Big Mouth Pasta Brings Argentine Style Pasta to Wisconsin!

 Photo by Big Mouth Pasta
Photo by Big Mouth Pasta

What do you get when you cross Argentine culinary traditions with Wisconsin farm-fresh ingredients?

Big Mouth Pasta!! The new venture for local Madisonians Kelly and Damián Messori.

(CLICK HERE to learn more about Kelly & Damián)

They’re the culinary artists behind every single fresh, handmade pasta that Big Mouth Pasta produces the same day you get to enjoy them.  It doesn’t get any fresher than that folks!  No machines have been used in the making of these artisan pastas.  Not a one! You won’t see their pastas packaged sitting on a grocery store shelf or fridge.

 Photo by Big Mouth Pasta
Photo by Big Mouth Pasta

So how do you get to taste these fabulously fresh pastas?

 Photo by Big Mouth Pasta
Photo by Big Mouth Pasta

By attending any of their upcoming pop-up dinners at local Wisconsin restaurants and shops of course!

Their inaugural pop-up event will be held on September 3rd, 2017 in Milwaukee’s Amilinda with Chef Gregory León at the helm.

 Amilinda's Chef Gregory León (Photo by Orry León)
Amilinda’s Chef Gregory León (Photo by Orry León)

Hey Madison, not willing to drive to Milwaukee?  Don’t worry.  Their next pop-up will be held right here in Madison on September 18th, 2017 at La Kitchenette.

If you weren’t quick enough to reserve your spot at the Amilinda Pop-Up dinner and are curious as to what Big Mouth Pasta has to offer, we’ve got you covered.

Epicurean Chronicles will be broadcasting LIVE at Amilinda so make sure to follow us on:

Instagram: @EpicureanChronicles

Facebook: @EpicureanChronicles

And make sure to follow @_bigmouthpasta to stay up to date on upcoming pop-ups!

We certainly will!

 

 

 

 

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Caffeine Crawl Is Back In Wisconsin!

 Click on this banner for more information on the 2017 Wisconsin Caffeine Crawl
Click on this banner for more information on the 2017 Wisconsin Caffeine Crawl

IT’S BACK COFFEE LOVERS! 

Caffeine Crawl will be in Wisconsin to give you the caffeine fix you’ve been itching for since its inaugural Wisconsin event in Madison last year.  This time around, Madison’s neighboring ‘other big city” Milwaukee will be joining the crawl.  The event will once again showcase an impressive lineup of coffee, tea, and chocolate from boutique shops and local favorite coffee shops. Bring your helmets!  No, it’s not going to be a bumpy ride… well that all depends on your riding skills as bike-friendly route options are available to put your caffeine boost to use.

On August 26th, Madison, WI will be hosting 5 different tours with over 10 businesses that focus on coffee, tea, and chocolate. 

On the roster are:

  • Colectivo
  • Crescendo Espresso Bar & Music Cafe
  • Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
  • Infusion Chocolates
  • JBC Coffee Roasters
  • MSCo. Patisserie (Madison Sourdough Co.)
  • Porter
  • Rich Tea (at Field Table)
  • Stone Creek Coffee.

(Notably absent from the rotation is 5th Element Coffee, who sadly closed their establishment on August 6th, 2017.) 

Now in true Madison style, JBC Coffee Roasters will host a kickoff party (I mean c’mon, there’s gotta be a party) at 6pm with even MORE drinks highlighting more local partnerships with businesses such as Sassy Cow Creamery and Cadence Cold Brew.  Rumor has it that even a local brewery coffee stout (it’s a surprise) will be available for all attendees.  For those who want to see the artistic side of coffee, a “free-to-attend” Latte Art Throwdown competition will take place at 7pm.

 Photo by Quit Nguyen
Photo by Quit Nguyen

Now to all our Milwaukee Coffee connoisseurs.

They didn’t forget about you!

On Sunday, August 27th, Milwaukee will be hosting 4 different tours from the following:

  • Anodyne Coffee Roasting
  • Brewed Cafe
  • Colectivo
  • Dryhootch Coffeehouse
  • Hawthorne Coffee Roasters
  • Kickapoo Coffee
  • Pilcrow Coffee Roasters
  • Rishi Tea

All of the Milwaukee routes are driving routes, so make sure to have your motor vehicle ready and full of fuel…. the non-caffeinated kind.

