Bon Appetit with UW Slow Food

Once again it was time to feast on the fine food of UW Slow Food’s café lunch on Wednesdays! I had the pleasure of volunteering with them to help out with some last-minute preparations before the doors opened. The lucky little duck that I am was grating Gruyère and parmesan cheeses for about an hour which left me stuck with a cheesy aroma for the rest of the day, turns out me not so lucky but instead stinky! Regardless, I met up with some friends and waited in a very long line catching up on our week while starting to smell the kitchen’s fragrance floating through the air.

While waiting in the line one of the volunteers surprised us with samples of Amuse Bouche, a crostini with goat cheese, herbs, roasted beets and olive oil. My oh my so divine and really left us wanting more!

We were able to choose from a menu with Venison tacos including sautéed onions and peppers, served with sour cream and gallo pico on local tortillas. The other main dish option was an open face Croque Monsieur with sweet potato, kale, béchamel sauce and my grated cheeses! This is what we all had our eyes on but I also decided to sample the lemon tart for desert and of course selected the salad made of water crest, wheat berries, sunchokes and a sunflower seed oil dressing. The rest of the menu was made up of a Tuscan and bean vegetable soup, potato salad or a granola bar hunk with peanut butter, walnuts and chocolate chips, mmm mmm.

Finally, if you are reading this and dying to get more involved and sample some of this extravagant cuisine but worried that it is too late since the semester is over… no worries!! Next friday is their end of semester kick off which will be a picnic in the park with Chef Tory Miller, the head chef of L’Etoile and owner of Graze. The tickets are 7$ in advance and 10$ on the day of the event. This will be held in a park, TBD, next Friday (5/6) starting at 5:30pm. There is also an event before the dinner where UW Slow Food will be promoting their very first cookbook. This will begin at 4:00pm and free copies will go to the first people to arrive. This is an awesome event to enjoy the end of a great semester with good food and fun people.

We made sure to buy our tickets at the this weeks café lunch so hurry up and come one, come all!

For more information check out their website or blog!

Join the movement and Bon Appetit!

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Chilling with Mango Man himself!

Well hello all my hungry readers!! With finals approaching oh so fast I have been a busy bee trying to keep up with Madison’s academia. But of course I always find time to feast on yummy treats, like Cafe Costa Rica‘s divine Caribbean, Mexican flared cuisine inspired by Mango Man’s unique recipes. (To clarify quickly the chef of Cafe Costa Rica goes by Mango Man and is the cutest/hippest Jamaican shaken chef I have met!) I have blogged about Cafe Costa Rica before but have not had the chance to sample their food, seeing that it was part of my foodie bucket list, I was excited to cross it off the list.

My favorite part about The University of Wisconsin campus is that when the sun shines it seems to, quiet literally, come ALIVE! Library mall is filled with the popular food trucks the second the snow is cleared and this year we have been able to sample from a few new ones. I have not had the time or cash flow to hit all the new hot spots but Monty’s Blue Plate Diner, the vegan Dandelion Food Cart and many more including Cafe Costa Rica have caught my eye.

I was running off to study at the terrace and decided to grab a snack from one of the few items on Mango Man’s menu. He recommended the chicken taco with rice and beans and even convinced me to add some sizzling hot sauce. I scurried off to the terrace to get some quick reading done, but as could have been predicted I found happy students and jealous community members had the same idea.

Check out the pictures, mind the construction and try not to drool but most importantly, bon appetit!!

Dining with Mother Nature.

Slow Food is a style of cooking that originated in Italy and is the process of using natural, local food products as well as cooking all items from scratch. This promotes healthy and delicious eating as well as supporting those local farms and businesses. Slow Food has become more than a way of cooking and living but instead a full movement here in the United States as well as around the world. This movement started in 1986 by Carlo Petrini and has been a way to fight back against the rapid increases of fast food. As a student on a liberal and progressive campus I have started to become involved in The University of Wisconsin’s Slow Food chapter. This involvement hasn’t asked much from me except to enjoy unique and tasty food as well as giving back to the community by joining the movement. 

UW Slow Food has family dinners once a week like many Slow Food chapters but has also started a Slow Food café with lunch served on Wednesdays. This is not your typical café and when I try to explain this to my friends the end up lost. The way it works is all the food is prepared from scratch on Monday and Tuesday and come Wednesdays, from noon until two, anyone has the opportunity to stop at The Crossing on campus and enjoy that weeks meal. All you do is show up, order from that weeks menu and wait until you are able to enjoy your scrumptious meal. Typically they call your name and you’re invited to enjoy the meal with all the other Slow Foodies but if your like me and on your way to class they will gladly wrap it up for you.

