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.

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!!

Bon Appetit with a Lunch Bag.

This post is strictly for my sister but all my readers in Chicago can benefit!

My older sister received a lunch bag for Christmas and even though she didn’t say anything, I knew she had no idea when she would use it. My sister and I have become very similar over the years, it has probably helped that I am not the annoying 6-year-old trying to “hang out” with the teenagers, but one difference we still have is our use of the kitchen. While when I have the availability, would spend hours making yummy treats or mouth-watering meals, she would rather use her skills to get us into this months top rated restaurants and experience someone else’s cooking. I must clarify that this is in no way a bad thing, we both benefit from each others skills and as a reader so do you! However, this post is so my sister can put her shiny new lunch bag to good use.

Daily Candy is a blog I follow, and as before, I found something I couldn’t let just sit in my Gmail inbox. This “restaurant” brings the home cooked meals into your home, without you having to do the work.

Cindy, my new role model this year, is a women who left the corporate world to find her true passion, in the kitchen. After having years of success in America’s typical workforce she now spends her time baking tiny pies filled with comfort. Her website Small Comfort displays about a dozen pies she makes from scratch and sells them fresh or freezes and ships them. My sister, or anyone else, can purchase these pies to have for a comforting dinner after a long day at work or pack up and take to work, in a lunch bag perhaps?? They are all made weekly with fantastic ingredients and a perfect flakey crust. A few delightful examples are… Classic Chicken, Potato Leek, or Roasted Root Vegetable. There are many more and she ranges from traditional pot pies to some with a twist, and can even deliver a vegan one if that satisfies you more.

Check out her website or visit her at Logan Square Kitchen’s Pastry Market, February 12th and 13th, I’m sure she will not disappoint you.

Bon Appetit with a lunch bag.