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Mon – Thur: 9 am – 8 pm | Fri: 9 am – 6 pm | Sat: 9 am – 4 pm | Sun: 11 am – 3 pm One North Pinckney Street | Madison, WI 53703 | 608.286.3150 |

American Family Mutual Insurance Company, American Family Insurance Company, 6000 American Parkway, Madison, WI 53783 ©2017 013874–8/17



Towns & Associates, Inc. 126 Water Street Baraboo, WI 53913-2445 P (608) 356-8757 • F (608) 356-8875

january/february 2018

vol. 53


editor-in-chief Amy S. Johnson


publication designer

S.V. Medaris...................................32

Jennifer Denman


senior copy editor Kyle Jacobson

An Introduction: Sandy Eichel......26 Feeding Our Community..............10

copy editor


Krystle Naab

Sugar River Pizza Company..............6 Vintage Brewing Company...........22

sales & marketing director Amy S. Johnson

sales & marketing manager Kelly Hopkins

sales representative Terri Groves

graphic designers Crea Stellmacher, Linda Walker, Barbara Wilson

finance Financial Planning for the Finer Things in Life........................56

food & beverage Bunky’s Catering...........................28 Chocolate.....................................36 The Conscious Carnivore..............14 Weizening Up, to Wit: Wheat Beers...............................52



Think Outside the Box.....................60

Jennifer Baird, Sandy Carlson, Lori Czajka


contributing writers

American Exchange Bank.............48

Marissa DeGroot, Chelsey Dequaine, Sandy Eichel, Jeanne Engle, Kyle Jacobson, Elissa Koppel, Lauri Lee, Derek Notman, Lori Scarlett, DVM, Liz Wessel, Joan W. Ziegler


photographer Eric Tadsen

Dangerous Foods for Pets...............18

service New Tricks for All Dogs at Dane County Humane Society............40


additional photographs Eric Baillies, Tim Chatman, Chatman Design, The Chocolate Caper, Dane County Humane Society, Sandy Eichel, Green Concierge Travel, Kyle Jacobson, Beth McConnell, S.V. Medaris, REAP Food Group, Red Elephant Chocolate, YMCA of Dane County, ZDA, Inc. (continued)

Turning the Tables: Table to Farm....44

including From the Editor................................4 Contest Information......................62 Contest Winners............................62

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all rights reserved. ©2018

No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission by the publisher, Towns & Associates, Inc.

Watch for the next issue March/April 2018. Cover photograph—taken at Vintage Brewing Company by Eric Tadsen of Rip Rip Cheesy Mac.

from the editor I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted by the constant negative news cycle. While I understand the necessity of remaining informed, I appreciate any opportunity for escape. Fortunately, there are options where we live. Seeing as the negativity seems to grow as we look beyond our backyard, we’re fortunate that our publication focuses on our local community, allowing us to remain positive. Those who know me personally know I have my opinions and can be a bit outspoken, but Madison Essentials remains neutral when it comes to things like politics. We do not, however, remain neutral when it comes to speaking on behalf of our community and those in it. Our stories will always focus on being supportive and all inclusive. This is our first content-focused issue—the epicurean issue! We’ve always been sought out for stories on restaurants and food, and now we will devote one issue each year to the appreciation of food and drink. This time out, we talk to Sugar River Pizza Company, Vintage Brewing Company, Bunky’s Catering, The Conscious Carnivore, and several local chocolatiers. We also discuss how we’re feeding those in need, what foods are dangerous for your pets, table to farm, and growing food in our home gardens. In addition to our food focus, we talk wheat beer, present local artist S.V. (Sue) Medaris, share the history of the landmark American Exchange Bank building, include more insightful information from the Dane County Humane Society, and begin a new financial series. Thank you for being a positive part of our work to promote all things local!

amy johnson

Photographs on page 3: top—taken at Bunky’s Catering by Eric Tadsen. middle—provided by

The Chocolate Caper.

Photographer Eric Tadsen 4 | madison essentials

Colorful edible flowers brighten salads and the porch.

Photograph provided by ZDA, Inc.

bottom—taken at Vintage Brewing Company by Eric Tadsen of Turkey Panini Melt.

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Bella River Pizza & Mediterranean Pizza

essential dining


by Lauri Lee

Distinguished by Fresh Original Pizza and Italian Comfort Food

Food meets family at Sugar River Pizza Company to make a night out feel as comfortable as a night in. Nothing is more enjoyable than eating comfort food that is just like homemade. When you start with quality, locally sourced ingredients, the flavor is fresh. At Sugar River Pizza, a lot of time is spent working with local producers and farmers to ensure everything meets their standards. Even the beef for the restaurant primarily comes from the owner’s family farm to guarantee no hormones or antibiotics have been used. The Canadian bacon, pepperoni, pastrami, and salami are sliced in house each day, and they chop and slice their own vegetables. The sauces and dressings stand out because they’ve been made from family recipes. 6 | madison essentials

The imaginative list of specialty pizza is just one reason folks return again and again to the casual American and Italian eatery. The rest of the menu, which includes appetizers, calzones, grilled sandwiches, flatbreads, pasta dishes, soups, and salads, also stands apart from many other establishments. Kelly Blotz is the head chef. His signature recipes for house-made soups, that change daily, and weekend specials are customer favorites. The unsurpassed caliber of the menu can be attributed to family and original recipes that are made from scratch. Mac N’ Cheese is not just for kids, it’s a favorite for all ages. It is among mostoften-ordered pasta dishes served at the restaurant. Cooked to perfection, the sauce, ingredients, and preparation

make the difference. “Making the best Mac N’ Cheese is an art form,” says owner Sarah Thomas. “We use my mom’s recipe and perfected technique to prepare it. You need just the right consistency and amount of heat so the sauce doesn’t break. It’s more complicated than it appears.” The gooey cheese and pasta dish is so popular, they often run out of it. Her 11-yearold daughter is a Mac N’ Cheese connoisseur who thinks grandma’s recipe is beyond compare. . The lasagna, another family recipe, uses Sarah’s special pasta sauce, which is on the sweeter side. The sauce is mixed with their home-grown beef, custom seasoned sausage, and, of course, fresh ingredients. It’s one of Sarah’s favorites, who claims she’d eat it every day.

