April 11, 2017
Bubba general manager Kate Willer, managing partner Chris Diebel, and new executive chef Courtney Oberender.
Photo: Christopher Maharry / Maharry Photography
HEAD CHEF HEADED TO BUBBA FROM GATEWAY
  
By Wini Moranville
 
Changes are afoot at Bubba--Southern Comforts, Christopher Diebel's dashing downtown hot spot. Courtney Oberender will take over the kitchen as executive chef later this month.
  
A rising star, Oberender was named the Iowa Restaurant Association's Chef of the Year in 2016. I tasted her work at the association's "Culinary Affair" earlier this month. The dinner featured seven courses by seven local chefs, and Oberender's course, the Dr Pepper-braised short ribs entree, stood its ground amid the finely tuned work of even the more experienced chefs participating that night, including Baru 66's David Baruthio and Splash's Dom Iannarelli.
  
I asked Oberender, who most recently has been head chef of Gateway Market, what changes she had in mind for Bubba's kitchen. "I'm looking forward to collaborating with our sous-chefs on seasonal menus," she said. "[We] have been reaching out to local farmers to obtain their produce calendars, and we intend to include these ingredients whenever we can during the growing season."
  
She added that while classic dishes such as fried chicken, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits will always have a home on Bubba's menu, she hopes to add lighter fare as we head into summer.

Also expect more catering options. "Comfort food appeals to such a large audience, and a lot of our offerings travel well," she says "We'll be exploring drop-off catering options outside of our brick-and-mortar space. Think fried chicken picnic dinners in the summer and cozy meatloaf meals in the winter."
  
Bubba--Southern Comforts is at 200 10th St.; 515-257-4744; bubbadsm.com.
 
Wini Moranville covers food and dining for dsm . Follow her at All Things Food - DSM Wini Moranville.
 
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Photos of progress on this master suite remodel begin to reveal a newly designed, open and eclectic space. A wood clad accent wall adds warmth and beauty to the bedroom area. And we've recently installed custom-built rift sawn oak bathroom cabinets. ... 

Say what you will about apples; they've had a complicated past. Expect a red one in Snow White's grasp Saturday.
SNOW WE DARE MENTION: BALLET'S 'SNOW WHITE'
  
Who doesn't love a crisp, fresh apple? Healthy stuff, right? Yet somehow apples have been the very symbol of woe, from Eve to Snow White. Ms. White gets her fateful bite in two performances by Ballet Des Moines this Saturday, April 15, at 1 and 6:30 p.m. at the Des Moines Civic Center.

The production will feature the company's professional and pre-professional dancers, plus hundreds(!) of local student dancers, with music performed by Des Moines Community Orchestra. Tickets are $19. You can buy them here. You can buy apples here
Thought-provoking author Jon Ronson, shown here presenting a TED Talk, which was broadcast on NPR's TED Radio Hour.
AUTHOR RONSON SPEAKS TO AVID FANS
  
Welsh nonfiction writer Jon Ronson will speak at Drake University's Sheslow Auditorium at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, April 12. Ronson's appearance is part of Des Moines Public Library's free popular AViD series (Authors Visiting in Des Moines).

Des Moines' Mike Draper -- he of Raygun fame -- will join Ronson as moderator of this presentation. Draper refers to the author as a genius and "one of the most fascinating writer-journalists working today." This link will take you to a podcast of Draper interviewing Ronson in anticipation of this event, so you can judge the genius claim for yourself.  
 
Genius or not, Ronson has written 10 books, including the best-sellers " The Psychopath Test ," " The Men Who Stare at Goats " and his newest book, " So You've Been Publicly Shamed ," which looks at shaming as an internet phenomenon and examines the effects of those events. He is a regular contributor to "This American Life," GQ and the New York Times Book Review, and he has appeared on television's popular "The Daily Show." 
Buckle up! This is the 50th anniversary of the Pony Express Riders of Iowa, a group that saddles up every year to raise and deliver funds on horseback to Camp Sunnyside north of Des Moines. Many will be sporting this commemorative buckle.
BACK IN THE SADDLE: HEROES ON HORSEBACK
  
On Saturday, April 15, more than 300 riders on horseback from across the state will deliver donations to Easter Seals Iowa's Camp Sunnyside at 401 N.E. 66th Ave.

This will be the 50th anniversary of the annual ride by the Pony Express Riders of Iowa, which has raised more than $10 million to support Easter Seals Iowa and Camp Sunnyside. Regional rides start throughout the state on Friday and meet Saturday at the John Deere Ankeny plant. They set out at 2:30 p.m. Saturday for the ride into Camp Sunnyside, where the public can view the spectacle of their arrival and welcome the riders at 3 p.m. The event concludes with a victory dance to announce this year's fundraising total.
Jennifer L. Knox, author of four books of poetry, will be among the poets featured at Artisan Gallery 218 on Monday, April 17.
IAMBIC PENTAMETER SPOKEN HERE
  
Celebrate National Poetry Month by hanging out with poets on Monday, April 17, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Artisan Gallery 218, 218 Fifth St. in Valley Junction. Eight respected poets with Iowa ties are participating, including Paul Brooke, Heather Derr-Smith, Jennifer L. Knox and Kyle McCord. Learn more about the event, the poets and their work here

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