August 11, 2015
Get Ready for Restaurant Week!
By Wini Moranville

Alba will offer sweet corn chowder as a menu option during Restaurant Week.
When Restaurant Week launched in 2008, I must admit, I was nonplussed. Too many restaurants offered rather rote menus. But judging from the fabulous menus for this year's Restaurant Week, Aug. 14-23, it looks like many dining establishments continue to up the ante, offering a great taste of the kind of food for which they're known and loved. Here are the ones I'm most excited about:
  • Alba: With at least five choices in each course, this might be the most ambitious menu of them all. There are plenty of fresh and familiar choices (heirloom tomato salad, sweet corn chowder), but also some off-the-beaten-path finds, like rabbit leg or beef cheeks.
  • Baru 66: Start with a country pâté with celeriac remoulade, move on to either chicken truffle roulade or seafood boudin (a style of sausage), and finish with a goat-cheese and honey mousse or a pineapple carpaccio, and you'll get a good taste of what this restaurant is all about.
  • Cosi Cucina: While the first course stays firmly in the soup-or-salad realm, they get bonus points from me for offering a free glass of wine with the three-course dinner and a choice of nine entrees. The potato ravioli pasta sounds especially tempting.
Restaurant Week is a bargain: $25 gets you a three-course dinner or two lunches at the participating restaurants. Check out this video for a sneak peek, and go to for more info. Be sure to follow the event on Facebook and at #DMRW2015.
Frank Lloyd Wright Style Home Gets a Complete Update
This 'Usonian' remodel is an outstanding example of modern preservation and features a unique triangular design throughout the entire house. 
An App for the Arts
By Larry Erickson

The Iowa State Capitol is one of the sites featured on the new

"Iowa Culture" app.

Click into Iowa culture next week with a free app from the state Department of Cultural Affairs. The mobile app--"Iowa Culture"--is loaded with info, including 3,500 public art displays, museums and historical sites. And it's interactive, so users can add to the content by suggesting places and submitting photos.
You'll find everything from national landmarks to historic ballrooms, from noteworthy bridges to movie locations. Development began in 2013, and officials are excited by the results, which include photos and carefully researched descriptions.
"It's so cool," says Chris Kramer, the department's deputy director, who tested the app on a trip through southern Iowa last week. "As you travel, just hit 'near me,' and you get all kinds of great information about sites nearby. It's really fun."
The release date is Aug. 17. Simply search "Iowa Culture" in the Apple or Google Play store and download it free to your compatible device. Learn more at
Fyi:  Mark Your Calendar
  • Learn how to prepare Jewish specialties this Friday, Aug. 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Des Moines Social Club's Culinary Loft (900 Mulberry St.). Teresa Adams-Tonka of Kitchen Collage will demonstrate recipes from "Beyond Matzo Balls," a new cookbook published by the Iowa Jewish Historical Society. The cost is $100 per person and includes a copy of the book. To reserve your spot, call the historical society at 987-0899, extension 216, or email Patsy Tobis,
  • More food news: The city of Des Moines will host the City Food Truck Festival Aug. 28, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., at the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park downtown. Spend your lunch hour sampling the fare, then come back with your family for dinner. Starting at 3 p.m., the free event also will include entertainment and a beer garden.
  • "A Soldier's Play," a 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, opens this Friday, Aug. 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Kum & Go Theater at the Des Moines Social Club (900 Mulberry St.). Directed by Matthew McIver and produced by Ken-Matt Martin, the murder mystery explores the complicated feelings of anger some African-Americans have toward one another and the ways in which some have absorbed white racist attitudes. The show runs through Aug. 22. Tickets are $20-$25 per person; find out more and buy tickets here.
Larry Erickson is contributing editor of dsm and ia magazines.
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.



What to Expect During

Restaurant Week 2015


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