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May your holidays be filled with joy, as expressed by these young skaters at Brenton Skating Plaza.


We at dsm are taking time this week to gather with family and friends. It's our wish to you, our readers, that this be a season of joy and grace, with warmth, favorite foods and happy memories. We are grateful that you are a part of our community. So whatever holidays you celebrate, we hope they're filled with love, laughter and wonder. We wish you a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a joyous Kwanzaa—and the happiest of new years. 

Everything is better in pairs. Salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly. Bert and Ernie. But one of the best pairs is burgers and beers. When you’re in the mood for a hearty burger and a cold brew, here are the top five places in Edina. ... Read more »

Cheeseman C.J. Bienert, right, will be back to share his knowledge—and cheese. Photo: Christopher Maharry.


By Wini Moranville

IndulgeA Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Affair returns Jan. 17 and 18 for its 12th year. I finally went for the first time last year and wondered why I’d gone an entire decade without doing so.

Once again, the gathering will be held at West End Architectural Salvage. Hanging out in this emporium of beautifully purveyed and displayed artifacts of yesteryear is a great part of what made the event so compelling. I also appreciated that, because of a blizzard that weekend, the event was not crowded at all. (Incidentally, according to organizer Melinda Toyne, Friday is usually the less-crowded night.)

As always, food will focus on cheese and chocolate. Toyne recently shared some of this year’s highlights:
  • C.J. Bienert from Cheese Bar will be back. This time around, he’ll serve a sausage-and-fondue feature.
  • Templeton Rye will pour Templeton Mules, Shirley Templetons, Templeton Old-Fashioneds and Templeton Irish Coffee. That last sounds perfect in case of another blizzard.
  • The Purveyor, based in the East Village, will be serving wine on tap as well as macaroons from their Doré bakery.
  • Fritz Toffee Co. from Colo, Iowa, will offer their confections.
  • Other stars include Johnson Brothers Distributors (pouring wines around the world), as well as Chocolaterie Stam and Molly’s Cupcakes.

"There will also be expanded charcuterie-style meat offerings and an entirely new cheese list," says Toyne, adding that guests can enjoy approximately 12 beverage and food stations in total, with many purveyors serving multiple selections.

The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on both days. Tickets cost $40 in advance and $50 at the door (if any remain). Find tickets via tikly.

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

Soaring strains of orchestral music are matched by the soaring skills of acrobats in a dazzling program New Year's Eve.


Acrobats and aerialists add spectacle to orchestral music next week when the Des Moines Symphony performs "New Year’s Eve Pops: Cirque at the Symphony" starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, at the Civic Center.

This year, the symphony is joined by Los Angeles company Troupe Vertigo, "whose dizzying acts defy gravity and leave its lucky audiences in awe," as noted by the Los Angeles Times. Tickets are $35-$90, available at and at the Civic Center ticket office, 515-246-2300. Prices increase $5 on the day of the concert.

Benson, a 150-pound chocolate Newfoundland, loves life downtown, on the east side of the Des Moines River. He was one of the neighborhood characters we introduced in the feature story "Downtown Dogs."


It's been quite a year. We were reviewing our issues of 2019 last week, and it was a pleasing experience—with conclusions we're happy to share: our editors' favorite stories. If you missed any of these, we hope you'll use these links to see some of the best of dsm magazine:
  • Downtown Dogs—The rise in downtown housing has been accompanied by canine residents. We looked at this trend with profiles of lovable examples.
  • A Flair for Fashion—In 1950, Des Moines socialite Fleur Cowles launched a short-lived national magazine called Flair. Inspired by the lavish publication, our dsm team created classic and contemporary looks that pay homage to Fleur’s sumptuous lifestyle and enduring legacy.
  • Paper Chase—In stunning photography, we showed how artful fashion unfolds from careful tearing, creasing and cutting.
  • Iowa's Bottle Baron—We showed how one man knows so much about your drinking habits—and revealed local favorites.
  • Building Bridgesdsm was first to introduce international artist Oyoram, now in Des Moines.
  • Dreaming Big—Our recurring feature "How I Got Here" traces the lives of prominent Des Moines residents such as, in this case, Des Moines University President Angela Walker Franklin.
  • Looming Heirlooms—Young adults are declining the burden of old family treasures. Now what?

Aaron Markovitz and Emily Burns perform Americana music as the acoustic duo Escaping Pavement.


Something new to look forward to: A series of vocal and acoustic concerts is coming to the Des Moines Civic Center's Stoner Theater in the new year. It's a collaboration between HomeDitty, a local producer of in-home mini-concerts, and Des Moines Performing Arts, which manages the Civic Center.

First in the series, called Stoner Unplugged, is Escaping Pavement, an acoustic duo from Michigan, performing Monday, Jan. 6. The shows include a social hour with the artists before the show and a post-concert social. The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. with a VIP social hour with the artists, the concert at 7:30 p.m. and the post-concert social at 9 p.m. A cash bar will be available. Tickets ($25) and more info are available here.

Comedians Jeff Ross and Dave Atttell bring their "Bumping Mics" show to Hoyt Sherman Place in April.


Tickets went on sale Friday for comedians Jeff Ross and Dave Attell, performing April 3 at Hoyt Sherman Place.
Also on our entertainment horizon:
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