DEC 29, 2015

An exhibit of local artists' work continues through Jan. 7 at Polk County Heritage Gallery. 

You have one more week to catch "Greater Des Moines Exhibited 22" at Polk County Heritage Gallery. When we stopped by, we were impressed by the variety of works by talented local artists whom we hadn't known about--until now.

Named best in show: Lance Kinseth, "Man With Red Scarf, Frontal Hands," acrylic. 
Lance Kinseth's "Man With Red Scarf, Frontal Hands" immediately grabbed our attention; it's easy to understand why the acrylic work was awarded best in show. Among other works, we were intrigued by Kevin House's photomontage "The Hog Will Pay Our Debt." Other media represented include sculpture, oil, photography and drawings.

The free exhibit runs through Jan. 7. The gallery, one of the city's hidden gems, is located at Second Avenue and Walnut Street, in the Polk County Administration Building. Find out more on the gallery's website.
Cabinetry, Oh Cabinetry - Traversing the Forest of Choices
Silent Rivers artisans have always built beautiful custom cabinetry in our woodshop. Now we also offer Wellborn manufactured cabinetry that we can customize just for you! ... Read More »
Big taste in sparkling wines comes in different sizes--and at appealing prices.

By Wini Moranville
After tasting through hundreds of sparkling wines over the past decade and a half as a food and wine writer, I've landed on my go-to, easy-to-find favorites in the moderately priced vein. Yes, we can spend a lot more, and yes, I could send you on a wild-goose chase for my favorite hard-to-find French crémant d'Alsace, but the great thing about sparkling wines these days is that you don't have to spend much or look too far afield for a bottle that's filled with finesse. Prices shown are from Ingersoll Wine and Spirits (3500 Ingersoll Ave.; 515-255-3191), but my picks are widely available at many well-stocked stores.
* J Cuvée 20 (Russian River Valley; $29.99): The delicate froth. The bright citrus notes. And those orchard fruits mingling with that telltale brioche-toast backdrop. Yes, the hallmarks of a nuanced sparkling wine are all here at a price that belies its elegance.  
* Chandon Blanc de Noir (California; $20.99): Its lively sparkle will kick off the evening in style, but keep pouring it through dinner. The red-fruit flavors and rich creamy qualities will play nice with just about anything you bring to the table. Pink bubblies with steak? I've done it many a time and enjoyed it thoroughly.
* La Marca Prosecco (Italy; $14.99): Looking for a little more fruity approachability in your sparkling wine? This one brings bright citrus and orchard-fruit flavors, but with a clean, crisp finish.  Find handy split-size bottles ($5.99) at World Market (4100 University Ave., West Des Moines; 515-267-9666). They're perfect if you need just a little sparkle at the stroke of midnight. 

Wini Moranville is a freelance writer who covers the food and dining scene for dsm. Follow her at All Things Food - DSM Wini Moranville.    
 Michael Wergin-Droll and Max Stanco manage Des Moines' newest upscale boutique.

Greater Des Moines' style quotient just took a leap forward with the opening of Lord Midas of Des Moines, a luxury clothing and accessories store on the first floor of the Des Moines Building downtown (405 Sixth Ave.).

Sophisticated and exquisite handmade Italian goods star here; you'll find impeccably crafted men's blazers, suits, sweaters, ties, shoes and briefcases by such exclusive brands as Santoni, Isaia and Franceschetti. The store also sells women's shoes and handbags. Floor-to-ceiling windows, a small espresso bar, artwork and elegant merchandising displays enhance the ambience.

That the Lord Midas flagship retail store would land here is as intriguing as the merchandise. Why Des Moines?

Art and a flair for displaying merchandise make Lord Midas stand apart from other retailers. 
"I get that question all of the time," says owner Massimiliano "Max" Stanco. The short story: Stanco, a native of Avellino, Italy, intended to open his flagship in Dallas (earlier, he had opened a showroom in New York City), but then a friend persuaded him to visit here. "Des Moines is a very special place with very special people," Stanco says he soon realized. "There's nothing like Lord Midas here ... and I saw a lot of possibilities" to fill a luxury niche.

"We make sure we offer high-quality products not available anywhere else," adds Stanco, who recently moved to Des Moines. Joining him is store manager Michael Wergin-Droll, who previously worked at Badowers.

In addition to running Lord Midas, Stanco has his own line of beautiful handmade briefcases, leather shoes and smaller accessories, which are available at the boutique as well. View goods from Stanco's line on his website, and find out more about Lord Midas on its Facebook page. Stanco also operates an e-store:
A contrail of vinyl doves, created by local volunteers, hovers behind the giant goldfinch that soars inside the passenger terminal at Des Moines International Airport.

The sculpture "Birds of a Feather," a 6-foot aluminum goldfinch, now hovers permanently over the baggage area at Des Moines International Airport. Installation was completed over the weekend, just in time for holiday travelers and those headed to the Rose Bowl, notes Kim Poam-Logan, executive director of Metro Arts Alliance, which commissioned the sculpture of Iowa's state bird to celebrate the organization's 40th anniversary. The work was designed by artist Bounnak Thammavong of Swisher, Iowa. 
A little instruction will help take the mystery out of wine while adding to the enjoyment.

Have you resolved to learn more about wine in 2016? You could start today with the 6 p.m. wine tasting at Splash Seafood Bar & Grill, 303 Locust St. They'll discuss and sample wines from around the world and pair them with appetizers created by Splash Executive Chef Dominic Iannarelli. Cost is $40 per person. Since this is short notice, call for availability: 515-244-5686.
Perhaps another time? How about any old Thursday? WineStyles at West Glen has weekly wine tastings from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday. Each week, they taste and discuss six wines. Event fee: $7. (5515 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines; 515-224-9463.)

Sages Over 70 - 2015

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