Dining as Venecian Goddesses.

As my last night in lovely Sheboygan my mom and I walked along the river front to dine at Lino’s Ristorante Italiano. This is one of the newest additions to the South Pier located with the Sheboygan River and Lake Michigan on either side of the peninsula. When we moved to Sheboygan this peninsula was covered with weeds and wild bushes. Today it has a breezy pathway outlining the whole peninsula and decorated with various boutiques and restaurants. Lino Autiero and Marco Rossi are long time friends who have landed in Sheboygan in order to help establish the restaurant scene and add flare to what was once a deserted piece of land. With the summer sun setting we decided to sit outside and enjoy our meal only a few feet from the calm Sheboygan River. The scenic views with the lake in the background made the environment divine and as if we were nestled in Venice itself.

We started off with a bottle Lino’s choice of wine, a Ripassa, and after only a few glasses we were fully enjoying our time in bliss. Our choice of appetizer was of course a basket of homemade bread, accompanied for dipping was an aged olive oil and balsamic vinegar, my absolute favorite start to a meal. After exploring the menu and hearing the specials I choose the cheese and spinach tortellini with lobster and a light cream sauce. It was a bit rich but was just perfect for a splurging type of night.

My mom sampled the special Venice which was a chop and unfortunately not what she intended to order but covered in the most delectable mushrooms and a tasty pasta as the side.

Next up was desert after much convincing by our new best friend, or waitress. We opted for something light and shared the mandarin orange sorbet imported from Italy and served in the rind of the orange. It was divine but I must contest that I feel that it would have tasted the same or better had it been grow and assembled on this side of the pond. As much as I love Italian food much of the good meals have their produce and various endless ingredients imported from Italy, making the meal incomparable but the allowing the carbon foot print to sky rocket. Although sometimes, just sometimes I allow myself the ability to justify indulging in the fine foods, regardless of when they are carted from. My Slow Foodies wouldn’t appreciate this as much but we will keep that on the hush hush.

Our meal was now approaching three hours long and we were close acquaintances with Lino as we learned about his amazing adventures and the Italian lemons. This lead to a sample of his special Limoncello, imported from Italy, made with the purest and largest lemons that are only found covering the streets of his home town in Italy. I am able and strong enough to take a shot but this was sweet like desert with a punch in the face that gave me goosebumps.

We were now satisfied with fully bellies and a buzzing head. The atmosphere and company made this a special night and I am eager to explore the rest of the menu.

Bon Appetit.

 

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823 Michigan Avenue

Where else would you rather enjoy a summer sunset than on top of the new and improved El Camino! A bunch of us decided to head downtown Shevegas for margs and delectable Mexican food. El Camino once upon a time was only big enough for three tables with a capacity of maybe 75 people. Now the renovated restaurant has two full bars with enough room for seating down stairs, up stairs and outside on the brand new patio. Half of us sat around catching up and sipping on divine lime margaritas during happy hour enjoying them at two for only six dollars!

The expansion of the restaurant has not allowed the quality of service or food to falter as we all enjoyed our meals and I even explored authentic Mexican cuisine with a lengua taco, TONGUE! I attempted to find out where their meat came from before ordering so I could make a somewhat wise decision. Our waiter explained that it is from a “store” in Milwaukee, allowing me to justify that it is kind of local. This is not ideal when choosing to eat an unusual part of the animal, but when choosing something as bizarre as tongue off a menu it usually indicates that the restaurant purchases full animals. This is pushing them to explore the chefs culinary skills by cooking all odds and ends of the animal and usually, not always, but usually full animals are purchased from local farms. With Milwaukee roughly an hour away I made the executive decision that this was considered local and there for ordered one tongue taco with a corn tortilla.

Despite what people may prefer, corn tortillas in my opinion are the obvious choice when choosing to eat Mexican cuisine. If you are going to go as far as to situation yourself in an ethnic restaurant and sample food other than American then whey wouldn’t you do so fully. Flour tortillas are the western (American) influence on authentic Mexican cuisine, and mask many flavors. The corn tortillas, on the other hand, compliment the other ingredients the way they are meant to be enjoyed. Allergies aside, there really is no excuse for ordering flour, just saying!

Bon appetit to having adventurous taste buds.

Food as a commodity?

Here is a look at Terra Madre “an international network of food producers, cooks, educators and students from 150 countries who are united by a common goal of global sustainability in food. The “food communities” of Terra Madre come together biennially to share innovative solutions and time-honored traditions for keeping small-scale agriculture and sustainable food production alive and well.” (Collected from the Slow Food USA website, http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/programs/details/bringing_terra_madre_home/).

Food has been a part of all cultures since the beginning and how has it evolved over centuries? Is food a commodity, is it losing the basics characteristics of being natural, good food? Advancements help a culture grow but what is too far?

Enjoy this video giving a glimpse of Terra Madre…

Hello Sheboygan Dining.

Sheboygan is home of Johnsonville brats paired with a Hard Roll. In the summer this delicious combination added with your favorite fixings are found all over Shevegas! However, there are many more delicious Sheboygan staples that are year round.

My first and absolute favorite is the Weather Center Cafe. This is an eclectic, artsy café nested in with many other shops andrestaurants on The Sheboygan River front. Their Weather Center salad with homemade spinach vinaigrette is a refreshing choice that pleases everyone’s palate. Pair this with one of their daily fresh-baked scones or muffins and you may never want to leave. Over winter break I have camped out there almost every other day having lunches with all my pals. It is also ideal in the summer as well by taking a walk and having breakfast outside soaking up the sun. The best of all is that a Sheboygan local, Teek, owns it and serves his community by creating fresh, real food! (Photo retrieved from http://sheboyganwalkingtours.com/Howland.html).

The next stop is Italy at Stefano’s Il Ritrovo. This restaurant is one of Stefano’s four restaurants in Sheboygan but my friends and I have coined Il Ritrovo as the best. It is an Italian Pizzeria with all the ingredients imported straight from Italy. The menu consists solely of appetizers, soups, salads and pizzas, but that is all you need to choose from because they are the best! I won’t suggest my favorites because you simply can’t go wrong here.

Attached to Il Ritrovo is an Italian deli and grocery store that separates it from Stefano’s other restaurant, Field to Fork. This restaurant is exactly what it sounds like and follows Stefano’s theme of serving organic and locally grown food. Almost anything on this menu can be purchased in the deli or grocery. They also have a phenomenal juice bar that serves fresh fruit juices and exotic green drinks. My favorite here is the “Green Drink” which is a blend of apple or pears, lemon, ginger, wheat grass, spinach and lettuce. Have this for breakfast and you are bound to obtain super powers! (Photo retrieved from http://www.trattoriastefano.com/about_us.html).

The fourth restaurant is ideal for a fancy-pants meal with your family or loved one. The Blackwolf Run Restaurant is located in Kohler Wisconsin, a part of the well-known Blackwolf Run Golf Course. This elegant yet cozy restaurant is gorgeous in the winter because of its dark wood and warm feeling it leaves you with. However, in the summer the large glass windows, framing the golf course below you, accompany the wonderful meal. Chef Paul Smitala knows how to combine perfectly paired ingredients always creating a masterpiece. One masterpiece, the Corn Sausage Chowder, has become very popular around Kohler and Sheboygan, especially on a cold winter night. (Photo retrieved from http://www.americanclubresort.com/restaurants/bwr_restaurant.html)


You can always find a good meal or cool place to hang out in Sheboygan and even though the name may sound silly, don’t let it fool you!

Bon Appetit on the Michigan shore.