For owners Ross and Sarah Thomas, operating the restaurant really isn’t work—it’s a lifestyle. As they work in the restaurant, family is always there. Many of the couple’s five children work at the restaurant, and Sarah’s parents, Daryl and Deb Watterson, own the New Glarus location. The family lives and breathes restaurants and talk about it whenever they’re together. Family friendly comes natural to the Thomas family, so it’s no wonder that young families in their early to mid-30s feel comfortable to regularly bring their children to the popular pizzeria. Sarah seems to have the hospitalityindustry DNA in her blood. At age 14, she started working in hotels owned by her grandfather and uncle, where she was introduced to ideas of gracious hospitality and working together as family. Sarah laughs as she points to a photo sitting at the bar of her great-grandmother who started as a bootlegger during the prohibition prior to operating Harmony Café in Mauston. In 2009, when her parents started the first Sugar River Pizza carryout

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House Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich

Spanning about 4,000 square feet, the pizzeria has two dining areas,

a bar, and patio.

and delivery business in Belleville, her destiny to follow in the family tradition emerged. Sarah helped her mom to operate the small Belleville location at night and on weekends while she continued to work full-time at Epic. The pair had fun working together, and the small enterprise became the testing ground for their future endeavors. When her dad retired in 2013, her parents decided to expand and opened the New Glarus venue with beer and wine. They owned both locations until selling the Belleville business in 2016. After years of helping at both of establishments, it became inevitable for the Thomases to start plans in 2015 to open the Verona location. Sarah left Epic, and she and Ross opened the pizzeria with beer and wine in March 2016. Located on the southeast side of Verona, Sugar River Pizza Company became the first tenants in a new building in the Liberty Business Park. Spanning about 4,000 square feet, the pizzeria has two dining areas, a bar, and patio, each with a distinct dining personality. The bank 8 | madison essentials

of windows in the front illuminates the area, making the open floor plan seem more spacious. For a little more-intimate ambiance, check out the back dining room, complete with booth seating. Together, the two areas seat 180 people. The large covered patio wraps around the front and one side of the restaurant to add another 70 seats. The area includes fire tables, which is great way to enjoy a glass of wine on a crisp fall night. The bar is a draw for sports fans with its four TVs. It’s distinguished by 24 tap lines, 80 bottled beers, and a Scotch selection. Happy hour specials are extended during Packer games, and raffles and other activities make it fun. Guests waiting for their table also make hanging at the bar a fun part of their dining experience. The high-gloss, L-shaped bar, with a live edge, is made from a black walnut tree that Ross cut down and was built by his good friend Andrew of Judd Construction. Sugar River holds rehearsal dinners and parties in the front dining area for 40 to 60 people. A customized menu Cheese Ravioli with our Homemade Red Pepper Cream Sauce

is created for catering events, and the regular menu is just the starting point. Check them out for your next event. Sugar River Pizza Company offers dinein, take-out, and delivery, and the price range is under $30. Reservations are recommended on weekends. Lauri Lee is a culinary herb guru and food writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. Photographs by Eric Tadsen.

Lauri Lee

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Photograph provided by REAP Food Group

e ss ential community

At an MMSD summer school site

by Chelsey Dequaine It’s never too early to talk about the summer food programs for children operated by Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. And now the conversation includes how REAP Food Group and YMCA of Dane County are using food trucks to change the way healthy food is being distributed.

parks, schools, community centers, and apartment buildings. REAP says it hopes to add additional outdoor meal sites in 2018, which will be the second At Elver Park

The MMSD Summer Food Program has about 50 sites in Madison, including 10 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Photograph provided by REAP Food Group

The REAP Food Group

The Farm to School Program began working in partnership with MMSD Summer Food Program in 2014 to bring locally grown produce and food education to the program. Natasha Smith, director of the REAP Food Group Farm to School Program since 2013, says the MMSD Summer Food Program serves children during the summer as a way to close the nutrition gap for the students dependent on school meals. Part of the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), it serves free meals to all children 18 and under.

Food Trucks Make Free Summer Meals Mobile for Dane County Residents in Need

year of REAP’s two-year Community Opportunity Grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program to help MMSD improve its Summer Food Program.

In 2018, Natasha says REAP hopes to serve more meals with the truck. “We haven’t fully laid out our plan yet, but hopefully we add one additional site, possibly more. It’s really cool to see this truck in action. We’ve been trying to get a food truck for a couple years now. It’s been used successfully in other districts around the country.” REAP has coordinated Farm to School efforts in MMSD for 14 years. The Farm to School Program works with MMSD year-round and will continue to use the truck throughout the school year. Natasha says, “It’s a great way to bring the meals we know are needed to the community.”

Photograph provided by YMCA of Dane County

Natasha says the most recent gain for the REAP Farm to School Program was Roth Cheese’s (Monroe, Wisconsin) donation of a food truck in May 2017. “They are an awesome company and have been a supporter of REAP for a while.” The truck was used to distribute more than 1,500 free lunches at Madison’s Elver Park and Southdale Park in summer 2017.

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Photograph provided by YMCA of Dane County

One of REAP’s overall goals for the 2017 Summer Food Program was to increase the amount of meals serviced in 2017 as compared to 2016. During the 2016–2017 school year, REAP sourced 75,000 pounds of fresh, local fruits and vegetables for Madison school meals and snacks. Natasha says this goal was achieved, with thousands more summer meals served. With a sponsorship from the City of Madison in 2017, REAP was able to serve adults at its two park sites. “We thought that if adults can eat too, they may be more likely to come and bring their kids,” Natasha says. “We are trying a basket of tactics, and evaluating what we try, to see what is successful. Then we can share our findings of what tactics work with programs across the country.” Part of REAP’s Farm to School program also includes incorporating education and daily activities at the park sites to go along with the meals. Children learn how food grows, where it comes 12 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

from, and nutrition information. “We believe anyone, no matter where they live or come from, should have access to the best-tasting, locally grown food,” Natasha says. “Every bite of every meal is an opportunity for education.”

YMCA of Dane County

The SFSP for children provides nutritious meals and activities to over 700 children to keep them nourished and engaged. The program is federally funded and operated nationally by the USDA. Lisa CoombsGerou, vice president of membership operations and strategic partnerships with YMCA of Dane County, says the YMCA hasn’t received funding to expand its summer food program in two years. That changed in September 2017, when the YMCA received a $30,000 YMCA of the USA national grant that will be used to improve children’s food programs. “This funding includes expansion of our after school, out of school, and the newest piece we received funding for, weekends,” Lisa says.

A food truck is another element the YMCA is exploring with the grant. Lisa says there is a focus on feeding kids in the summer and improving food deserts, neighborhoods where you can’t purchase fresh food. In 2016, the YMCA partnered with Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin to identify those who are in need of food through food security screens. When YMCA members join, they are asked if they have gone without food in the last 30 days, and if they have gone without resources in the last 30 days. “If they check either one of those boxes, we connect them to resources that can help secure food,” Lisa says. “The surprising finding was the number of seniors who have gone without food.” If purchased, the YMCA’s food truck would provide fruits, vegetables, and protein to families in low-income areas of highest need across Dane County and distribute free food, particularly in the summer. Lisa says the goal would be

to have the truck ready for June 2018. “There is such a need for food. This is a great opportunity for the YMCA to extend its services beyond the building to help families who don’t have access. It’s a great opportunity to be able to make an impact on the lives in our community who need it most.” In 2018, the YMCA plans to have three total locations where the community can get food, compared to only having the one at the East YMCA location. The YMCA will announce those other two locations when they are finalized. “We just saw the number of kids coming in who didn’t have proper meals or nutrition,” Lisa says. “We had to figure out a solution to be able to feed kids.”

Chelsey Dequaine works as director of social media strategy for designCraft Advertising and is a freelance writer.

