AUGUST 16, 2016

Luisa Lopez, a cook at Malo, drew upon her Mexican heritage for Restaurant Week meals.

By Wini Moranville
Restaurant Week starts this Friday, Aug. 19. If you don't have reservations, you'd better start nailing down your picks and making some calls -- tables fill up fast for this dining extravaganza. Check out this list of participants.  
While some restaurants will showcase contemporary, on-trend food, Chef Matt Howard at Malo has chosen the abuela as his Restaurant Week muse. Abuela is Spanish for grandmother, and Howard's three courses all feature recipes inspired by Malo's in-house abuela, Luisa Lopez, who has cooked there since the restaurant opened.
While growing up in Oaxaca, Mexico, as the oldest of five children, Lopez was taught by her mother to make traditional, regional recipes. Her favorites include chicken mole and tamales with various fillings; these dishes are featured prominently on Malo's Restaurant Week menu along with Lopez's recipes for handmade empanadas, chile relleno, gorditas and a summer-perfect mango-lime sauce served over vanilla gelato. See the entire menu here.  
Remember, during Restaurant Week, Aug. 19-28, you can snag two lunches or one three-course dinner at participating restaurants for $28. Enjoy!
A closed school in Cambria, Iowa brought us an unexpected treasure - historic preservation and repurposing of a beautiful hardwood maple gym floor! ... Read More
Migrating monarchs may get the attention, but duskywing here has logged some miles too.

Visiting the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, you never know just whom you'll run into. Or what.
As we all know, the wild indigo duskywing butterfly has been a rarity anywhere in Iowa. But one of the little guys showed up here in the middle of the state last week, cooling his heels among the foliage at the Botanical Garden. He (or she; it seemed indelicate to check) was discovered by Bret Lang, an Iowa State grad school intern at the Botanical Garden, who has been surveying the effects of urban landscapes on butterfly populations. The discovery may reflect a change in the duskywing's travel habits.
This species has been spotted occasionally in about half of the counties in Iowa (44, according to Lang's research, including nine times in Polk County). It is on Iowa's "species of special concern list," Lang reports. "Until the mid-1980s wild indigo duskywings were usually only spotted among dry prairies and the Loess Hills," Lang notes. "Since then, a race originating from Pennsylvania that eats mainly crown vetch has made its way into Iowa using resources along Iowa roadway ditches."
Valet parking makes attending dsm's launch party easy at this Sherman Hill site, nearing completion at 19th and Center streets.

The birth of a new issue of dsm magazine will be attended by midwives (among others, of course)! Perhaps you've joined us before for one of our launch parties, where local institutions host dsm and our readers at a free catered event that includes the unveiling of the latest issue.

Our hosts Tuesday, Aug. 23 (5-7 p.m.; short program at 6 p.m.), will be our good friends at Silent Rivers Design + Build, and the site will be one of their favorite recent projects,
the Green & Main Building at 800 19th St., on the northwest corner of 19th and Center streets in the Sherman Hill neighborhood. Years ago, the 1880-era building housed a grocery. Expanded and revitalized by Silent Rivers, it soon will be once again a vibrant neighborhood fixture, home to a women's holistic health and birth center, with residential space upstairs.
"Sooner or Later" the Grass Roots were bound to play the Iowa State Fair.


Younger readers, skip to the next item; there's nothing for you here. Those of you in your 60s or older: We're happy to report that endurance has its rewards. Tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 17) is Older Iowans' Day at the Iowa State Fair. Two benefits:
            * $8 admission for you 60+ers.
            * The legendary Grass Roots perform free at 8 p.m. at the MidAmerican Energy Stage. Yes, like you, we appreciate the irony of seniors at any "energy" stage. We see it as an encouraging sign.
Looking for a book to dig into? These diverse tomes by local authors may fit your interests.

Three new books by Greater Des Moines authors recently landed on our desks, each clearly reflecting the writer's passion.
  • "Digging Bones" by Gene Erb is a historical action-adventure novel set in the 1870s in the Western frontier. It tells the story of siblings Luke and Rachel, who escape a childhood of abuse in their family's Nebraska cabin to join a fossil hunting crew headed to the desolate Dakota badlands. Shadow, a young Sioux brave, follows them, ill intentions in mind. Erb, a former Des Moines Register award-winning reporter and editor, is a top-notch researcher, integrating historic events and facts in the story while avoiding stereotypes and creating authentic, empathetic characters. Luke, Rachel and Shadow tell the story through their own voices and viewpoints. The book is available through
  • If anyone--anyone--doubts there's an abundance of culture in Iowa, then they clearly don't know about "Iowa Culture: Past and Present" by Carson Ode. In creating the 405-page oversized hardback book, Ode and his wife, Connie, spent two years visiting nearly 500 (yes, 500!) museums, cultural centers and historic sites across the state. Open it to any page, and we guarantee you'll find out something you didn't know--like, say, the fact that the Story Theatre-Grand Opera House in Story City is Iowa's oldest continuously operating theater. Each page is also packed with photos. For more info or to buy a copy, go to the book's website
  • For those who have yet to discover the joy of reading, "Aardvark to Zucchini Phonetic Alphabet Book" by Joan Hentschel is an early reading primer designed for children ages 1 to 6. The reading program, which Hentschel developed, covers 64 phonetic sounds. "When gradually introduced in a specific order, they help the reader grasp the concepts quickly," she explains, adding that the approach also may help older students, including those who are learning English as a second language. To learn more, go to the book's website
What a great way to spend a Saturday morning: encouraging at-risk students to graduate.

Want a chance to change a life? Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the last day to volunteer for United Way of Central Iowa's annual Graduation Walk, Saturday, Aug. 27, from 9 a.m. to noon.

As a volunteer, you'll be paired with a Des Moines Public Schools staff member to visit the homes of students at risk of dropping out of school. You'll connect personally with students and their families, share information about career outcomes for dropouts and help guide them to a path toward graduation. The volunteer registration process starts here, and includes an orientation session to get you ready for the walk.

Iowa Pork Producers Association - Des Moines Restaurant Week 2016

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