A Walk In the Park(ing space): Parking in the East Village

east-village-promenadeAs you may have recently heard, there are some changes to the parking situation in Downtown Des Moines and the East Village.

What’s going on with parking? Well, right now, in the East Village, nothing, really.

First, Court Avenue. Updated parking policies were implemented in January, in the Court Avenue district on the other side of the river. The charge at parking meters on the street is rising in that entertainment zone, and the hours where paid parking is required are expanding. Visitors to the Court Avenue district will pay to park on the street at a meter 9 am – 9 pm, Monday through Saturday.

Next, the East Village. Later in spring or summer 2018, the East Village (and the streets around the popular Pappajohn Sculpture Park) will follow suit: when the changes take effect, paid parking at meters in the heart of the neighborhood will be enforced 9 am – 9 pm, Monday – Saturday.

The silver lining? At the same time as parking meter hours expand and the meter rates change, hourly rates in downtown and East Village parking ramps are decreasing, to encourage long-term parking in those structures instead.

Oh, and two more improvements: (1) the City of Des Moines is removing peak (rush) hour parking restrictions in key areas, and (2) expanding free or discounted parking areas in surface lots and on the periphery of downtown.


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Meanwhile, back at the ranch (dressing) …

250px-Ranch_dressingMarch 10 is National Ranch Dressing Day, and AllSpice staffer Anna worried that we’d be remiss if we never told our friends about this important food holiday, and the salad dressing (and dip) that inspired it.

So here’s the 411 on America’s favorite dressing:

There really is a Hidden Valley Ranch. Not just an idyllic picture on a packet of a make-believe place, there really was (is) a Hidden Valley Ranch.

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We Feel Pretty! Oh, so pretty!

If you’ve been in the shop this past week or two, you may have noticed we looked a little, well, disheveled. Or dis-shelved.

Never fear! Our discombobulation was all in the service of a good cause. We’ve been hard at work after hours, taking down the jars, moving out the shelves, getting out the drop cloths…  All part of our winter project to refresh the look here at the shop.

Here are some photos of our project, and a peek at the new, rich colors:

We’ll be putting finishing touches on the shop refresh in the next week or two, just in time for spring.

Come see our updated look, and let us know what you think!

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Go Bananas! National Banana Bread Day

National Banana Bread Day is February 23. As we celebrate (and by “celebrate” we mean “eat a bunch of”) this yummy, cake-like quick bread, it seemed like a great time to take a look at this simple treat and its signature ingredient, the banana.

Cavendish_DS-bananabunchBananas in the USA (Fun Banana Bread Facts):

North Americans began consuming bananas on a small scale (and at very high prices) in the 1870s, shortly after the Civil War.

Jules Verne introduces his readers to bananas with detailed descriptions in Around the World in Eighty Days (1872).

The subsequent development of modern transportation networks of steamships and railroads, combined with the development of refrigeration, beginning in the 1880s, allowed bananas to become more widely available.

It took a while longer for bananas to start to appear in dessert recipes, though.
(more after the break)

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Fluorescent, Radioactive Berry? Little-Known Banana Facts

Cavendish_DS-bananabunchFun Banana Facts:

  • The banana is actually a berry, botanically speaking.
  • The Musa genus of plants (the family of plants that produce bananas) are native to Australia and Southeast Asia, and were first domesticated for human consumption in Papua New Guinea, perhaps as long as 8000 years ago.
  • The word banana is thought to be of West African origin, possibly from the Wolof word banaana, and passed into English via Spanish or Portuguese.
  • There are dozens of different kinds of bananas grown around the world, but in the US, nearly all of the bananas sold are of the Cavendish variety. The Cavendish banana is easier to transport, and has a longer shelf life, than other varieties.
  • Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive because of their potassium content and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium. *
  • They’re fluorescent, too. A 2008 study reported that ripe bananas fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light (photo below), probably because the degradation of chlorophyll leads to the buildup of a fluorescent product in the skin of the fruit.**


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