Do you like to cook?
Do you like to eat?
Then the Madison Food & Wine Show is something you need to check out this weekend. Happening Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, this is one of my favorite parts of the fall.
Here's how it works. When you go into the Exhibition Hall, you'll be given a wine glass (that you can take home), and a bag to hold goodies in, as well as info about all the exhibitors. It's going to seem overwhelming at first..but give yourself a chance to get your bearings, and then start wandering.
You'll find delicious foods from a wide variety of restaurants, caterers, and other food producers (think cheese!) Everything from entrees to desserts. You can pick up lots of great ideas along the way, meet awesome people who know all about the food or other product that they have for you to try.
Ooh..I almost forgot the wine!Â So many wines to sample! It's a great way to discover new wines without having to risk spending a lot of money on something you don't like.
Not big into wines? No big deal. I'm not a real wine person, but I still find plenty of items to try..and yes, there's beer there too.
Throughout the three days, there will be plenty of demonstrations..and the Dueling Chefs competition is always entertaining.
Look for Triple M at the show. We'll be handing out suggestions for great Triple M Triple combos featuring entree, beverage, and album.
Here are the ones I came up with:
British Invasion Picnic
LP:Â The Who Sell Out
Entree: Good Old American Hamburger with beans on the side
Drink: Newcastle Beer
Breakfast in America
LP: Supertramp's Breakfast in America
Entree: Omelette with spinach, mushrooms and Wisconsin colby cheese
Drink: Mimosa with California sparkling wine and Florida orange juice
A Texican treat
LP:Â Los Lonely Boys debut
Entree: Texas Tamale Pie and
Drink: Chameleon El Rey Beer
Find out more about the Food & Wine Show here.
Madison Magazine's Restaurant Week is coming up starting on Sunday (July 24th), and this week I got a sneak peek when I checked out Brickhouse BBQ on Gorham Street.
Readers of Madison Magazine named it Best New Restaurant of 2010, so I was curious to see if the hype was deserved.
My companion Karen and I decided to check out the new restaurant on Tuesday..and our visit started out great because we got rock star parking at a meter just outside the restaurant.
We decided to try a variety of items that the restaurant had to offer. We started off with some appetizers..Brickhouse Nachos and quesadillas, each made with pulled pork. Neither of us had ever tried these items made with pork before, and we were pleasantly surprised. Our server told us that all of their meat products are organic, and come from Niman Ranch, which works with family farmers who raise livestock traditionally, humanely and sustainably. All that's wonderful, but how did it taste? Delicious, that's how!
Our friendly server (sorry I didn't catch his name) also told us that Brickhouse is all about local ingredients..buying lots of produce every Saturday down at the Farmers Market.Â And the barbecue sauces are all made in-house.
The array of food just kept coming. Next we tried the smoked ham topped with pineapple salsa, and Karen and I agreed it was the best we ever tasted...tender, flavorful, and not salty. The Brickhouse ribs were tender and not too greasy..although I will admit my napkin was well-used by the end of our dinner.
We also tried the blackened catfish, which was nice and spicy, and presented beautifully.
While Brickhouse offers 40 different beers on tap, we opted for the lemonade which was delicious, thirst quenching, and much better than the Crystal Light type stuff you get at so many restaurants.
The atmosphere was crisp and clean, and urban in feel. When we were there the outdoor patio was closed due to the heat, but I hope to check that out when conditions are more temperate. And those happy hour specials look tempting too.
Check out their Restaurant Week Menu here.
Brickhouse BBQ menu here.
So last night I tried a new food!Â For the first time I tried cooking with quinoa. It's been called a super-food--a grain that's also a complete protein.
I found a recipe online and adapted it, and must say it worked out great!
Now I don't really pay attention to specific measurements when I cook, so this is just an approximation.
Kitty's Black Beans & Quinoa
Sautee half of an onion,Â 1 1/2 cloves garlic, and one small sliced zucchini in around a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add a little more than a quarter cup of uncooked quinoa, 1 cup chicken broth, a couple of tablespoons of Fiesta Lime Mrs. Dash. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for around 20 minutes. Then add in 1/2 cup frozen corn and cook five minutes longer. Then add one can black beans (rinsed and drained) and less than a quarter cup chopped cilantro. Cook a minute or two to warm beans and serve!
