Tuesday, August 26, 2008

august ain't over yet

I will hopefully have time to post some more updates tomorrow. I need to update on my brother's visit here for Irish Fest and my own trip out to Albuquerque for a mere 36 hours.

Need to get that in before the Harley 105th hits this weekend. Vroom vroom!

retro blog #3: august eats

I started the month off well with the aforementioned, er afore-alluded-to , Slow Food fundraiser at La Merenda.

This was a really fun event and I ended up at a great table, not only with my friends Beth & Mike, but with a bunch of random folks who were all co-workers a local law firm. They were a hoot and our table was definitely a fun gang of strangers.

How could we not bond over such wonderful food and wine though? Each course incorporated local ingredients and a Wisconsin cheese. Jackpot!

The menu was:
Course 1 - Cheese Plate (this included several cheeses that had just taken home ribbons from the American Cheese Society competition the week prior-- TO DIE FOR)

Cheeses were:
Wine with the course was Gruet NV Blanc De Noir. Believe it or not this sparkling treat hails from New Mexico! The first I had heard of NM wines, glad I did so it was a shocker for my trip later in the month.

Course 2 - Fried Green Tomatoes with Mozzarella Handmade with Grändé Curd Topped with a Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Yes, it was as completely mind-blowing as the title would indicate. And it took away my fear of FGT. But not the association with chick flicks.

Wine was Domaine de la Bécassonne 2007 Côte due Rhô Blanc.

Course 3 - Duck Confit Crepes with Roth Käse Blue Affiné and Rosemary Cream Sauce

Thank the Lord that I eat duck (in case it's not clear somewhere else in the blog, I don't eat red meat or pork (basically mammal) and sometimes (as in Course 4) that causes an issue), because this was EFFIN FABULOUS. It made me want to go kill a duck and try this at home. Just kidding. But it was DAMN tasty.

Wine went really well too --Babich 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir.

Course 4 - "Wisconsin Slow Food Iron Chef"

I did forget to mention earlier, that this event involved several chefs in addition to the resident at La Merenda. Also participating were Braise on the Go and Meritage. Oh and the cheese guy was from Larry's Market. Anywho, obviously in this portion the chefs all worked with random ingredients to create a dish. And here is where I ran into trouble. It was some sort of Morroccan Lamb topped with whipped mashed potatoes.

Fortunately the potatoes were pretty separate and I ate those.

Wine - Hupfeld 2006 Hochheimer Konigin Victoriaberg Riesling Kabinett. Some crazy German wine that has the seal of Queen Victoria on it. I can't find a website not in German.

Course 6 - Skipping the bulk of Course 5 was a-okay because I had room for all of Course 6. This was the perfect dessert to end the evening -- Roasted Plums with BelGioioso Mascarpone Whipped Cream, Lavender, Honey and Hazelnuts.


Wine - Quinta Do NV Ruby Port

Now you'd think that starting the month off so spectacularly from a culinary standpoint that I'd be inspired at home. Well I was, until my refrigerator went kaput. They actually did fix the motor, but my milk is still going bad (rancid actually), so I may be getting a new fridge. Fingers crossed.

At any rate, I did make some use out of the CSA this month, in addition to munching on lots of raw veggies (yay broccoli and cauliflower), I followed recipes for Sweet Cabbage Salad:

I also did not get a picture before I (and others) devoured it, but I followed the CSA recommended recipe for Chocolate Beet Cake and fell in LOVE. I topped it with homemade sour cream chocolate frosting. Even Phil who hates sweets couldn't get enough beet cake. Yum.

Besides that though, the broken fridge has really thrown a kink in things. I've made quite a bit of zucchini parmesan, and just random pasta primavera. I hope to use most of my CSA this weekend, since it's Labor Day and I will have time to cook.

p.s. I'm not a freak by the way, remembering all the courses -- I kept the program!

retro blog #2: chi-town

The nice thing about heading down for Lolla this year is that I got to stay with my newlywed pals Heather and Sam in Rogers Park. They were gracious hosts to myself and my friend Keiker who traveled to Lolla with me. They made us wonderful breakfast each day and on Sunday took us for a stroll around their neighborhood.

They live right by Loyola Chicago, so it was nice to check out another Jesuit college campus. I've been to campuses of other Chicago schools as well -- Northwestern, DePaul, University of Chicago -- so it was also good to add this notch.

Of course with any Catholic school, one of the most striking features was the church on campus. This one is fascinating because it's literally built right up to Lake Michigan:

My friends also live near several public beaches. Although Milwaukee just redid Bradford Beach, it's still a bit grody for us Wisconsinites to imagine people swimming in the lake. However, in Chicago it doesn't seem to worry folks:

It was definitely nice to get a glimpse of a less-visited neighborhood in Chicago. Of course, I also did take my obligatory shots at Lolla of Buckingham fountain and the crowd overall.

But this is also because the festival organizers did a great job of picking Grant Park as the spot for Lolla, as the event is so well-framed by the city itself.

