RTF: Rewind, eat well and start a food revolution.

Om Boys Food Movement‘ is the result of two young men looking at their grocery store shelves and realizing that not all food is really what it appears to be. In fact when looking at the wide array of brand name food products offered in America’s grocery stores there is a disturbing amount of things that are packed with preservatives and unwanted ingredients. Many of these foods are also deeply ingrained in our American diet and culture. Two of these products are peanut butters and cereal.

Walking by the endless amount of peanut butter jars that claim to be extra chunky or fat free or reduced fat or smooth and creamy, etcetera and ranging in brands that are generic or the well know brand name jars, one realizes they all scream the same thing… a commodity appearing to be a food product and a business model that is strictly there to make money. The team of people behind the food revolution associated with Om Boys Food Movement are working to create food they would eat and they would feed to their friends, family and hopefully the entire world. The Om Boys Food Movement, founded by Adrian Reif and Matt D’amour created a ‘Yumbutter‘ nut-butter line as well as the ‘Food Your Body Likes’ cereals. These products are the first of Adrian and Matt’s food revolution, reversing the damage done by corporate companies selling nut butters and cereals.


Adrian and Matt wanted to take food products that are a big part of today’s society and make them good! The variety of peanut butters found in most grocery stores only aisles away from sugary and energy depleting cereals are what is found in most American households. According to the USA National Peanut Board “the average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he/she graduates high school.” That is an outstanding amount of a highly processed food product. This is where Yumbutter is introduced as a wholesome, protein rich and pure product that will win any taste test compared with any other nut butters. There is also the ‘Food Your Body Likes’ cereal line, that is jam packed with phytonutrients and sprouted ingredients that “releases enzymes and antioxidants, improves the amino acid, vitamin, and mineral content, and breaks down anti-nutrients.” This is quiet frankly,’Food Your Body Likes’ and will help restore the entire working organism from the inside out.

The idea behind ‘Yumbutter’ nut butters and ‘Food Your Body Likes’cereal is to start small while taking the time to replace the well know jars of peanut butters and air-puffed sugar cereals, disguised as a healthy breakfast option, with real food. Co-founders Adrian and Matt are personally selecting high quality products that range from organic, fair trade bananas for their most recent Yumbutter Potion, Ethical Elvis, to researching the health benefits of sprouted and raw food products for their cereals.

Adrian and Matt are the not the first to use the term ‘food revolution’ while offering some tasty snacks but they are making headway. Their nut butters can be found at a variety of grocery stores in Madison, Milwaukee and even Chicago areas. They started small in order to offer the best quality product but don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Keep a look out for more articles regarding Adrian, Matt, their food revolution and any of the other projects that support their mission of being sustainable, ethical and community-based all while having a full stomach!

All hail a food revolution.

Amy Verhey

Summer 2012 Food Warrior


RTF: Uphoff Farming

Uphoff Farming

This week for Real Time Farms I drafted a sound clip giving an insight on the Uphoff family that has created a long lifestyle that is dedicated to managing people and animals. Their meat is 100% Berkshire certified and while these hogs live a happy life on the farm in open houses they are also providing a high quality product to a variety of local food establishments in Madison, Wisconsin.

For further information check out their Real Time Farm profile or a previous blog post about their meats.

All hail a dedicated farmer.

Amy Verhey

Summer 2012 Food Warrior

RTF: Underground Meats

Collaborating on methods and experience is exactly how the team of people behind Underground Food Collective change the production side of our current food system. Jonny and Ben Hunter started bulding their name in the Madison food scene with their student run cafe on the University of Wisconsin campus years ago. From those early days in the kitchen they were able to branch out and bulid a community around their food. Over the years UFC’s core team has grown to incorporate restaurant work, bartending, catering and meat processing.

The Underground Meats portion of the UFC organization is striving to produce a high quality product that is sourced from a handful of local farmers. In 2007 UFC decided to expand and include Underground Meats along with a Meat CSA. This project allows UFC to offer a variety of uniquely cured and processed meats to local food establishments and consumers. The employees started teaching themselves the necessary skills needed to understand animals and eventually how to explore different processes and flavors. Today Underground Meats offers a variety of workshops including their popular whole hog breakdowns, allowing education to become a key component of UFC’s mission.

