dsmWeekly: July 6, 2022
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July 6, 2022

Our homes are our oasis, and the bathroom is even more so. What better place to express your individual style, or try out a bold new look and add glamour and interest to an otherwise utilitarian space! Read more.
Mussels in a garlic and shallot white wine cream sauce are so impressive, you'll be glad to have the extra crostini for dunking after the shellfish are devoured. Photo: courtesy of Aposto.

Aposto’s New Chef Off to an Impressive Start

Writer: Karla Walsh

“Chef Cole: the man, the myth, the new executive chef of Aposto! You don’t get to see him much on the floor because he’s always back in the kitchen making your dinner dreams come true,” Aposto accurately shared on Instagram to announce Cole Gruis’ new role.

Stepping in as the executive chef of Aposto (644 18th St.), Gruis took over for Shawn Bennigsdorf (whom you might remember from our March 2020 feature, “Culinary Young Guns”) after Bennigsdorf left to pursue his dreams in the dental field. Gruis' culinary skills began at Little Caesars in Indianola, and he confirms that he still loves their pizza. But I can confirm it doesn’t hold a candle to his own, which is one of the two dishes Gruis is most proud of on the newly refreshed summer menu.

“The pizza fritta and the gnocchi are my current favorites,” Gruis tells dsm. “We always have variations on those two items on every menu, but this time around they are a little more unique.”

On a late-June visit, my dinner club and I were lucky enough to share those two flavor-balanced recipes, as well as a mix of Aposto’s all-time greatest hits:
Pizza fritta: With rich taleggio cream sauce and mozzarella, salty-savory prosciutto and tangy pickled apricots, we agreed that this is nothing like anything you’d find on a delivery menu.  ($14)

Nanee's polenta cakes: No visit to the Scala House, the 1880s Sherman Hill Victorian that is home to Aposto, is complete without an order of these tender polenta wedges and garden-fresh tomato and zucchini ragu. ($10)

Mussels: The garlic-spiked, shallot-scented white wine cream sauce that bathes the shellfish is so layered with flavor, we found ourselves dunking slice upon slice of crostini into the bowl long after the mussels themselves were gone. ($16)

Charcuterie: Featuring homemade paté, pickled vegetables, Calabrian olives, cured meat and fromage from the Cheese Shop, this appetizer is ideal to share among two to six people, depending on what else you order. And if you ask me, the ideal setting to enjoy this is at a table on the patio on any Thursday night (when they waive the corkage fee). (Price varies)

Gnocchi: Inspired by classic Italian pasta carbonara, Gruis’ chive dumplings come topped with an unexpected—and unexpectedly tasty—savory zabaglione (a whipped custard), Parmesan shavings and crispy cured pork. ($29)

In addition to the current menu, Gruis and his team dream up a new while-supplies-last special every weekend. Just be sure to book a table early; the dining room was bustling during our Thursday visit. A recent check for weekend availability also confirmed that it’s best to plan more than a week ahead (or walk in and hope for open seats at the bar).

“For upcoming features, expect some brighter and more vegetable-centric dishes,” Gruis says.

Some 50 bands, and an expected 30,000-plus music lovers, will help mark the eagerly awaited return of 80/35. Headliners are singer-songwriter Father John Misty on Friday and international pop star Charli XCX on Saturday.
Photo: Vishnu R Nair.


Annual 80/35 Music Festival Returns This Weekend

The two-day festival is back Friday and Saturday (July 8-9) for the first time since 2019, bringing music, food, art and more to Western Gateway Park. Expect musical performances on five stages, four of them free. (Tickets to access the paid Hy-Vee Main Stage are still available here.) The lineup includes 19 Iowa artists, including Des Moines hip-hop act B.Well and "American Idol" winner Maddie Poppe.

Also at 80/35, enjoy food from vendors like Panka Peruvian Restaurant and Say Cheese. Some Des Moines city organizations and nonprofits will be located in the festival’s Community Village, hosting other activities for festivalgoers to participate in. Local artisans will also be on hand to sell their creations. For a full list of performances, showtimes and tickets, visit

Organic Modern Style Moodboard

Madison was inspired by the new Harrison sofa and a wonderful rug to create a moodboard this post.
Read more.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical” (all weekend, times vary): Des Moines Community Playhouse will open its new production on Friday night. “Matilda” is the story of a young girl who uses her magical abilities to stand up for herself in the face of cruelty and neglect. Tickets and showtimes can be found here. The show will run until July 24. The Playhouse is also teaming up with the Des Moines Public Library for a book drive; books can be donated from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays in the ticket office.

