For Valentines Day this year, Theo gave me the wonderful gift of a morning to myself. Very romantic, I know. But the opportunity to hit the refresh button is essential to being a happy wife/mother/friend/sister/person.
So I bring you to Saturday morning at South Shore Park. I arrived just as the sun was rising, parked the truck and headed down the path along the lake. I was bundled up, but not quite enough to be comfortable. As you can imagine the beach was pretty quiet. I only ran into two nice folks walking their dogs.
From this park, you can get a great view of the city. It’s right in Bay View, so it’s not a far drive from downtown at all.
And on my way back up to the truck, I heard the sound of birds chirping from the trees. You know that feeling when it’s been winter for years, and the light in your soul is set to “dim”? And then you hear the glorious sound of birds when you’re least expecting it, which means that SPRING IS COMING! And it doesn’t even matter if it’s another 6 or 8 or 12 weeks away. You’re reminded that another season is on its way, and with it will bring a renewed sense of life and adventure.
And to put into perspective how cold it was, check out the Allen Bradley Clock Tower.
After taking photos, I needed desperately to warm up so I went to Stone Creek Coffee. I was greeted by T. Ben, a genuine guy who is enthusiastic about the art of coffee. I was the only customer at 7am, so I got a one-on-one lesson about the different methods of pouring coffee, and the company (did you know they have their own bakery?), and Radio Milwaukee (they share space in the building). I also got to have a conversation with an adult, which was very refreshing!
If you’re coming to this manual-pour coffee shop, be prepared to enjoy and savor your coffee. The different methods give a different flavor to the coffee, and because it’s poured with such care, it gives you more reason to sit and relax.
If I were still in college, this would be a great place to bring my books and pretend to study. Because that’s basically what I did in college (sorry Mom and Dad).
They take their coffee seriously here. Not in a pretentious way, don’t worry.
Glad to see they take drinking booze seriously, too.
So we all know that Radio Milwaukee moved locations this past fall, right? And this Stone Creek cafe is in their new building. I’m going to try and tour the new digs and let you all know about it. For now, this is what you get. A sort of blurry photo of the floor, because I had had so much caffeine that I couldn’t steady my camera.
Next I headed to the Milwaukee County Winter Farmer’s Market, located at the Mitchell Park Domes. It was super crowded and there’s no way I could tell you about many vendors without this turning into a novel. So I’ll highlight just a few. I’ll also add that I had to park behind the domes, where I didn’t even know a parking lot existed. I was SO thankful I didn’t have my kids with me because they certainly would have frozen to the pavement on the long walk in. However, I’m glad it was a hike because I may or may not have had a ridiculously huge hot ham sandwich from Blue’s Egg while browsing inside.
Ted Ballweg from Savory Accents introduced me to his world of chili pepper products. I sampled some spicy jams, which were delicious. My favorite was the Chipotle Cranberry Chutney.
Now if you would have asked me to try this even a year ago, I’d have said no. Because for most of my life I’ve disliked the mixing of things sweet and salty, and this would have fallen into that description. But once I gave in and had a Monte Cristo recently, my mouth rejoiced in the wondrous mix of flavors.
Back to the chutney, though. It was amazing. Spicy and tart, not too sweet but sweet enough. It was great just on a cracker, but can be used as a spread for sandwiches, or straight up for your Thanksgiving meal. And Ted was so great about sharing the story behind their farm (yes they grow all the peppers they use) and the local food movement in Wisconsin. He invited me to check out the farm next time I’m in the Verona area, and consider it done.
Do you remember last year when I met Christina Ward of Kick out the Jams? She’s a really cool lady who makes such delicious jellies as Brandy Old Fashioned, Blackberry Vanilla, Tomato Spice, and Ginger. I tried the orange-vanilla jelly, which was like a calm and subdued version of a dreamsicle. It was great. Not candy-like, or too sweet, but just enough flavor to make you pause and ponder what’s happening in your mouth.
Christina also writes for Edible Milwaukee Magazine, which has some beautiful photos and really great information in it. Read all about some local folks who are taking food to heart, and spreading the joy of all things food.
This adventure got me thinking about food, and how I could get involved with experiencing locally sourced products. I’m also interested in getting the kids to know more about where their food comes from. Edible Milwaukee and meeting such great folks like Christina, Ted and T. Ben are a good way to start.
As always, it’s a pleasure to have you read and join me in discovering our city.