Underground Meats is invested with the entire process around meats as they have worked with many farmers to hand select animals and even help raise them in some cases. The experience gained over the years allows them to branch away from pigs and work with many other meats that are locally raised in Madison. The creativity has also allowed them to expand their sourcing across Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest.

To learn more about their meat products or join the Meat CSA email meat@undergroundfoodcollective.org. There are also a variety of events happening that allow consumers to engage with the entire UFC team while enjoying good food and good company. Follow their website or Facebook posts to stay up to date.

All hail meat … done right.

Amy Verhey

Summer 2012 Food Warrior

**All images are taken from http://undergroundfoodcollective.org/ with permission from Emily Julka**

RTF: Bakers’ Window

Baker’s Window is more than simply the name of Madison’s hit new bakery, instead it is a way for Midwesterners to peer into the world of Parisian artisanal baked goods. Karin and Brian have taken bread in America to a whole new level, the level at which Europeans consume. The best part about all of this is that they are a block from the Madison Capitol building and about four blocks from the University of Wisconsin campus, a bit of serendipity.

The large arched window with a stone brick border is a perfect frame for the passerby to peer in and see what is on the shelves that day. Tuesdays through Saturdays their sourdough breads and baguettes are hot and fresh along with an assortment of baked goods ranging from savory ham and cheese croissants with local meats and cheese to sweet yet tart lemon lavender danishes and so much more.

Beyond the rustic breads and croissants pulled out of the ovens all day, Karin and Brian spend time crafting pain au chocolat, pain aux raisin, foraged vegetables with thyme quiches, pies and more. Their baking skills have allowed them to craft a high quality product from the most pure and wholesome ingredients that are seasonal and full of flavor. The bakery sources their dairy and cheeses from Castle Rock along with Hook’s cheddar cheese, Sartori parmesans and Uphoff Farm’s Berkshire ham. Their sugar is a raw local sugar along with all the different flours they bake with.


Baker’s Window strives to uphold something that is becoming very popular in Madison and throughout the rest of the United States – homemade food from wholesome, organic and local ingredients. Karin and Brian stock the kitchen with local flour and homemade yeast starters that offer the most pristine product. They make everything in the back of the bakery, most by hand and in small batches. They pour their love into the baked goods which allows the rest of us to fall right back in love with each bite we take.


It would be an understatement to give them a ten out of ten, so if you are in the area or even in the lovely Wisco state make sure to stop by and if you want a wide variety of piping hot baked goods, come before 10 a.m.

All hail croissants, baguettes and baking experiences.

Amy Verhey

Summer 2012 Food Warrior

Crack bread

One of the many perks of working at a bakery is the endless supply of bread, and my favorite being in the form of a beautiful and fresh baguette. Almost everyday I am whisked away at the end of my shift with a pocket full of tips and a crackling baguette. My love for bread has expanded beyond a slab of butter and into a world of meals on the lovely baguettes. I have explored with sandwiches including a variety of cheeses and piles of veggies or simpler versions of a good stinky cheese, some creamy butter and green garlic… my dirty pleasure.

Recently a friend opened my eyes to a whole new baguette experience… he and a few others have coined it as ‘crack bread’. It is easy peasy and really an amazing way to start your morning off kicking. In order to calm my craving I have started freezing some of the baguette so I don’t simply devour the entire baguette the second I am released from work. Thus, early this morning I popped some pieces in the toaster, spread some butter down, followed by raw honey and then the most important components…. salt and pepper.


While butter and honey accompany any bread nicely the salt and pepper pumps it up a whole other level and makes it a must! I like to use the raw honey because it has a much bolder flavor than the little plastic bear bottles and some good sea salt makes a huge difference. The pepper gives it an added kick and sourcing all the ingredients from local, wholesome establishments allows you to do more than satisfy your taste buds.