Chelsey Dequaine

MMSD Summer Food Program:

REAP Farm to School program

Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin Summer Hunger

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

YMCA of Dane County SFSP for children

Photograph provided by REAP Food Group

At Southdale Park

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e ss ential food & beverage

The Conscious Carnivore by Jeanne Engle The Shorewood Shopping Center on University Avenue has become a destination for foodies in the Madison area. Some refer to it as the Gourmet Ghetto, with The Conscious Carnivore being the whole-animal butcher shop with some of the best meats in the region. According to Business Manager Bartlett Durand, “People call us the grass-fed guys or organic butcher. We most match the idyllic view that a person might have of a farm with the red barn, white house, and garden in the back. It’s the agriculture that one’s grandfather (or great-grandfather) would recognize.” Why The Conscious Carnivore? Bartlett explains that it’s not “conscientious” as some would believe, even though animals butchered at the shop have 14 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

been slaughtered humanely and are antibiotic free. Rather, he wants people to be mindful or conscious about their food choices. Bartlett is countering passive consumerism. “There’s so much more to food than just price. I want to make the chain from the farmer to the customer as short as possible and the connection as strong as possible,” he emphasizes. Bartlett goes on to say, “Everything in society is designed to make us mindless consumers. Where you spend your money can be more important than casting your vote. If you go only for lowest price, you are supporting food as a commodity and buying into big agriculture and standardized quality. If instead you focus on buying local, you

are not only enjoying high-quality food, you are supporting your neighbors and local farmers.” Educating customers is important to Bartlett. The Conscious Carnivore, which has been open for four years, offers a library along with knowledgeable staff who can advise customers how best to prepare the meat they purchase. “People are terrified of cooking meat and ruining it. We do everything we can to put them at ease,” Bartlett explains. “Conscious Carnivore could be described as the Apple® store meets the butcher shop.” Bartlett grew up in Memphis when food was becoming “McDonaldized” and mom-and-pop grocery stores were turning into chains. He calls it the “commodification of food.” But because of Memphis, renowned for its World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Bartlett knew that people took delight in the local barbecue joints. They could discern not only the recipe for the sauce offered, but knew what wood was used in the smoker and the source of the hog.

It was this background that fueled Bartlett’s passion for artisanal food. After time in Hawaii, he came to Wisconsin and worked with his father-in-law on Otter Creek Organic Farm in Avoca. There, Bartlett developed a flavorful, seasonal cheddar cheese from the milk of the pasture-raised cows. He also showed how it was possible for a small farm to be sustainable and profitable. He then began Black Earth Meats in Black Earth, Wisconsin, and created a niche for a regional meat-processing facility with a focus on local, grass-fed, and organic meats and humane handling of animals. However, neighbors complained about the noise and traffic surrounding the slaughtering facility. The village board decided to take legal action to stop the company’s operation. Financing was lost and Black Earth Meats closed. The Conscious Carnivore, the retail outlet in Madison that had opened earlier as a result of the popularity of Black Earth Meats, remained open. Bartlett now sources The Conscious Carnivore meat products from

Madison’s whole animal butcher

(608) 709-1418 3236A University Ave

family crafted wine & spirits Port Wine

Celebration 1.27.18

Whiskey Release 2.17.18


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Wisconsin farmers who provide whole animals: beef cattle, hogs, chickens, heritage turkeys, ducks, and lamb. He visits the farmers and works with them to ensure and improve their animal handling. Transparency is a cornerstone of the operation. Whole animal carcasses and the breakdown of them can be seen through the window in the back of The Conscious Carnivore. “Seeing the animals helps the customers make a stronger connection to the source of their food, and the kids love it!”

attaining master butcher standing. The butcher is the “high priest of food, taking life and passing it on,” according to Bartlett. “Staff are reminded to honor the animals, for by their death, we gain life.”

The Conscious Carnivore whole-animal butcher shop concept is intended to be duplicated where highly trained butchers can work with customers to utilize an animal’s offerings fully. The shop’s master butcher and shareholder, Dave Gathy, is a 20-year veteran. “He can take an animal from slaughter to retail cuts,” says Bartlett. “He was trained in the oldschool way of butchery by immigrants who could utilize all parts of an animal, including its blood and fat.”

They will also find beef, for example, that’s been aged in a temperatureand humidity-controlled environment where pathogens cannot survive, resulting in more flavorful meat. In the aging process, enzymes turn muscle into meat, making it more tender and giving it more intense taste and mouthfeel.

Dave passes on his knowledge to apprentices who must show, by the end of their apprenticeship, they can break down a large animal into its primal cuts and explain how to use the various cuts. An apprentice might work for two years before moving to the journeyman status, where he or she works years before 16 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Customers will find prices at half- or whole-dollar amounts rather than $x.99. “I’m trying to be clear about our pricing. It’s my way of not playing a psychological game to trick the customers,” Bartlett insists.

Offal Tasty is one unusual product a customer will discover at The Conscious Carnivore. It’s composed of all-natural beef liver, beef heart, and beef kidney— the parts of an animal that used to be staples but are now a rare find. It’s a great source of iron for humans and a nutritious supplement for pets. Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods America on the Travel Channel traveled to Madison a few years ago to sample this creation.

When people are looking for a real connection to their food, the place to go is The Conscious Carnivore. Not only will they be treated as valued customers rather than as faceless consumers, they’ll be able to buy other grocery items from local producers. Jeanne Engle is a freelance writer.

Jeanne Engle

Photograph by M.O.D. Media Productions

Photographs by Eric Tadsen.

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e ssential pets

Dangerous Food for Pets by Lori Scarlett, DVM

Dogs’ noses can get them into trouble. Whether sticking their cold nose into an unsuspecting area on your body or sniffing out a yummy scent on the counter, they often receive a scolding. I don’t have any deterrents for the cold nose, but keeping food items behind closed doors (or the dog behind a closed gate door) can keep your dog safe from harmful foods. There are all manners of deliciousness that my collie, Scout, gets into. Scout particularly likes bread. Any bread will do, but fresh-baked bread is his favorite. Apart from my irritation at having to share with Scout when he steals a loaf off the counter, baked bread isn’t going to harm him much. But when I’m making homemade bread, I worry about him sniffing out the rising dough. Eating bread dough can be potentially lifethreatening. A dog’s stomach is a perfect temperature for yeast to grow, making the dough expand. A large volume of dough can cause an obstruction in the dog’s esophagus and stomach, and 18 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

the ethanol produced by the yeast can cause alcohol toxicity. Dogs that eat bread dough can have bloating, severe abdominal pain, retching or vomiting, and incoordination. They may need surgery to remove the dough. The most common panicked phone call to the clinic is when a dog eats chocolate. Hershey’s kisses, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies seem to be commonly stolen treats. Why is chocolate such a concern? It’s due to the methylxanthines found in cocoa beans and cocoa butter. Theobromine and caffeine are methylxanthines; dogs are very sensitive to these chemicals, both of which cause hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea, with high doses causing lethargy and death. The closer chocolate is to the cocoa bean, the more methylxanthines are present. Dry cocoa powder and unsweetened baking chocolate contain a lot of theobromine and caffeine. Landscapers

often use cocoa bean mulch, which is very attractive to dogs and also contains high amounts of methylxanthines. Milk chocolate has low concentrations of methylxanthines, and white chocolate, since it doesn’t come from a cocoa bean, has virtually none. If your dog has eaten chocolate, call your veterinarian for advice. It’s important to know what kind of chocolate your dog ate, a ballpark idea of how much was consumed, and the weight of your dog. When Scout steals one of my brownies, it’s not a big deal since he’s a 70-pound dog. But if he ate one of my 80 percent dark chocolate bars, he would be in trouble. When I chop vegetables for dinner or snacking, Scout comes running. He knows he’ll get some bits of crunchy treats. Vegetables are just fine for dogs (and cats) to eat, with one big exception—those of the Allium family. This includes garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, and chives. There is a chemical in these vegetables—n-propyl disulfide—thought to damage red

