ia Magazine, July's Takeout Meals, Arts and Culture Updates
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August 4, 2020  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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Loess Hills State Forest near Pisgah gives hikers plenty of room to roam the area’s steep ridges, prairies and woods. Photo: Iowa Tourism Office


Last week, we had a blast virtually unveiling the new ia, our annual magazine that covers arts and culture, food, destinations and more, with co-host the River Center in downtown Des Moines. Chefs from Port of Des Moines showcased steak recipes, charcuterie board setups, tasty cocktails and wild berry crisp concoctions. You can watch the full event video here.

In the magazine, you'll discover some of Iowa's epic hikes, Prohibition-era-themed cocktail spots, a 36-hour travel guide to Decorah and the revitalization of an Okoboji house.

Read all of these stories and more on the ia magazine website. You can also subscribe to our free, twice-a-month ia newsletter here.

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Mi Patria serves up ceviche de camaron (left), a refreshing option for a hot summer day, and empanadas (right), which are accompanied by a green salsa.


Writer: Wini Moranville

As I write this, July is coming to a close. While it’s been yet another month of social distancing and all that goes with this pandemic, one silver lining is that I’ve continued to enjoy terrific takeout from local restaurants. Here are some noteworthy items I enjoyed these past four weeks:

Ceviche de camaron and empanadas at Mi Patria: Mi Patria’s ceviche de camaron gathers cooked shrimp with an enticing tangle of thinly shaved raw vegetables (red onion, tomatoes, green pepper) and cilantro in a lightly citrusy marinade. Delicate, cool and refreshing, the dish was perfect on a 90-plus degree day. Of course, no matter what the temperature, I’ll always order this Ecuadoran restaurant’s savory and flaky beef empanadas, made even better with their headily herby green salsa. 1410 22nd St., West Des Moines, 515-222-2755;

Brisket box from Twisted Fusion Dishes and Desserts: Operating out of Kitchen Spaces, a Drake-area business that rents state-certified commercial kitchens to local food vendors, Twisted Fusion offers an eclectic menu of takeout options available Thursday through Saturdays. Depending on the week, items can include Philly mac-and-cheese, pork shoulder burritos, smoked meats and ramen. Our smoked brisket box brought ultra-satisfying smoked brisket, sweet cornbread and smooth mac-and-cheese. Bonus: The $35 box for two netted enough leftovers for a couple of sandwiches the next day. Follow Twisted Fusion on Facebook to keep up with its weekly menu.

Skewers at Eatery A: Ever have one of those days when everything you can think of to eat sounds inexplicably boring? When that happened recently, I picked up a trio of skewers from Eatery A. Given the way each option came with its own dynamic and well-thought-out side, the resulting smorgasbord proved anything but boring: The lamb sausage (merguez) was paired with a roasted corn salad, the shrimp arrived with charred onion grits and the chicken shawarma came with marinated cucumbers and hummus. P.S.: While skewers are priced $12 to $14 each, you can snag three for $25. Yes—three’s the ticket here. 2932 Ingersoll Ave, 515-282-8085;

The Des Moines Performing Arts Willis Broadway Series, which will include "Cats," has been pushed into 2021.
Photo: Catch Des Moines


The pandemic is still affecting arts and cultural events throughout Greater Des Moines. In the past few weeks, organizations have announced a number of changes:

  • The Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market is back, but not in the same format. Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, organizers will host a Drive-Thru Bite-Size Market at the state Capitol complex, hoping to provide a safe and easy way for residents to connect with the market's more than 300 local vendors.

"During this pandemic, it continues to be important to find a safe way to provide community members Downtown Farmers’ Market food and products," said Kelly Foss, director of the market.
This hybrid market will run from 8 to 11 a.m. every Saturday through Oct. 31. More information here.

  • Des Moines Performing Arts has postponed its 2020-21 Willis Broadway Series season until 2021. Shows are expected to pick up in February, beginning with "Tootsie" on Feb. 23-28. "Cats" is the second musical in the series on March 9-14.

    The highly-anticipated return of "Hamilton," originally slated for December, has been postponed. Organizers are working to find new dates. The updated schedule can be found here.

  • The Des Moines Symphony released its revised 2020-21 schedule this week, including three live-streamed concerts and a return to in-person performances on Dec. 31. The first online concert takes place on Oct. 1 with Bach’s "Brandenburg Concerto No. 3."

The live-streamed shows will follow a new Live from the Temple format. The concert broadcasts, which feature a reduced-size orchestra spaced for social distancing, will include special interviews and behind-the-scenes footage as well as a live Q&A session with music director and conductor Joseph Giunta. Season ticket holders can access the show for free. Single tickets will be availalbe at a later date. Find the full schedule on the Symphony website.
Twelve-year-old Maya Ridgeway is running a brand-new baking business out of her home kitchen.