We will be broadcasting LIVE from Instagram during Madison’s Route 2 on August 26th, and at the Kickoff Party and Latte Art Throwdown, so make sure to follow us @EpicureanChronicles to see all the action.

 Photo By CafFEINe Crawl
Photo By CafFEINe Crawl

 

 

Top 3 Tacos & Margaritas at the 1st annual Margarita Fest

 The Bandit Folks killing it at Margarita Fest
The Bandit Folks killing it at Margarita Fest

Isthmus and Pasqual’s Cantina partnered together to give Madison, Wisconsin its 1st annual Margarita Fest.

Mother Nature was on board with this outdoor food fest and graced us with sunshine and a perfect breeze.

If you love tacos and margaritas, then you definitely missed out on unlimited sampling of the best tacos and margaritas Madison has to offer.

Fortunately, WE were there, and ready to dish on our Top 3 tacos and margs!

Let’s go!!!

Top 3 Tacos

3.  Lucille

Hamachi Crudo, Cucumber, Shallot, Jalapeño, and avocado purée.

Lucille is known for their pizza, so it was a pleasant surprise to see a fish taco from them.  This was a pescatarian’s delight.  Served on a light yet crunchy taco shell, we could have eaten buckets of these.  

2. Bandit

Grilled Pork shoulder with Spicy Pickled Rhubarb, onion flowers, radish, crema, epazote, and salsa verde.

The Bandit guys are new to the game, but their tacos would say otherwise.  You can taste the freshness in every bite. They came to Margarita Fest to test out their creations, and after eating 4 of these, we knew Bandit came correct with their tacos.  We look forward to more from Bandit!

1. BelAir Cantina

Crispy pork, hoisin glaze, cucumber jicama slaw

They had us at ‘Crispy Pork’, but the supporting ingredients made this taco a winner!  Coming soon to downtown Madison, BelAir Cantina has 5 locations in Wisconsin, and judging by this taco, they are sure to give Madison’s taco eateries a run for their money!  We can’t wait to try more!!!

Top 3 Margaritas

3. Bandit

Lemon Drop infused tequila, celery, lime, honey, green chartreuse, w/ smoked paprika salt rim.

Bandit is killin’ it!  If you like a well-rounded margarita that goes well with ANY taco, this one’s your best bet.  Not only was this tasty, it was also the most photogenic. Take a look!

2. The Rigby

Watermelon Mint Margarita

This was the most refreshing especially under the 90 degree heat.  This had just the right amount of booze to give you that margarita buzz you crave, but more of the sweet and tasty watermelon flavor that we kept coming back for.

1. Old Sugar Distillery

Honey Ginger Margarita – No Sugar or Agave added. Reposado Tequila, Old Sugar Factory Honey Liqueur, Triple Sec, Fresh squeezed lime juice, local honey, and freshly squeezed ginger.

Old Sugar Distillery brought their “A” game to Margarita Fest and won us over with this Margarita.  This was by far the smoothest of the bunch.  It’s tasty yet boozey enough to be dangerous.  You won’t know it by tasting it, and we can’t believe that no sugar or Agave was used in making this margarita.  We’re impressed, and we want more!

Well there you have it folks!  

You’ll have to wait until next year to indulge in fabulous tacos and tasty margaritas.

To tide you over, check out the slideshow below for more Margarita Fest fun!

vomFASS brings Sonoma County to Madison with Meeker Vineyard Wine!

 Chef Kristin Williams and vomFass Owner Justin Gibson holding a bottle of HandPrint Merlot
Chef Kristin Williams and vomFass Owner Justin Gibson holding a bottle of HandPrint Merlot

If you aren’t familiar with vomFASS by now, let us enlighten you a bit.

You can visit the State Street or University Avenue location in Madison, Wisconsin and step into their European-style tasting room.  Once inside, you are encouraged to try the finest oils, vinegars, wine, spirits, and liqueurs the world has to offer. They hold cooking classes and pairing events that highlight special and unique products that are available at both locations.

One such event is the Meeker Vineyard Wine Pairing event, an intimate food and wine pairing hosted by Molly Meeker, President and Co-Founder of Meeker Vineyards.   This was a guided 5-course tasting of the available Meeker wine as it was paired with Chef Kristin William’s creations in the kitchen.

