Meet Rory, gallant dog-about-town known for the intensity of his gaze and his eager enthusiasm for a life of action. Get to know him and some other special downtown denizens in the March/April issue of dsm magazine. Photo: Ben Easter.

Please allow us to introduce you to a newcomer in town—our March/April issue arrives next week and we're having a little get-acquainted party. Please join us between 5 and 7 p.m. next Tuesday, Feb. 26. Our host for this event is R&R Realty Group at the company's new offices, 1080 Jordan Creek Parkway in West Des Moines. As at all of our new-issue events, you can expect to find good food, beverages and plenty of fun people. We'll have brief comments at 6 p.m., then pass out copies of the magazine, including the one for you.

How about a Chris Vance poster to add some energy to your walls? At the big Des Moines Home & Remodeling Show this weekend, Des Moines Arts Festival is giving away a VIP Package and a framed Vance poster in partnership with Silent Rivers! ...
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By Design presents dsmDining —

With so many new restaurants around town, it's time to revisit some well-established, unflagging favorites.


By Wini Moranville

I hadn’t been to Flying Mango for over five years. What’s up with that? It’s simply that whenever I think of going, it’s too late in the day to snag a reservation (I’ve tried). The popular Beaverdale spot is always booked whenever I want to go.

Recently, I actually planned ahead. (I suggest you do the same, the old-fashioned way: call 515-255-4111). When we arrived a good 10 minutes before our 7:15 reservation on a Friday, the small waiting area was jammed, and (understandably) our table wasn’t ready. But get this: Within minutes of putting our name in, we had drinks in our hands. And this didn’t take elbowing our way to a bar and flagging down any barkeep. No such chaos here; they have a server dedicated to making sure those waiting for a table stay slaked and happy.

That’s one of the many things that have always impressed me about Flying Mango. If you, like me, tire of servers who seem more like independent contractors than part of a team truly dedicated to the seamless ethos of a place, then head here. It helped, of course, that owner Mike Wedeking was present, doing everything from busing tables to making each diner feel like they’re the most important person in the room.

Oh, yes, and then there’s the food. Lately, I’ve become somewhat of a shrimp-and-grits aficionado. With creamy grits topped by plump, sweet shrimpall rimmed by a rich, heady stockthe version here made me as happy as any I’d had in the Southern states. Barbecue? Of course: My dining pal, Mr. Sportcoat, tucked into a huge combo plate of brisket, ribs and chicken. All were grand, but if I had to choose one, I’d choose the ribs. No, wait, the brisket ... or maybe the chicken. (You get the idea.) A sweet-style cornbread and braised greens especially stood out as sides.

Truth be told, I’ve been a bit grumpy about the overall Des Moines dining scene lately. After a visit to Flying Mango, I’m beginning to wonder if one way to get back that lovin’ feeling might be to revisit restaurants I too often forget about while chasing down all the new ones that endlessly pop up. Therefore, with this column, I’m launching an occasional "Revisited" series. I’d welcome any leads you have. Find me on Facebook at All Things Food DSM

Flying Mango is at 4345 Hickman Road;

Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.

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Kerry Skram plays Eleanor of Aquitaine in the Iowa Stage Theatre production of "The Lion in Winter," also starring James Serpento as King Henry II. Photo: Joe Crimmings.


By Christine Riccelli

"Every family has its ups and downs," Eleanor of Aquitaine declares in "The Lion in Winter."

That just might be the understatement of the 12th century.

For in this story, which Iowa Stage Theatre Company will present starting this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Des Moines Social Club’s Kum and Go Theater, family dysfunction means dungeon imprisonment, duplicitous scheming, adultery and other morally dubious machinations.

The time is Christmas 1183, and Henry II of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their three surviving sons, and guests, including the king’s mistress, are gathered at Henry’s castle. The play opens with the arrival of Queen Eleanor, whom Henry had kept imprisoned since 1173, then chronicles the gamesmanship among the cunning family members. At stake is the inheritance of Henry’s kingdom.

But, promises Iowa Stage's artistic director Matthew McIver, the play is decidedly not medieval gloom and doom. In fact, he says, while it’s a drama, it has a comedic tone. "It’s funny along with being incredibly smart," he says. "There’s a great battle of wits between Eleanor and Henry … with sharp verbal daggers. They play their children off one another, pitch rages … and have a wonderful time."

Overall, McIver says, the story touches on universal themes of "aging and what comes next."

Directed by Shawn Wilson, the show stars Kerry Skram as Eleanor and James Serpento as Henry. Performances run through March 3. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for students. For more info, visit Iowa Stage's website.

Mary Beth Tinker and a school student flash peace signs to others gathered for a recent student rights rally.


Sunday, Feb. 24, marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark ruling in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. The case involved Mary Beth Tinker, her older brother John, and Chris Eckhardt, who were suspended from school after wearing black armbands in support of a Christmas truce in the war in Vietnam. In a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the young Iowans, saying students and teachers don’t forfeit their free-speech rights "at the schoolhouse gate."

The Tinker siblings are back in Des Moines for events marking the ruling’s golden anniversary. They're
visiting local school classes this week and college campuses Feb. 25-28. On Feb. 22 at the State Historical Building, they’ll speak at a program for students from around the state. Free events open to the public include:

• Press Conference/Community Reception on Sunday, Feb. 24 (2 p.m. press conference, 3 p.m. reception) at Harding Middle School, 203 E. Euclid Ave.
• Forum on the case and its historic importance at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, in the Great Hall of Iowa State University's Memorial Union in Ames.
• Mary Beth and John Tinker Discuss Free Speech on College Campuses at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at Cowles Library on the Drake University campus.

The Tinker ruling remains a high-water mark for student rights, says Mike Hiestand, senior legal counsel for the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), the country’s pre-eminent student free-speech organization. "As an attorney, the Tinker case is kind of where you start and stop in terms of student rights," Hiestand says. For a story about the case and its ongoing importance in schools nationwide, read this story from the current issue of dsm magazine.

Diners decide which sommelier will be crowned this year's Iron Somm at an elegant fund-raising dinner Friday.


Rapidly coming up on our calendar are two tasting events that always sweeten the flavor of late winter. Winefest's Iron Somm competitive wine-pairing dinner is Friday, Feb. 22, in the elegant ballroom of the Temple for Performing Arts. A week later—Friday, March 1Des Moines Metro Opera hosts its annual Wine, Beer and Food Showcase at the Marriott Hotel downtown. Both events support the arts locally and happen to be pretty good fun. 

Iron Somm is a wine-pairing showdown pitting top sommeliers in a five-course culinary clash. This year, Kelsey Seay of Best Case Wines defends her title against Rae Doyle of the Park Street Kitchen. The food will be prepared by:
  • The Cheese Mongers of the Cheese Bar.
  • Derek Eidson, executive chef of Django.
  • Dominic Iannarelli, executive chef of Splash Seafood Bar and Grill.
  • Chris Johanson, executive chef of Catering DSM.
  • Holly Evans, pastry chef of Creme Cupcake and Desserts.
Tickets are $150. For tickets and additional information, click here.

The Opera's annual showcase will feature over 40 restaurants, caterers, wineries, breweries and distilleries in the area—plus a silent auction and raffle. Tickets are $45 if purchased online here; $55 at the door.

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