Black Pepper Strawberry Shortcake

    I love biscuits and gravy so it shouldn't come to a surprise that I also love the dessert counterpart shortcakes with any kind of fruit. My mom would make strawberry shortcake with more of a sponge cake rather then a biscuits. I prefer it to be made with more of a dry cake, that can stand up to the whip and the juices of the strawberries without getting too mushy. I used a Martha Stewart recipe for the biscuit part. Put added in black pepper to the recipe cause a year ago I ate a black pepper strawberry shortcake at Rick Bayless's restaurant Frontera Grill in Chicago. It was the best thing even thou I couldn't tell where they put the pepper in the dish. 

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 1 3/4 pounds (6 cups) strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Black pepper sugar (1 part pepper to 2-3 part white sugar)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss strawberries with 3/4 cup sugar; let sit to bring out their juices.

  2. In a food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup sugar, black pepper and the salt until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse  but with some pea-size bits of butter remaining, 10 to 12 times. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cream and the eggs; pour over flour mixture, and pulse until some large clumps begin to form, 25 to 30 times.

  3. Using a half-cup measuring cup, gently pack dough, invert, and then tap out onto a baking sheet. Repeat to form 8 biscuits. Sprinkle with black pepper sugar. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool, about 15 minutes.

Yum Yum Fest

    I was lucky enough to have Sunday off to attend the first Yum Yum Fest. 25 area restaurants featuring 30 chefs made tasty food to eat. There was also tasty cocktails and beer concocted by local bartenders. Each food item was a ticket, which was $5 and beverages ranged from 1 or 2 tickets. The music lineup was Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Orgone, Lizzo,  Four Fists featuring P.O.S. and Astronautalis. Lizzo was my favorite with Batches and Cookies.  The weather was perfect, the crowd never got too over whelming, and non of the food/drinks disappointed. The ticket even sold out within 2 hour in, so would recommend getting them in advance next year. Proceeds from this event benefit the Madison Parks Foundation

L'etoile - whole roasted lamb with sheep's milk cheese, stozzapreti, brussels sprouts and delicate squash.

L'etoile - whole roasted lamb with sheep's milk cheese, stozzapreti, brussels sprouts and delicate squash.

L'etoile - Blueberry shortcake with coconut foam (vegan & gluten free)

L'etoile - Blueberry shortcake with coconut foam (vegan & gluten free)

Salvatore's – Local pork carnitas and/or steak or veggie option with seasonal habanero fruit salsa, roasted poblano peppers, roasted tomatillo local melon taco sauce with sebollitas and house made queso fresco

Salvatore's – Local pork carnitas and/or steak or veggie option with seasonal habanero fruit salsa, roasted poblano peppers, roasted tomatillo local melon taco sauce with sebollitas and house made queso fresco

Heritage Tavern - Roasted Suckling Pig Porchetta; Chili aioli, stone ground mustard, pickled red onion, fresh basil, soft bun, chicharone

Heritage Tavern - Roasted Suckling Pig Porchetta; Chili aioli, stone ground mustard, pickled red onion, fresh basil, soft bun, chicharone

Sardine - Grilled garlic pork sausage, fresh sweet corn polenta, heirloom tomato, basil and torpedo onion salsa and petit nudge cheese.

Sardine - Grilled garlic pork sausage, fresh sweet corn polenta, heirloom tomato, basil and torpedo onion salsa and petit nudge cheese.

Forequarter - Pig's blood and goji ice cream sandwich

Forequarter - Pig's blood and goji ice cream sandwich

Red Sushi - white fish tempura, avocado, eel sauce, micro greens

Red Sushi - white fish tempura, avocado, eel sauce, micro greens

Restaurant Muramoto - Ramen

Restaurant Muramoto - Ramen

Ha Long Bay - Bahn Mi

Ha Long Bay - Bahn Mi

Sushi Red - vanilla cream apple torte - almonds, chantilly cream, maple syrup

Sushi Red - vanilla cream apple torte - almonds, chantilly cream, maple syrup

Grandpa's Pizza - Crab Cocktail

Grandpa's Pizza - Crab Cocktail

Details on the cocktail

Details on the cocktail

Outstanding in the Field

     On Sunday, August 3rd I had the great opportunity to work Outstanding in the Field which was held at Blue Moon Community Farm with Chef Tory Miller of Graze, L'Etoile and the soon to open Sujeo as the guest chef. I got to cook with coworkers in a different setting, meet people from across the states and enjoy time outside on a farm from which I cook with the food it produces on a daily bases at work. 

   I took the next paragraph from their About page on their website, which is a message from Founder Jim Denevan. 

"In the summer of 1999, I came up with the idea of setting a long table on a farm and inviting the public to an open-air feast in celebration of the farmer and the gifts of the land. I decided to call this idea Outstanding in the Field. I thought a big table, carefully composed alongside the ingredients for the evening’s feast would inspire both a conversation at the table and a broader discussion about food, community and the meaning of place. A traveling feast with a central vision of farmers, chefs, cheese makers, ranchers, foragers and winemakers in delicious communion with the people they sustain. It would be a terrific challenge to bring this message to the field and to the world — it would also be a lot of fun and adventure. It’s been 15 years since we set the first table near Santa Cruz, California at Andy Griffin’s Mariquita Farm. Since then, we’ve organized more than 600 Outstanding in the Field events, made ten coast-to-coast tours of North America, visited 45 of the United States and set our table in a total of nine countries. 60,000+ people have come out to the farm — or ranch, or sea cove, or vineyard, or rooftop, or sea cave — to understand, learn from and celebrate the farmer."

    To get more information on Outstanding in the Field and see where they are touring please check out their website.