Ankeny Summerfest 2022 (all weekend, times vary): Bands, boat races and other events and activities abound at this celebration. The party will be held at the District at Prairie Trail (Southwest District Drive, Ankeny). Highlights include a parade, carnival and musical performances at the entertainment garden. Food and drink vendors will also be on-site. Find the list of performers and   information on other events here.

Gateway Dance Theatre's “Shakuntala” (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.): “Shakuntala,” by Kalidasa, is an Indian love story of a young woman, Shakuntala, who is raised in a secluded abbey and falls in love with a monarch, King Dushyanta. Scroll down for more information.

Iowa Cubs’ Taco and Margarita Festival (Saturday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.):
Enjoy tacos, margaritas and entertainment at Principal Park. General admission to the festival is $15, but VIP and “ultimate VIP” tickets are also available for extra perks (including two free margs and access to an exclusive taco bar). (This event is hosted by the Iowa Cubs and has no affiliation with last year’s festival of a similar name.) Buy tickets here.

An Afternoon with Jane Smiley (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.):
Before the opening night of “A Thousand Acres,” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley and members of the Des Moines Metro Opera creative team will discuss Smiley’s novel and the dramatic setting of the opera premiere. The event, at Sheslow Auditorium at Drake University, is free, but registration is requested. (Saturday’s premiere, at Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola, is sold out; limited tickets are still available for the July 13, 19 and 22 performances.)

dsm unveiling: Join us tomorrow as we reveal the cover of the July/August issue of dsm, plus get an advanced copy of the new magazine at our unveiling event at Warners’ Stellian Appliance in Ankeny. It’s not too late to register for tickets!

Athlete announcement: Dew Tour announced its lineup of competing athletes. As a non-Olympic year, “only the best of the best skaters will be competing and the competition format will be straight to finals,” Dew Tour General Manager Courtney Gresik said in press release. Nearly every 2020 Olympic Skateboard podium athlete will compete, including park skaters Cory Juneau (U.S.), Keegan Palmer (Australia), Sakura Yosozumi (Japan) and Sky Brown (Great Britain). A full list of skateboarders can be found here.
Tweet Week: Local artists from Mainframe Studios have created and hidden 80 birds to be discovered throughout downtown July 9-16. Clues to the birds’ whereabouts can be found under the hashtag #downtownDSM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Play for keeps! If you find a birdie, you can choose to take it home (limit one per person) and share a photo of your find. Find more details about the hunt here.
Jazz concert series: This year’s Jazz in July free summer concert series kicks off July 12 with the headliner Yaala Ballin Trio at Hoyt Sherman Place at 7:30 p.m. Before the concert, enjoy the opening local acts outside on the lawn. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs to hear CJC Youth Combo at 5 p.m. and Dave Rezek’s Alpha State Agents at 6 p.m. For details on this or the other two Jazz in July performances on July 19 and 26, visit the Hoyt Sherman Place website.
Shakespeare tragedy: The last day to purchase Shakespeare on the Lawn tickets is July 11. Iowa Stage Theatre Company will perform “King Lear” at Salisbury House and Gardens July 13-17, and tickets will not be sold at the door. Guests can bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic dinners to the performance of the Shakespeare tragedy, or add on a pre-made charcuterie box during ticket purchase. The nightly shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Find more information and tickets here.
After its first performance of "Shakuntala" in 2017, Gateway Dance Theatre will once again bring international music and dance to the stage this weekend. Photo: courtesy of Gateway Dance Theatre.

Gateway Dance Theatre to Present ‘Shakuntala’

This Saturday (July 9), Gateway Dance Theatre will bring back its production of “Shakuntala,” a classic Indian love story written in the fifth century that Gateway first performed in 2017. The author, Kalidasa, is still considered ancient India’s greatest Sanskrit poet and playwright.

The show follows the story of Shakuntala, a young woman who is raised in a secluded abbey and falls in love with King Dushyanta. Over the centuries, the tale has been adapted into many different art forms and languages, including dances, plays and even a rock opera in 2015.

The production, which will feature international music and dance, begins at 7:30 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church (4114 Allison Ave.), with a $20 recommended donation. Learn more about the production from the Gateway Dance Theatre website.
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