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 previous editions: Street Eats DSM, G.G.’s Chicken & Waffles, Palm’s Caribbean Cuisine, Artis T’s Catering, Your Mom’s Bakery, Jazz It Up, Chellie’s Sugar Shack Bakery and Bess Kitchen.

When Nicole Ridgeway gave her daughter an American Girl cookbook for Christmas in 2018, she never could have guessed what might happen next. “I always enjoyed cooking with my Mom and Grandma on holidays,” says 12-year-old Maya Ridgeway. “So when I got that cookbook, I started baking from it and then turned to online recipes. Pinwheel icebox cookies or snickerdoodles were first up, then I kept experimenting.”

Things escalated this year when Maya was spending more time at home during the pandemic, and as a result, clocking more hours in the kitchen. As Maya’s passion grew for all things dough and batter, so did the community that showed up to support her. “My Mom has a friend, [Kiana Hines], who owns Kiana’s Cookie Creations [a local custom sugar cookie company], and she taught me everything I know about decorating cookies,” Maya says.

Hines came to the Ridgeway kitchen to share her tips and tricks, and believed so much in Maya’s blooming bakery skills that she took to Facebook to crowdfund a new KitchenAid mixer to outfit the kitchen of Maya’s official brand: Curly Girl Cakes and Cookies, which officially launched in June. “My Mom started posting what I was baking on Facebook, and many people started asking, ‘Can I order some?’ ” Maya says.

She and Nicole launched a Facebook and Instagram (@curly_girl_cakes_and_cookies) page to make her precocious business dreams a reality. Then they teamed up to create a menu, featuring Maya’s grandma’s beloved sugar cookies and buttermilk brownies, plus other cookies, cakes, barks and more. (Her sports and university logos and Black Lives Matter custom sugar cookies have been top-selling designs so far.)

Nicole helps out when orders come in fast and furious, but Maya is the real creative brains, main baker and decorator, Nicole adds. As for the future for this Curly Girl, “I want to get enough orders to be able to get some new appliances for our kitchen,” Maya says. “I never really thought that I would work in food, but now that I’m getting started, I’m enjoying it and would definitely consider it!”
Chef Shawn Bennigsdorf has helped Aposto safely reopen with a refreshed menu .


Aposto, the Sherman Hill eatery housed in a Victorian-era mansion, is hoping to provide a chance to escape from the worries of these unsettling times — albeit with safe and socially distant protocols in place.

Aposto reopened July 1. Normally an intimate venue, the restaurant has used its outdoor and patio space to make up for limited indoor capacity. "The feedback we've gotten from customers is that they've enjoyed having the meal [at a restaurant as opposed to takeout]," Shawn Bennigsdorf, chef at Aposto, said on the latest dsm CultureCast podcast. "It's a way to go out and forget about things for a while."

Before reopening, Aposto was serving takeout-only, and the restaurant used the break to adjust, adding more ingredients to its backyard garden, making room for more outdoor seating and developing new menu options.  
"Not much has changed in the sense of how we do dining," Bennigsdorf said. "We're keeping the same dinner format. People have been really enjoying it."

Apsoto is returning its once-a-month Tuesday pop-up dinners, which bring together fresh produce for a one-day special menu. You can keep an eye out for the next event on the restaurant's Facebook page.

Listen to the full podcast here. You can subscribe to dsm CultureCasts and find more interviews like this at Apple Podcast, Google Play Music, Spotify and more.
Located at a former Baptist church, the Wat Phothisomphan on S.E. 14th Street provides a spiritual hub for Laotians in Central Iowa. Here, a Buddhist monk burns a blessing before a Tak Bat feast. Photo: Bob Blanchard


Writer: Barbara Dietrich Boose

On a balmy, blue-sky Sunday in early March, hundreds of Iowans, awash in neon yellow, red, blue and green powder, joyfully dance as a DJ blasts high-energy music. They are gathered for Holi festival at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center, which rises dramatically from the middle of a farm field on the banks of the Des Moines River south of Madrid.

The guests are here to learn about Central Iowa’s Hindu community and its traditions and to join in celebrating the victory of good over evil, devotion to God and the coming of spring after a long winter.

“We are so happy people are visiting our temple. It is for the whole world,” says Khimanand Upreti, one of the temple’s two priests. “We believe all humans are one family.”

Among the powder-sprinkled guests at Holi festival are Alex Smith, his fifth-grade daughter, Elise, and his seventh-grade son, Nick. A member of the Waukee school board, Smith says he wants to show his children “what is an important part of life” for his Hindu friends. “There’s also growing diversity among students in our school district,” he says. “We have more than 70 different languages.”

Looking back from more recent months of COVID-19, the memory of the event truly feels like a gift from a higher power.

Holi was part of “Meet My Religious Neighbor” (MMRN), a series sponsored by the Comparison Project of Drake University, CultureAll, the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) and the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa as opportunities for people to learn about various faith communities in Central Iowa. The events typically occur monthly during the spring and fall school semesters.

Read the rest of the story from dsm's Inclusion magazine.
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