Fourth of July Fixings, Chef Art, Iowa Stops Hunger
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June 30, 2020  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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If you're looking for some picnic ideas for the Fourth of July, here are a few options.


By Wini Moranville

Most local restaurants will be closed for the Fourth of July on Saturday. Nevertheless, these venues will have food lovers covered with takeout options you can snag the day before (but be sure to order earlier in the week):

Flying Mango: While this restaurant has been closed since the beginning of the COVID crisis, they’ve been doing intermittent pop-ups, offering select items for curbside pickup just one day of the week. A few weeks ago, the menu included a ready-to-reheat dinner for two (with smoked pork chops, roasted red-pepper mashed potatoes and Latin sweet corn). For the Fourth of July, owner Mike Wedeking plans to offer à la carte “pounds and pints” options—meats and sides that allow diners to build their own picnic. Some kind of homemade berry pie will also be available.

Pickup will be on Friday. Be warned, however, the pop-ups almost always sell out; to avoid disappointment, get on their e-newsletter distribution list by sending them a message via the Flying Mango Facebook page. That way, you’ll be first to hear when the ordering window opens.

Cheese Bar: For the past month, this polestar all-things-artisanal has been offering “Supper Boxes,” which serve two to four. Past boxes have been anchored by such amazing-sounding entrees as honey-Sriracha glazed pork belly and a whole smoked, locally raised chicken with a choice of finishing sauce (e.g., preserved lemons and summer herbs).

At deadline, chef Bret McClavy was still putting the final touches on his menu for this coming weekend. He’s planning to offer Supper Boxes for the grill, along with a la carte options such as smoked sausage, pulled pork, smoked ribs, smoked wings and cheese corn casserole. Dessert and cocktails will also be available. Check in at Cheese Bar DSM’s Facebook page for the finalized menu and ordering instructions. Pickup will be on Friday.

Bubba – Southern Comforts: If you’ve got your mains and sides covered, but need help coming up with holiday-worthy drinks, check out Bubba’s line of carryout cocktails. Made fresh each week, each 32-ounce can pours four to six servings. Choose from Raspberry-Thyme Lemonade, Spiked Cold-Brew Coffee, Watermelon Cooler and Blackberry Basil Tea. Find out more on Bubba’s Facebook Page.
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Chef Art Moore's barbecue chicken and other smoked delights are a defining part of his menu.


Writer: Karla Walsh

Each week in dsmWeekly, we’ll introduce you to a local food company owned by a person of color. Catch up on the first three features: Street Eats DSM, G.G.’s Chicken & Waffles and Palm’s Carribean Cuisine.

For Art Moore, it’s a challenge to remember a day in his life when he hasn’t worked in the culinary industry.

“My first job was Papa John’s when I was 15, where I moved up to manager and shift leader," he says. "Then I went to Burger King and Domino’s and held manager positions around town."

Food was a passion of his entire family as well, so after finishing a shift, the Kansas City native came home and often tinkered with recipes for his favorite barbecue specialties. Eventually, Moore landed at the Cajun restaurant Fat Tuesday, where he was lead cook and assisted with the catering division as the brick and mortar opened. Those days stirring pots of gumbo and frying catfish at Fat Tuesday helped Moore spot a hole in the market.

“At the time, Patton’s [which is now closed] and Fat Tuesday were the only soul food restaurants here that were serving fried chicken, fish, red beans and rice, and chicken and waffles,” he remembers. “I wanted to offer more options ... and mix in some classic Kansas City barbecue.”

So in the summer of 2013, Moore pulled together a business plan and launched  Chef Artis T’s Catering and Events with the help of his wife, Jessica, who is the business manager. Together, the couple co-own the business and have four kids. Moore started by popping up at events and selling his signature barbecue sauces, then added on-location private catering and customized in-home cooking classes to the mix. The most-requested items on his menu include barbecue smoked chicken, collard greens, mac and cheese, and caramel cake. (Is your stomach growling yet?)

“Many are based on family recipes passed down and tweaked through the years. Personally, I love the smoked chicken, baked beans, brisket and smoked ribs,” Moore says. “We cater backyard barbecues, weddings, pretty much any event. I love how food ties people together. My goal is to feed families and make sure everyone has a plate and a seat at the table.”

Since he lives, eats and breathes (OK, maybe not the latter) food, Moore supplements his catering and event income as a line cook at Nationwide Insurance Co.

While business has mostly been on pause during the pandemic as he restructures his setup for safety, Moore has his sights set on launching a food truck and a barbecue trailer.

Beyond sharing food with his clients, Moore hopes his business will inspire his kids. “I hope to show them that you can start a business and make a living doing what you love,” he says.
The Des Moines Area Religious Council has been distributing Capital City Fruit produce to food-insecure Iowans since late May, and now will continue through August. Photo: DMARC


As a part of Iowa Stops Hunger, a companywide initiative launched with our sister publication, the Business Record, we are featuring stories on food insecurity once a month in dsmWeekly.

Capital City Fruit, a local produce distributor, has extended its partnership through August with the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program, which supports food-insecure Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing grants to companies, allowing them to hand out fresh produce to those in need.

