Bringing you ‘The Best’



For two decades now, the pages of Cityview have been filled with a variety of opinions from a variety of people. I am proud of what we do each week. I don’t always agree with everything printed, but that’s never been a requirement. Having said that, I do agree with the need to have it printed and appreciate the opportunity to do so.

When I became publisher of the newspaper five years ago, I was determined to not allow the paper to center around the opinions of a single person, including me. I wanted it to be a mix of thoughts and ideas that would challenge readers to think about issues in ways they may not have previously done. I hired a number of talented people to do just that, and it has paid off with more people reading this newspaper today than ever in its history.

This issue represents the melting pot of opinion better than any other, as the cover story solely reflects your opinions on local businesses, products, services, people and events. By participating in our survey, you told us what and who you felt were the “best,” and we are pleased to publish the results.

Other publishing companies have tried their “best” to copy our approach, and we appreciate the attention. Even so, there’s only one “Best of Des Moines,” and you are about to engage yourself in it....Read More>>

Can it get any worse for Chet Culver?

The numbers in Sunday’s Iowa Poll are devastating.

Bob Ray, Terry Branstad, Tom Vilsack — none ever had an approval rating as low as the 36 percent posted for Culver. The poll shows pretty-conservative Branstad swamping Culver in November by 20 points — if Branstad gets the Republican nomination. But it also shows ultra-conservative Bob Vander Plaats beating Culver by three points should Vander Plaats get the nomination — which Culver backers are praying for. They’ll tell you that those three points are within the 4.3-point margin of error. True, but Christopher Rants — Christopher Rants, who has no money, who is out there all alone driving around the state, who has a zero-percent chance of getting the nomination and who isn’t Mr. Lovable to friend or foe — Christopher Rants is within the margin of error in a face-to-face with Culver. And Rod Roberts, the fourth GOP contender, a guy with no traction within the party, is within five points of Culver in a face-to-face match.

What does it all mean? Anybody but Culver. ...Read More>>

Sparks fly from Backyard Tire Fire’s blue-collar rock

In short, Backyard Tire Fire (BTF) is the kind of rock ‘n’ roll band everyman and everywoman can get behind once they hear their new album “Good To Be.”

The long of it, according to BTF’s well-thought-out bio, goes something like this:

“Backyard Tire Fire have achieved one of those big-time, long-haul records that matter far more than the sum of its considerable parts — and not via grandiose, larger-than-life lyrical imagery but through blue-collar, common sense miniatures that remind us of the simple beauty present in mundane, daily, person-to-person experience — a reminder that the hard work and struggle that these times are so dead-set about avoiding are the only actual treasures, the only worthwhile endeavors that bear fruit of substance.

“Which is not to say that ‘Good To Be’ is yet another one of those one-dimensional, granola-rootsy, rustic Americana takes on post-Uncle Tupelo barn-board rock; there is a taste of that, to be sure, but Anderson & Co. have spread the stylistic court with a rich, ever-expanding palette of aural rock ‘n’ roll colors and textures that tap into bouncy, Kinks-meet-Squeeze Brit pop-rock, Tom Petty-styled Southern rock, Beatle-esque majesty, intimate balladry, chiming folk-rock and heartland/populist chest-pounders. Bearing a consistent message of empathy, humanity and hope, ‘Good To Be’ is a triumph of [Ed] Anderson’s own 13-year journey as a rock and roller.”...Read More>>

Quackless ducks, impotent ducks and mallards

With 35,000 waterfowl hunters, Iowa is duck country. Yet until recently, duck dining here was isolated to Chinese restaurants and wild game dinners. No more. Thanks to expanded domesticated duck businesses, readers have been asking questions about breeds, sexes and even sexless-ness on their duck plates. We dutifully investigated.

PF Chang’s offered only one duck option. None would have been better. Their VIP duck presented half a dry bird, not as crispy as one expects in Chinese restaurants, with scallions, flatbread and a very sweet, very salty plum sauce. My server had no idea what breed or sex my duck was. Since Chang’s prides itself on recipe authenticity, it’s safe to assume it was a Pekin (aka Nanking), a mallard breed that originated in China, became Long Island duckling in America and is closely related to 95 percent of all domesticated duck in America, and nearly 100 percent in Asia. Alba’s duck breast came from an Indiana company that raises Pekins and distributes duck breasts. Theirs was plated with a wonderful wild mushroom risotto, squash, cranberries and mint.

At Django, restaurateur George Formaro told me that an alpha diner had recently canceled an order of duck after learning it was a Pekin. So I called Fox Hollow Farm’s Tai Johnson-Spratt, who raises free range Pekins, low fat White Muscovies and Mule ducks, which are a impotent cross between those other breeds. She supplies Django, Sbrocco and Bistro Montage with whole ducks.

...Read More>>

Say somethin'!

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

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On the town

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

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