I used Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa from Woodmans, which is a quick cooking type that does not require rinsing. If you don' t have Mrs. Dash, just add cumin and cayenne, which is what the original recipe called for. And you can add more cilantro if you want..I just don't like things getting too cilantro-y.
Looking for a great place for a relaxing night out, in a casual comfy atmosphere? I know that sounds like the opening line to a commercial. But it's really the best way to sum up the night Mike and I had at Quivey's Stable Grill during Madison Restaurant Week.
The Stable Grill is located inside a stable built back in 1855, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Mike and I felt comfortable right away! We also enjoyed the juxtaposition of the setting with the 80's music that was playing in the background. I hadn't heard "She Drives Me Crazy" by the Fine Young Cannibals in a long time!
But I digress. Mike and I started by ordering a couple of great local Ale Asylum Beers, and then made our choices off the special 3-course menu. We both ordered the same thing so it made things easy for our extremely cordial server.
We started off with the spinach salad, which was topped with warm bacon dressing, red onion, mushrooms and hard boiled egg. It was a delicious blend of flavors and went great with the Madtown Nut Brown beer.
Next was the entree..which was a fish fry that went way over the top! It was comprised of beer-battered whitefish, pretzel-crusted lake perch and crispy rainbow trout fingers. You can tell that Quivey's really pays attention to the batter, because each was quite unique and flavorful. Not like some places where it seems like all the fish is dumped into the same mixture of flour and milk. The french fries were huge with great potato flavor and a fine accompaniment to the fish.
For dessert we picked the turtle pie, which looked fantastic. I'm sure it will be decadent and delicious..it's sitting in the fridge at home waiting for us.
Quivey's Grove Stable Grill is open for lunch and dinner and there's even a happy hour Monday thru Thursday from 4-6pm. It's a great place to go during Restaurant Week, or any time!
Find out more about Quivey's Grove Stable Grill and the Stone House next door here.
Now I know Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is a much beloved food. I've probably eaten more than my share during my life, and most recently have become a fan of the Easy Mac, which prevents me from eating an entire box full of the cheesy good stuff in one sitting.
That's why I'm a bit afraid of a new product I saw at the grocery store yesterday. It's Kraft Macaroni and Cheese For The Grill. Apparently the idea for it did not come from the Kraft kitchens, but from an ad agency...and it's being tested in a very limited release right now.
It comes in an aluminum tray and looks like it could provide real hearty portions, and a guy from the ad agency says grilling adds a nice "smoky flavor." I don't know if it would ever replace burgers and brats, but it might be an easy way to please finicky kids without turning on the stove or microwave. (And we all know how difficult that can be).
I am concerned that this is the start of a disturbing trend. What's next--Spaghettios For the Grill? Or how about Swedish Meatballs for the Grill? Or, providing equal time for the Norwegians..Lutefisk for the Grill?
I'm usually a sucker for food that's bad for you..but am not sure I could summon up the courage to eat one of theÂ offerings at the Wisconsin State Fair (which starts tomorrow.)
It's the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger. Machine Shed Restaurant will be serving up this questionable treat, which is basically a cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut instead of a bun.Â In case you don't want to go to the fair to get it, they'll also serve it at their Pewaukee restaurant during the run of the fair.
I guess I shouldn't be too shocked or outraged about this offering, even though it contains 1500 calories and who knows how many fat grams. The state fair isn't exactly known for it's healthy menu, and also offers dozens of items on a stick..including tater tots, deep fried apple pie, Irish stew, and lamb medallions.
Um...lamb medallions? I'm almost afraid to ask.
So I picked up an old magazine at a flea market recently, and was shocked by some of the bizarre foods that people used to eat. The July, 1964 issue of Family Circle Magazine contains a treasure trove of Ripley's Believe-it-or-not type creations that I hope no one was really eating.
It seems at the same time kids were running out and buying the new Beatles 45's, their moms were making lots of gelatin based foods. How about Chicken Indienne? That'sÂ a molded gelatin filled with chicken breast, curry, celery tops and chutney.
Or, as pictured below, the Ribboned Vegetable Relish mold, made with beets, carrots, finely chopped spinach, Italian dressing and lemon-flavor gelatin.
Now my dad used to make a delicious jello creation that include lime Jello, shredded cucumber, and pineapple...which even his grandkids loved. But I don't think you're ever going to get kids to eat Jello filled with beets or spinach.
