MKEfoodies End of Summer Picnic

  Photo by Paul and Christa So, exactly what happens when you get a huge group of food-lovin’ folk together for a potluck picnic in the park? Well… that’s exactly what the MKEfoodies are hoping to find out at their first annual picnic at Hart Park on Saturday, August 20th.   And I, for one, will be there to partake in all the fun. After all, the MKEfoodies group has been cooking up all sorts of Milwaukee-style high jinks since last December, when the group hosted their first restaurant social event at Roots Cellar.   Since that time, the group has visited…

An Ode to Milwaukee’s Gentle Giant-

  Photo by Growing Power If you’ve never met Will Allen, Milwaukee’s own urban farmer, you may have missed the way this former professional basketball player towers over nearly everyone in his path. But, it’s not his sheer size that makes Allen remarkable.  It’s the work he does.  Allen has gained regional and national attention over the last two decades for his work as the lead trainer and Chief Executive Officer of the Milwaukee-based, non-profit organization, Growing Power, Inc.  I’ve written before about the awesome work they’re doing over at Growing Power.  And I doubt this will be the last…

Get Ready to Go Local!

Seems that everyone is trying to eat local these days, so I’m not going to go on and on about the benefits of supporting local agri-business and promoting healthful eating.  But, I am going to publicly announce my intent to “Take the Challenge” and I’m going to encourage you to do so as well. Here’s some information to get you started. Are you ready to take the Eat Local Challenge? In early September, the Eat Local Challenge will be begin. What is this Challenge, you may ask? For two weeks, people in the Milwaukee area strive to consume as much…

Beta by Sabor

My biggest complaint about Milwaukee area restaurants has always been that their menus tend to be “too safe.”  I love to cook. So, when I go out to dinner, I’m doing so because I want to have a new experience.  I want to be able to sit down, relax, and be transported to another place.  I want the chef to cook me something that I can’t make at home – something that stretches my own repertoire and makes my tastebuds tingle with pleasure.  I want to be challenged. Being challenged doesn’t necessarily mean that a menu item needs to be…

Delicious Charity

Sometimes a restaurant can be just a little too hot to handle. Such was the case with The Underground Kitchen, a Madison restaurant which lost its building in the Capitol Hill fire on June 30th in Madison.  The restaurant was open for just one year before the fire. The Kitchen was operated by The Underground Food Collective, a supremely cool nonhierarchical group of cooks founded by Jonny Hunter, his brother Ben, and five others committed to providing good food grown, cooked and prepared by good people.   The Collective started as a catering business, specializing in pork-centric underground dinners in Wisconsin,…

Taste a Little Bit of Italy

  photo by magrolino It’s summer in Milwaukee.  Finally.  After a cold wet spring, the mercury has finally risen and the sun has appeared from behind the clouds.  Best of all, festival season has officially begun! If you missed out on the color of Pride Fest, or the delicious pierogi or pączki at Polish fest, I’m pleased to announce that there’s still plenty of time to enjoy all the delicious diversity that Milwaukee has to offer. Although I don’t have a single Italian gene in my body, there’s just something about Festa Italiana, the largest Italian event of its kind…

Art Music Food and … Kashi?

  Andrew Carson’s Wind Sculptures. Photo by beautifulcataya One of my favorite weekends of the summer happens to be the second weekend in July when the Capitol Square in Madison goes all out for the Art Fair on the Square. Organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Fair on the Square has been taking place in Madison since 1959.  Each year over 200,000 art lovers gather to peruse and purchase the work of more than 450 artists exhibiting paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, wearables, and fine craft.   Now, I’ll admit to being enamoured of art of all…

East Side Green Market

Some farmer’s markets have been going on so long, it’s difficult to compile an accurate history. Take the East Side Green market for instance.  This bohemian market has been going on in some form or another for about a hundred years.  But, these days, you’ll find a variety of vendors, including farmers, artisans, and musicians camped out in the Beans & Barley Parking lot on Saturday mornings through early October. I’m a self-professed farmer’s market junkie.  But, I’ve always been particularly attracted to the hip, bohemian feel of the East Side Green Market – with its farm stands and music,…

Beer Brats and Fox Brothers

There are very few things that scream “summer” in Wisconsin more than a freshly grilled bratwurst washed down with a deliciously refreshing local beer. But, what makes a truly great bratwurst? The answer to that question might be more complicated than I first anticipated, thanks to the skillful hand of Dean Rindahl, master sausage maker for Fox Brothers Piggly Wiggly of Oconomowoc and Hartland.  Thanks to Rindahl’s skill and a bit of home-grown ingenuity, Fox Brothers’ bratwurst has earned top honors at the Wisconsin Association of Meat Producers (WAMP) Product Competition for three years running.    As a testament to…

Farmer’s Market Love

One of my favorite places to spend a Saturday morning is at the farmer’s market. There’s just something about being surrounded by beautiful fresh produce, pretty flowers and so many delicious smells. Plus, you just can’t beat having the opportunity to chat with the people who grow your food – especially when the alternative is making small talk with the bored teenage checker at the local Pick‘n’Save. For that reason, I’d like to take some time this summer to feature some of my favorite local markets and tell you a little bit about what makes each of them special. This week, it’s…