Happy Holidays, How To Help Restaurants, Dinner Party
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December 22, 2020  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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As this tumultuous year draws to a close, we on the dsm team send our warmest wishes for a happy holiday and new year.

We also send our heartfelt thanks to you, our readers, for your record engagement with our newsletters, magazines, podcast, social media platforms and events. As the pandemic and social and political upheaval battered our country and community, we responded with new products and events as well as  expanded coverage of such relevant topics as the Black Lives Matter movement, mental health and hunger, and the difficult challenges our restaurants, artists and cultural organizations are facing.

We couldn’t have accomplished any of this without the contributions of our team of freelance writers and photographers, including Deidre DeJear, Karla Walsh, Rachel Vogel-Quinn, Wini Moranville, Emily Blobaum, Brianne Sanchez, Jim Autry, Steve Dinnen, Barbara Boose, Ben Easter, Jami Milne, Michael Morain, Chad Taylor and so many others. I’ve always considered myself the luckiest editor in Iowa to be able to work with such a dedicated and talented cadre of contributors.

And, of course, we couldn’t have accomplished it without our readers. You let us know that our work is useful, relevant and inspiring, and I am deeply grateful for your support.

I can think of no better way to close than to repeat a toast from our company's president and group publisher, Suzanna de Baca: "That the uncertainty of 2020, and how we responded together, provide a certainty and confidence that we are prepared for 2021 … whatever it may bring." --Christine Riccelli, editor-in-chief

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    Still looking for gift ideas? Consider cocktail gift sets from the Bartender's Handshake.


    Writer: Karla Walsh

    Since March, more than 110,000 of the country’s restaurants (17% of U.S. independent establishments) have closed, according to the most recent data from the National Restaurant Association. And as we head into winter, our friends in the food industry need us now more than ever.

    With that in mind, we asked chefs, restauranteurs, bar owners and other local food industry experts how we can best support them, for the holidays and beyond. Here’s what they suggested:

    1.  Contact Congress. A restaurant relief package has already passed the House of Representatives but is stalled in the U.S. Senate, needing 10 more co-sponsors to be brought to the floor. Sen. Joni Ernst has signed on, but Sen. Chuck Grassley hasn’t. Learn more about the package and how to help here. "The government is far past due on doing literally anything to help," says Dave Murrin-von Ebers of the Bartender’s Handshake. "If we don't see any government aid, we may have to go back to a limited staff and limited hours."

    2. Delete the third-party apps. Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates take about a 30% cut of the profit from restaurants. Order directly through a brand’s website, or check out Eat, Drink, Swipe, a new resource from Des Moines-based marketing firm Happy Medium that lists how to order directly from local bars and restaurants.

    3.  Follow your favorite brands online. "Many chefs and restaurateurs are coming up with thoughtful and creative ways to get through this pandemic, offering new options, flavors and menus for diners," says George Formaro of Orchestrate Hospitality, who has launched several ghost kitchens, such as Batter Up and Holy Stromboli, out of his brick-and-mortar restaurants. "Like and follow your favorite restaurants on social media and sign up for their email lists so you stay in the know. Then if you see something you like, order it."

    Click here for 7 more ways to support restaurants.
    The River Center in downtown Des Moines is our virtual host for our January dsm Dinner Party. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the menu and venue.


    Please join Deidre DeJear, Karla Walsh and our friends at the River Center (operated by Port of Des Moines) for the January dsm Dinner Party at 7 p.m. on Jan. 14. The River Center will provide a three-course takeout meal with drinks. You'll also receive the newest edition of dsm magazine when you pick up your dinner at 5-6 p.m. the same night.

    Find more information and registration details here.
    Brian Stokes Mitchell, a Broadway singer and actor, is one of the performers featured in the Des Moines Symphony's virtual show next week. Photo: Des Moines Symphony.


    While the Des Moines Symphony's traditional New Year's Pops concert was called off, it is welcoming 2021 with a free virtual celebration at 7 p.m. on Dec. 31. Called "A Virtual New Year's Eve Celebration," the event features a star-studded lineup with performers like Leslie Odom Jr, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Brian Stokes Mitchell and more—along with symphony musicians.

    An enhanced experience is also available to those who decide to make a donation. Packages range from $120 to $500 and include dinner and wine packages, wine and cheese pairings, special gifts, recognition on the symphony’s website, and an invitation to a virtual meet and greet with symphony musicians before the main broadcast. Reservations (save your spot here) must be placed by today in order to receive the special gift, dinner or wine and cheese package.

    Find more information on the Symphony website.
    One of the ornaments from last week, created by local artist Katelyn McBurney. The finder of this gift was able to keep it. Photo: Katelyn McBurney and the Greater Des Moines Partnership.


    Over the past week, the Greater Des Moines Partnership has collaborated with local artists to place handcrafted ornaments around downtown for a holiday-themed scavenger hunt. There are just two days left, as the event ends tomorrow, but it's your chance to keep a special something for your holiday tree.

    Each day, each artist produces 15 ornaments, which are placed in trees near retailers, restaurants and attractions in Western Gateway, Historic Court District, central downtown and the Historic East Village to encourage patrons to shop local. Artists make sure that ornaments are easily accessible and post pictures and clues using #downtownDSM and #DSMlocal.

    Today's featured artist is Alex Braidwood. Molly Spain, whom we've featured in our magazine before, ends the event tomorrow. Follow the Partnership Facebook page to stay up to date on scavenger hunt clues.
    Try this bananas Foster-topped banana bread during the holidays. Photo: Dera Burreson. Stylist: Sammy Mila.


    Writer: Karla Walsh

    At age 3, standing on a stool next to her great-grandmother, Jasmine Hayes learned to love being in the kitchen. By sixth grade, she was sneakily experimenting with flavors and recipes.

    "While Mom was out of the house, I’d take anything from the kitchen and play around," she recalls. "I often made crispy fried shrimp, and I tried to bake rolls a few times. It’s not easy, especially at age 12 and without a recipe. Sometimes it turned out, sometimes it didn’t."

    Hayes spent years in the corporate world at businesses like Wells Fargo and Mercy, "but couldn’t see myself doing it forever. I needed to focus on something that I love to do. That’s cooking," she says.

    So in 2015, she enrolled in DMACC’s Iowa Culinary Institute to earn a degree in culinary and hotel restaurant management. By the time she graduated in 2017, Hayes had sharpened her skills with both savory and sweet—her almond petits fours were a hit during a baking exam.

    Hayes launched her business, Jazz It Up, a personal chef service, in 2018. The name is a riff on her own name, Jasmine, plus "I jazz up a lot of different menu items and create art from something initially basic," she says. "I love to put my own stamp on comfort food from many different cuisines."

    For this decadent dessert, she was inspired by a gift of homemade banana bread and knew she could enhance the flavor with some boozy bananas. "Now my husband won’t stop asking for it," Hayes says with a laugh. "I usually don’t love warm fruit, but for some reason, this is different."

    No banana bread handy? Try the sauce over ice cream or yogurt, spoon it onto pancakes or French toast, or pile it atop a cinnamon-sugar doughnut or churros.

    Find the recipe, from our November issue, here.
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