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May 27, 2014
Last year's Grand Tasting.
Photo by Christopher Maharry.

Go Ahead and Wine 

By Kellye Crocker

 

Whether you prefer big and brawny, elegant and understated, or lively and complex, Winefest Des Moines has the drink (or several) for you. The weeklong wine and fine food celebration (May 31-June 7) contributes to Des Moines' ever-growing reputation as a happening cultural hub. Even better, the Des Moines Wine Festival Foundation over the years has raised nearly $375,000 for nonprofit and cultural groups. Get a taste of the fun in the latest issue of dsm here (scroll to "Insider"). For more information and tickets, visit Winefest Des Moines

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Zombie Burger expects to sell its
1 millionth burger this week or next.

Hamburger City  

By Wini Moranville

 

News of note for burger lovers:
  • I finally popped into G. Migs 5th Street Pub in Valley Junction, and I'm sorry it took me so long. For almost two years now, George Migliero, the former executive chef at Wakonda Club, has been serving high-quality bar food in a super-casual atmosphere. Don't miss Build a Burger Night on Mondays, when you can choose from nearly 20 toppings and condiments, from chipotle aioli and caramelized onions to fried eggs and guacamole (128 Fifth St., West Des Moines; 255-4550).
  • Another great Monday night option: At Alba, specialty burgers and select cocktails go for $5 each, in the lounge only. This was one of my favorite discoveries last summer--when temperatures climb, there's something magical about stepping into Alba's cool, dark space and enjoying a chilled Moscow Mule (in the copper mug, of course), and an off-the-beaten-path burger, such as the Thai Pork Burger (524 E. Sixth St.; 244-0261).
  • After just two years in business, Zombie Burger + Drink Lab will already be selling its 1 millionth burger. The staff expects this to happen sometime this week or next. The lucky person who buys that millionth burger will receive a $1,000 gift  certificate, and everyone in the restaurant at that moment gets a free T-shirt (200 E. Grand Ave.; 244-9292).
Bliss Break
 
Who couldn't use a little stress relief? Starting June 19, you can join free monthly meditation sessions at some of Greater Des Moines' most distinctive sites, including the High Trestle Trail Bridge, Terrace Hill and the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.

Don't know a mudra from a mantra? No matter. "Meditation Around Town" welcomes all--no experience required--and offers simple techniques for relaxing the body and quieting the mind. Sessions are scheduled for the third Thursday of the month at 6 p.m., through December.

The idea comes from Denny Kelly, who started "Yoga in the Park" at Gray's Lake six years ago. He'll lead the first session June 19 at 6 p.m. in the middle of the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Bring a mat, chair, cushion or towel to sit on. The meditations will vary, with teachers and locations changing monthly. For more information, to see the schedule and to sign up for reminder emails, visit "Meditation Around Town" here. For meditation motivation, read this Mayo Clinic article. -K.C.

Global Greens

 

A new farmers market debuts June 7, with refugees living in Greater Des Moines selling their produce. The refugees tend the veggies in West Des Moines without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers and use sustainable farming practices. The weekly Saturday market will run through Sept. 27, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., at the LSI (Lutheran Services in Iowa) parking lot, 3200 University Ave.

The market is the latest offering from LSI's Global Greens program (previously Urban Agriculture). In addition to community gardening, which allows refugees to grow food for their families, LSI also now offers intensive training for those wanting to become small-scale farmers as an occupation. The new market is the farmers' first opportunity to sell their produce before transitioning to their own land and launching independent businesses.

Along with lowering grocery bills and providing healthful food, income and business opportunities, the farming program helps refugees feel less isolated, connect to cultural customs and pass along agricultural traditions to younger generations, organizers say. Working the land and growing food also can be emotionally healing--a respite for people who have endured war, violence and unspeakable loss before being forced from their home countries and settling here. For more information about LSI's Refugee Community Services, click here. -K.C.

Help From Hackers

 

Local tech geeks plan to turn the tables on Des Moines charities by helping the helpers. Faced with shoestring budgets and limited staff, many nonprofits plug away at their good work while drowning in paperwork and inefficient systems. The code poets behind dsmHack are willing to build, migrate, update, integrate, streamline and centralize, among other modern miracles, so charities can operate easier and better.

Local nonprofits that could use a bit (or a terabyte) of free tech help can apply here (deadline: June 1, 11:59 p.m.). Six will be chosen, and their reps will meet with developers June 12 at the first Des Moines Charity Hack at StartupCity Des Moines. After hearing about the charities' challenges, the tech pros will get to work--for 48 hours--fueled by snacks and the satisfaction of helping "the Greater Des Moines community shine brighter," according to the website. The shebang wraps up June 14 with team presentations and a post-hack happy hour.

 

For more information, including how you can help--even if you don't code-click
here-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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