Bon appetit.

1127 University Avenue

I have avoided blogging about the Slow Food UW Cafe because it is my stomping grounds and makes me a bit biased. However, that also allows me to give a good insight of what is worth stopping by and can give that insider heads up. The SFUW Cafe is now a year old and my involvement is coming up on a year as well. We have grown enormously and are finally a group of scrappy students that are able to get the good, clean, fair food down pat.

The Cafe is made up of a group of dedicated and incredibly creative students that enjoy working with foods, farmers, and the Madison community. We are a project within the larger Slow Food UW organization that strives to change the way people view food through a cafe, a set meal, outreach events, csa type baskets and volunteer work with children. We all strive to promote food advocacy and transparency along with food justice through simply chowing down on a divinely delectable dish.

The SFUW Cafe, for now, is once a week changing the menu to reflect the local produce and meat products. The semester is half over and the summer is slow for the SFUW interns so take a study break and head over during the 11:30 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. service. It’s an a la carte menu that let’s you pick and choose to enjoy an affordable lunch.

Feast your eyes above to visually enjoy the white bean and zucchini vegetable burger with cucumber tomatoes and carrot sticks. The burger was served over Snug Haven spinach and the side salad was mixed greens with walnuts, raspberries and a house made raspberry vinaigrette. This sando kicked off the 2011 fall semester and is still wildly raved about.

The bison burger that changed my life. One thing that the SFUW Cafe tries to do is offer a meal that our customers would not make on their own or be able to experience elsewhere. The meat is something our suppliers research to offer the cleanest and purest meat. I have grown to find myself a vegetarian except for while under the Slow Food UW roof and am not finding myself the only one making that claim.

The entrees in the Slow Food UW Cafe are always mouthwatering but we don’t stop there. Our group of student chefs know how to satisfy every sweet tooth that comes into our cafe. These are a vegan approach to dessert which helps give a new twist and pleases our growing number of vegan customers. The cake is topped with a lavender frosting and berry vegan anglaise.

This upcoming week will feature a duck prosciutto with mustard greens sando on our own rosemary, fig and olive bread. The second sando is following suit with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes with homemade mozz on the rosemary, fig and olive bread. To accompany or for a small snack there is a roasted fennel salad with olive tapenade and a balsamic glaze or a grain, feta and Russian red kale salad. This week we are trying a fish soup as well as a white bean soup. And finally we invite you to end with a semolina cake with orange whipped cream and as always will offer our Just Coffee regular roast and a selection of teas.

Beyond offering good food we also have our customers help make the food and make a difference. Follow our social activity and join the movement.





Bon appetit.

The to-do list of a foodie.

I have been accepted into my major and have one year that ties me to Madison, after that the possibilities are endless but if anything may buy me more time to accomplish the ultimate to do list. I came across this on André Darlington’s blog and have made a few additions. With a family full of foodies and always looking for an excuse to consume good food, I doubt this will take long at all!