blood cells, causing them to lyse and break apart. Garlic and onions have the highest concentration of this chemical. Small pieces, dried flakes, powders, and even cooked onions and garlic can cause damage to the red blood cells, leading to anemia. Powders are more concentrated and smaller amounts can cause anemia. Even a small onion or garlic bulb can be enough to cause problems, so be careful when chopping these vegetables. Some of you may have heard that avocados are toxic to dogs and cats. Apart from being a high-fat food which can cause pancreatitis, the flesh itself isn’t harmful. But the pit is a foreignbody hazard; eating it can cause an obstruction in the intestines. Avocados are toxic to birds, however. The toxic compound is persin, which is found in the leaves, fruit, bark, and seeds of the avocado. So while it’s fine to give a sliver of avocado to your dog, keep it away from your pet bird. Fruit is more deliciousness for Scout. He sits by my side when I crunch into

an apple because he knows he will get the core. While apple seeds do contain a cyanide compound released when the seeds are crushed, they need to be chewed up and not just swallowed whole. Even if crushed, there is not enough cyanide to cause any serious problems. But if I’m eating grapes and one falls on the ground, I am quick to pick it up, as grapes and raisins can be a problem in dogs. Toxicologists still don’t know why some dogs will develop acute kidney failure after eating grapes

or raisins. They’ve ruled out fungal organisms, parasites, and heavy metals. Grapeseed extract appears to be safe, so the toxin isn’t in the seed. Since it appears to be in the fruit or skin, avoiding grape juice is a good idea, too. The lowest recorded amount of grapes or raisins causing kidney failure comes out to be about three grapes or raisins per two pounds of body weight. So a 10-pound dog could probably eat 15 grapes or raisins without any problems.

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But a minibox of raisins contains 30, which will be eaten up pretty quickly by a dog. It’s best just to get into the habit of not sharing your grapes or raisins with your dog, but one dropping on the floor is not a big deal. What else does Scout like? Peanut butter! Apart from being high in calories that lead to weight gain, there is nothing wrong with giving your dog peanut butter. It’s great for hiding pills, and we use it in the clinic as a distraction while giving vaccines. Other nuts are generally okay, too, except for macadamia nuts. It isn’t known why, but eating them can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, ataxia (wobbliness or uncoordinated walking), and tremors. Unless you have a small dog, a few nuts aren’t a big concern, but problems can be seen if a dog eats more than one nut per two pounds body weight. If you’re watching calories and eating sugar-free peanut butter, don’t give this to your dog. Many sugar-free foods, including chewing gum, protein 20 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

powders, baked goods, chewable vitamins, and candy, may contain xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar with one-third the calories of refined white sugar. It’s often used in gums because it has been shown to decrease cavity formation. While it doesn’t harm us, it does stimulate insulin release in dogs, which causes the dog’s blood sugar to drop dangerously low (hypoglycemia), potentially causing liver failure and death. This hypoglycemia can occur up to three days after ingestion of the food. The toxic dose starts at 50 milligrams per pound body weight. A piece of gum can contain anywhere from 300 to 1,500 milligrams of xylitol. If your Labrador retriever gets into your purse and eats just three pieces of gum, that could be enough to cause severe problems. Definitely keep all your xylitol-containing products well out of your dog’s reach. So while there are a lot of foods you can use as treats, it’s important to remember the ones to place out of reach of your pet. If you think your pet may have eaten something that could be toxic, please call your veterinarian or animal poison control for advice. You may find that the amount eaten won’t cause more than a little diarrhea, but if it turns out to be toxic, quick intervention could be key to saving a life. Lori Scarlett, DVM, is the owner and veterinarian at Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic. For more information, visit Photographs provided by Dane County Humane Society.

Lori Scarlett, DVM

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essential dining

VINTAGE Brewing Company

Asian Pork Belly Bites—Braised pork belly breaded then deep fried and tossed in sweet chili sauce. Served with wasabi aioli.

by Kyle Jacobson Whether it’s keeping those “damn” fish tacos on the menu because your mother loves them too much or reaching out to a cousin in Nevada to join a business, there’s more to being a family-owned restaurant than just making sure all the owners are related. It started over 15 years ago when Trent and Brittany Kraemer had just moved back from an extended holiday. “When we were there, we talked about how cool it would be to open a bar,” says Brittany. That vision was realized when they and Trent’s Uncle Mark created Vintage Spirits & Grill on University Avenue, but Trent and his cousin Bryan had bigger plans. Scott Manning, Bryan’s brother, had been brewing for some large outfits on the West Coast. For his brother and cousin, he was the missing piece to the restaurant-biz puzzle. “Trent and [Bryan] always had talks after a few beers about how great it’d be to get Scott back here and we’d all run a place together,” says Brittany. When JT Whitney’s on Whitney Way went up for sale, brewing equipment and all, the plan to get Scott back to Wisconsin started to take shape.

22 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Trent and Bryan took Scott to their newly acquired restaurant and asked, according to Scott, “Can it brew beer?” His response, “Hell yeah it can brew beer.” After that, Scott took the leap of faith to leave a comfortable life in Nevada and take a gamble with family. He’s been running the brewery since its inception, and always makes sure there are interesting brews on tap. Some of that beer, particularly his Hefeweizen, found its way into some popular dishes, like their Fish & Chips, beer-battered fried cod served with spicy coleslaw, tartar sauce, lemon, and choice of fries, tater tots, or pub chips. To the boys, there’s a feeling of completion about getting into the bar restaurant game. “It’s really an extension of what the generation before was doing,” says Scott. “So [Trent’s] dad, Donny, owned a bar back in the day, and all of us kids used to go to Donny’s bar and throw the pool balls around and get our sodas and stuff.” Bringing your kids to the bar during off hours is a Wisconsin tradition that might be considered taboo

Salmon Beet Salad—Grilled salmon, roasted beets, kale and radicchio blend, chevre, apple cider vinaigrette, almond puree, apples, radish, and candied almonds.

2017/18 Season

BY W. A .




FEB 9 & 11, 2018

APR 27 & 2 9, 2018


OV ER T U R E H A L L | 608.258.4141 |

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in some other states, but this is the stuff worth holding on to. The first bar Trent and Brittany purchased had a bunch of old signage and neon lights advertising Miller High Life and the like, so they just kinda rolled with it and named the place Vintage. The name fits beyond just the physical things this family kept. Reuniting with Scott and keeping the past alive, it’s familiar. And the traditions extend beyond blood and wedlock. “This sounds really cheesy, but our staff is amazing. We have staff in downtown Vintage that have been there for 15 years, and we have staff here that have been here since we’ve opened…it really is a family.” Being with Vintage for 15 years is how Mike Bridges became an equal partner, or was “adopted” as Scott puts it, with the Mannings and Kraemers. That’s what a family-owned business is really all about—building lasting relationships. Vintage works with another familyowned business, Knoche’s Old Fashion Chicken & Waffles—Two waffle-breaded and fried boneless chicken thighs smothered in country-style sausage gravy. Served with Weiss-Nix waffles and real maple syrup.

