Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gettin' Back

Sometimes its good to get back.

I spent about a week in Madison around this past Memorial Day, working from the main office, seeing some really good friends, enjoying the wonderful weather, and of course, enjoying some killer food.

It didn't take me very long to find my way to a local microbrew. This particular pint is a Rochambeau Belgian Ale from the newly created Vintage Brewing Company, which took over the old space of JT Whitney's, including their brewing equipment. Their selection of microbrews is impressive for a new brewery, and I can't wait to try the rest of their beers.  With the amount if trips I make back to WI, it shouldn't take me too long.

After an evening of beer, I needed something fresh and light the next morning to wake up my sloshing stomach.

Strawberries, blueberries, banana and a splash of lime juice. Delish! It definitely made me appreciate my parent's well stocked fridge.

Speaking of delicious things eaten at my parent's house---

I think there is a law somewhere that says you must grill over Memorial Day weekend. As good law abiding citizens, I like to think we did our duty admirably. Thai grilled chicken with a sweet-spicy sauce, pasta salad, fresh pineapple and a (regrettably not pictured) bowl of fresh garden lettuce. The recipe for Thai Grilled Chicken was obtained from possibly the best issue of Cook's Illustrated ever written. If you'd like the recipe, it should be archived neatly on their website, which you can get a 14 day trial membership to obtain. Sure, you can get lots of recipes for free online, but I think they're somewhat justified in their membership-based business model. As cooking rags go, Cook's Illustrated and their various magazine/TV ventures are by far the best and most reliable sources of cooking info and recipes out there in my opinion. If you've never picked up one of their cook books, or read their magazine, seriously, check it out.

But I digress. Then, I had Bratfest ice cream.

The color of this ice cream may be slightly horrifying, but I assure you the taste was pure cookie dough heaven. In honor of Bratfest, which is a local fundraiser and brat extravaganza held every Memorial Day weekend in Madison, The Chocolate Shoppe dyed their cookie dough ice cream the official Bratfest colors. The kid in me was giddy about eating this; the adult in me mildly wondered what chemicals they used to get it so unnaturally bright. Both enjoyed it immensely.

Whenever I return from a trip to Madison, I almost always bring some food/drink back with me, whether it's cheese curds or Great Dane Beer. This time however, it was something slightly more unusual: A SCOBY baby!

SCOBY Babies (or Symbiotic Cultures of Bacteria and Yeast) are the mushroom-like starters that are used to create Kombucha Tea, a probiotic beverage popular with health enthusiasts and unabashed hippies the world around. It's like bringing back a little piece of Madison with me. The tea takes about 2 weeks to ferment, and I'll write a more expansive post on it as the Kombucha develops---hopefully it will turn out!

(Apologies to all the delicious food I ate that I forgot to take a picture of. Cheese Fondue, this one's for you!)

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