Virtual Unveiling, George Formaro, Winefest
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Our next dsm magazine unveiling will be virtual. Join us to see the new issue!


We're taking our unveiling virtual! Please join dsm and Exec 1 Aviation to launch the May/June issue in our first virtual Mix and Mingle event at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 28. Even if we can't meet in person, we can still be together.

Register here:

The Mix: You'll get insight into how our cover came to life from the creatives behind the magic. The short program will begin at 5 p.m.

The Mingling: After the program, we'll split into smaller breakout rooms and rotate a few times so you have the opportunity to connect with others.

So grab a beverage of your choice and join us as we celebrate the new issue!
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George Formaro shows us how to make fish corn tacos on "What's Cooking in Iowa Restaurants," presented by Hy-Vee.


dsm CultureCasts spotlight local arts, culture, and food and dining organizations, many of which are currently struggling. In the past week, we watched local chef and restaurant owner George Formaro show us one of his favorite recipes, and we invited Peter Stevenson, the executive director of the Des Moines Civic Music Association, onto our podcast to chat about the new "Get Music, Get Happy Hour" series. Here are our takeaways.

What's Cooking in Iowa Restaurants presented by Hy-Vee: In this new series, Formaro showcased his recipe for fish corn tacos. The video takes you step-by-step until the finished productwe found it easy to follow along at home.  

Podcast: Civic Music Association unveiled its "Get Music, Get Happy Hour" online series last week, debuting Friday night with talented pianist Emmet Cohen. For the next four Fridays, you can find musicians performing on the organization's Facebook page.

Civic Music Association had to quickly adapt to get live music into our homes during this period of social distancing. Stevenson said the whole project came together in just a week. Listen to his story at the link above and subscribe for more episodes on your favorite podcast platforms.

Top Bun Food Truck has reopened for the spring, serving burgers like this, in addition to hot dogs, fries and more.


By Karla Walsh

Just like many things related to the coronavirus, the dining scene is rapidly evolving. Many restaurants closed completely when Gov. Kim Reynolds declared that their dining rooms could no longer serve. A few spots initially remained open for carryout, then decided to pause service, such as Angry Goldfish, Urban Cellar and the Hall. And a handful closed at first and then reopened—including a few we’ve already highlighted in previous weeks, like Eatery A and Wasabi. Now these additional spots are joining the ranks:

Clyde’s Fine Diner: New-to-town Clyde’s had been drawing crowds and presidential candidates to the East Village since it opened in October. They closed up shop in March, and have since reorganized to launch a curbside carryout program Fridays and Saturdays for dinner only. The menu features bottled cocktails, beer, wine, plus some of their snacks, salads and sandwiches. (111 E. Grand Ave., Suite 111,

Simon’s: While this Beaverdale Italian bistro often draws lines of neighbors aiming to score a table, you can now cut to the front (if you’re lucky enough to place your order in time!) Monday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. Call the restaurant directly at 515-255-3725 to order ahead for curbside carryout of their specialties, including steak deBurgo, lasagna and pizza. And yes, if you schedule your order early in the evening, you’re likely to score one of the treasured slices of red velvet cake regulars know and love. (5800 Franklin Ave.,

Top Bun Food Truck: Closed for the cold-weather season since last November, this popular food truck debuted for the season on April 18. Follow Top Bun’s whereabouts on Facebook to get your fix of top-notch burgers, dogs and fries—no drive-thru required. Online preordering is available so your meal will be ready when you arrive. (Location varies,

Centro: If you're craving carbs, consider scoring some pizza and pasta from this consistent, comforting downtown Italian restaurant. They reopened and now offer a (still-large) limited menu Tuesday through Saturday for lunch or dinner by carryout or delivery via DoorDash or Grubhub. (1003 Locust St.,

Coming soon ... Motley School Tavern: One of Beaverdale’s newest neighborhood spots—a sister property to Eatery A, Harbinger and Alba—will launch a menu for curbside carryout and Grubhub delivery at 4 p.m. today. We hear that executive chef Nic Gonwa has Korean and Nashville hot fried chicken, meatloaf and eggplant Parm on the $25 dinners-for-two menu, and homemade pies are on the way soon. Watch the MST Facebook page for updates. (1903 Beaver Ave.,
The Spring Tower, with assorted chocolates, truffles and chocolate-covered caramels from Chocolate Storybook. The West Des Moines candy shop delivers within Greater Des Moines.