24 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Butcher Shop, just up the road from the restaurant, to get their hands on some premium beef. Relationships like this have led to some locally inspired menu items, like the Home Grown Burger, consisting of a beef patty topped with aged white cheddar from Cedar Grove Cheese Factory, fresh apple, arugula, and Vintage Brewing Company black pepper aioli drizzled with an apple cider reduction and served on a brioche bun. But the most reciprocal relationship Vintage has is with a local hog farm. Brewing beer has some byproducts, one being spent grain. This is grain that has gone through the mash process, where water is brought to specific temperatures to activate enzymes and break starches down into fermentable sugars. When the water, or wort, is removed, what’s left over is the spent grain, which is rather rich in fiber and protein. Vintage gives their spent grain to the hog farmer and in return receives their pork at a reduced price. One notable appetizer that uses the hog meat is the Asian Pork Bites, braised pork belly breaded then deep fried and tossed in sweet chili sauce all served with wasabi aioli. Being true to themselves and having faith in one another has enabled Vintage to grow into much more than it was on University Avenue 15 years ago, but Trent, Scott, Brittany, Mark, Bryan, and Mike aren’t finished. There’s a new facility coming to Sauk City sometime in January if everything goes according

to plan. “It’s huge,” says Brittany. “It’s three stories. The whole lower facility is a brewery. The main floor is a restaurant with a bar and then a patio overlooking the Wisconsin River. And then the third floor is a little bit more a restaurant and then a banquet facility that all overlooks the Wisconsin River.” Check out the plans and more at their website, All this growth is not only because of the risks the Vintage family are willing to take, but because of their customers, both new and loyal. The new come in and immediately notice the waiting area. Black button-tuft furniture next to some wooden antiques whose stain has been faded and streaked with time and attention. In a basket, an old beer publication discussing the history of some of the most beloved brands of a bygone era waits for yet another patron to turn its drying pages. It’s worth taking a few minutes just to sit down and forget that you came for some great food and beer. As for the customers that come time and time again, they’ll head to their favorite table, complete with classic vinylupholstered chairs, or raised booth and enjoy service from some amazing staff members. Or maybe they’ll do what I do and go straight to the rectangular bar, with stools having the same black button-tuft look as the sofas in the waiting area, and try a flight of different beers while getting lost in conversation

or just watching fish swim lax in a large aquarium as bartenders joke and jive with their patrons. It’s new, and it’s old. It’s familiar, yet distinct. It’s Vintage. Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor for Madison Essentials, and a writer and beer enthusiast (sometimes all at once) living in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Photographs by Eric Tadsen.

VINTAGE BREWING COMPANY 674 South Whitney Way Madison, WI 53711 608.204.2739 600 Water Street, Sauk City, WI 53583

Kyle Jacobson

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e ss ential community

An Introduction by Sandy Eichel

Let me introduce you to the woman in this photo. She isn’t from the 1950s, although I understand how you could think that. She’s a pastor’s wife, professional opera singer, teaches voice lessons, and makes 20 pies for the annual church dinner each year. She’s quite the homemaker—she makes mini appetizers and tiny delicate desserts that are so darn cute. She makes everything look perfect and everyone loves her. She is Martha Stewart extraordinaire without the staff. But she has a secret. Underneath the cheerful facade, she is completely miserable. What she portrays to the world is far from who she really is. She can’t sleep, is constantly stressed, has many unexplainable health problems, and thinks she isn’t good enough at anything she does. Another secret is that the woman is me, or at least the person I used to pretend to be. The picture is from 2009, and it’s the one I sent out with Christmas cards. It isn’t a costume, it’s how I dressed daily. For years I played a role that really wasn’t me. It was some sort of a version of me with layers of expected behaviors. I felt the pressure of who I should be so strongly that I became what was expected. I should be an opera singer. I should be married to a man. I should please everyone around me. I should be the perfect homemaker and work 60 hours a week. I should never complain or express my true feelings. I should. I should! I SHOULD! I was shoulding all over myself. Have you ever shoulded? Many of us do things because we think we should without even realizing it. I took it to an extreme until my life became intolerable. So allow me to introduce the real me. I was a kid who wanted 26 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

to be Pat Benatar, and yearned for attention and affirmation. It lead me to become the person in the photo. I was killing myself to be impressive. But then I started my life over, creating it from scratch after age 40. Everything was different—I changed careers and the whole way I approached life. It was both scary and freeing. Now I’m a financial advisor, professional empowerment speaker, writer, and resident goofball. I’m part life coach, part stand-up comedian, and part go-getter. I practice doing things that make me afraid and I work on myself every single day. I’m still a musician, but I allow myself to do whatever kind of music feels good to me, which is sometimes rocking out with my band and sometimes singing musical theatre or opera.

Why would I go public about how I lived an inauthentic life for so long? There was a lot of shame for me in the admission. When I realized how much of my life was not really me at all, I was lost; I didn’t even know what I liked or who I really was. I was taught to never let anyone see me fail, and living that fake life and realizing it, I felt like a huge failure. But I feel it’s important to talk about it because I’ve learned that talking helps let go of the shame of a situation, and that we are not alone in it. From the many speaking engagements I’ve done and other things I’ve written, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback. People tell me time and time again, “I resonate with your story so much!” “You are telling my story!” “I didn’t realize that other’s struggled with this too!”

We’re trained from birth to be what others want us to be, and we learn that pleasing people is a way to be successful in life. We don’t even realize how much of our life is lived by obligation because it’s so much a part of our culture that we can easily lose track of what we want. Living for yourself isn’t easy. It takes patience, time, and practice, but it’s worth it to be able to have a life of your own design instead of what you think you are supposed to be for other people. Trust me, I’ve tried it. It doesn’t work.



2540 UNIVERSITY, MADISON, WI .....................................


That’s why I’m here—to share some funny, sometimes painful, experiences in the hope that they will help crack open some light for you. That by writing a series of articles in upcoming issues presenting my stories, I help you realize the places in your life that are missing the most important thing: your unique self. I want to start conversations among friends and family about how we sacrifice our own needs to please others, and that there’s a different way—one that honors everyone. I want you to realize that everything you need to find your purpose and live your true life

A scratch-made, sustainable, locally grown menu — reflecting the neighborhood and the season. you have within, if you take the time to listen and reflect. My passion is helping others find their way through the dark with someone who knows the way. My life circumstances may seem dramatic, but I bet you’ll see some similarities that hit home. If you’ve ever caught yourself saying should, you’re in the right place. Sandy Eichel is a happy ex-should-er. Photographs provided by Sandy Eichel.