The Table

The Table

Setting up the table

Setting up the table

Setting up the kitchen

Setting up the kitchen

Cooking 

Cooking 

Sliced Crème de la Coulee Artisan Cheese St. Jennifer

Sliced Crème de la Coulee Artisan Cheese St. Jennifer

Prepping cantalope 

Prepping cantalope 

Date walnut bread, Creme de la Coulee St. Jennifer, ratarouille

Date walnut bread, Creme de la Coulee St. Jennifer, ratarouille

Elderberry Hill Farm melon, togarashi, Graze culatello

Elderberry Hill Farm melon, togarashi, Graze culatello

Jim talking to the crowd before the farm tour

Jim talking to the crowd before the farm tour

Still Cooking

Still Cooking

Blue Moon Community Farm tomato salad, Korean BBQ-style Carolina shrimp, crispy rice, Elderberry Hill Farm radish &turnips, opal basil, gochujang vinaigrette

Blue Moon Community Farm tomato salad, Korean BBQ-style Carolina shrimp, crispy rice, Elderberry Hill Farm radish &turnips, opal basil, gochujang vinaigrette

Blue Moon Community Farm roasted beets, Dreamfarm goat cheese, fregola sarda, roasted hickory nuts, Door County cherries

Blue Moon Community Farm roasted beets, Dreamfarm goat cheese, fregola sarda, roasted hickory nuts, Door County cherries

Blue Moon Community Farm hog jowls, Bee Charmer sweet corn, grilled torpedo onion, Elderberry Hill Farm squash blossoms

Blue Moon Community Farm hog jowls, Bee Charmer sweet corn, grilled torpedo onion, Elderberry Hill Farm squash blossoms

Vietnamese-style Blue Moon Community Farm turkey, spicy dragon tongue bean salad, wild rice, cilantro, crispy shallots

Vietnamese-style Blue Moon Community Farm turkey, spicy dragon tongue bean salad, wild rice, cilantro, crispy shallots

Blue Moon Community Farm ground cherry oatmeal cream pie

Blue Moon Community Farm ground cherry oatmeal cream pie

Comida with the workers after everyone is gone

Comida with the workers after everyone is gone

Having a Conversation with Founder Jim Denevan

Having a Conversation with Founder Jim Denevan

Smoky Jon's #1 BBQ

    The one thing I had yet to have in Madison was BBQ at a place that it is all they do. It was really hard not to go to a place that serves burgers with a egg on it. As that has all I been eating as of late on Sundays after some crazy long Saturday nights. But really all it is I want is some meaty rich, stick to your ribs food. So what better then actual ribs!.

     Smoky Jon's has limited parking and space in the restaurant. On a Sunday night around 6:30 the place was busy but with mostly a lot of people picking up Take-Out.  The food came out about 10 minutes after ordering it. I ordered 1/3 Slab and Smoked Chopped Beef Brisket sandwich, which comes with two sides of your choice. I got the skin-on fries and bakes beans. I also got a order of fried sugar biscuits. Which I thought would be the biscuits you get in the plate Biscuits and Gravy. But they actually where the chinese fried donuts you get on buffets. When you take Pillbury biscuit dough from the can and fry it up then dust it with sugar. Going home afterward I looked upped "fried Sugar biscuit"  on Yahoo thinking they used the wrong wording, but no I was wrong and Smoky's was right.

    I liked how the sandwich came non wet meaning no sauce on it, but rather on side. So you can much as much on as your liking. The bun was fluffy but strong enough to hold the meat and soak up the sauce. The ribs were not fatty, had not too much sauce on it and had crispy edges. Win, Win, Win.  Talking about winning. The barbecue sauce has won multiple awards and just won again. It's sweet, smokey and chucks slightly chunky. Also got good potions of the beans and fries.

    I surely needed some wet wipes afterwards. I didn't lick my plate clean since I was in public, but did with my fingers. Couldn't waste any that sauce.

1/3 Slab and Smoked Chopped Beef Brisket Sandwich with a side of beans and skin in fries.

1/3 Slab and Smoked Chopped Beef Brisket Sandwich with a side of beans and skin in fries.

Fried Sugar Biscuits

Fried Sugar Biscuits

Weary Traveler

     When Sunday rolls around, I'm more then less likely to be physically and maybe even mentally exhausted too. So heavy rich food is always on the mind when waking up. So I knew just by the name the Weary Traveler would fit the bill.

     Bob’s (Organic) Bad Breath Burger a half pound of hand-packed fresh ground Lange      Farms organic Wisconsin beef* with cream cheese, green goddess dressing, caramelized onions, garlic, tomatoes and Pickapeppa Sauce (mild) w/ a side of Yukon Gold potatoes & mixed greens. (10.75)

   The burger doesn't come with a fried egg but i was feeling brunchy and been craving a egg on my burger as of late. If you follow me on Instagram you would have already known this. The patty was cooked perfectly rare and the egg was runny! There wasn't any ketchup on the table so I had to ask. The server came out was homemade ketchup, which was perfectly sweet and tomatoy. The Bloody Mary was an amazing $5.50 and an extra .75 for a chaser. Didn't have room for dessert but they make it all in house. This is where Calliope Ice Cream started and still available also.

Bob's Bad Breath Burger

Bob's Bad Breath Burger

The cut down the middlr

The cut down the middlr

Bloody Traveler aka Bloody Mary 

Bloody Traveler aka Bloody Mary 

Calliope Ice Cream available at Capitol Centre Market

Calliope Ice Cream available at Capitol Centre Market

Mickey's Tavern

    The first bar I every went to in Madison was Mickey's Tavern. I had been reading only good things about their Bloody Mary and Sexy Fries. So was in town in the evening for an event, This was six months before I moved to Madison. The thing got done earlier then expected. So I headed to Mickey's. The deal thou with myself was if there was open stale in their parking lot. Which, only has about 6 stales. Then only will I go in. Well there was an open spot. That night was a turning point for this introvert. I had never been in a bar by myself before. That night I meet a couple of food industry people. From then on I started to go out to see those people again, I got more involved in the food and beverage scene and decided I wanted to move to Madison. 

