March 4, 2014

You're Invited!


With an always-fascinating mix of community leaders, firebrands and creatives, the roving
dsm magazine's unveiling parties have edged into don't-miss territory on many local calendars. Join us today as we celebrate the March 2014 issue from 5 to 7 p.m. (unveiling and comments at 6:15 p.m.) at Bankers Trust Co.'s West Des Moines branch, 620 S. 60th St. See you there!


Every project benefits with input from multiple sources. This is especially true when creating outdoor projects that unify the transition...

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I'll Take Manhattan

By Kellye Crocker


Start spreading the news: The Des Moines Community Playhouse's Best of Broadway Tour May 8-11 offers Iowa theater fans a juicy bite of the Big Apple. The trip (sure to melt any little-town blues) includes round-trip coach airfare, three nights at the Renaissance Times Square (in the very heart of the city that never sleeps), group transportation between the airport and hotel and tickets to three shows, including new musicals based on the movies "Rocky" and "Bullets Over Broadway."

Participants choose the third show they'll see. One option: The Playhouse has a limited number of tickets for "The Bridges of Madison County," the new musical based on Robert James Waller's novel about star-crossed lovers in rural Iowa.

Playhouse executive director and Great White Way veteran John Viars leads the adventure, which offers plenty of time for straying in vagabond shoes--on your own or with groups. But if you want to be a part of it, don't delay. (A similar trip scheduled for earlier in May already is filled.) Cost: $1,899 per person, double occupancy, with $400 due at registration. Contact Lee Ann Bakros at 974-5358 or register online here.

Great Cheese Alert!

Red Hawk washed-rind cheese 
from Cowgirl Creamery. 
Photo by Sara Remington.

By Wini Moranville


My favorite cheeses in the world are washed-rind cheeses from France and Italy, such as Burgundy's Epoisses and Lombardy's Taleggio. Not to be confused with bloomy-rind cheeses, such as brie and Camembert, washed-rind cheeses go one step further: As they ripen, their rinds get rubbed or washed with a solution (often of salt and water, though sometimes of a local product such as beer, wine or brandy). This step brings beefy, bold and smelly-in-a-good-way effects to the creamy cheeses.

Sadly, unlike a lot of European cheeses, most washed-rind cheeses don't travel well. By the time they get to my table, they've gone from irresistibly beefy and bell-ringingly sharp to downright ammonia-y.

Fortunately, I've found a stellar domestic washed-rind cheese that I'd put up against its European counterparts: Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery in California. Better yet, I've found it in peak condition locally. Unlike most European washed-rind cheeses, this one is a triple-cream cheese, so it combines that extra richness you get in, say, a St. André, with the amazingly bold, sharp and irresistible saltiness of a washed-rind cheese. Serve this magnificent cheese simply with crackers and nuts for an appetizer or with ripe fruit and bread for an amazing way to finish off dinner.

Find Red Hawk at The Cheese Shop of Des Moines, Gateway Market and Whole Foods Market, though if you have your heart set on this particular cheese, call first, as it rotates in and out of stock at some venues.

A family foyer provides streamlined storage options.
Welcome Home
Your home's entryway offers a bright, spacious welcome to guests, but what about the back entrance you use daily? If it's dim, cramped and depressing--we're looking at you, endless heaps of laundry--you're not alone. Improving the garage-to-house transition is a big trend in new home design, says Steve Moore, a senior partner with West Des Moines-based BSB Design, which has eight offices across the country and is one of the nation's top architecture firms.

The new "family foyer" isn't your grandma's old mud room, although it is practical. Abundant storage corrals everything from keys to those giant toilet paper bundles. Pantries provide a convenient way station from car to kitchen, and laundry rooms tuck out of sight. Such streamlined organization offers its own zenlike reward, but these foyers also are cheery and stylish. "Nobody wants to come in and be reminded they have a bunch of laundry to do," Moore says. "This says, 'Welcome home.' "

Such innovative features, often unavailable in older homes, help the 48-year-old BSB court current homeowners in an economy where first-time buyers typically no longer qualify for new-construction mortgages, Moore says. "We're trying to make the house friendlier to everyday living," he says. -K.C.
Mary Sellers, president of
United Way of Central Iowa.
Help and Hope
United Way of Central Iowa's new Hope Initiative aims to help lift 25 single-parent families out of poverty by coordinating programs and services to fit each family's specific needs.

Focused on improving financial stability, ensuring timely high school graduation and building healthy lifestyles, United Way is partnering with four agencies--Hawthorn Hill, Oakridge Neighborhood Services, Bidwell Riverside and Iowa Homeless Youth Centers--for the demonstration project. Case managers will work with families to address a variety of needs, such as food, rent and utility assistance, mental health and legal services, education and job training, transportation and child care.

As its name suggests, the Central Iowa Hope Initiative offers a comprehensive approach that also recognizes the value of intangible resources. Hope, for example, is a critical factor in the ability of at-risk families to become self-sufficient and of children to do well in school, United Way President Mary Sellers says. "When people move from not having hope to having hope, they see a future," she says. "They want to take steps to do better and improve their lives."  -K.C.
Kellye Crocker

Kellye Crocker lives in Clive and writes fiction for teens and nonfiction for adults. A former Des Moines Register senior reporter and current dsm contributing writer, she's also written for Parents, Better Homes and Gardens and Glamour, among other national publications. Connect with her on Twitter: @kelcrocker.
Wini Moranville

Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at 6:40 a.m. on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.

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