We were invited to experience this wonderful event, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Take a look at the delicious food and it’s wine pairing!

First Course

Deconstructed Potato Salad –  paired with Lobster Cove Chardonnay

Oven-roasted Garlic Creamer Potatoes with Savory Paprika Infused Aioli.

2nd Course

Blueberry BBQ Chicken Breast  – paired with Roller Coaster Red Blend

Served with pickled corn salsa.

3rd Course

Mini Charcuterie Plate – paired with Great Cabs

Variety of cheeses, olives & cured meat with roasted red peppers and crostini.

4th Course

Thai Beef Salad – paired with Handprint Merlot

served with Passionfruit Cilantro Vinaigrette

5th Course

Dark Chocolate Caramel Brownie – paired with Fro-Zin Dessert Wine

served with fresh cherries, Fro-Zin infused Whipped Cream, and di Famiglia drizzle.

Check out the Meeker Vineyard Wine line up for this tasting.  

Can’t make the trip to California’s wine country for these?  Don’t worry.  These can be purchased at vomFASS at both Madison, WI locations.  There may be some available for tasting as well.  We recommend the Roller Coaster.  Our fave!

With the intimate seating, we were able to converse about the fantastic food and wine pairing and just have one hell of a time!

If there was ONE bottle of Meeker Wine that we recommend you purchase, it’s the Handprint Merlot.  No two bottles are the same.  Each bottle is branded with the winemaker’s “handprints”. CLICK HERE to view a video on this unique to Meeker Wine process.  Plan to buy at least 2 bottles.  One to drink, and one to keep, and don’t forget to save the cork and bottle.

They’re in the process of adding a bar and demo kitchen at the University Avenue location for an even more spectacular experience, so make sure to check the vomFASS Events Calendar page frequently so that you don’t miss out on fabulous events like this one.

Meanwhile, take a look at the slideshow below of what you can find at vomFASS.

As usual, we will keep you all posted, and see you all at the next event!

Locally Sourced Burgers & Brew, Oh My!

There’s no better way to celebrate the return of warm weather than a good ol’ fashioned grilling.  It’s a time-honored tradition here in Wisconsin.  The second it gets above 40 degrees, get your shorts, flip-flops and ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron ready…  you’re grilling!  Lucky for us, the Reap Food Group set this all in motion this past weekend with their 10th annual Burgers & Brew event held at the Capital Brewery in Middleton, WI.  

If you haven’t heard of REAP yet, now is the time to learn.  REAP is a non-profit organization committed to building and sustaining a local food system throughout Southern Wisconsin.  They are dedicated to supporting local businesses and small family farms and connecting them with the rest of the community to ensure access to sustainable and healthy food.  If you are looking to get involved with the REAP organization, CLICK HERE and find out how!

The weather could not have been more perfect, and the tented outdoor location was much appreciated.  There was a dedicated parking area for guests, and of course, Capital Brewery to continue the merriment.  

Just Coffee was in the house providing regular drip AND Cold Brew for those needing a caffeine pick-me-up.

Wisco Pop gave everyone the opportunity to sample their Certified Organic sodas and sparkles.  We were immediately drawn to the vintage feel of their booth.  Not only did everything we try taste great, but the packaging looked fantastic! Well done guys!

NessAlla was also in attendance providing samples of their line of local organic Kombucha beverages. 

Bloom Bake Shop provided tasty desserts for those looking to satisfy their sweet tooth, while Sassy Cow Creamery provided the ice cream sidekicks.

We were in dessert heaven!

Sadly, we were only able to attend one day (Sunday), and were only able to try the burgers and brew from the Sunday Menu, but in true Epicurean Chronicles style, we were still able to choose our top picks!

So let’s get to it, shall we?

Let’s get down to our Top 3 Burgers AND Brews!

Top 3 Burgers

3. The Oyster Rocket (The Cooper’s Tavern)

Fox Heritage waygu beef on a pretzel bun with Roth Van Gogh Gouda, Vitruvian Farms arugula, and oyster mushrooms. 

2. Galangal Burger (Merchant)

Marr’s Valley View Farms beef burger with lemongrass aioli, napa cabbage, pickled Thai chili, and micro cilantro on a Hawaiian roll.

