Winchester Pub, Kitchens to Crave, xBK Live
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May 4, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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The pear and walnut flatbread from Winchester Pub "hit all the tastebuds," food contributor Karla Walsh says.


Writer: Karla Walsh

Cheers to even more culinary options in Valley Junction!

Winchester Pub—formally the Winchester Public House—opened in the heart of Valley Junction during summer 2019. The original menu included a diverse cocktail lineup, a mix of local and global beers, an ample wine selection, a beautifully designed wood bar, and a few snacks like nuts and cheese boards for nibbling.

But a few weeks ago, the newly expanded space at 224 Fifth St., West Des Moines, added solid pub fare, too. Featuring plenty of vegetarian choices and a welcome amount of fresh herbs, produce and international inspiration, the food options go far beyond typical wings and nachos.

On our first visit after the food menu launched, a friend and I shared the perfectly seasoned Ssambap, Korean lettuce wraps fully loaded with rice, ground chicken, carrots, cilantro, cucumbers and Gochujang sauce. (For the uninitiated, Gochujang is a fermented chile paste that’s spicy, with a hint of being sweet and almost meaty in a delightful way.)

The tomato- and pesto-topped seared polenta offered a preview of summer flavors, and the slivered almond garnish lent a lovely little crunch. The pear and walnut flatbread with fig jam, shallots, arugula, goat cheese and candied walnuts was plenty for two and hit all the taste buds: sweet (pear, jam, nuts), salty (cheese), spicy (arugula) and bitter (shallots). And the strawberry mascarpone-slathered vanilla bean ricotta cake was the icing on top of a delightful feast.

I can’t wait to see and savor what the Winchester Pub kitchen dreams up next. If this is a preview of coming events, I’ll be there early and often this summer. Who’s up for a Valley Junction dinner crawl?

Visit to see the menu and for more details. Winchester Pub is open 2 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
    Light Wood Finishes Are Back
    Particularly in the Organic Modern design style that is so popular. Clean, natural and fresh... these new products look great.
    A 10-foot island serves as the central family hangout in this Polk City kitchen. Photographer: Kelsey Sutton Photography.


    New construction has advantages, specifically when it comes to customization. In the case of this Polk City home by Black Birch Design and Build, the kitchen meets the needs of the young family with three boys and two dogs.

    The kitchen forms the centerpiece of the open plan, with an oversized island that fits the entire family for daily meals and for entertaining friends. Throughout, light floors and use of white create consistency, says Jill Rolling of Black Birch.

    For contrast, the designers used a mix of cabinetry, black-trimmed windows and metal finishes. “I love the effortless look of mixing metals,” Rolling says. “For anyone nervous to try, I always recommend sticking with two. I mixed brushed nickel, black and warm brass.”

    Perhaps the surprise in the home is the masculine coffee station (or “back kitchen”) tucked behind the primary space. It houses a majority of food storage, although cabinetry is ample throughout.

    Painted off-white cabinets, a dark charcoal in the pantry, and the light-stained white oak island and hutch pieces set a casual modern farmhouse look in this Polk City home. The countertops are a honed quartzite.

    “I love a neutral home,” Rolling says. “Warm whites, wood tones with pops of black accents repeat throughout.”

    Read the rest of our Kitchens to Crave from the May/June issue.
      Courtney Krause will perform at xBK Live at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Photo: Danny Does Pix


      xBK Live, a music venue in the Drake University neighborhood, is back with live and local shows, running every Friday through the end of the month. The series, called "Live, Local & Loud," kicks off at 7:30 p.m. this Friday with Courtney Krause, who mixes country and folk sounds to create "a captivating approach to ambient Americana," organizers say.

      The rest of the lineup includes Blake Shaw (May 14), Ben Hallow (May 21) and English (May 28). xBK Live has reduced capacity for its shows, and advanced registration is required. All patrons will be required to wear masks as well. Tickets are $10. Find more information here.
        Spacious new townhomes and apartments put you in the heart of Des Moines’ iconic Beaverdale neighborhood, less than a block from locally-owned shopping, dining and services... Read more »
        Riders start at the 2019 Ride Don't Hide event, which raises awareness and funds to fight the stigma around mental illness. Photo: Employee & Family Resources.


        May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and there are a few organizations, including us, who are holding related events. Here are some to mark on your calendars.

        Lifting the Veil - Caring for Your Parents: The latest installment in dsm magazine's Lifting the Veil virtual series, this event will include experts who will focus on mental health challenges for elderly parents and their loved ones. Deidre DeJear will moderate. The discussion starts at noon on May 20 and registration is free. Panelists are Dr. Yogesh Shah, chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs for Broadlawns Medical Center; Dr. Eric Barlow, psychiatrist; Julie Bergeson, family caregiver and support services manager for the Iowa Department on Aging; and Megan Wych, clinical manager at Employee & Family Resources.

        Ride Don't Hide: Employee & Family Resources is hosting its annual bike ride to help end stigma around mental illness. The event takes place May 17-23. Cyclists can participate at their own leisure on any of the six routes ranging from 16 to 38 miles. Registration is $30 and includes a T-shirt.

        Mindful Teen: Community partners, educators and anyone else who works with youths are eligible to participate in 4-H's upcoming Mindful Teen series, which will explain mindfulness, effective communication and other tips for dealing with youth mental health. The next sessions are online on June 10-11 at 9-11:30 a.m.


          This story ran in our Inclusion magazine, which was released last week. We'll take you behind the scenes of the issue at our upcoming event, "dsm Inclusion: Discover Diverse Des Moines," on Thursday. Register for free here to learn about where some of our community leaders go around town to experience the city's diverse offerings.

          This massive, 300-by-214-foot portrait is displayed on the ground of a concrete parking lot along Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway downtown. With the help of some 35 volunteers, local artist Michael Bowser created the mural using monochromatic tones of gray and black. Real estate developer Rich Eychaner, along with other local business owners, initiated and supported the project.

          Completed last September, the work stemmed from the increased focus on social justice following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black citizens. Given that context, the mural evokes the words King wrote in 1963: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. … Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

          Read about more inclusion murals around Greater Des Moines in the story "The Art of Inclusion" in this year's edition of Inclusion.

            The 2019 Spring Greens event was held at the State Historical Society of Iowa. This year's event will be held outside at Colby Park in Windsor Heights. Photo: DMARC.


            The Des Moines Area Religious Council will host its third annual Spring Greens event, which will include both food and live entertainment, at 5-8 p.m. on May 13 at Colby Park in Windsor Heights. Funds will support DMARC's Food Pantry Network.

            The theme is Caribbean, and patrons can enjoy cooking demonstrations, music from Andrew Hoyt and the Sheets, and a food basket available in person or for pickup, courtesy of Palm's Caribbean Cuisine and Pies and Pastries by Lana. On the menu are smoked jerk wings marinated in Jamaican spices, coconut candied yams (made from sweet potatoes), jollof rice and a pre-packaged dessert (choose between apple crumble pies, a brownie or a cookie). Vegetarian options are also available.

            Reservations are needed by 12 p.m. Friday. General admission is $45. You can become a patron sponsor for $100, which includes an additional gift basket with treats and commemorative gift items. Find more information here.

            Iowa Stops Hunger is a Business Publications Corporation initiative to bring awareness and action to food insecurity in Iowa.

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