Sandy Eichel

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e ss ential food & beverage

Bunky’s Catering

Melds Innovation with Tradition to Deliver Delectable Mediterranean and Italian Food By Lauri Lee If you’ve recently driven past the former Bunky’s Cafe on Atwood Avenue in Madison and noticed the lights on and a lot of people milling about, you’d be right to think you’re missing something. The location, with its eclectic décor, is now the quaint event venue for Bunky’s Catering. Those nostalgic to recapture the ambience or once again enjoy the delicious Italian and Mediterranean cuisine and decadent desserts can cater their dinner party or special event in the former café. Before closing, Bunky’s Cafe had continued the family restaurant tradition started in the 1930s by Teresa Pullar-Ouabel’s great-grandparents, Vito “Bunky” and Ninfa Capadona. They founded Bunky’s Italian Restaurant at Spaghetti Corners in the largely Italian Greenbush neighborhood roughly bordered by Park Street, Regent Street, and West Washington Avenue in 28 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Madison. They closed in the 1970s, and, later in the decade, built a new Bunky’s nightclub, renowned for good live music. The family’s legacy was honored by Teresa in 2004, when she and Rachid Ouabel opened Bunky’s Cafe. When Teresa and Rachid metamorphosed the café in April 2016 to focus on Bunky’s Catering and wholesaling favorites to local grocery stores, it became a positive occasion for growth. The already well-established catering business had full attention and was ready to carry on the couple’s dream to bring the Mediterranean and Italian cuisine to Greater Madison, this time without the daily demands of operating a restaurant. With the catering business elements already in place, everything was poised for a seamless transition. Bunky’s brand recognition, achieved from operating the café for more than


a decade, provided an immediate boost to the catering venture. The menu was already established with food their clientele loved, utilizing delicious recipes that were tried and true. Even though food-service help is hard to find and keep in the Madison market, Bunky’s doesn’t have to worry about this struggle. “We have loyal staff that we’ve worked with for years,” says Teresa. “We are like family and work together like a well-oiled machine.” Bunky’s Catering continues the traditions of Bunky’s Cafe by specializing in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine that unites the heritage of the couple, who together own and operate the business. Rachid is a native of Morocco and the source of many of the authentic Moroccan recipes that are characterized by traditional ingredients. The true essence of Italy that is representative of Teresa’s heritage rounds out the menu. For those with special dietary needs and preferences, it’s significant to note that the catering menu continues to include gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan selections. The innovative menu reveals pizazz and exceptional food quality, which sets it apart from the pack. The couple

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are talented in recipe development and have drawn on their extensive culinary knowledge and skill set to create recipes with a point of difference. The food’s flavor profile is accentuated by cooking from scratch using the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Dishes are made to order and created around seasonally available food.

Moroccan Chicken

You may want to eat dessert first when you check out the sinfully delicious creations baked by Rachid, like Bavaria chocolate cake and his renowned carrot cake. The decadent tiramisu, made with mascarpone, Belgian chocolate, and espresso-dipped ladyfingers, is to die for. Choosing great food with a standout dessert is key to creating a memorable event. Success also hinges on attention to even the small details that give the event that extra special something. Bunky’s Catering not only offers a delicious array of foods to choose from, they also provide full-service catering and consulting to create a menu specific

to each event and budget, no matter how large or small. Teresa has an exceptionally creative mind, thinking outside of the box to customize and incorporate details of significance to design a more personal and meaningful event. “For a traditional Indian wedding, we helped string spring-fresh marigolds,” she says. “Once, we even baked a traditional German wedding cake with the groom’s mother. It was special in so many ways.”


WEEKEND BRUNCH 9am - 3pm 3502 Monroe St. 608.819.8988 30 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

The old adage that we eat with our eyes underscores the significance of great food presentation. Bunky’s Catering not only provides tasty and beautiful food, they also design the table scape to achieve the desired theme and ambience. Orchestrating all of these details makes your carefully selected food the star and more enjoyable to eat. There are separate menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets; party platters; box lunches; and appetizers. Catered food or party trays can be ordered for

pickup or delivery for your private party, special event, or wedding reception. You’ll find that Bunky’s Catering is an approved caterer at more than 20 traditional and fun locations in Madison and surrounding communities. Future plans are to buy 40 acres in the country for an outdoor wedding venue that will provide yet another interesting location. Bunky’s Catering has also entered the wholesale niche, which is one of the newest ways for food entrepreneurs to diversify. Look for hummus, baba ghanouj, falafel tahini, grape leaves, baklava, gluten-free carrot cake, glutenfree Belgium chocolate cake, and their famous lentil soup at one of the major grocery stores across the city. Bunky’s Catering plans to add a couple of new items each year, as it’s a long process to actually get a product onto a store shelf. More than 90 years after greatgrandfather Bunky’s name became synonymous with great Italian food on the Madison culinary scene, Bunky’s has been carried into the popular catering and wholesale business niche and beyond the walls of a single restaurant space for more to enjoy. With the couple’s abundance of creative energy, innovation, and extraordinary delectable food, Bunky’s name will endure for a long time to come. For menus, venues, wholesale locations, and more, please see Lauri Lee is a culinary herb guru and food writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. Photographs by Eric Tadsen.

Lauri Lee

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es s ential arts

A Farmer at Heart,

a Printmaker at Hand by Elissa Koppel

“The Return of Big Tiny”. 13 by 20-foot acrylic on canvas. Hanging on our barn door with our chickens standing underneath before we took it to town for A One Chick Show at Central Library in Madison. Photograph by S.V. Medaris

“I think we are slowly losing our tie to the land, as the percentage of people who live in the country is much smaller than times past.” Hearing S.V. (Sue) Medaris, you wouldn’t expect her to be a printmaker. She’s so enamored with her muses that you almost miss the way she chooses to honor them. As we talk, Sue spends almost all her time discussing farm life and her animals, or models, as she calls them. She is a person devoutly dedicated to the world she has found with art as both the vessel and vector that has led her here. Sue was in Southern California before moving to Madison when her father earned a professorship in geology at the university. Art filled fundamental needs for Sue as she grew up. She says, “Sports and art are what got me through 32 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

high school. I was also very competitive, so when I found [art] wherein I easily experienced success, I ran with it.” After high school, she returned to Southern California to work and then attend University of California–Santa Barbara. “I had some adventures on archaeological digs and focused on ceramic sculpture for my BA in art. After that, I had further adventures living in Central America for a couple years.” When her son was born, Sue came back to the States and settled in Madison. “I realized what a great place it was for kids to grow up in and get an education as opposed to subsistence farming, which is what we left when I decided to return to the States.” These days, Sue works for the University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical School

as a graphic designer and illustrator. Unlike most professionals who frequent metropolitan Madison during the day, Sue returns home to an animal farm outside of Mount Horeb. Her time then is stretched between caring for the animals, printmaking, and planning her next shows. Despite inhabiting a head space busier than most, Sue’s focus is sharp. She has that crisp type of drive, direct speaking pattern, and long-term ambition you’d encounter in professionals far more corporate than she is. While she has been an artist almost her entire life through, a crucial paradigm shift occurred in the middle of her adulthood that reinvigorated her career as an artist and crystallized her direction and mindset.

The pivot happened in 1997, when Sue purchased the farm near Mount Horeb with her husband. She reflects, “I could surround myself with all of the models I would ever need. Soon after, I got chickens, then turkeys, and then hogs for meat. Now, with the dogs and cats, everyone is engrossed in this life. Now my models and lifestyle are an integral part of the artwork.”

school in 2008 to pursue an MFA in printmaking. Before she completed her MFA, she only showed paintings and pastels; the degree was fundamental is shaping her current vernacular. Sue explains, “I learned how to do what I do now—large-scale woodcuts, linocuts, and relief printmaking. It’s what I show primarily now.” As for the fruit of the inspiration, fiveto eight-foot depictions of chickens of varying breeds encompass perhaps Sue’s most defining collection. A One Chick

Moving with the momentum of her new inspiration, Sue brought on another crucial shift when she returned to grad

Photograph by Beth McConnell

Artist S.V. Medaris inks up a 2 by 4-foot wood block, 2017.

