Anna Dolce, Farmers' Markets, Dew Tour
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May 18, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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Anna Dolce Ristorante's Casa Nostra pizza is available on its happy hour menu and is good enough that food writer Karla Walsh would "make the drive from my downtown apartment for a slice."


Writer: Karla Walsh

Have you met Anna? Anna Dolce Ristorante, the newest eatery in West Glen Town Center, first welcomed guests April 30 in the former Blue Toro space (5585 Mills Civic Parkway #110, West Des Moines). And I love it already.

A friend and I popped in at 5:45 p.m. last Wednesday—and discovered we were just in time to order off their impressive happy hour menu. From 3 to 6 p.m. daily, all pizzas and appetizers are 50% off. House wines are also $5 per glass and shared cocktails (a fun option to consider post-vaccination) are $20—a $10 discount—if you’re in the mood for pairing.

The extensive menu, designed by Joe McConnville (who is behind the menu at El Guapo’s Tequila + Taco in West Des Moines and the Breakfast Club in the East Village), is full of classics with slight contemporary twists. For example, the Fragola Salad ($9) featured springy fresh arugula, spinach, strawberries and balsamic vinaigrette topped with delightfully flaky, creamy and just-salty-enough, pastry-wrapped goat cheese.

On the happy hour menu, the Casa Nostra Pizza ($8.50, marked down from $17) was more than enough for the two of us. It was perfectly cooked part-New York, part-Neapolitan-style crust, topped with red sauce, fennel sausage, pepperoni, pepperoncini, red onion and dollops of fresh mozzarella. I’d make the drive from my downtown apartment just for a slice—or two.

“West Des Moines has been waiting decades for a locally owned Italian restaurant that focuses on casual Italian cuisine paired with creative cocktails and a diverse wine selectionwe have 18 by the glass,” says Tony Lemmo, who co-owns the new restaurant with McConville and Josh Holderness (his partners at Gusto Pizza Co.) as well as Tom and Annie Baldwin (who operate the Dark Side of the Spoon restaurants, including Wellman’s Pub).

It’s worth the wait, but I, for one, am glad the wait is over. Welcome to town, Anna.

Anna Dolce Ristorante is open Monday through Saturday from 3 to close. See the menu and learn more at Keep up with the latest news and specials at
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    The innovative Re-invented Recliners and Comfort Recliners are on sale. One might be perfect for your room.
    Valley Junction's farmers market runs from 4 to 8 p.m. every Thursday.


    Farmers markets around Greater Des Moines are opening for the summer and fall, but some have some restrictions due to COVID-19.

    Here are a few picks with what to know before you go.

    Downtown Des Moines: The Downtown Farmers' Market, Des Moines' biggest market, has been open for three weeks. Starting May 29, organizers will increase the number of vendors from 115 to 165—about 75% of the pre-pandemic number. That includes prepared food and art vendors, which weren't included in the first few weeks.

    Uptown Ankeny: When this weekly market opens this Saturday, you can plan on seeing almost 30 vendors selling everything from fresh seasonal produce to homemade baked goods to plants. Organizers ask that only one family member visit, if possible. Capacity will be limited by half, and arrows will direct traffic.

    Valley Junction: From 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines will host dozens of vendors and local entertainment. You can see an interactive map of the market here.

    Global Greens: Hosted by Lutheran Services in Iowa, the Global Greens Farmers' Market features local produce grown by former refugees. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday at 3200 University Ave., near Drake University.

    Beaverdale: We're still a few weeks away from the Beaverdale Farmers' Market's kickoff date on June 1 (4-7 p.m. on Tuesdays thereafter), but you can expect about 40 vendors selling produce, baked goods, crafts, beverages and prepared foods. Live local musicians play weekly for tips. Check it out at 48th Street and Franklin Avenue.
      Skateboarders test their skills at Lauridsen Skatepark, which will host the Dew Tour this weekend.


      The new downtown Lauridsen Skatepark is launching with a bang, as it will host the Dew Tour skateboarding competition May 20-23. You can read our story about the park here, and check out a video we shot for the soft opening earlier this month.

      Tickets are sold out, but you can livestream it for free on the Dew Tour website. Other things to know:

      • More than 300 skaters will participate in the competition, including USA national team members such as Nyjah Huston, Jagger Eaton, Cory Juneau and Mariah Duran, among others. They'll be joined by a number of international skaters.

