March 10, 2015
Chandon Blanc de Noirs from Napa is a fun, bubbly start to a great evening. 
At Last: Sparkling Wine by the Glass  

By Wini Moranville


"Un coup de Champagne, Monsieur-Dame?" our server asked as we settled into dinner on our first night in the Champagne region of France.


Throughout our too-short stay in the region, that question--a drink of Champagne, sir/madam?--was asked at every dinner we sat down to, whether we were eating in the simple dining room at our logis de France inn or splurging at a Relais et Chateaux.


The answer, of course, was always "oui."  And it got me thinking: Sparkling wine is such an uplifting way to kick off the evening, why don't we drink it as an aperitif more often? And why don't more restaurants offer it as an option?


Now, some local restaurants are doing just that. These venues have an especially admirable selection of sparkling wines by the glass:   


* Louie's Wine DiveFind five sparklers by the glass, from an easygoing Spanish cava to the glamorous Veuve Clicquot Champagne (4040 University Ave., 777-3416; and 1378 E. Hickman Road., Waukee, 518-2075).   


* Splash Seafood Bar & GrillThe certified sommeliers here serve J. Cuvée 20 Brut from Sonoma, as well as easy-on-the-wallet options from Spain and Italy (303 Locust St.; 244-5686).   


* RoCAFind Zonin Prosecco, Sofia Blanc de Blanc (served trendily in a can with a straw), a rosé sparkler from Italy, and another one of my favorites, Chandon Blanc de Noirs from Napa (208 Court Ave.; 282-3663).  


PS: Check out my story on modern Champagne glassware in the current issue of dsm, and see why sparkling-wine lovers might do well to toss the flutes.



A Beaverdale Welcome
Adding curb appeal is more than enhancing what you see from the street. Aesthetic features should improve function whenever possible. ...

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fyi: Mark Your Calendar   

  • Last night we attended the Des Moines Performing Arts 2015-16 season announcement event. More than 2,000 sponsors and ticket holders attended to find out what's in store for next season. The biggest news: The national tour of "The Bridges of Madison County" will launch at the Des Moines Civic Center in November. But we admit that we're most excited about "Disney's Newsies," which plays the Civic Center in January 2016. The other core shows of the Willis Auto Campus Broadway Series include "Dirty Dancing,"  "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" and "Cabaret." Season tickets start at $151 and are on sale now here. Visit for more information on the five-show package, add-ons, special events, the Prairie Meadows Temple Comedy Series, The Dance Series and the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Family Series.
  • Music, mayhem and murder will take over The Temple for Performing Arts (1011 Locust St.) March 10-15 as the theater presents "Murder for Two." The performance is a witty take on old-fashioned murder mysteries, where the cast includes only two actors: one to play a police officer who investigates the crime and another who single-handedly plays the parts of all 12 suspects. Tickets cost $20-$34 and can be purchased here. Showtimes vary; click here for more details.
  • Ballet Des Moines will host the second annual Black + White Ball March 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Lucca Restaurant in East Village (420 E. Locust St.). A pre-event champagne social will be held at The Plaza (300 Walnut St.) at 6 p.m. Tickets for the ball cost $125; $75 for young professionals. For both the ball and champagne social, tickets cost $250; $150 for young professionals and they can be purchased through the Eventbrite app on your phone or here
  • Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is presenting the Douglas M. Woods Challenge Hunger Campaign to benefit the DMARC Food Pantry Network now through April 30. During the campaign, donations to the cause are matched 50 cents to the dollar, with the money used to stock the food shelves of the pantry. Your donation of $10 will provide food for 20 meals. Douglas Woods is a retired West Des Moines police officer who has partnered with the organization to maximize donations. Read more about Woods and the campaign here. Online contributions can be made here


Max Wellman is set to make an impact on the music scene
in Des Moines. 

P.S. Rumor has it ... 


... that talented vocalist Max Wellman and partners are hoping to open a jazz club downtown this fall. When we ran into Wellman recently at the Des Moines Social Club, he let us in on some of his plans for a Walnut Street venue that will showcase both local and nationally known jazz musicians. Wellman believes that, given Des Moines' vibrancy and growth, it's the perfect time to launch the endeavor. We agree! Stay tuned for details ...


Belle Du Chene is senior editor of dsm magazine.

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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