And well, Buckingham Fountain just looks COOL at night:

Of course one of the most fascinating architectural wonders to me of the trip, was the repurposing of a fence for a bike rack. Ah Chicago and it's legacy of builders!

retro blog #1: lolla recap

Again, my apologies for sucking at blogging this month. Obviously I've been ridiculously busy. Part of that busy-ness has included severely rocking out.

I kicked off my month with a last-day-of-July billing of The Go! Team and CSS at Turner Hall Ballroom. I actually only was able to be there for the Go! Team, but I did get to catch up with old co-workers before the show and old board members afterward.

The next afternoon I headed down to Chicago for Lollapalooza which will end up being my only music fest for the year since I skipped Pitchfork.

We got down there a little late (thanks to traffic and a crammed El full of freakin' Cubs fans), but caught the tail end of Bloc Party. Fortunately we met up with some friends and got really, really close to the side of the stage for Radiohead. I already posted the video, but here are some more pics from that AMAZING show:

I have way more, but I won't bore you :). The show really did meet all my expectations.

The next morning after a delicious homemade breakfast from our gracious hosts (my friends Heather and Sam), we headed down to Lolla for the full afternoon line-up.

First up, Dr. Dog. The live show was pretty good, but I definitely will say that Fate is in my Top 10 this year.

Next up I ended up catching The Foals, who I need to investigate a little more. They were noveaou-Brit-punk. Always good. I caught the tail end of The Gutter Twins too, but sort of wandered at this point to go find other folks I was meeting up with. I ended up seeing some of DeVotchKa, and then some of the Perry Farrell All Star show, which featured Slash and Samantha Ronson DJing. Apparently Lohan was there, of course. Heard a bit of Booka Shade also who I NEED to checkout. Dancealicious.

My wanderings wrapped up in time for me to bust it over to get front and center for Jamie Lidell. Jim will likely end up in my Top 5 and Jamie Lidell himself is definitely a new music crush for sure.

After getting worked up at the above show, I grabbed some grub, overheard some of Broken Social Scene, but again, got front and center for the always delightful Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings (I bought a really cool Sharon Jones t-shirt too! But don't worry I didn't wear it until the next day and I wasn't "that guy"):

After SJ, we found a nice patch of grass and watched one of the better Wilco shows I've seen in years. The band is finally at the point where they can play greatest hits versus promoting whatever is new. Unfortunately though we did have to sit through Spiders/Kidsmoke. Ugh.

Oh and the band had matching suits. Awesome.

The next day we took a tour of Rogers Park (photos in another post) and headed down later to the concerts.

The last day of Lolla, it was really hot and humid. My friend went to go watch Brazilian Girls, but the crowd was a bit much for me, so I caught Nicole Atkins & the Sea. Another one I need to check out a bit more.

I did muster up energy to go sweat it out at Chromeo next. Seriously fun show. If you ever get the chance to see these guys live, do it.

It was nice to go sit on the grass again for Iron & Wine next:

I was REALLY looking to the next show, Girl Talk, especially since he is playing in Milwaukee on Election Night and there's no effin way I'm going to skip being glued to MSNBC/CNN that night. The show started off just great:

Unfortunately we were distracted by the WORLD'S GROSSEST COUPLE in front of us. They were total methfaces and in addition to molesting each other (he kept pulling her shorts down until her panties were falling out in front), they blew smoke from their cheap cigar in our faces, and constantly hocked up a river of loogies. The entire section around us were revolted by these two:
Yeah, that is some sort of effed up carving on that guys back. That guy who truly is:

Anyway, I digress. At this point, we were just frustrated and tired. I really wish I could've climbed a tree to see the show:

At any rate we kind of just rode out the rest of the day before we had to head back. We sat on the grass and saw none of The National, but heard part of it. We watched the opening sequence for Kanye, but honestly it wasn't that great so we headed home.

Overall, I am grateful that Chicago is the home of this fine festival and is so close to Milwaukee. I wish it was only two days, I wish there was better public transportation options (aka late night service) between the two cities, and I wish sucky people didn't go to shows. However, the positives were bonding with old friends and new friends, FINALLY seeing Radiohead sober and checking out some bands with whom I wasn't super familiar.

I'm sure I'll go again in the future.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I've been super ridiculously busy this month, as is likely evidenced by my lack of posts.

To hold you over and give you a glimpse into what I've been up to, here's two videos that sum up part of my activities:

Yup! I saw Radiohead at Lolla. And unlike when I saw them at Alpine Valley, I actually remember every incredible moment of it.

AND I randomly went to Albuquerque for less than 36 hours. Above is proof!

Monday, August 4, 2008

updates coming soon

Sorry for the lack of posts, August has been busy thus far.

When I have a spare moment I'll update my three readers on The Go! Team show, Lollapalooza, and my lovely meal tonight at La Merenda, which was a fund raiser for Slow Food Wisconsin.

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