1. Fun-Guy Grilled Cheese Burger (The Vintage)

Knoche’s beef and wild mushroom infused slider, Roth Gorgonzola and swiss grilled cheese, roasted tomato, and Jones Dairy peppered candied bacon.

It was worth attending this event for this burger alone.   A perfectly cooked Knoche’s Beef patty served in between grilled sandwiches?!?!?  We’re definitely in Wisconsin folks!!! This burger is worthy of a post on your Instagram, and the #1 spot on our list. Unlike the hype around the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, this camera-ready burger is the bomb! However, just like the elusive unicorn, It’ll be hard to find this burger on The Vintage’s regular menu since they don’t currently have it listed. Here’s hoping that a little bit of rainbows and magic will make this a permanent addition to their menu.

Just LOOK at it!!!!

*Honorable Mention – The Runnelstone Burger (Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry)

Wisconsin Meadows beef burger with Roth Butterkäse cheese, house-made English garlic sauce, and a pickle spear.

This one deserves an honorable mention.  The classic burger got dressed up a bit with a house-made English garlic sauce.  Think of it as ‘business casual’ if there was a burger dress code. Yum!

 

Top 3 Brews

3. Fatty Boomblatty (Furthermore)

2. Toy Boat Double IPA (Vintage Brewery

1. Rift IPA (Central Waters)

 

This was an incredibly fun AND tasty event.  We left satisfied and full… like REALY full!

Would we do it again? Most definitely, and we can’t wait to see which Burgers and Brew will make the coveted list next year!

Check out how much fun you could have had at this year’s Burgers & Brew in this slideshow, and we hope to see you there next time!

 

 

Feed The Need – A Foodie Smorgasbord for a Good Cause

 Mini-Chefs Charlie and Liliana of Charlie's on Main and Liliana's Restaurant
Mini-Chefs Charlie and Liliana of Charlie’s on Main and Liliana’s Restaurant

Feed The Need is a fundraising event held to raise money for The River Food Pantry, a non-profit organization in Wisconsin that provide necessities such as meals, clothing, groceries, and everyday household items to families in Dane County that are in need.  

We were lucky enough to be able to attend this event held at the Madison Technical College’s brand new culinary space, which was the perfect venue.  It was a large open space, with plenty of tables and seating for the attendees, plenty of parking, and a complimentary shuttle provided by Union Cab, which came in handy due to the rain.  A nice touch.

 Chris Attaway, Founder of Epicurean Chronicles with Kyle CHerek, Host of Wisconsin Foodie
Chris Attaway, Founder of Epicurean Chronicles with Kyle CHerek, Host of Wisconsin Foodie

Kyle Cherek, a Wisconsinite to the core, and host of Emmy Award-winning TV series Wisconsin Foodie was also in attendance as a special guest, and did a fantastic job as an auctioneer for the live auction. A gift basket with a value of $900 scored a winning bid of over $1500!

Way to go Kyle, and thank you to the winning bidder!

There was a $20 Wine Pull and a 50/50 Cash Raffle that went on throughout the event, which gave foodies and philanthropists alike a chance to give back to such a deserving organization.

Sadly, we didn’t win, but The River Food Pantry certainly did.  The fundraiser was a successful event, raising $40,000 for the organization.

WOW!

It was quite inspiring to see everyone so willing to give back without a second thought and enjoying themselves surrounded by great Wisconsin food, fabulous drinks, and wonderful people.

Live music was provided by musician Cliff Frederiksen, and let’s not forget, TONS of food from the following Madison Originals restaurants:

  1. Banzo
  2. Bonfyre American Grille
  3. Brasserie V
  4. Charlie’s on Main
  5. Daisy Café
  6. Essen Haus
  7. Ian’s Pizza
  8. Imperial Garden
  9. J. Henry & Sons Wisconsin
  10. Straight Bourbon
  11. Liliana’s
  12. Lombardino’s
  13. Manna Café and Bakery
  14. Nitty Gritty
  15. Porta Bella Restaurant
  16. Sprecher’s Pub
  17. The Old Fashioned
  18. The Roman Candle
  19. Wollersheim Winery
  20. Yahara Bay Distillery

Wine and Spirits were also represented well at this venue with tasting booths ready to wet the whistles of beverage enthusiasts.