     Now let me stop talking about my life revolution and get on to the food and beverage. All the times I have had their Bloody Mary it has been excitedly seasoned and a standout in the Best Bloody Mary in town. The fries are like none I have ever had. Thinly sliced and tossed with white truffle oil, parmesan cheese, chives and crushed red pepper. Recently stopped in on a Sunday for brunch. Was going to sit out on their patio but it was packed but it was slightly humid out too. So happily sat in one of the many air conditioned room. I ordered the biscuits and gravy with a sunny side egg and a side of potatoes.  My go to bunch meal. The biscuits were perfectly dry and moist with them being made with cornmeal and buttermilk. Great to scoop up the love handle making gravy and runny egg. Is it odd to say a bar brought out the best of me with no regrets involved? Nay

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

Biscuits & Gravy - cornmeal and buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy and side of potatoes. Topped with an egg

Biscuits & Gravy - cornmeal and buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy and side of potatoes. Topped with an egg

Air Conditioned Room

Air Conditioned Room

Sexy Fries

Sexy Fries

The main room

The main room

The Nitty Gritty

    I remember the first time I went to the Nitty Gritty. It was at their Middelton location after shopping on a Friday afternoon at the West Towne Mall, my sophomore year in High School. A tradition with my grandma when we were off from school or summertime. Back then I was a "picky" eater when we ever went out. I always ordered a bacon cheeseburger if it was on the menu. Put surprisingly this time I ordered the Monte Cristo. Must have been the play on sweet, savory, breakfast and lunch. I don't remember way I changed it up, but I'm glad I did. Would ordered it every time I returned or at any other restaurant I saw it on the menu. Sadly it is no longer on the menu. 

    Since it's been taken off the menu. I've only eaten here twice and both times at their downtown location. Once for a burger at dinner when I first moved to Madison last fall. From what I can remember it was good, but nothing out of the box. I Remembered the vide being "collegey" fun. This last time it was for brunch. Been wanting to try the Brunchzilla. A fully loaded Bloody Mary, which has been the craze lately. With all the toppings, being one liter plus a pint of beer of beer(I got New Glarus Moon Man) on the side it was obviously filling but was just heavy on the black pepper nothing much more in flavor. For food I ordered the Biscuits and Gravy. The gravy was your average sausage flavor and the biscuits were more like buttermilk buns. Having no outside crust. They were too soft for my liking. The whole dish had not much texture contrast, just mush. The side of potatoes were the highlight, having sweet potatoes included in the mix. I sadly also couldn't get a side of sunnyside egg. Didn't know if I will return to the "Official Birthday Bar' even for my birthday. Only, maybe, if I see the Monte Cristo make an appearance.

 

Brunchzilla - "This monster is one liter of our house Bloody Mary with Three Olives Vodka, garnished with a sausage link, slice of thick cut hickory smoked bacon, cheese curd, pickle and olive. We top it off with a mini version of our Famous Gritty Burger and serve it with any pint beer chaser of your choice."

Brunchzilla - "This monster is one liter of our house Bloody Mary with Three Olives Vodka, garnished with a sausage link, slice of thick cut hickory smoked bacon, cheese curd, pickle and olive. We top it off with a mini version of our Famous Gritty Burger and serve it with any pint beer chaser of your choice."

Biscuits and gravy with a side of breakfast potatoes.

Biscuits and gravy with a side of breakfast potatoes.

Jamerica Caribbean Restaurant

    I haven't eaten much Jamaican food. But jerk chicken, oxtail and fried plantains come to my mind right away along with colorful tropical drinks. When I first saw Jamerica's menu I was surprised to see curry and BBQ on it. After some looking into the cuisine. Jamaican cuisine includes a mixture of cooking techniques, flavors, spices and influences from the native people on the island of Jamaica, and the Spanish, British Africans, Indian and Chinese who have inhabited the island.

    Mango Rundown was cabbage and carrots stewed in coconut milk with  yellow curry on a bed of beans and rice. The rice perfectly soaked up the sweet sauce. The jerk chicken and BBQ(not sweet kind) chicken were fall off the bone tender, A chill night out with Bob Marley of course playing in the background.

BBQ Chicken with rice and beans and stir fry cabbage

BBQ Chicken with rice and beans and stir fry cabbage

Mango Rundown Salmon

Mango Rundown Salmon

Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken

Ha Long Bay

    Loss something and gain something so much better. Well thats what happened when Ha Long Bay opened after the owners left China Palace in my hometown. Which I had mentioned in a couple post back about Beaver Dam grub.

    With a six page menu it has become apparent that it's going to be hard to taste the whole menu, when most of everything I want to order again sooner then later. Every time I've got to order either the papaya salad or AP10(spring roll with a fried egg roll inside. What!).  If you like food with strong aromatic components like fish sauce and a spicy edge then Thai food is there for you. With most dishes hitting up to four or five fundamental taste senses in each dish too: sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy. My nose and mouth is just watering thinking about it. Plus they've got that amazing sesame chicken on the menu.

