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ia Unveiling, Winefest at Home, Revive the Live
July 21, 2020  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
 
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Tune in to see cooking demonstrations from Port of Des Moines chefs at our virtual ia magazine unveiling July 28.

JOIN US IN CELEBRATING NEW ISSUE OF ia MAGAZINE

It's almost time to unveil ia magazine, our statewide publication that covers arts, dining and people around Iowa. To celebrate the new issue, we are hosting a virtual event featuring cooking demonstrations from Port of Des Moines chefs, a tour of the River Center event venue in downtown Des Moines, and an exclusive first look at the publication.

You'll also have the chance to mingle with other arts, culture and food enthusiasts from around the state. The event, which starts at noon next Tuesday, July 28, is free to attend; all you have to do is sign up at this Zoom link. We hope to see you there!

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One of the vineyards in the Clemens Busch family of wines, which is featured in Winefest's Grand Tasting take-home pack.

BRING WINEFEST INTO YOUR HOME

Writer: Wini Moranville

While two of Winefest’s most popular events—Sips in the City and the Community Choice Grand Tasting—will not go off exactly as planned, don’t call them canceled! Instead, organizers are deeming 2020 “The Year of the House Party.” To this end, they’re offering hosting packs that let wine lovers bring the celebration home.

  • Sips in the City packs can be snagged on Friday, Aug. 7, for $200, $400 or $600 to serve four, eight, or 12, respectively. Each party-in-a-box comes with choice of wines (four bottles for the four-person pack, and incrementally more bottles at each tier), plus appetizers and desserts, including a Maytag Four-Cheese Macaroni with Balsamic-Fig Glaze from Cyd’s Catering, as well as delights from Cheese Bar, Bubba, Lola’s Hot Sauce and Crème.

  • Grand Tasting packs will be available on Saturday, Aug. 8, and cost $325, $650 and $975 to serve four, eight, and 12, respectively. These come with a choice of wines (equivalent to a bottle per person) plus a windfall of great food, including a cheese board from the Cheese Shop of Des Moines, cold-smoked salmon with sweet-corn pudding from Table 128, seafood toast from Splash, Italian beef stuffed pepper from Aposto and an almond-chocolate cake from Crème.

For an inside scoop, I asked Winefest Executive Director Natasha Sayles for a few under-the-radar finds among the other great bottles guests get to choose from. For the Sips and the City pack, she pointed to the Vietti “Tre Vigne” Barbera d’Asti from Piedmont, hailing its “bright acidity, soft tannins, good integration of oak, good complexity and a lingering cherry finish.” For those splurging on the Grand Tasting pack, Sayles championed the 2015 Clemens Busch Riesling Trocken, adding that Busch is considered to be the master interpreter of the natural winemaking philosophy in Germany.

Additional swag for both packs includes Winefest wine glasses and a wine tote, a Winefest table runner (with the Sips pack) and Winefest coasters (with the Grand Tasting pack). Packs must be ordered by Aug. 1 to pick up at Cowles Commons on the specified date. For more information, see the Package Options. To purchase, a pack, head to tikly.
"Revive the Live" was launched by a group of local musicians hoping to host outdoor concerts this summer.
Photo: Revive the Live

BRINGING BACK LIVE CONCERTS — SAFELY

Summer just hasn't been the same without outdoor concerts. A new event series is aiming to fill that void—at least somewhat. "Revive the Live," which launched last week, is "designed to provide an opportunity to celebrate live music from a safe distance, bring the Central Iowa music-loving community together again and support our local musicians."

The concept is simple: Every concert is held at Water Works Park, and patrons can watch from inside or close to their cars. Parking spaces are socially distanced, so you can sit outside with family and soak in the tunes. All start times are 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 per car. Here's the schedule for the next few weeks.

  • July 24: The Pork Tornadoes (additional late show at 9 p.m.)
  • July 25: Brazilian 2Wins
  • Aug. 1: Jason Brown
  • Aug. 7: Damon Dotson
  • Aug. 8: Winterland — Grateful Dead Tribute Band
The strawberry cake from Chellie's Sugar Shack Bakery is its No. 2 seller.

AT THE TABLE WITH CHELLIE'S SUGAR SHACK BAKERY

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 few features: Street Eats DSM, G.G.’s Chicken & Waffles, Palm’s Caribbean Cuisine, Artis T’s Catering, Your Mom’s Bakery and Jazz It Up.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” goes the classic cliché. For Rachelle Long, what she viewed as necessity is exactly why she dusted off the sugar cookie recipe bequeathed to her by her sweet neighbor, Mamie Underwood.

“My family’s love language is food,” Long says, and that came in handy during Christmastime a few decades ago. As a mother of three kids working in customer service at a phone company, Long didn’t have quite enough money to purchase gifts for a gift exchange.