Photograph by S.V. Medaris

“Wrapping Things Up”. 18 by 24-inch reduction linocut, 2017.

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Photograph by S.V. Medaris

Show catalyzed her successful career as an artist. Housed in the Central Library in 2004, the compilation filled the second floor and the stairwell leading to it with paintings and pastels, each one a different character and attitude. The tendency to showcase variance in identity between animals is conscious on Sue’s part. She says, “My basic desire in life is to show the truly amazing lives of the animals we surround ourselves with. It’s to communicate visually this intriguing life that each one embodies. For animals raised for meat as well as pets and wildlife around us, I want to treat each one as an individual with a specific purpose.” “Omar the Dane Learns about Personal Space”. 18 by 24-inch hand-colored linocut.

“Cock O’ the Walk”. 8 by 4-foot, hand-coloured woodcut on paper, adhered to plywood (cut out with a jigsaw), then sanded and coated with varnishes. On display at Overture Center in Madison.

Photograph by S.V. Medaris

As for the scale of the work, aside from the ease it lends to defining each creature as an individual, Sue makes a point of utilizing careful planning to craft work for the particular exhibit locations she’s invited to. For A One Chick Show, Sue measured the landing wall at Central Library far before the show. The result was a 13 by 20-foot painting made to fill the space entirely, “making it so that no one would be able to walk upstairs without seeing that chicken.” For her shows at the Overture Center later on, Sue created a layout comprised of eight-foot cutout figures intended to draw in passersby from the street and 34 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Photograph by S.V. Medaris

engage them with the rest of the work. For Abel Contemporary Gallery, Sue crafted a life-size tunnel book to fit the cooler space for their exhibit, The Tunnel of Mortality. In her words, “All shows are designed for maximum visual arrest.” Sue’s interest in making large work expands outside of just showing integrity to the identities of the animals—it touches a modern reality affecting interaction with art, one that she is working with already through her post as graphic designer. To that, she says, “Getting people’s attention in this day and age is extremely difficult as more and more people walk around looking down at their phones. My goal is to snap people’s attention up to the wall or exhibit space.” Despite seemingly meek inspirations, Sue’s work is both prodigious and prolific. She is being featured for the seventh time in the international Birds in Art show at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. Having just finished a solo show in Chicago at Northdown Taproom, her large-scale woodcuts will be displayed in another solo show at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, Wisconsin, January 20 to April 15 (opening reception on Saturday, February 3, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Biennial). Aside from visiting her exhibits, the best way to see Sue’s work in person is at Abel Contemporary Gallery in Paoli ( You may also view her work at, and on Instagram and Facebook.

The entrance to The Tunnel of Mortality, a life-size tunnel book showing the stages of life of animals on the farm, ending at the far back with a butcher processing a carcass. The Tunnel looks in first at the anteroom, about 8 by 8-foot. Covered floor to ceiling with hand-printed fabric wallpaper and with woodcut portraits—one on each of the 4 walls. Each framed in super elaborate frames, as is the viewing window through which you could view the whole tunnel.

Photograph by Olivia Loomis

Elissa Koppel is a freelance writer and a local artist.

Elissa Koppel

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e ss ential food & beverage

It’s probably no coincidence that National Chocolate Lovers Month and National Heart Health Month overlap during February. After all, the health benefits of chocolate can aid in the reduction of heart disease, according to, a Food and Drug Administration partner. Flavonoids, a class of antioxidants associated with higher levels of healthy HDL cholesterol and better overall cardiovascular health, are abundant in cacao (or cocoa—the two are used interchangeably) seeds. All chocolate products are derived from cacao seeds in some form or another. Cacao seeds (or beans) grow in large pods on the trunks of the cacao tree, a leafy evergreen growing in West

Photograph provided by The Chocolate Caper

by Jeanne Engle

The Chocolate Caper

Africa, Central and South America, and Indonesia, roughly 20 degrees on either side of the equator. Who better to know the best chocolate to affect good health than chocolatiers in the Madison area?

Photograph provided by Red Elephant Chocolate

Red Elephant Chocolate

36 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Gail Ambrosius, who has been in business since 2004, explains that the higher the cacao percentage in a piece of chocolate, the more pure chocolate one is getting. Seventy percent or more is best for health benefits. Choose dark chocolate even though it contains a small amount of sugar to ameliorate the bitterness of pure cacao. Red Elephant Chocolate offers cocoa bean tea in addition to a selection of premium chocolates. According to founder Richard Koenings, this tea is the “super food drink of the century.” No additives, sugars, flavorings, fats, or caffeine are in the tea derived from

Photograph by Tim Chatman, Chatman Design

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier

100 percent pure dried and roasted cacao beans.

Photograph provided by Red Elephant Chocolate

But, of course, our chocolatiers caution this doesn’t mean people should go all out and consume lots of chocolate every day. Chocolate is still loaded with calories and is easy to overeat. Maybe savor a piece or two after dinner.

The cacao plant’s binomial name, Theobroma cacao, literally means “food of the gods.” To its many devotees, chocolate is exactly that. But consumers need to be aware much chocolate, especially that found in the supermarket, is highly processed and full of sugar and additives to increase its shelf life.

Italian Specialties & Delicatessen


According to Elizabeth and Dan Donoghue, owners of The Chocolate Caper, most local/artisan chocolate makers don’t need to use additives because their chocolate is sold while it’s still fresh. Chocolate’s unique characteristics give it a long, natural shelf life—up to a year. However, chocolate needs to be stored at less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit and kept out of the sun.

Red Elephant Chocolate

Since 1971

The Madison-area chocolatiers in this article came to the chocolate business in different ways. Megan Hile, owner of Madison Chocolate Company, took the Ecole Chocolat training, an intensive part-time program in chocolate making delivered online over a three-month period. A hands-on element of the Fraboni’s Regent

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program sent her to Ecuador for an internship. Prior to opening her store in May of 2017, she was a food blogger. A year ago, Megan worked alongside Nicaraguan cacao farmers collecting, fermenting, roasting, and grinding the beans to better educate herself and, in turn, her customers seeking fineflavored chocolate. Gail is also a graduate of the Ecole Chocolat program. In addition, she trained with chocolatiers in France to hone her craft. The Ecole Chocolat website notes the success of Gail’s chocolate creations, picked as favorites by both Oprah and Martha Stewart in their magazines.

Richard, an attorney who worked as a corporate counsel to small businesses, brought Quality Candy and Buddy

Madison Chocolate Company

The Chocolate Caper

Squirrel out of bankruptcy with two partners and, as a result, learned the business. He opened his first store in Milwaukee’s Third Ward in 2012 and brought Red Elephant Chocolate to Madison, where he had attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, in February of 2015.

Photograph provided by The Chocolate Caper 38 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Photograph by Eric Baillies

Elizabeth, with a baking background and cake-decorating expertise, was taught by Ellen and Claude Marendaz, previous owners of The Chocolate Caper, and took the business over with Dan in October of 2014. They also recently opened a second location in Sun Prairie.