I sampled the vegetarian Garbanzo bean sandwich including an olive tapenade with arugula and homemade ricotta cheese between two pieces of homemade walnut sourdough bread. The sun is finally shining so I hustled over to Bascom hill and enjoyed a piece of heaven. I also snatched a piece of hearty carrot cake with cream cheese frosting before they disappeared.

With the semester almost over I am a little embarrassed to admit that today was my very first UW Slow Food experience but am beyond confident that it will not be my last. So if you’re interested let me know, I can always use a friend to enjoy the Slow Food atmosphere on campus.

Slow down your food and bon appétit!

 

Related Articles:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/carlo-petrini-the-slow-food-tsar-427783.html

Cheers to Fine Dining and Friends.

For my twenty-first birthday a few of us decided to go to Chicago to bring in a new year of birthdays. With many of us having birthdays in March it was a collaborative celebration and of course accompanied with great food.

To celebrate the big day with my mother and sister we went on a wild goose chase to finally choose Le Colonial, which ended up being completely fitting for my first meal as a legal adult. Le Colonial is a French Vietnamese restaurant located downtown Chicago. Their beyond unique interpretations of French food cooked in Vietnamese styles was most definitely a treat. We started with an array of appetizers sampling dishes like the Goi Ga Cuon and Bo Bia. The ingredients were fresh and the flavors were wildly amazing. For dinner we all shared some delectable curries and a unique twist on a salad. Finally for desert they surprised us with a specially made desert that was sweetly out-of-this-world and mouth-watering!

We ended the night at my uncle’s downtown lounge, Pop’s For Champagne to of course enjoy some champagne on the house. The rest of theweek we sampled all sorts of cuisines allowing us to travel around Chicago pleasing out taste buds.

Next up was Xoco for breakfast, which is one of Rick Bayless’ restaurants that serves a mean mexican influenced Huevos Rancheros and empanadas along with a long list of tapas for lunch and homemade soft serve ice cream. The breakfast is only served until 10am so it is a must to get up and out of bed bright and early. It is also a must to try the Torreja which is a wood-oven cooked french toast. It is a perfect sweet treat topped with maple syrup and local Gunthrop bacon-pecan sprinkles!

    

The last meal with my family was at Piccolo Sogno which has become one of my favorites in Chicago. The atmosphere sits you at small tables surrounded by loud conversations that make you feel like you are dining in a villa in Italy. Our little old Italian waiter helped us sample some of the chef’s best Italian meats and cheeses on their tapas platter. I feasted on a duck dish paired with a polenta loaf and a divine glass of wine. I have been here only once before but the small menu has always left me wanting more.

Now it was time for mama bear to leave and my friends to arrive so the real 21st birthday celebrations could begin. We started our Chicago adventures at Topo Gigio in Lincoln Park. This cozy old Italian restaurant was perfect for our large group and bottles of wine. I ordered the special pasta and yet again they surprised me with a feast of deserts. All the meals were looking and smelling fantastic but the best was the fun lively atmosphere and great company! After our drinks and desert we scooted off to Second City and enjoyed the rest of our night filled with laughs.

The next day was filled with hitting all the shops on Michigan avenue only a few blocks from our hotel. For a quick meal that cures any hunger craving I definitely recommend M Burger. I have heard my friends talk about M Burger before and as an ex vegetarian searching for a good burger from time to time I had to sample it myself. The restaurant is the size of a dream walk-in closet and there are only about 8 seats with 3 burgers on the menu including a few other sandwich options. They know to keep it simple and do things right! No matter what you like on your burger I guarantee you will leave satisfied from M Burger.

      

The rest of the weekend was filled with cute cocktails and shopping sprees leaving us to dread reality, but as always bon appetit and cheers to us.

625 State Street

Mmm mmm is all I have to say for my favorite place to eat on campus. The Mediterranean Cafe is one of my favorites to blog about, and apologies if it gets redundant. As of April, and half way through the spring semester I have craved a good Med Cafe meal and thought I would satisfy my taste buds with memories.

The narrow café is only open until 3:30ish during the week and never on a Sunday, you need cash and the menu is always changing in the fast pace restaurant. Regardless of all of this, it’s the best and even picky eaters will find something to obsess about!

Here is the eggplant dish which a vegetarian mixture of eggplant, potatoes, rice, tomato sauce, and grains and formed like a lasagna and is even accompanied with a small salad. Its served hot and has flavors that I have not been able to put my finger on but excite your taste buds.

Bon Appetit as they do in the Mediterranean.