“So I made all my siblings a cookie tray. ... When everyone tasted the cookies, they said, ‘Never, ever go to the store and buy us anything again! If we can get these cookies every year, we’re good,’ ” Long remembers, laughing about how relieved she felt at the time.

Long continued to bake cookies and her grandma’s caramel cake for her family, and by the time she decided to retire from that phone company after 30 years, the West Des Moines native was seeking a new way to keep busy and make a little extra money. It was 2010, and by then, her now-legendary (within the family at least) cookie trays featured dipped pretzels, peanut clusters and three kinds of sugar cookies, including plain, sprinkled and frosted.

Her kids suggested she sell her cookies, so during Christmas 2010, she made extra trays and “they flew out the door,” Long says. “On April 1, 2011, I shared a Facebook post announcing, ‘Today, I’m starting a bakery and this is not an April Fool’s joke.’ Everyone still thought I was still kidding, but I went to fill out the paperwork and complete the inspections to make it official.”

For the first two years of Chellie’s Sugar Shack Bakery, Long only offered those three varieties of sugar cookies. Later, she added the caramel cake, and then, by customer request, the menu grew. Clients would ask for their favorites (“Can you make me a strawberry cake? I’ll pay you!”), so Long learned how.

Soon she started a mobile bakery, partnering with local salons and barbershops and winning over their clients with “big, crazy, hunking pieces” of four types of cake: caramel, lemon, red velvet and chocolate. Five years into this sales strategy, Long often sold 100 slices per day and had rightfully earned the name “Cake Lady.”

She now runs a robust curbside pickup business out of her home (call 515-554-7731 at least 24 hours in advance), and dreams of someday owning a Sugar Shack dessert truck and working out of a commercial kitchen, as she’s outgrowing her home kitchen. To learn more about Chellie’s Sugar Shack Bakery and to see Long’s current menu, visit her Facebook page and shuggashack.com.

Diego Rodriguez, executive chef at Proof, joined the dsm CultureCast podcast to talk about the past four months at the restaurant and what's to come.

PROOF REOPENS PATIO, RELAUNCHES SERIES

Friday, July 10, was the first day Proof opened its doors for any type of sit-in dining at its restaurant since mid-March. Granted, it was patio seating, but for the prior four months, the Locust Street eatery had exclusively served food via takeout. With the change came the relaunch of Proof's Second Saturday event—a five-course patio dinner for two created by executive chef Diego Rodriguez, who joined the dsm CultureCast podcast last week.

"We could still do what Proof is, which is making people feel at home, and making sure they have fun. I'm just happy we got to reopen the doors," Rodriguez told dsm. "A lot of people said [this event] was the best one yet. When you do a five-course instead of 10, you have a lot of time to execute the menu and source ingredients."

Proof has discontinued its weekday takeout service but is creating a new prix-fixe menu for patio dining every weekend. It also plans to hold its Second Saturday event on a monthly basis.

Proof closed the day after Gov. Kim Reynolds' proclamation in mid-March and sought to translate its Mediterranean-style cuisine to takeout. "That was the hardest thing, being able to make food that will stay warm and travel well for people," Rodriguez said. "Every day, every week, we had to adapt and learn from what didn't sell. We've had to change the business model three or four times. Logistically, now, opening the patio is the best thing we can do."

You can listen to the rest of the episode here. If you want to listen to future episodes like this, with leaders in the Greater Des Moines arts, culture, food and dining scenes, subscribe to our podcast feed on your favorite listening platform, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Spotify and more. You also can read our feature on Rodriguez from the March/April issue.
Dr. Hijinio Carreon, chief medical officer at MercyOne Central Iowa, has worked 16-hour days during the pandemic, sometimes starting as early as 6 a.m. Photo: Emily Blobaum

INSPIRATIONAL HEROES OF HOPE

Many of us will remember the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 as a long hiatus at home. But while we’ve spent our time on Zoom conference calls and taking walks around the neighborhood, others have been working tirelessly on our behalf.

They’ve treated the sick. They’ve housed the homeless. They’ve fed the hungry. They’ve opened their doors to anyone and everyone who needs help. Most of all, they’ve planned, preparing us for what was coming. Without them, we couldn’t have survived.

The people featured in this story are only representatives of the thousands of Central Iowans who’ve risked their lives for us. The challenges they face can be hard to fathom, but their emotions are familiar: fear, uncertainty, hope, confidence, pride.

Throughout it all, they’ve learned an important lesson: With a little bit of grit and a lot of teamwork, we can do anything, and we can do it fast.

Read "Heroes of Hope," from our July/August issue highlighting and celebrating the city's front-line medical and nonprofit workers during the pandemic.

     
     
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