Friday’s annual East Village Holiday Promenade kicks off the season downtown. Santa will visit Brenton Plaza, there will be free horse-drawn hayrack rides and local shops will be open late. There will also be some great food and beverage options. Here are a few places to check out for special Promenade dishes and drinks.
Luna Bistro, 621 Des Moines St. The restaurant will be serving a special menu, including a pumpkin and blue cheese cheesecake for dessert. The idea came from a pumpkin and blue cheese gnocchi, which chef Kris Van Tuyl thought would translate well into a savory dessert. ($6.50)
Alba, 524 E. Sixth St. The featured pasta entree will be a sweet potato agnolotti (similar to a ravioli), topped with sage brown butter and spiced pecans. ($10 for a half order, $18 for a full order), with a special Aviation martini made with Beefeater’s gin, Luxardo, lemon and lavender syrup ($9.50).
State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust St. The Department of Cultural Affairs will host a Chili for Charity event during the promenade. The cost is a $5 donation or a new, unwrapped toy benefiting the Food Bank of Iowa and Toys for Tots. That donation gets you a bowl of chili, cornbread, toppings and a drink. The Nick Leo Jazz Quartet will play, Girl Scouts will carol and Santa will make an appearance.
Village Bean, 305 E. Fifth St. The coffee shop will have free samples of a homemade Irish cream liqueur to spike your coffee with. Also featured will be the November latte, Frostberry, made with blackberry, almond and white chocolate ($4.09 for a medium).
Gong Fu Tea, 414 E. Sixth St. The tea shop will be serving free samples of spice tea, holiday blend and cranberry lover’s tea near the front of the store. Manager Debbie Feller will also be serving free samples of her thumbprint cookies and chocolate- covered peanut butter balls.
2012 Holiday Promenade
When: 5-9 p.m. Friday
Where: East Village, downtown Des Moines