By Wini Moranville 

I was greatly looking forward to celebrating a friend’s major birthday this month with some kind of deluxe gathering. Just as we started batting around the idea of a road trip to Kansas City, our plans evaporated thanks to you-know-what.

I know. Oh, poor us. Yes, it’s hard to feel too sad, being so a lot of people are suffering much, much, worse. Still, I’d wager that pretty much everyone has a similar storymilestones going by without the closeness and merry-making we were all looking forward to.

As my friend’s birthday approached, I went searching for the win-win of marking the occasion while supporting a local business. And I made a fantastic discovery: 

Chocolate Storybook delivers anywhere within Greater Des Moines. Better yet, this West Des Moines chocolatier delivers within a day or two of when you place your order.

Fine chocolates always make good giftseach individual piece is, in itself, like a little gift, all wrapped up in chocolate. For my friend, I ordered the charming Spring Tower, but the shop also sells some pretty sweet gift baskets, samplers, trunks (big boxes of goodies) and trays, too. Also find celebration-worthy novelty items, like hand-spun cotton candy in whimsical flavors ranging from Unicorn Fluff and Frosted Donut to Champagne and Rosé Wine.

Owner Meg Shearer told me the shop is making a lot of deliveries these daysand not just for milestone markers. She’s been delivering to assisted living and retirement facilities, as a way for families to tell their isolated loved ones, "I’m thinking of you." Businesses are sending chocolate gifts to employees who are working at home as a special thank-you. And some customers have been ordering deliveries to medical personnel and nursing home workers.

"People want to recognize peopleespecially now," she says. "Sending chocolate helps make everything a little better."

In addition to delivering their confections locally, Chocolate Storybook ships nationwide. Order from the Chocolate Storybook website at

The good times will roll on, but just later: Winefest Des Moines has been postponed until late summer.


In an effort to keep the Des Moines community safe, Winefest Des Moines has rescheduled its annual food and dining festival. Originally scheduled for late May and early June, the new dates land in late August and early September. Winefest is also exploring alternative options for its spring events, which were already called off.

Here's the revised festival schedule:

  • Aug. 7-8: Sips and the City and the Community Choice Grand Tasting
  • Aug. 29: Meredith Saturday Sessions
  • Aug. 30: Iowa Pork Lawn Party
  • Sept. 2: The Art of Wine Event presented by Foster Group
  • Sept. 10: Prima Dinners
  • Sept. 15: Toasting Tuesday
  • Sept. 16: Progressive Dinner presented by Businessolver
Project IOWA Executive Director Julie Fugenschuh is helping connect people virtually. Photo: Project IOWA


By Rachel Vogel Quinn

For Project IOWA, connection is both a key philosophy and a business strategy. So when the nonprofit had to cancel in-person classes due to the pandemic, Executive Director Julie Fugenschuh was concerned about the effects of isolation.

To combat that, Project IOWA decided to try out virtual connection. In addition to moving its normal courses online, the nonprofit created "Community Healing" classes, offered at no cost to anybody.

"This is the work we’ve been doing for a while," Fugenschuh says. "There’s a large population out there right now that could really benefit from some of our meaning and purpose work."

The classes, part of a four-week program beginning April 21, are designed to help people maintain hopefulness, regardless of the current external circumstances. The goal is to help participants find a sense of community, manage stress, maintain a positive outlook and provide support to their own personal network and the larger community. (See below for details on timing and how to register.)

The mission of Project IOWA is to help individuals connect their purpose to their careers. Before the pandemic, the workforce was in crisis, mainly because people didn’t find meaning in their employment, Fugenschuh says. Retention and intent-to-stay rates were low.

To solve that problem, Project IOWA offers a three-month program to help job seekers—no matter their field or experience level—increase motivation, satisfaction and positivity.

Finding a common sense of humanity is especially important right now, Fugenschuh says. Realizing that other people feel the same way you do, despite different life experiences, eases the sense of isolation many of us endure while social distancing.

Fugenschuh asks Central Iowans to recognize that everyone is experiencing the pandemic in different ways. Individuals who lack social support, have language barriers or can’t access technology are feeling even more isolated than the rest of us.

While other nonprofits face financial issues and potential closure, Fugenschuh sees the pandemic as a growth opportunity. She believes that, when social distancing ends, people will be even more motivated to find purpose, meaning and connection in their work and their daily lives.

Community Healing classes: Participate in a four-week session offered through Zoom and Google Classroom on Tuesdays. Available time slots include 8-9 a.m., 1-2 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. Sign up here.
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