      • The tour features two competitions—street and park—for men and women. The street skaters will use a mix of 10 ledges, 11 rails, four stair sets and a variety of banks, gaps and hips for their runs. The park section includes a bowl with a depth range from 4 to 8 feet and other features, like hips, extensions, pipes and more.

      • The rescheduled 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics will be the first ever to include skateboarding as a competition, and the Des Moines event will serve as the only United States-based global Olympic qualifier. So those who do well this weekend may earn the chance to compete against the world's best this summer.
        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 »
        Ballet Des Moines is collaborating with Max Wellman, Tina Haas Findlay and Iowa Stage Theatre for a one-night event at Water Works Park. This picture was snapped during a performance for Iowa PBS. Photo: Ballet Des Moines


        Ballet Des Moines will perform at Water Works Park for "A Midsummer Night's Swing," which also will include jazz interludes from Max Wellman and pianist Nate Sparks, Shakespeare readings by Iowa Stage Theatre actors, and six Sinatra-style songs by vocalist Tina Haase Findlay. The show starts at 7 p.m. on May 29.

        Doors will open at 6 p.m. Guests can picnic before the performance, and a cash bar will be available on-site. General admission is $15. There is a VIP experience for $95, which includes a table for two and a post-performance sparkling wine reception with the performers. Masks and social distancing are required. Find registration and more information here.
          Des Moines Community Playhouse will present a number of shows for its 2021-22 season, which will look a little different than the past year, when the organization put together small, in-person and livestreamed performances, like this one, "Miracle on 34th Street," during the 2020 holiday season.


          Des Moines Community Playhouse announced its 2021-22 season yesterday, which opens with the musical "Cabaret" on Sept. 10. The season also includes the smash Broadway musical "Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical"; "Escaping the Labyrinth," a world-premiere romantic comedy; a revival of "Singin' in the Rain," which had been canceled because of the pandemic; and, for the family holiday special, "The Sound of Music." All shows will take place in person at the John Viars Theatre, but livestreaming options will be available.

          For its children's theater series, the Playhouse will present "Charlotte's Web," "Pippi Longstocking" and "Batman Smells," among others.

          There are still shows planned this summer, including an outdoor tent series with three productions—”Godspell,” “Plaza Suite” and “Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical”—in the Playhouse's east parking lot in July and August. You can read more about those here.

          Season tickets for 2021-22 are $175. Find the full list of shows on the Playhouse website.
            Old Station Craft Meats in Waukee sells bacon, steaks, sausages and more. Find out the owner’s favorite steaks for grilling below. Photo: Verdigris Photography & Design.


            Writer: Karla Walsh

            If you’re bored by your grilling menu, the fix might be as simple as mixing up your meats.

            To “help us utilize the whole animal better,” reduce food waste, and add flavor and variety to the meals of his clients at Old Station Craft Meats in Waukee, owner Nick Lenters is on a quest to expand his fans’ horizons.

            Here are five of his favorites for this summer, plus ideas for how to best use the cut.

            Picanha: Lean meat with a fat cap, this triangular portion of the sirloin is popular in Brazil. Lenters recommends serving it in the style of Brazilian steakhouses. Cut into strips, then snake each piece onto a skewer. Place the fat on the outside. Cook over high heat, with the fatty-side down first so it caramelizes, then rotate often to ensure even cooking.

            Hanger: Since this affordable cut has a very coarse grain, marinate it for four to eight hours before grilling. Cook to your desired doneness and slice thin to use in stir-fry or tacos.

            Flat iron: “The most tender piece of beef, flat iron comes from the chuck portion of the cow,” Lenters says. “It’s a great option for grilling.” Grill to your liking, then “be sure to cut across the grain into thin strips,” he adds, for the most succulent results. Season with Mexican spices and serve in a sizzling skillet for restaurant-quality fajitas.

            Short ribs: If you’re more into smoking than grilling, consider short ribs. Similar to the osso bucco, “this cut of meat contains a bone, which adds extra flavor to the beef when slow cooked. Left uncut, the three-bone plate rib is great for smoking,” Lenters says. Try it with hickory, pecan or cherry wood chips, then slice very thin and follow a recipe to use the beef in Korean-style bulgogi (a Korean barbecue).

            Delmonico: For a less expensive yet great-to-grill alternative to rib-eye, try this steak. It’s from the portion of the cow where the rib-eye muscle enters the chuck. “As a result, this cut contains a narrower portion of rib-eye muscle along with a portion of the chuck flap—another cut of meat that is little known, but ideal for smoking,” Lenters says. Try either grilled or smoked, served with a generous pat of compound butter.
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