The Des Moines Area Religious Council will distribute Capital City Fruit's produce boxes via its food pantry network through August as well as through free giveaways at the Southridge Mall parking lot on July 10, 17, 24 and 31, and Aug. 14 and 28.

“Capital City Fruit has been partnering with DMARC for over a decade to get fresh fruits and vegetables to food pantry clients in an effort to improve nutrition among that population,”  Brendan Comito, chief operations officer at Capital City Fruit, said when the partnership was announced in late May.

“Now, we are able to reach even more people through the USDA Food Box program, which is a win on multiple levels," he added. "It is a win for U.S. growers, for the companies and their employees assembling the food boxes, for the nonprofits such as DMARC, and for the people in our community that need food assistance.”

Boxes include about 20 pounds of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and are being distributed along with additional food items through DMARC’s network of partner food pantries. Food pantries have implemented a variety of alternative pantry methods such as call-ahead ordering, curbside pickup and food deliveries to help keep the community safe during the pandemic.

“Providing healthy food to people in need remains our top priority,” said DMARC CEO Matt Unger. “We are so grateful to partner with Capital City Fruit during this time to provide additional fresh fruits and vegetables to the people we assist.”

Fresh produce is an essential part of a diet. It can help reduce a variety of health risks, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer, according to Harvard College School of Public Health, which adds: "Vegetables and fruits are an important part of a healthy diet, and variety is as important as quantity."

Ai Weiwei (born 1957), “Kui Hua Zi” (Sunflower Seeds), 2009. Hand-painted porcelain, dimensions vary; Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections.


Author Kurt Vonnegut once said that the arts "are a very human way of making life more bearable." For many of us, that claim has never rung more true than now. For the just-published July/August issue of dsm, we asked local cultural leaders and artists in the visual, musical, theatrical and literary fields to share their sources of comfort and joy. Here's what a few of them told us:

Jeff Fleming, director of the Des Moines Center, turns to a work by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (pictured above) that consists of a huge pile of hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds, which Weiwei created "to illustrate his family’s past in reeducation camps during the Cultural Revolution as well as the depth of his country’s cultural and social history," he says. "Here, shared notions of tradition, aesthetics, labor and the familiarity of the everyday connect Ai to his world. I find inspiration in realizing we all share a connection through similar, yet vastly different, histories, desires and adversities. A simple accumulation of seeds can hold many stories."

Jeff Chelesvig, president and CEO of Des Moines Performing Arts, has been a classical music buff since he was in college,
and once sang master choral works in choirs in four different cities. "Lately, I’ve turned to these works for solace, including 'The Gloria' by Francis Poulenc," he says. "I also have been listening to some of the larger-scale requiem masses, such Mozart’s Requiem in D minor. Even though it’s a requiem, I find it uplifting and inspirational."

Robert Warren, executive director of Hoyt Sherman Place, says he is "excited and haunted by the human voice at all times. Currently I am drawing strength from those artists who you can tell by their vocals have lived through hard times. Etta James is a go-to, and my heart melts when I hear Shirley Horn sing 'Here’s to Life.' "

To find out how other local artists and cultural leaders are inspired, read the story here. To read the entire July/August issue, click here.

Tom Colvin, CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, joined the latest dsm CultureCast podcast.


In the last three months, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa has completed 800 adoptions, which is 300 more than the organization completed in the same time period last year. CEO Tom Colvin attributed the sharp increase to the pandemic, as he explained on the latest dsm CultureCast podcast.

But the increase in interest was met with a decrease in volunteers—volunteer hours dropped by two-thirds—and other operational changes due to COVID-19 fears. To meet the demand, the organization went to adoption by appointment, which actually went more smoothly than expected.

"It went extremely well," Colvin says. "To the point that it's something that will continue. ... People appreciate that one-on-one attention during their adoption process."

Animal Rescue League of Iowa relied on its social media in the past three months as well, using it to push out important messages about animal care. Even the heartbreaking images of animal abuse have a purpose, Colvin says—to help advance legislation to increase penalties for animal abusers.

"The Animal Rescue League is really based on education and awareness, so our decisions on social media go right to that," Colvin says. "What is the messaging we want to make people aware of?"

Listen to more of the conversation here.
The "Emerging Horizons" exhibition at Olson-Larsen Galleries is on display in its new alternative space.


As a part of the Des Moines Arts Festival, which was forced to cancel its in-person event, Olson-Larsen Galleries is hosting a curated exhibition called "Emerging Horizons," featuring national artists who have "successfully planted the seeds of inspiration and collaboration amidst personal and artistic transformation throughout their careers," the description reads.

The exhibition is curated by Chaden Halfhill, CEO and founder of Silent Rivers Design and Build, and it's on display in the gallery's alternative new space called O-L Living Room, located at 205 5th Street in West Des Moines’ Historic Valley Junction (next to the main gallery). You can view “Emerging Horizons” Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., or by appointment through July 27.

Artists include
Chris Dahlquist, Patricia Deleon-Alfonso, Kim Eubank, Bryan Griffith, Leslie Guinan, Brianna Martray, Robert Matthews, Jenifer Thoem and Robin Washburn. You can watch an interview with each of the creators on the Des Moines Art Festival YouTube page.
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