1) Sunday Chicken Dinner at Tornado Club
2) Bloody Mary at Sardine
3) Roti, Tarkara, and Dal at Himal Chuli
4) Fetalicious at Glass Nickel Pizza
5) The Roman Candle pizza at The Roman Candle Pizzeria
6) Orange Chocolate Chip Babcock Hall ice cream at the Memorial Union
7) Charcuterie at Osteria Papavero
8) Lunch at Le Baguette
9) ‘Das Boot’ at the Essen Haus
10) Pork Buns at Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar
11) High Tea at Natt Spil
12) Bell’s seasonal beer and a cigar at Maduro
13) A Lazy Susan at The Old Fashioned
14) Farmer’s Market omelette at the Shamrock Bar
15) Walnut Burger at the Harmony Bar
16) Bakers’ Window Pie
17) Breakfast Biscuit at Ingrid’s Lunch Box (cart)
18) Picnic from Fromagination
19) Weekday lunch at The Paradise Lounge
20) Build-your-own-sandwich at The Willy St Co-op
21) Lunch at Mediterranean Café
22) The Corso at Stalzy’s Deli
23) A ‘Boo Burger (while doing laundry) at The Caribou Tavern
24) The Big Cheesy at Teddywedgers
25) Affogato at Nostrano
26) Fish Fry at Toby’s Supper Club
27) Mustard tasting at the National Mustard Museum
28) An “Aero” omelette at Pat O’Malley’s Jet Room
29) Mi Rancho at Taqueria Guadalajara
30) Cumin Lamb at Fugu
31) Seasonal cocktail at Merchant
32) Goi Cuon Cha Gio (AP10) at Ha Long Bay
33) Mac ‘n Cheese pizza at Ian’s Pizza
34) Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes at Sophia’s (New York Times 36 hours in madison)
35) Brandy Old Fashioned cocktail at Le Tigre
36) The ‘V’ and ‘G’ breakfast bagels at Gotham Bagels
37) Mighty Isis at Mermaid Café
38) Grey Salt Caramel at Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
39) Nostrano’s brunch!!
40) 4 am breakfast at Willalby’s
41) Waffles at Indie Coffee
42) Crab Rangoon at Lao Laan-Xang (preferably at an East Side outdoor festival)
43) Chicken sandwich at JD’s Chicago Maxwell Polish Sausage & Steak Burger (cart)
44) Pho at Saigon Noodles
45) Macaroons at Marigold Kitchen — Marigold’s recipe in 2002 Bon Apétite Magazine
46) Eldorado Eggs at Eldorado Grill
47) Fleuri from Fantome Farm
48) UFC pop up bar
49) Miche from Madison Sourdough
50) Sophia’s Dinner

It’s March 1st, a wonderful month to start chowing down since the weather is warming up and midterms leave you high and dry, what better than to feast!

923 Williamson Street

Upon first appearance you may be worried you pulled up to someone’s quaint summer home but notice that the added cars and pairs of customers meaning you have reached your destination. Umami Ramen and Dumpling Bar opened this fall and has had great success minus a small kitchen fire that postponed business for five days. But have no fear they are again up and running and ready for you!

After venturing through China this summer and sampling each cities delicacy I was craving some good asian cuisine that was hopefully nothing like the endless supply of Chinese buffets scattered all over the U.S. My first experience at Umami was with my father who like me has a craving for good food, especially ethnic foods that truly follow their roots. A few of our favorites that had me back weeks later with my summer traveling friends were the pork buns, traditional miso and the green tea crème brulee. The chef offers specials and alters the menu every few weeks to keep up with the local seasons but it is rare you will leave disappointed.

The pork buns are like tender cuts of pork on sweet pillows that do not come close to comparing to an average “bun”. The pickled vegetables also add a nice crunch. The miso is stocked full with vegetables and traditional ingredients that is not as salty as many other ramens found in the U.S. Finally the green tea crème brulee is absolutely outstanding. Like many other crème brulees it is not overly sweet and the green tea adds an earthy flavor that isn’t found in most deserts.

The rest of the menu is very good and there is a well crafted selection of beer and cocktails. Just a few blocks from the Capital square so head over to enjoy its unique flare any season, bon appétit.

111 South Hamilton Street

This post is a bit delayed because after my wonderful meal at Nostrano I hopped on a plane off to Beijing to start my month of traveling around China. However, that does not deter from how this post may leave you wanting to run as fast as you can directly to Nostrano’s matre’d asking for a table!

I first heard about Nostrano from my sister who lives in Chicago. She has had the privilege of dining at Tim Dahl’s Chicago restaurant, Blackbird and also follows the extremely helpful, Tasting Table, an online food blog. Tasting Table did an article about the brand new Nostrano that Tim and Elizabeth Dahl planned to open in the culturally thriving Madison, a place to start a family but still have customers in their restaurant who truly enjoyed good food. This article started my love for Tasting Table as I now have “To-Do Lists” under each category but also left me eager to try Nostrano.