LS4. Tum Som Gai Yang

LS4. Tum Som Gai Yang

LS3. Laab w/ Pork

LS3. Laab w/ Pork

VS3. Banh Cuon Thit Nuong

VS3. Banh Cuon Thit Nuong

SL7. Som Tum (papaya salad)

SL7. Som Tum (papaya salad)

TS4 Suki-Num

TS4 Suki-Num

TN3. Pad See-Eew

TN3. Pad See-Eew

LS7. Nem Khao Tod

LS7. Nem Khao Tod

TN6.Pad Wun Sen

TN6.Pad Wun Sen

AP10.  Goỉ Cuốn Chả Giò (Spring Roll Wrap over Vietnamese Egg Roll)

AP10.  Goỉ Cuốn Chả Giò (Spring Roll Wrap over Vietnamese Egg Roll)

TN1 Pad Thai

TN1 Pad Thai

TN4. Pad Kee-Mao (Drunken Noodles)

TN4. Pad Kee-Mao (Drunken Noodles)

AP14. Spicy Chicken Wings

AP14. Spicy Chicken Wings

Mango Sticky Rice

Mango Sticky Rice

TC8. Triple Delight Curry

TC8. Triple Delight Curry

PH8. Pho Ha Long ac Biet (rare beef, beef flank, soft tendon, tripe, and meatball)

PH8. Pho Ha Long ac Biet (rare beef, beef flank, soft tendon, tripe, and meatball)

HS2. Xao Thom

HS2. Xao Thom

AP8. Chicken Dumpling Steamed

AP8. Chicken Dumpling Steamed

Banh Xeo - Vietnamese Crepe (available only on Saturday & Sunday)

Banh Xeo - Vietnamese Crepe (available only on Saturday & Sunday)

AP9 Dynamite Shrimp - Japanese mayo

AP9 Dynamite Shrimp - Japanese mayo

Willalby's Cafe

   You will be seeing a lot of divvy places with bland, heart attack food on this blog. They're my guilty pleasure. Even thou I may be well aware they aren't the best place I will still at some point show up there to try it out myself. While I also love to eat at places where I have to get all dolled up, eat well seasoned and beautifully plated dishes. There is also something about a place where you can go after being up for 24 hrs and just care about getting cheap solids in your stomach.

    Luckily for bland food I love ketchup. So it's a good excuse for me to dose a plate with it, so I end up not minding it as much, as I did here in that case. The hash browns had an excellent crunch factor. The gravy was thick but tasted like a very yeasty bread had been turned into a gravy. If only Willalby's Cafe was still open till 4am as it was in 2010 I would probably show up again but unconsciously if you get my drift.

Vegan Biscuits and Gravy - a mushroom gravy topped with broccoli and diced tomato with hash browns

Vegan Biscuits and Gravy - a mushroom gravy topped with broccoli and diced tomato with hash browns

Fair Oak Skillet - fried potatoes, sausage, green peppers, onion, mushrooms, and swiss cheese,

Fair Oak Skillet - fried potatoes, sausage, green peppers, onion, mushrooms, and swiss cheese,

Inka Heritage

    I've known of Inka Heritage for sometime now. Never had a reason to rush their until a coworker told me that they went there and were quite surprised.

    I've never been to a Peruvian restaurant before, so I wasn't sure what to order. But when I see raw meat and fried egg anywhere on the menu my eyes are drawn to those items.

    I've only ever had ceviche before at Frontera Grill. Now it's hard to do better then Rick Bayless, but Inka did good. Not dangerously spicy, mostly all seafood rather then having a equal amount of fillers to deceive your eyes. There was Peruvian Corn (choclo or cuzco corn) in it also. Nutty flavor rather then sweet like your typical American corn and added crunch to the dish.

    Next I ordered Lomo Inka Heritage aka Meat and Potatoes in a way. When I ordered the dish I asked for the meat to be rare cause that how I like my meat. She had an odd confused look on her face and then ended up coming back to the table asking if I meant medium rare. I just said "sure, yeah" thinking that they where afraid to cook meat that way and just hoping that I wasn't about to receive a dog toy of a meat. But I was happily surprised when I received the dished that the beef was not rubber. Was unevenly cooked thou with parts being rare and others being medium rare. After rereading the menu online I saw that the dish was also to have a creole sauce that wasn't present but wasn't needed with the liquid gold of a yoke from the egg. The taco taco pancake wasn't sweet, you get that from the plantain, but was well seasoned with garlic and onion. 

    Now you can't skip dessert when it's made in-house. So, very surprisingly I have never have had Tres Leche before. Which you would think cause I love bread pudding which is what this reminded me of. Not too sweet, obviously moist. Got a corner piece which I think is the always the best specially with brownies.

 

Ceviche - raw fish marinated in lime juice, yellow chili pepper, garlic, ginger and other herbs with sweet potato, onion, and Peruvian corn.

Ceviche - raw fish marinated in lime juice, yellow chili pepper, garlic, ginger and other herbs with sweet potato, onion, and Peruvian corn.

Lomo Inka Heritage - beef tenderloin with "taco tacu", rice and canary bean pancake grilled, served with fried egg, sweet plantain and creole sauce.

Lomo Inka Heritage - beef tenderloin with "taco tacu", rice and canary bean pancake grilled, served with fried egg, sweet plantain and creole sauce.

Tres Leches Cake - sponge cake covered with three milks, touch of pisco and topped with chantilly cream.

Tres Leches Cake - sponge cake covered with three milks, touch of pisco and topped with chantilly cream.

Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar

   Located in a renovated 1880's historic house on Willy St. From the outside Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar doesn't look like much but when you step into the bar area your transformed to a syfy ramen world.

    I'm always up for ordering any tartares when they are on the menu, so I knew I had to get the poke appetizer. It was fresh, light but the chips stole the show. I could of snacked on them the whole service. They were hot right out of the fryer and well seasoned. You get a large amount of pork belly with the pork buns for the cost. With my ramen I got smoked tofu added for an extra cost cause I love anything that has been smoked. But sadly the tofu had no flavor at all. You also have to pay for chili sauce too. I put that stuff on everything and don't know of any other place that makes you pay for it.

