Watching & Waiting

A daughter’s story about her father and the Haiti earthquake aftermath


My cell phone buzzed with its familiar electronic chime as the display lit up “Mom.” I was driving to work, in a hurry and starving. I looked longingly at the Arby’s drive-through bag in my passenger seat and reluctantly answered the phone.

“Have you been watching TV?” It could have been a question followed by a squeal of “Oh my God, ‘American Idol’ is so good!” But the tone was wrong. There were tears behind the question...Read More>>

What gives with Butch Bain? Who gives to politicians?

What’s going on with Butch Bain, the Racing and Gaming Commission, Prairie Meadows and, maybe, the Department of Criminal Investigation? Bain, a Des Moines-area horse breeder and businessman who represents the horse industry on the 15-person Prairie Meadows board and who races his American Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds at the track, apparently has gotten crosswise with the state because of some information he supplied — or failed to supply — in a licensing process involving his horse business. There’s a question of whether he should be barred from racing his horses at Prairie Meadows. It’s so serious that RACI has scheduled a hearing into the whole thing, and the DCI is said to be looking at it. Some of Bain’s buddies in the horse industry want him to quit the Prairie Meadows board so that the issue can be quietly dropped before the hearing; they were overheard urging that on him after the RACI board meeting this month. He apparently doesn’t want to. All this pleases those folks who think the horse industry has way too big a say at Prairie Meadows (and in the legislature) and who love to see the horse guys fighting among themselves....Read More>>

Suhler embraces no-holds-barred, blues-rock tag

If you like blues-rock, then you might enjoy the take-no-prisoners attitude of Texas guitarist Jim Suhler when he performs Saturday, Jan. 30 at the Winter Blues Fest.

The 49-year-old Dallas native is steeped in the tradition of Lone Star State guitar slingers like Freddie King, Billy Gibbons, Johnny Winter and the Vaughan Brothers. And for 11 years, Suhler has been a member of one of the most popular roadhouse bands of all time, George Thorogood and The Destroyers, while maintaining his own band, Monkey Beat.

In addition to performing his own music for more than 17 years, a closer look reveals two things that distinguish Suhler from his blues-rock peers. For starters, he has a genuine affection for pre-war blues heroes like Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Blind Blake and he continues to perform and record acoustic, traditional blues with a resonator guitar....Read More>>

Grandma’s Apron

My completely unscientific survey of restaurant parking lots has found Texas Roadhouse to be the busiest place in the metro at dinnertime, just ahead of Hu Hot. I tend to notice such things from a distance. It took me years to discover that big chains Cracker Barrel, Outback and Culver’s delivered decent food for reasonable prices. When Zagat’s far more “scientific” survey rated Texas Roadhouse’s steaks third best in the country among chains (Outback was first), I decided it was time to see what has been packing their parking lot.

Texas Roadhouse is a 17-year-old chain from Indiana. Like most transplants, it works hard to simulate authenticity. Its music, piney wood furniture, ubiquitous cactus and neon beer signs were as Texan as the many dead things mounted on their walls, including white tail deer, antelope, elk and big bass. I quickly discovered why Zagat did not cite the place for good service. Upon entering for the first time, I found heavily perfumed, gum chewing hostesses talking to each other while three parties waited to be seated in front of a door blasting arctic air. No one was offered a chance to wait at a warm, empty bar. When I was seated, with no choice among scores of empty tables, I listened to a long spiel without being able to understand any words except for “legendary“ and “margaritas.” I was appeased with free peanuts but was ordered to leave the shells in an empty bucket...Read More>>

Say somethin'!

Tell us what you think about local politics, music, restaurants, bars, entertainment or anything else going on in Des Moines.

Read More>>

On the town

Cityview brings you updated nightlife images, trivia and bar specials from the metro area's hottest spots. See More>>

Round Kick Gym

Best of Des Moines 2011

Fall Relish

Coupon Guide