As always, you’re here to find out about the food!  

No need to worry, we have our usual top eats ready for all of you to devour.

Ready?

Here we go.

Our Top 5 Eats at Feed The Need 2017.

5. Jambalaya – Sprecher’s Pub

Chicken andouille sausage, Parmesan cheese, onions and peppers with creole sauce on rice pilaf.

4. Endive Boats – Liliana’s 

Stilton cheese, walnuts, and field greens in Belgian Endive Boats

3. Bananas Fosters Mini Milkshake – The Nitty Gritty

2. Belgian Meatball – Braserrie V

Highland Spring Farm Beef, Fox Heritage Farms Pork, Caramelized Onion, St. Bernardus Cream Sauce

1. Gorgonzola Stuffed Date – Lombardino’s

set on finocchiona salami with toasted pistachio, Garden to Be pea shoots and balsamic glaze

 

There were so many different food to try, and there were some that ran out before we got to it. Bummer.  Regardless, it was a blast.  

Good food for a good cause.  

Can’t beat that.

Take a look at all the other things we enjoyed and saw at this year’s Feed The Need, and we hope to see you there next time!

 

 

 

El Grito Taqueria Tacos Pop Up at Estrellón

Unless you’ve been living under a rock here in Madison, WI, you know that El Grito Taqueria is synonymous to ‘best tacos in town’.  Now put these tasty, elevated tacos in one of Chef Tory Miller’s restaurants, and you have yourself one hell of a successful pop-up!

And we were there!

Estrellón held their first pop-up dining event, hosting El Grito tacos at The Bar adjacent to the main dining room.  It was Tacos and Tequila from 8pm – 11pm.  $3 per taco,  and cash only of course.  The line was out the door! Thankfully it was a nice evening by Wisconsin standards. There were several that dropped off from the line, which only meant the rest of us were closer to fulfilling our taco destiny.  

It was definitely standing room only once the tables were occupied, and The Bar was lit!!!!  It took an hour and a half of waiting for the acclaimed El Grito tacos, because… well… El Grito Tacos, that’s why.  

Was it worth the wait?

HELL YES!

To those that left the line.  We’re sorry, and thanks!

You totally missed out, but más tacos para nosotros!

 

Here were the 3 tacos on the pop up menu:

  1. Pineapple Pork Taco with red cabbage/mustard seed slaw
  2. 3-Chili Mole Chicken Taco with crema, sesame seed, an cilantro

And our favorite?

 

 

3. The Butternut Squash Taco

Served with almond arbol salsa topped with crema, cilantro and fried lentils. 

 

Let’s not forget the cocktails!  

It was Tacos & Tequila after all.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the special drinks menu.

 bartender Steve dawson with the 'Vampiros Mexicanos

 bartender chuckie brown with the 'cool hand cuke'

 

Resident bartender Steve Dawson is holding up one of the most readily available special cocktails of the evening, the Vampiros Mexicanos.

Made with Blanco tequila sangria, lime and picante salt, this one’s a bit on the sneaky side, so don’t let it fool you.

Sure there’s sangria, but there’s definitely a generous amount of tequila in this drink to make it dangerous.

It’s delicious, so be careful.  Unless your tolerance is on some next-level $#!t, stick to no more than 2 for this one.

Remember that old proverb?

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila… 

… you know the rest.

 

 

Chuckie Brown is proudly showcasing his cocktail creation, the Cool Hand Cuke.

Made with rum, cucumber, lime, chile flakes, and Cava, this cocktail was a refreshing libation that was light enough to be enjoyed over, and over, and over again.

Don’t let the chile flakes intimidate you.

It gives it just enough kick to give it that edge.

It’s named Cool Hand Cuke after all, and if you know the movie reference, this cocktail was on point because…

…what we have here was NOT a failure to communicate.

This drink is telling us that it’s here to stay…

…on the regular bar menu.  We hope.

 

So what are FIVE things we learned from this inaugural pop-up event?

  1. El Grito tacos are worth waiting in line for.
  2. El Grito tacos are worth waiting in line for.
  3. El Grito tacos are worth waiting in line for.
  4. El Grito and The Bar at Estrellon equals pop-up gold.
  5. El Grito tacos are worth waiting in line for.

You get the picture.