    You can also can get all their buns and a special bun on Saturday at the Farmer's Market on the Capital Square. They're going to start doing brunch soon. Japanese styles biscuits and gravy might just get me to come back.

Pork Buns - oven-roasted house curd pork belly with pickled cucumbers, scallions and house blend hoisin sauce

Pork Buns - oven-roasted house curd pork belly with pickled cucumbers, scallions and house blend hoisin sauce

Tuna Poke - sashimi grade ahi tuna with seaweed salad and apple cucumber slaw with homemade fried wonton chips

Tuna Poke - sashimi grade ahi tuna with seaweed salad and apple cucumber slaw with homemade fried wonton chips

Miso Ramen- miso chicken broth with fresh ramen noodles topped with flavor infused egg, marinated chicken and bamboo shoots, nori (seaweed), bean sprouts and green onions.

Miso Ramen- miso chicken broth with fresh ramen noodles topped with flavor infused egg, marinated chicken and bamboo shoots, nori (seaweed), bean sprouts and green onions.

Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar's food cart

Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar's food cart

Market's Special Breakfast Bun - Pork belly, egg & spicy mayo, Beef Bun - Korean BBQ (bulgogi) beef with pickled cucumbers, spicy scallion salsa, and spicy mayo  

Market's Special Breakfast Bun - Pork belly, egg & spicy mayo, Beef Bun - Korean BBQ (bulgogi) beef with pickled cucumbers, spicy scallion salsa, and spicy mayo
 

Hometown Grub

    My hometown Beaver Dam, WI was pretty awesome when I lived there. Many people probably have no idea where it's at or just don't agree with me. For me, yeah it doesn't have out of this world restaurant options, but it is between Milwaukee and Madison that do for easy short trips! For a town of 15,000 it has two McDonalds, three Chinese buffets, the original Benvenuto's, one coffee shop (Black Waters) and it used to have China Palace that had the most amazing sesame chicken but went downhill and closed after the owners handed the ownership to someone else so they could open Ha Long Bay in Madison.

    It does have some hidden gems aka artery clogging food joints thou. I have a special place in my heart for place that serve breakfast all day, divvy and cheap. It has three! Walker's Restaurant which I always remember going to after grade school basketball games on friday nights and getting a bacon cheeseburger because that was the only thing I would order when little going out to eat and a sundae of some sort. Chili John's which is only open till 2pm. I would come here with my father for breakfast with mostly only men ever in the cafe. Then there is Crystal Creek Dairy House which was always a treat to go out to when I slept over at the grandparents house. Since they make their own ice cream save room for a ice cream treat.

Chili John's. The Owner behind the stick as always.

Chili John's. The Owner behind the stick as always.

Chili John's

Chili John's

Corned Beef Hash (Chili John's)

Corned Beef Hash (Chili John's)

Walker's Restaurant

Walker's Restaurant

Meatloaf Dinner (Walker's)

Meatloaf Dinner (Walker's)

Biscuits and Gravy (Walker's)

Biscuits and Gravy (Walker's)

Lemon Meringue Pie (Walker's)

Lemon Meringue Pie (Walker's)

Banana Spilt (Walker's)

Banana Spilt (Walker's)

Roast Pork and Gravy Lunch Plate (Crystal Creek)

Roast Pork and Gravy Lunch Plate (Crystal Creek)

Chocolate Sundae (Crystal Creek)

Chocolate Sundae (Crystal Creek)

Cheese Curds (Crystal Creek)

Cheese Curds (Crystal Creek)

Banana Split (Crystal Creek)

Banana Split (Crystal Creek)

Mexican For Brunch

    Chilaquiles ("chee-lah-KEE-lays") come in many variations and sexy to say once you got it down (haha). A traditional Mexican dish that is close to huevos rancheros. Typically fried or stale tortilla chips, meat, chile sauce, eggs, cheese then any additions toppings your heart desires. It's truly mexican comfort food that is in my way better in my option then those Tex-Mex loaded nachos you see as an appetizer every where. Part crunchy and part sort from soaking up the spicy flavorful sauce. Besides the point but anything topped with a fried egg I'll eat.

Graze -  forgot to get the description but my favorite so far. Every chip was covered in the deep red spiced filled sauce with braised pork and queso fresco I believe.

Graze -  forgot to get the description but my favorite so far. Every chip was covered in the deep red spiced filled sauce with braised pork and queso fresco I believe.

Monty's Blue Plate Diner - Berkshire pork simmered in a tomatillo chili verde, served over crispy corn tortillas; with two eggs, pico de gallo, and feta cheese. 

Monty's Blue Plate Diner - Berkshire pork simmered in a tomatillo chili verde, served over crispy corn tortillas; with two eggs, pico de gallo, and feta cheese. 

Bassett Street Brunch Club - Corn tortilla chips topped with braised chicken, guajillo chili sauce, queso fresco, avocado, jalapeños, cilantro, radish, and two eggs over-easy.   

Bassett Street Brunch Club - Corn tortilla chips topped with braised chicken, guajillo chili sauce, queso fresco, avocado, jalapeños, cilantro, radish, and two eggs over-easy. 

 

Im No Whiner

    I typically don't drink wine. I'll drink it at weddings(free) or I'll drink Botham Vineyards cause  I know which of theirs I like. Bloody Marys I'm on my way to have every one in the city. "Craft" cocktails with all the innovated drinks it's fun. With two brothers and a father who like beer I had a destiny to enjoy drinking all different styles. Put then started to grow grapes at home and needed to find a why to use them up. So with the last name Welch first came to mind juice then Wine. Made one batch. Put thought I should getting a better understanding so next year's we can tweak it to make it better and make multiple batches.