The perfect opportunity arose when my mom and I were trekking through Madison gathering last minute supplies for my trip abroad and also hoping to end the day with a belated Mother’s Day meal… therefore time to dine at Nostrano, and explaining the title of this post. Along with my beliefs on local sustainable foods I also like to think everything happens for a reason. Thanks to my sister living in Chicago and eating at great restaurants along with reading Tasting Table and sending it my way, I was now able to feast like a God.

Since this had been a long day and we had a two hour drive ahead of us we both ordered coffee as soon as we were seated. To this day I am searching high and low for the Guatemalan blend of Ancora’s coffee we were served. This past semester has transformed me into a coffee drinker as apparent in one of my past posts about how I enjoy a cup of joe. Although I have grown to depend on it from time to time I still am not the wildest fan, until now!! My mom and I both had three cups each and were left wide awake and ready for anything but also so satisfied before we even received our menus, oopsy 🙂

The menu is small, which is how I prefer it, and it was filled with extravagant options that allowed me to realize the chefs must LOVE cooking under the Nostrano roof. We started with the Marinated Olives with Sourdough Focaccia bread that was great to dip in the olives’ oil. There was also a butter lettuce salad that my mother enjoyed so much she almost licked the plate after. The amazing flavors combined had a freshness in each bite.

For the main meal I choose to splurge with the Pork Shoulder Agrodolce that was served with cannellini beans, cavolo nero or kale, and a piece of grilled ciabatta resting on top. My mom was surprised that an ex-vegan would choose a pork shoulder entrée but I am so unbelievably glad I did, and so was she!! The meat was cooked to perfection as it fell to pieces with the poke of my fork allowing all the other ingredients and flavors to mix in the bowl. I was reluctant to share but with the friendly portion served I wouldn’t of been able to clean the plate on my own.

My mom opted for something a little lighter as she ordered another butter lettuce salad to go along with the Sunchoke soup. They brought over a bowl with a small jar and pouring the piping hot soup right in front of us and added a small garnish of sunflower sprouts. I must admit this was the most elaborate presentation of soup, and the flavor fell in line as being smooth and exquisite.


We were beyond full at this point but as dessert was being explained to us I magically made room for some good chocolate lovin’! We sampled the Crema which is explained on the menu as milk chocolate cremeux, malted barley pizzelle, brandied cherries and lambic gelato but I would state it simply as heaven on earth!

Three hours had now passed, the restaurant was full and our waiter was our new best friend. As one last meal before leaving the country I was beyond satisfied with our choice.

A fun fact to go along with the great meal is that Nostrano actually means local allowing each employee to pride them-self on promoting the slow food idea by serving uniquely amazing meals.

Bon appetit and hurry over to the corner of South Hamilton and Main Street on the Capitol Square in Madison.

A morning of lattes, Britney and yoga.

All Hail Honeybees ventured out to lovely Kohler, Wisconsin to spend the morning in Brewed Awakening, a coffee shop located in the entrance of Woodlake Market. This coffee shop happens to be employed by a friend of mine and we listened to Britney Spears, a mutual favorite, while keeping the fort down and sipping on lattes. I was of course the only one relaxing while he was proving himself to be the ideal Kohler employee.

Brewed Awakening offers a variety of drinks made with the amazing Alterra Coffee and a counter of in house baked goods. They have wifi and a small counter for those who wish to spend mornings inside cafes.

Inside the Woodlake Market is a wide selection of local produce, fresh baked goods and prepared meals along with the usually grocery goods but on a scale above the average Piggly Wiggly. I purchased a Fage Greek Yogurt and Kind Granola Bar to go along with my Poor Man’s Latte, skim with honey and cinnamon. Woodlake Market is also offering a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, allowing the market to offer their customers the freshest and local products that also help out local farms. The produce for the CSA comes from Garden Weedin’ in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The meats here are also of good quality as the sausages are packaged in house.

All in all this was a successful morning and now its time to finish hitting the other hot spots of Kohler’s  Shops of Woodlake as I venture over to Yoga on the Lake to have my butt wipped into shape by the enthusiastic instructors. The studio has me stretching in front of the bay windows framing Woodlake, not too shabby.

Bon appetit.