, and whiskey-stocked restaurant are just a few of the latest additions to the district. Here's what to look for the next time you’re in the area.

    New mural: Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican painter, is the star of Ingersoll’s latest mural, painted by Ally Frame on the east side of Manhattan Deli. The owners of the restaurant, Corey and Carey Hansen, said they selected Kahlo because she was "a bold, determined, fierce woman who was incredibly artistic and very cultured."

    “It was never a matter of what we would put there. We knew it would be Frida,” they said in a Facebook post. “We hope our mural ... brings a ray of sunshine to all who encounter her.”

    Whiskey River Ingersoll: This pool hall and restaurant, which fills the space Teddy Maroons left behind, is an expansion of the original Ames location, complete with the names of Des Moines neighborhoods on seating booths. They’ve also introduced a new late-night menu available until 2 a.m.

    ART on Ingersoll: This new gallery at 2925 Ingersoll (in the Adio Chiropractic building, which also houses the Cheese Bar) features the work of Iowa artists. Prices range from $30 gifts to $2,500 statement pieces.
    “My hope for the gallery is to create a space where people go to feel joy and positivity during these crazy times of fear and uncertainty,” says Heather Sicker, gallery owner and artist.

    Renovation Jungle: Local houseplant guru Allie Delaney opened a new plant store at 607 37th St. in November. Her doors are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; you'll find swoon-worthy foliage and planting containers.

    Coming soon—Zora: A new bar-restaurant is being built at the corner of Martin Luther King Parkway and Ingersoll Avenue. The 6,000-square-foot venue will include a rooftop patio. Read more about it in this Business Record spotlight.
    The Des Moines Symphony will perform its virtual holiday show in the Temple for Performing Arts.


    For some holiday entertainment and cheer, check out these performances and shows:

    Des Moines Symphony: On Dec. 17, the Symphony will perform a livestreamed concert called "Winter Fantasia," playing scores from Johann Bach to William Boyce. Tickets are $20. The Symphony will host events leading up to the event, including a conversation with Eric McIntyre of Grinnell College about the music.

    Noce: This popular downtown jazz club is hosting a week of holiday-themed performances, starting tomorrow with "Charlie Brown Christmas" from the Peter Roberts Band. Shows continue through Sunday. Find the full list here.

    Des Moines Community Playhouse: The theater is presenting its own rendition of the holiday classic, "Miracle On 34th Street." The story is told through a 1940s radio booth. In-person performances run through Dec. 20 at the John Viars Theatre. A recording will be available through Dec. 27.

    Gateway Dance Theatre: This organization's holiday performance will be virtual-only. Called "A New Day," the story, a spin on the nativity scene, covers the birth of a son to a migrant couple in a garage, attracting such joyful attention that the police plan to arrest the parents for disturbing the peace. The performance will be available Dec. 12-31 on Gateway Dance Theatre's social media platforms.
    With rich wood tones, warm brass fixtures and cabinetry pulls, and sparkly arabesque-shaped tiles, the kitchen exudes European elegance. Photo: Adam Albright Photography.


    Writer: Beth Eslinger

    It may seem unconventional that ’70s tunes, LaCroix sparkling water, dog photos and a wedding monogram were some of the design inspiration for this new home in rural Warren County. But that’s the point of Eden and Gray’s approach.

    At the start of each project, the West Des Moines-based team quizzes its clients with personal questions, such as what’s your favorite drink, your go-to song, your preference in art, says designer Hanna Shiplett, who runs the business with her husband, Jonathan. They use the answers to create a word cloud for the project’s overall feel. “We ask silly questions to understand our clients,” she says.

    And it made an impact with the homeowners, both area medical professionals. The couple, who requested anonymity for this article, say they appreciated the Shipletts’ personal and unique approach.

    The homeowners found the 5-acre lot, complete with a run-down house, junked cars and other rubbish, and saw potential for their dream family home. They were especially drawn to its seclusion and privacy.

    Once the lot was cleaned up, the homeowners turned over the design and build to Eden and Gray. “This was the first time a client unleashed me to do everything,” says Hanna, who also decorated the interior.

    The design duo walked the site and oriented the home to take full advantage of the wooded views. “We took inspiration from what was happening in the land,” she says.

    Read the rest of the story from our November issue here. Also, to see more beautiful home designs, take part in our first-ever dsm Home Design Awards Readers' Choice contest here.
    This cheese box spread from Cyd's Catering will be featured in Thursday's wine flight event from Winefest.
    Photo: Winefest Des Moines


    Winefest Des Moines is hosting a few wine flights this holiday season, featuring drinks, food and Q&As with wine experts.

    The first flight is Thursday with Cyd's Catering and Creme Cupcakes. Put your orders in today to participate. The menu includes a cheese box, holiday salad, gouda soup, beef Wellington and a flourless chocolate torte, paired with a Pewsey Edne Valley Rieslingand Emmolo merlot. The price, which includes food for two and two bottles of wine, is $85. Pickup is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Creme Cupcake, and a Q&A with sommelier Ben Nelson will take place at 6:30 p.m. Purchase tickets here.

    The second event is next week, on Dec. 16., at Splash Seafood Bar and Grill, which will host the event in-person. The menu will be created by a trio of chefs, starting with a pear salad (Andy Erickson), followed by pork belly and daikon radish (Heidi Barrett), and then a bison short rib with wild mushroom and Beluga lentils (Tomas Rivers Brown). Each course will be paired with a glass of wine. Tickets are $75. Tables will be socially distanced with assigned seating. Only tickets purchased together will sit at a table together. Masks required when not seated. Reserve your spot here.

    On Dec. 20, Alba is the featured restaurant, showcasing a menu consisting of quinoa and green salad, braised pork, and chocolate hazelnut budino. The food will be paired with 2019 Romerhof Riesling Kabinett and 2017 Escarlata Cabernet Franc. Place your order by Dec. 19. Tickets to the virtual event are $80 and available here.
    A food handout event over the summer. Food Bank of Iowa is hoping to raise $1 million this holiday season to help feed Iowans in need.


    As food insecurity continues to grow, Food Bank of Iowa has launched Hunger Free Holidays, a fundraising campaign to fight hunger in Iowa. The goal is to raise $1 million, which will create up to four million meals.

    According to Feeding America and McKinsey Consulting, food insecurity has doubled since January 2020. For households with children, it has tripled.

    “Not knowing where to find a meal is awful any day of the year, but it is particularly tough during the holidays. This year is especially harsh, with high unemployment and thousands facing the fear of scarcity and hunger for the first time,”  Michelle Book, CEO of Food Bank of Iowa, said in a release. “If you are in the position where you could help another family, please consider joining the fight against hunger this holiday season—there is no greater gift.”

    To date, the Food Bank of Iowa has partnered with a handful of other organizations, including KCCI, Wells Fargo and F&G Annuities and Life, for various pledge drives and donations for the campaign. Donations can be made at

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

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