    Dlux has been having this event called Match-dot-Somm every 1st wednesday of the month for quite sometime now. Where they pair junk food with wine. When I saw that they were having a breakfast food themed one this month. I jumped on it stat since biscuits and gravy hold a dear place in my heart and it usually sells out by the next day since there are only two seating with limited seating but you may luck out if they have cancellations.

    Caitlin the Sommelier really does here homework or her job really well. Went to this by myself, which when Caitlin came over to talk about each course pairing it really felt like she was really just talking to me (she technically was but you get my point I'm trying to get across. I hope.) You also get a sheet with pairing info but Caitlin gave more information when she came around and an oppuitnity to ask her questions. One perk I had no idea about was the wine you drank during the pairing you can buy the bottle at a discount rate.

    Since Caitlin is helping to open Cento. The next two will be different pairing. One being beer and the other a cocktail pairing. Then back to wine pairings when the new restaurant is off the ground. If you need a date idea, fun night out or more info on wine pairing I highly recommend. I see myself drinking more wine in the future.

 

Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef Hash

Captain Crunch paired with Riesling. Sweet paired with sweet.

Captain Crunch paired with Riesling. Sweet paired with sweet.

Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and Gravy

Sausage Breakfast Sandwich (full size...feeling full now)

Sausage Breakfast Sandwich (full size...feeling full now)

Cinnabon (stuffed)

Cinnabon (stuffed)

Didn't Come Back With a Prince

    One thing about me to know if you don't already is I love to travel. I have already had many opportunities to travel over seas already in my life. I recently got back from London and Paris. Got to eat bloody good food, see landmarks like Buckingham Palace, the Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, and Shakespeare and Company, see things connect with Spice Girls, Harry Potter, Princess Diana and Kate. Also sat outside many Cafes and see the world slowly go by. Here are some of the food I ate. Some wouldn't upload sadly. I hope to recreate some at one point. Next I hope to go to is Ireland or Thailand but really any place with a different culture will do. Where have you traveled to or would love to go too?

Macarons from Laduree. (Chestnut, Marie-Antonette- blue raspberry with black tea filling, Rose, Pistachio). Did make a couple of times but they weren't prefect.

Macarons from Laduree. (Chestnut, Marie-Antonette- blue raspberry with black tea filling, Rose, Pistachio). Did make a couple of times but they weren't prefect.

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur

Bangers and Mash with Red Onion Gravy.

Bangers and Mash with Red Onion Gravy.

Baguette with terrine.

Baguette with terrine.

Crepes at every corner.

Crepes at every corner.

Fish and Chips...... Mushy Peas. haha

Fish and Chips...... Mushy Peas. haha

Caneles. I some day will afford to have the copper molds you need to make them properly.

Caneles. I some day will afford to have the copper molds you need to make them properly.

Gyro with fries exploding from it.

Gyro with fries exploding from it.

Blood Sausage with sauerkraut and potato. 

Blood Sausage with sauerkraut and potato. 

Longest and Biggest hotdog I have ever had.

Longest and Biggest hotdog I have ever had.

One photo of many gelato I had.

One photo of many gelato I had.

Middle of the Day Meal

     Having lunch out can easily be over looked. You packed a brown bag, starving yourself to have a few drinks at night or you just go out for dinner. Graze, which you may hear more about for it's brunch and dinner also has a worthy lunch to talk about. The menu is diverse and has many options for vegans, vegetarians, dairy-free, gluten free people or can easily be modified to be. Also if you didn't know already Graze and it's sister restaurant L'Etoile strive to get most of their ingredients locally. So, upgrade your brown bag with a meal to go, stop starving yourself and/or go out for lunch with a friend.

Beet & Walnut Burger - cherry tomato, cucumber, red onion, arugula, feta cheese, lemon Greek yogurt, oregano vinaigrette on pepita brioche. 

Beet & Walnut Burger - cherry tomato, cucumber, red onion, arugula, feta cheese, lemon Greek yogurt, oregano vinaigrette on pepita brioche. 

Noodle Bowl - braised pork shoulder, pork belly, bok choy, radish, soft poached egg, nori.

Noodle Bowl - braised pork shoulder, pork belly, bok choy, radish, soft poached egg, nori.

Pickle Board - daikon, kimchee, escabeche, beets, cucumbers, seasonal selection.

Pickle Board - daikon, kimchee, escabeche, beets, cucumbers, seasonal selection.

Grilled Chicken Skewers - aged cheddar polenta cakes, kale & autumn vegetable salad, spiced pecans, buttermilk-apple cider vinaigrette.

Grilled Chicken Skewers - aged cheddar polenta cakes, kale & autumn vegetable salad, spiced pecans, buttermilk-apple cider vinaigrette.

Roasted Beet Salad - Door County tart cherries, radicchio, citrus fruits, Hook's Honey Blue Paradise, roasted walnuts.

Roasted Beet Salad - Door County tart cherries, radicchio, citrus fruits, Hook's Honey Blue Paradise, roasted walnuts.

Smoked Lamb - mustard barbeque sauce, sweet onion, coleslaw on ciabatta.

Smoked Lamb - mustard barbeque sauce, sweet onion, coleslaw on ciabatta.

Korean BBQ Pork - marinated pork shoulder, Hook's pepperjack cheese, kimchee coleslaw, hoisin on sesame brioche.

Korean BBQ Pork - marinated pork shoulder, Hook's pepperjack cheese, kimchee coleslaw, hoisin on sesame brioche.

Grilled Cheese - Hook's cheddar, tomato, and caramelized onions, on pullman loaf with whole-grain mustard. Added ham for an extra cost.

Grilled Cheese - Hook's cheddar, tomato, and caramelized onions, on pullman loaf with whole-grain mustard. Added ham for an extra cost.

