dsmWeekly: November 9, 2021
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November 9, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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RoCA is redesigning its menu, including this tahini-rich creamy garlic hummus crowned with roasted spiced cauliflower, herb puree, cranberries and more.


Writer: Karla Walsh

I’m often asked by friends where to take out-of-town visitors to dinner around Des Moines. (By the way, I adore this game, so feel free to find me on Instagram for dining ideas any time!) After responding with a few options, I frequently hear, “Oh, I forgot about that!” And after revisiting a place that has been open since 2014 last week, I have to admit that I was guilty of nearly forgetting about one Court Avenue restaurant. No longer.

My reservation at RoCA (208 Court Ave.) was inspired by seeing eye-catching dishes chef Andrew Havlovic has posted on Instagram. New to RoCA about four months ago, Havlovic is a veteran of Jethro’s BBQ and Two Rivers Hospitality Group. He also spent time as an executive chef at a beachside bistro in the British Virgin Islands and as an executive sous chef for a popular restaurant group in Phoenix.

Delightfully back in Iowa, Havlovic took our taste buds on a journey. Those beautiful plates weren’t overselling. He's slowly working through a fall 2021 menu update, and he’s infusing each shared plate, entree and dessert recipe with finesse, global flavors and creativity.

My dining partner and I feasted on several standout shared plates:

  • Tahini-rich creamy garlic hummus crowned with roasted spiced cauliflower, herb puree, cranberries and chili oil alongside crispy pita; add some fresh vegetables and I could gladly call this lunch every day of the week.
  • Tender salt-and-pepper radishes, a playful garden riff on the salt-and-pepper shrimp or chicken featured on some Chinese and Taiwanese restaurant menus.
  • Brie with bacon jam and grilled homemade focaccia—I’m pretty sure I need to try to re-create that bacon jam recipe for every cheese board I construct moving forward.
  • Taiwanese butter rice with roasted chili vinaigrette-dressed steak only got better when we swirled in the soy-cured yolk hiding underneath.

Sommelier Rae Doyle is also giving the award-winning wine menu a makeover, and the signature cocktails that helped make the Court Avenue hot spot famous remain. All of the above and hospitable, attentive service make now the time to return to RoCA.
This remodel refreshed our client's home inside and out. Their clear vision - and teamwork - brought it all together.
The Jump in the Line pizza at Parlor features pulled pork, adobo and mango-jalapeno salsa.


Writer: Karla Walsh

Craving the focaccia-like, pan-style decadence of Detroit pizza—minus the nine-hour road trip from Des Moines? You can cure your cravings at the corner of Beaver and Urbandale avenues in the heart of Beaverdale.

Located in the former Saints Pub + Patio site (4041 Urbandale Ave.), Jason Simon and an A team of veterans from sister properties Alba, Eatery A and Motley School Tavern launched a new Detroit-style pizza-focused bistro, called Parlor, last Friday. We attended—and were blown away by—a preview dinner last week.

Joe Kuzomanovich, who has been honing his pizza skills at Eatery A for the last three years as a sous chef under Keith Johnson, is running the kitchen, while a thoughtful service team balances the sizable front of house. (Translation: The booths, banquettes and tables allow for plenty of room for larger families and parties, even accounting for the sporty shuffleboard table.)

Parlor is Simon’s latest project. Like its crowd-pleasing siblings, the menu offers enough variety to please vegans and carnivores alike. Our selection was happily-eat-till-stuffed proof of that. A lineup of classic cocktails, wines and about 20 tap beers are available to wash down small plates, meat and vegetable sides from the grill, Detroit-style pizzas, and a few desserts.

Read the rest of the story online.
Iowa Stage Theatre Company's Artistic Director Matthew McIver said he's excited for Friday's opening of "The Cake," the organization's first in-person show in a year and a half.


Writer: Luke Manderfeld

Matthew McIver has been through plenty of season openers. But this Friday's opening of "The Cake" at Stoner Theater in the Des Moines Civic Center, launching Iowa Stage Theatre Company's five-show 2021-22 season, feels a little different. The show will mark the organization's first in-person performance since the pandemic began last March.

"We're most excited right now about the fact that we're able to return to live, in-person performances at Stoner Theater," McIver, Iowa Stage's artistic director, said on the latest dsm CultureCast podcast. "This is the show that we were about to load into the theater in mid-March 2020 when everything shut down. ... We were able to pull [the cast] back together, and that is wonderful. At this point, I can't imagine any other people in these roles."

"The Cake" tells the story of Jen, who has found someone she wants to marry. She asks the best friend of her deceased mother to bake her a cake, but she refuses because Jen is marrying a woman. The show follows this LGBTQ+ couple as well as an older, heterosexual relationship. The writer, Bekah Brunstetter, has contributed to hit shows such as "This Is Us" on NBC and "The Maid" on Netflix.

McIver said Iowa Stage is focusing on cast and audience safety. In line with Des Moines Performing Arts guidelines, audience members will have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of showtime.

"This has been almost two years of uncertainty—of an inability [to make plans]," McIver said. "There's a sense of tremendous excitement as there often is for a season opener, but for us, there's an uncertainty in terms of we think people want to come back together, but how comfortable are they? ... We're doing everything we can to make this a wonderful experience for audiences."

Listen to the podcast here. Find more of Iowa Stage Theatre Company's season and get tickets here.
Superstar Gladys Knight will perform Nov. 20 at Hoyt Sherman Place.


Gladys Knight comes to Des Moines
A seven-time Grammy winner with No. 1 hits in a variety of music genres, Gladys Knight will take the Hoyt Sherman Place stage at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20. The show has been a long time coming, rescheduled four times in the past year because of the pandemic. Tickets start at $79 and can be purchased online.

Artwork selected for national tour
In nonperforming arts news, one of Hoyt Sherman Place's artworks has been selected for a traveling exhibition starting on Nov. 14 at the Denver Art Museum in Colorado. The painting by Robert Reid, called “La Cigale,” was chosen as one of 100 out of more than 6,300 pieces for this national tour, "Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France." The artwork will travel to Virginia in the spring.
Black, white and blush pink accents tie the living room together and repeat through fabrics, pillows and accessories. Designer and homeowner Meghan Blum mixed furniture styles but kept the scale of items similar.
Photo: Carolyn Vaughn Photography


This story is in our Nov./Dec. issue. Find the rest of the publication online.

Writer: Missy Keenan

When interior designer Meghan Blum and her husband, David, bought their 1915 Tudor home in Waterbury three years ago, it had great bones and beautiful architectural details. The dated kitchen was ready for a full remodel, but otherwise Blum just wanted to freshen things up with surface updates, including a lot of paint.

During the home’s six-month remodel, the living room and dining room kept their original footprints and architecture, but were transformed with new wide-plank oak floors, statement lighting, wallpaper and paint.
The living room was painted with neutral greige walls and white trim, while the Tudor fireplace surround got a coat of semigloss black to create a focal point.

“When I design a room, I always think about where I want my ‘wow’ moments,” Blum says. “For the living room, that was the fireplace. It would have looked good painted white, but the black gives it the drama I wanted. It’s a pretty unique detail and it needed to pop.”

Read the rest of this story online.
Past winter farmers markets were held in Capital Square, but this year's version will be located outdoors along Court Avenue. Photo: Greater Des Moines Partnership


If you missed out on the last few weeks of the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market, you've got a few other opportunities. The winter version of the market will open for two days—9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Nov. 20 and Dec. 4—outdoors in the Court Avenue district. Vendors will have produce, food and local art for purchase. There will also be breakfast and lunch street food options.

Admission is free. Go online for more information.
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