By Design presents dsmDining —

The prosciutto smörg is a delight to order: You get a great sandwich and you get to say a silly word.


By Wini Moranville

Just about anyone can put prosciutto on a buttered slice of bread and top it with greens, but only about .01 percent of the world’s population could make this combination taste as wonderful as it does at The Cheese Bar.

Of course, it’s all about the best ingredients—and exactitude of execution. You take a great prosciutto (in this case, La Quercia from Norwalk), and slice it into glossy, delicate ribbons that are so paper-thin you can see through them. And I mean that literally—I actually placed a piece of the prosciutto on a printed page and could read the letters through the meat. Then, you slather a crusty, tuggy piece of sourdough bread with a cultured butter (cultured = elevated flavor) and a judicious drizzle of herb oil. Place the prosciutto on the bread, then top it with bright, fresh greens that are perfectly dressed—enticingly slick, but magically wilt-proof.

This Scandinavian-style open-face sandwich, referred to on the menu as a “smörg,” was, quite simply, sublime. Interestingly, while built with the same precision, the burrata smörg was less thrilling. While burrata—a fresh mozzarella with a luscious, creamy interior—is characteristically mild in flavor, this version was almost flavorless. (Think skim milk when you’re expecting cream.) It goes to show just how much every single ingredient of a dish counts when working for simple-and-sublime (versus simple-to-a-fault) results.

While I’ve always been a fan of the food at this venue’s mother ship, The Cheese Shop, I rarely ate there. The snug spot is so popular, it was nigh impossible to snag a table at times I wanted to eat. Fortunately, the much more spacious Cheese Bar has loads of seating—casual and communal farmhouse-style tables with benches along one side and chairs on the other, as well as seats at the bar. I’m sure I’ll be a frequent visitor.

The Cheese Bar is at 2925 Ingersoll; 515-277-7828;

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Recliners are one of the most taboo subjects in furniture and home design. Designers hate them…homeowners want them. It’s always been a battle between form and function when trying to add a recliner to your home… ... Read more»

Join the ranks of superheroes as a defender of the First Amendment. Your super powers? Literacy and proud defiance of those who would ban books. 


Death to intolerance! Gets confusing, doesn't it? But if you're on board with the notion that censorship is not cool and we sure hope you arewelcome to Banned Books Week, Sept. 24-30.

The Banned Books Week Coalition is a national alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, stores and libraries.

Des Moines' public libraries each have a display pertaining to banned and challenged books. They provided this list of banned books and this timeline of significant books that have been challenged.

Of course, there's a fun side to all this. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and Geeks Who Drink are sponsoring a Banned Books Week Trivia Night on Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ingersoll Tap, 2837 Ingersoll Ave. Trivia buffs are invited to come solo or form a team of up to six people. One round of questions will focus on banned books. The rest will be general trivia topics. Donations for the ACLU of Iowa will be accepted at the door. For more information, contact

Tour of Remodeled Homes: Get inside two Silent Rivers remodeled homes!
This weekend! Join the 2017 Tour of Remodeled Homes, featuring two extraordinary Silent Rivers remodeling projects. See video and photos of these projects, learn how to get tickets and a map of all 16 homes on this year’s Tour. ... Read more »

Home No. 4 on this year's tour features this cheery, open dining and kitchen area with fresh colors and patterns in the decor.


The marvel of remodeling is on display again this weekend when the Remoders Council of Greater Des Moines presents its 17th annual Tour of Remodeled Homes. You'll see 16 recently completed projects ranging from kitchens and bathrooms to additions and exteriors. You can preview all of the homes online here. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at any of the 16 locations or online here. Whether you're looking for ideas or contractors, this is a good place to start. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23-24.

A fashion week is more than fashion; it's stagecraft, models, direction, music, lighting and more. Insider tip: In person, they're in color.


Launched last year, DSM Fashion Week is expanding to five days this year, Sept. 25-29. Despite the “DSM” in its name, we aren’t related, but we are impressed by the lineup of shows and local designers as well as the enthusiasm of producer Camille Renee and her team.

Each evening will feature a VIP cocktail party at 6:30 p.m. and a runway show at 8 p.m.; venues include Noce Sept. 25-26, Rollins Mansion Sept. 27, and Splash Seafood Bar & Grill Sept. 28-29. The shows will each spotlight a different type of fashion, such as bridal wear, cocktail attire, swimwear, lingerie, street style and couture. Tickets range from $40 to $200; find out more and buy tickets through the event’s website.

Really, who needs a steak when so many fresh vegetables are ready to step in and fulfill your every culinary desire?


The carrots are under control and all is set for the first-ever Iowa Vegfest Sunday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Windsor Heights Community Center. This free festival of healthful living is dedicated to the message that a vegan lifestyle is not expensive or unattainable, but instead enjoyable, accessible and healthy. Vendors will offer samples while selling a variety of vegan food, clothing and wellness products.

Events include a lineup of speakers, a free yoga session and kid-friendly activities. A portion of the proceeds will go toward Rooster Redemption, a micro-sanctuary located in Center City, Minnesota, where roosters are celebrated not as a source of buffalo wings but as intelligent, loving and colorful personalities. For more details on the event, go to the event's website.

Violinist Jennifer Frautschi returns to perform at the Des Moines Symphony's season opener Saturday and Sunday.


This is Symphony Week, and events around town are flowing at tempo andante, leading into the Des Moines Symphony's 80th season, which begins Saturday, Sept. 23:

• Today only, Sept. 19: One-day flash sale! The symphony’s social media channels offer discounts on this season’s debut concert.
• Wednesday, Sept. 20: Enjoy wine and cheese in the company of fellow music lovers from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Classical Conversations, an informal class that introduces the music of the season premiere.
• Thursday, Sept. 21: Five free pairs of symphony tickets have been hidden around Des Moines for you to find. Check the symphony's social media feeds for clues.
• Friday, Sept. 22: Join symphony staff at West Glen Town Center from 5 to 9 p.m. to sip cocktails, sample wines and win prizes.
• Saturday, Sept. 23: A pre-concert Opening Night Celebration begins at 5 p.m. at Cowles Commons, with live music and a gourmet dinner. Tickets are $100-250 here. Today is the last day to register.

"Masterworks 1: Invitation to the Dance" begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, and at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Civic Center. Two-time Grammy nominee Jennifer Frautschi returns for a richly textured performance of Bruch’s beloved First Violin Concerto. Rachmaninoff’s final work, Symphonic Dances, concludes the program in a blaze of lavish melodies. Tickets are $15-$65 here and at the Civic Center ticket office. Half-price student tickets are also available at the ticket office. All ticket prices increase $5 on the day of the concert.

How do you compete onstage when your contemporary rival is William Shakespeare? You might invent the musical. That's the premise of "Something Rotten," the riotous Broadway show coming to the Civic Center next month.


Peek into the future of Greater Des Moines' arts and cultural events with a pair of easy-to-use online calendars. We at 
dsm magazine and the Business Record maintain this calendar with handy filters so you can see just the types of events you're searching for. Looking for even more categories? Check Catch Des Moines.
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