Bibimbap - choice of marinated ground pork or tofu, crispy rice, sunny-side-up egg, market vegetables, spicy gochujang.

Bibimbap - choice of marinated ground pork or tofu, crispy rice, sunny-side-up egg, market vegetables, spicy gochujang.

A Fish and A Flower

Both Sardine and Marigold Kitchen are owned by chefs Phillip Hurley & John Gadau. They also own Gates & Brovi which I have yet to check out. At the bottom of the post is a video of Philip and John with Kyle Cherek for Chef Talk discussing Madison dining scene.

Belgian waffle with macerated strawberries, creme fraiche and pure maple syrup.

Belgian waffle with macerated strawberries, creme fraiche and pure maple syrup.

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

Sticky Bun

Sticky Bun

A side of Frites. HUGE!

A side of Frites. HUGE!

Omelette with spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and bacon.

Omelette with spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and bacon.

Grilled pork sausages with crispy saffron, zucchini and squash risotto, Grana Padano, two eggs any style and mixed greens

Grilled pork sausages with crispy saffron, zucchini and squash risotto, Grana Padano, two eggs any style and mixed greens

Frittata Special with heirloom tomatoes and corn

Frittata Special with heirloom tomatoes and corn

Short stack of blueberry pancakes

Short stack of blueberry pancakes

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

Coconut Macaroon

Coconut Macaroon

Chile poached eggs with French rosemary toast, prosciutto and manchego.

Chile poached eggs with French rosemary toast, prosciutto and manchego.

Blue Moon Ice Cream

Since I was little blue moon has been my go to ice cream flavor. Must of been the Smurf blue coloring that caught my eye to order it for the first time. Then after tasting it and finding it had a Froot Loops flavor I was hooked. Finally getting my own ice cream maker. I knew this had to be one flavor to master. Found a recipe on Serious Eats. Made some adaptions since I couldn't find lemon oil and didn't have blue coloring gel. What's you favorite ice cream?

 

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 30-40 drops of blue food coloring
 

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl lightly beat egg yolks with a 1/4 cup of sugar and set aside.

     

  2. In a medium saucepan add cream, milk, and remaining sugar. Whisking occasionally, heat mixture over medium low heat until bubbles begin to form along the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and add heated cream mixture to the eggs one tablespoon at a time while whisking constantly to temper the eggs.

     

  3. Once the cream mixture and eggs have been combined return to the saucepan and heat on medium low until mixture coats back of a spoon or spatula and line drawn with a finger leaves a distinct trail. Mixture should register 170° to 175° F, do not allow mixture to overheat.

     

  4. Pour custard into a medium bowl and whisk in vanilla pudding mix until thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in raspberry, lemon and vanilla extracts until thoroughly incorporated. Set bowl over an ice bath. Let cool at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, then cover and refrigerate for 2 more hours or up to overnight until completely chilled. Add food coloring. Churn chilled custard according to your ice cream maker's instructions. Transfer ice cream into a container that will hold 1 quart. Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours to fully set. Serve.

Brunch a Portmanteau Word

     I knew that I would fall in love with Bassett Street Brunch Club instantly. Serving brunch and comfort food all day long and late too. Below are photos of most of the food I've eaten off the Winter/Fall menu. They soon will be releasing their Spring menu. Their Facebook and Instagram are a good way to keep updated on specials and events. This coming Saturday, March 8th, from 8am to 3:30pm they're having a Luau-Themed Brunch. Tropical inspired food and drink specials. Spring break swag bag giveaways. Also wear tropical gear and get 15% off your check! 

Brunch Club Omelet - filled with sautéed zucchini, onions, roasted red peppers, prosciutto, and goat cheese. Served with breakfast potatoes.

Brunch Club Omelet - filled with sautéed zucchini, onions, roasted red peppers, prosciutto, and goat cheese. Served with breakfast potatoes.

Bananas Foster French Toast - egg batter-dipped Challah bread, topped with bananas brown sugar rum sauce and pecans.

Bananas Foster French Toast - egg batter-dipped Challah bread, topped with bananas brown sugar rum sauce and pecans.

Spring Break Diet - a bowl filled with black beans, brown rice, scrambled eggs, green onions, avocado, cilantro, roasted tomato ranchero salsa, queso fresco, and corn tortillas.

Spring Break Diet - a bowl filled with black beans, brown rice, scrambled eggs, green onions, avocado, cilantro, roasted tomato ranchero salsa, queso fresco, and corn tortillas.

The Token Burger - a 1/3 pound Knoche's Butcher Shop ground beef patty toped with lettuce, tomato, onion, sweet and sour pickles, and aioli on a toasted bun. Added a sunny side egg for an extra cost.

The Token Burger - a 1/3 pound Knoche's Butcher Shop ground beef patty toped with lettuce, tomato, onion, sweet and sour pickles, and aioli on a toasted bun. Added a sunny side egg for an extra cost.

Oatmeal Creme Brûlée - a bowl of steel cut oats topped with vanilla custard and a bruleed sugar crust. Served with fresh berries.

Oatmeal Creme Brûlée - a bowl of steel cut oats topped with vanilla custard and a bruleed sugar crust. Served with fresh berries.

Fried Chicken & Donuts - old fashioned cake donut holes and crunchy fried chicken bites. Served with creamy honey sriracha and lemon peppercorn ranch.

Fried Chicken & Donuts - old fashioned cake donut holes and crunchy fried chicken bites. Served with creamy honey sriracha and lemon peppercorn ranch.

Opened-Faced Turkey - thinly- shaved roasted turkey and gravy over toasted Challah bread with mashed potatoes and green beans

Opened-Faced Turkey - thinly- shaved roasted turkey and gravy over toasted Challah bread with mashed potatoes and green beans

Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie - sweet potato and bulleit bourbon filling in a homemade pie crust, topped with bruleed meringue.

Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie - sweet potato and bulleit bourbon filling in a homemade pie crust, topped with bruleed meringue.

Breakfast Bur-roti - housemade roti flatbread folded over two eggs over-easy, cheddar cheese, and roasted peppers and onions. Topped with avocado black bean salad, quajillo chili sauce, and sour cream.

Breakfast Bur-roti - housemade roti flatbread folded over two eggs over-easy, cheddar cheese, and roasted peppers and onions. Topped with avocado black bean salad, quajillo chili sauce, and sour cream.

Sausage Bahn Mi - housemade ginger-scallion sausage, red cabbage slaw, sweet & sour cucumbers, grilled scallion, cilantro, and sriracha mayo on a hoagie-style roll.

Sausage Bahn Mi - housemade ginger-scallion sausage, red cabbage slaw, sweet & sour cucumbers, grilled scallion, cilantro, and sriracha mayo on a hoagie-style roll.

Butternut & Blue Salad - roasted butternut squash, buttermilk blue cheese, walnuts, apples, fried parsnips, and sherry vinaigrette. Added roasted chicken for an extra cost.

Butternut & Blue Salad - roasted butternut squash, buttermilk blue cheese, walnuts, apples, fried parsnips, and sherry vinaigrette. Added roasted chicken for an extra cost.

Donut Special - caramelized banana coconut donut

Donut Special - caramelized banana coconut donut

Meat & Potatoes Stack - bacon-wrapped meatloaf with mashed potatoes, roasted crimini mushrooms and spinach ragout, BBQ bacon-brandy sauce, a homemade biscuit, and thick-cut tempura onion rings.

Meat & Potatoes Stack - bacon-wrapped meatloaf with mashed potatoes, roasted crimini mushrooms and spinach ragout, BBQ bacon-brandy sauce, a homemade biscuit, and thick-cut tempura onion rings.

The Daily Egg - changes daily but always vegetarian. Can be prepared as an omelet or scrambler. This one is made with roasted butternut squash, onion, roasted peppers and asiago cheese.

The Daily Egg - changes daily but always vegetarian. Can be prepared as an omelet or scrambler. This one is made with roasted butternut squash, onion, roasted peppers and asiago cheese.

Espresso Cheesecake - housemade with Colectivo Coffee espresso and dusted with cocoa powder, served in a chocolate graham cracker crust.

Espresso Cheesecake - housemade with Colectivo Coffee espresso and dusted with cocoa powder, served in a chocolate graham cracker crust.

Chilaquiles - corn tortilla chips topped with braised chicken, quajillo chili sauce, queso fresco, avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, radish, and two eggs over-easy.

Chilaquiles - corn tortilla chips topped with braised chicken, quajillo chili sauce, queso fresco, avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, radish, and two eggs over-easy.

Farmer's Hash - roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and parsnips sautéed with onion and rosemary and topped with two eggs. Served with toast.

Farmer's Hash - roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and parsnips sautéed with onion and rosemary and topped with two eggs. Served with toast.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes - topped with blueberries and sweet whipped ricotta.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes - topped with blueberries and sweet whipped ricotta.

Savory French Toast - sourdough bread dipped in a parmesan cheese-herb batter and topped with crispy bacon, baby arugula, grilled onions, a sunny side up egg, and a drizzle of hollandaise.

Savory French Toast - sourdough bread dipped in a parmesan cheese-herb batter and topped with crispy bacon, baby arugula, grilled onions, a sunny side up egg, and a drizzle of hollandaise.

Dessert Special - double chocolate cake with a strawberry filling.

Dessert Special - double chocolate cake with a strawberry filling.

Egg Benedicto -  two poached eggs on a toasted English muffin with roasted tomatoes, Italian salsa verde, sun-dried tomato hollandaise, and crunchy candied prosciutto.

Egg Benedicto -  two poached eggs on a toasted English muffin with roasted tomatoes, Italian salsa verde, sun-dried tomato hollandaise, and crunchy candied prosciutto.

Ramen Upgrade - RP's Pasta ramen noodles, grilled shrimp, homemade ginger-scallion sausage, green onion, radish, soft-boiled egg, ramen broth, chili-garlic oil and togarashi.

Ramen Upgrade - RP's Pasta ramen noodles, grilled shrimp, homemade ginger-scallion sausage, green onion, radish, soft-boiled egg, ramen broth, chili-garlic oil and togarashi.

Maple Bacon Donut

Maple Bacon Donut

Chicken & a Biscuit - fried white meat chicken topped with a sunny side up egg and served with a homemade biscuit, sweet corn-sausage gravy, and an apple-bacon salad.

Chicken & a Biscuit - fried white meat chicken topped with a sunny side up egg and served with a homemade biscuit, sweet corn-sausage gravy, and an apple-bacon salad.

Corned Beef Hash - housemade corned beef, yukon gold potatoes, bell peppers and onion, topped with two eggs. Served with toast.

Corned Beef Hash - housemade corned beef, yukon gold potatoes, bell peppers and onion, topped with two eggs. Served with toast.

Nana's Red Velvet - three layer red velvet cake with buttercream roasting and toasted walnuts.

Nana's Red Velvet - three layer red velvet cake with buttercream roasting and toasted walnuts.

Shrimp & Grits - parmesan white corn grits, sautéed Texas Gulf shrimp. garlicky tomato sauce, and green onions. Topped with a sunny side up egg.

Shrimp & Grits - parmesan white corn grits, sautéed Texas Gulf shrimp. garlicky tomato sauce, and green onions. Topped with a sunny side up egg.