Here's one that might not be too disgusting. It's called Ship-a-Heroes, made with cold cut sails and bread filled with egg salad. At least if you didn't want to eat it you could launch it in the bathtub and see if it floats.
Finally, a national holiday I can believe in. Today is National Donut Day, and lest you surmise that it's just a holiday made up by the Donut Syndicate and those who profit from filling us with lard and sugar, it actually has rather noble origins.
The first Doughnut Day was back in 1938 to honor the women who served the tasty treat to soldiers back in World War I. It was also a fundraiser for the Salvation Army.
And in honor of all that, Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme are giving away free donuts today.Â A lot of good that does me, as Madison has no Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme shops. The closest Dunkin Donuts is in Janesville, and while I do love free things, and donuts, that's a little far too drive.
Now all of this donut talk has me thinking about the long gone Point Bakery in Stevens Point that served the most delicious donuts of all time. I probably had my first Point Bakery donut before the age of 2 and ate a heckuva lot more over time.
Growing up, my dad got us a big bag of donuts every Saturday morning and they were the perfect accompaniment to Saturday morning cartoons. I loved the chocolate ones with white cream filling..and have never found anotherÂ that tasted quite the same. (Although the ones at Copps are pretty close.)
I also loved the eclairs (even though they were more expensive), the French style donuts and the ponzckas (but the ones with jelly, not prunes.)
You know just thinking about this is likely to put me into a sugar coma.
Yesterday was one of my favorite holidays...half-price candy day!
Â If you have finished off all your chocolate bunnies and jelly eggs, but still have those , uh, yummy (?) Peeps, what about making Peeps Sushi!
Â They look great don't they! If you wanna make them, just click here for details!
Chocolate is a traditional Valentine's gift, and for a chocolate lover like me, there's probably no way you could go wrong with that (especially if it's good chocolate and not that good-for-you dark stuff).Â
Actually, you can go wrong with chocolate. A few years ago I bought chocolate in a heart shaped box at 90 percent off after Valentine's Day. It was Jeff Foxworthy "You Might BeÂ A Redneck" chocolate.
Then I found some other ideas that sounded pretty awful.
How about chocolate bullets (for when Cupid's arrow is not heavy enough artillery?) (Buy 'em here.)
Chocolate covered pork rinds sound tasty. (Snap 'em up here.)
And then for the realist, or the cardiologist in your life, there's this chocolate heart. (It's a heartbeat, it's a lovebeat!) (Buy here)
If you believe the hashtag, #johnmayerisback!
His first tour since his vocal cord troubles cleared up kicks off on the 4th of July, and includes a stop at Milwaukee's Summerfest on July 6th.
In addition to preparing for a tour, he's been...
Are kids today over-photographed?
Now that everybody has a camera on their phone, and now that Facebook is a greedy beast that must be fed, it seems parents take WAY more pictures of their kids than was the case back in the 1960s and 1970s. It...
People have been wondering why Billie Joe jumped off the bridge since this song came out and made it to number 1 in 1967. Singer Bobby Gentry says people always asked what was thrown over the bridge and why did Billie Joe jump. She never would give a...
Happy birthday to the Cute Beatle, SIr Paul McCartney! He turns 71 today.
One of the rules for Beatles fans is that you must memorize tidbits of Beatle trivia to try and impress other Beatle fans. This is not that easy to do....as things like...
In 1968, Jeannie C. Riley topped both the pop and country charts with "Harper Valley PTA". She was the first female singer to accomplish that feat and it wasn't repeated until Dolly Parton did it in 1981 with the song "9 to 5". The song was...
This week we're doing story songs on the World's Worst iPod. We start with the story of Billy who really wanted to be a hero. He was a hero, but didn't live to see it and his girlfriend was pretty angry. The song was originally done by...
This week' s Gabby's Pick is another track from emerging artist ZZ Ward's debut album , called "365 Days."
In addition to all the radio airplay " Put The Gun Down" has received, you may also have heard her music on several television...
Apparently Oreo flavored Oreos are not sufficient.
Nabisco is continuing its trend of introducing special limited edition flavors for its Oreo cookies. Last year, the internet was all abuzz about candy corn Oreos, which supposedly didn't really...