All of the chocolatiers believe in educating their customers. Gail holds chocolate tastings every third Thursday of the month January through October. Customers can savor different original chocolates and describe the flavors with the use of a chocolate wheel. Megan features a chocolate library in her store. Customers can buy chocolate bars from all over the world, each with its own distinctive flavor reflecting the area where the cacao was grown. With a concern for the health of the environment where cacao is grown, she recently invited a cacao farmer to speak to her customers about his farm

and the integrity with which his cacao is produced. At Red Elephant, Richard offers customers a chocolate experience café, where they can sit down and enjoy fine chocolates with a glass of wine or cup of coffee. There the staff provides “cocoaphacts” as well as “elephacts” in a fun way. A map in the store shows where cacao is grown, and Richard will share a wealth of information about the history of chocolate. At The Chocolate Caper, customers can educate their palates by sampling any of the chocolates in the case—especially the new flavors. The Donoghues also offer tours of their production facility to groups, and Dan gives presentations about chocolate to local schools, senior centers, service clubs, and similar organizations. Dan and Elizabeth consider themselves confectioners, not just chocolatiers, and

Each of our Madison-area chocolatiers offers something special to the

community. At the Red Elephant, it’s the experience of a café and not just grab and go. The Chocolate Caper donates chocolate to local food pantries. “We’re boosting spirits at the pantry,” says Elizabeth. Megan rents out her store’s space for evening parties or Sunday afternoon gatherings. “It looks very French and sparkly,” she says. And Gail is planning a trip in April for customers to meet farmers in Ecuador and see the cacao harvesting, fermenting, roasting, and grinding processes in action.

food and like to know where it comes from,” says Gail. It’s no different with chocolate. Fortunately, our Madisonarea chocolatiers have spoiled us with quality chocolates and confections, making it difficult to go back to the chocolate bars on the supermarket or gas station shelves. Help yourself to health in February. Indulge in some fine chocolates made locally and lovingly. Jeanne Engle is a freelance writer. Photograph by M.O.D. Media Productions

involve their oldest son in the business. They hope to grow their business into more locations so each of their other three younger children has a place in the future. Gail’s son is the general manager and has been with her business for five years. She hopes that one day he can take over completely. Right now Megan wants to make her business sustainable and provide a “space offering a service to the community.” Richard plans to continue the evolution of his business by giving his customers a concept that is “a pleasurable experience you can’t get by pulling it out of your computer.”

The growing number of local chocolatiers gives rise to the question— why Madison? It’s a simple answer. “Madison-area customers love their Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier

Photograph by Tim Chatman, Chatman Design

Jeanne Engle

The Chocolate Caper 105 S. Main Street Oregon, WI 53575 (608) 835-9294 107 N. Bristol Street Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier 2083 Atwood Avenue Madison, WI 53704 (608) 249-3500

Madison Chocolate Company 729 Glenway Street Madison, WI 53711 (608) 286-1154

Red Elephant Chocolate 119 State Street Madison, WI 53703 (608) 448-3900

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e ssential service

New Tricks for All Dogs at Dane County Humane Society

by Marissa DeGroot

Rambunctious is an understatement when it comes to a six-month-old border collie puppy. Trying to get that same pup to rest and relax while healing a fractured paw would seem like an impossible task, but not to Jessica Marchant and Erin Kruckenberg, the Canine Behavior Team at Dane County Humane Society (DCHS). Every year, they enroll over 200 dogs in the Behavior Modification Program that helps dogs become better adoption candidates through positivereinforcement training. 40 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Jessica and Erin first met border collie puppy Luke after he had been surrendered at a local animal hospital with four fractures in his front paw. He had been stepped on by a horse, and his owners could not afford the cost of care. Animal-hospital staff decided to bring this otherwise healthy puppy to DCHS, where he could get a second chance with a new family. The Animal Medical Services team at DCHS determined that Luke would

need a splint on his leg, with weekly bandage changes over the next couple months, in order to heal the fractures. Plus, he would need to stay calm enough to not reinjure the paw. Luke proved too rowdy for a foster home, so for one month, he lived in the office of the Canine Behavior Team. Jessica and Erin worked day in and out teaching Luke behavioral skills, like how to drop an object when asked and how to resist getting mouthy when receiving attention. They also introduced Luke to puzzle toys, providing hours of learning games with delicious food rewards. The hard work and dedication of the Canine Behavior Team was paying off. Not only was Luke starting to heal, he was also becoming a well-mannered puppy. Jessica was surprised by his progress one day when, after being naughty, she told Luke he needed a timeout and he immediately walked to his crate and laid down.

OPEN DAILY! 3330 atwood ave. madison, wi 53704 | 608-246-4550

After two months of splint changes and daily positive training, Luke was

Friday, March 2 Monona Terrace Celebrate animals following their yellow-brick-road journeys to find new families. Meet puppy greeters, enjoy cocktails and dinner, and then slip on those ruby dancing shoes for the debut of our “You’re Not in Kansas Anymore” after-party!

Dane County Humane Society Reserve your seats at

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It only took four days before Luke found a loving family ready for both the joy and challenge of an intelligent and energetic pup.

ready to be adopted. It only took four days before Luke found a loving family ready for both the joy and challenge of an intelligent and energetic pup. Luke now goes by Wisco, and his new family reports that he is an amazing pup and has made their family complete. For dogs like Wisco and so many others, the Canine Behavior Team not only helps them become better adoption candidates, they are paving the way for these pets to become beloved family members and best friends. Programs like the canine Behavior Modification Program are helping DCHS along its journey to become a national model of animal sheltering and community outreach. Over 8,000 companion animals, exotic species, farm animals, and orphaned and injured wildlife find refuge, healing, and new beginnings at DCHS every year. Dane County’s people and animals deserve a humane society that reflects our world-class region. Community support of the Country’s Leader in Animal Welfare (CLAW) Fund allows DCHS 42 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

the flexibility to apply generous gifts for daily shelter and community outreach operations and help us meet unplanned, unmet, and unanticipated needs. Learn more about DCHS and the CLAW Fund at

Tadsen Photography Drone/Aerial Imagery

Marissa DeGroot is the public relations coordinator at Dane County Humane Society. Photographs provided by Dane County Humane Society and Wisco’s Family.

Fully licensed - FAA part 333 Waiver Stunning stills and 4k video

Marissa DeGroot - - 608-469-2255

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es s ential travel

Turning the Tables

Table to Farm Over the last 40 years, Wisconsin, and particularly Dane County, restraunteurs and consumers have embraced the farmto-table idea: bringing fresh food to the kitchen and onto the table. Farm to table embodies the renewal of chefs directly sourcing their ingredients from building close relationships with producers. Madison lays claim to having some of the earliest adapters with Odessa Piper, founder of L’Etoile in Madison, who, together with other innovators,

like Alice Waters from Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA, provided the foundation for the farm-to-table movement. The close relationship with local producers and foragers, and attention to seasons, has led to new innovations and iterations of farm to table or table to farm. Table-to-farm dining brings chefs to the farm and the patrons along with them, freeing the restaurant table from the confines of traditional brick and mortar.

by Liz Wessel

Looking back, one might have seen this coming. For more than 45 years, communities have been invited to farms for a traditional farm breakfast and visit. These breakfasts during National Dairy Month, in June, provide the opportunity to not only eat fresh eggs, pancakes, bacon, and, of course, dairy products, but serve as an introduction for community members to farming. Today, the hot ticket is dinner on the farm. What a range of options! Dinners appear on web pages or are discovered by word of mouth. Eat at your favorite farm that provides you with berries or corn. Or follow your favorite chef as they collaborate with a farm to use seasonal ingredients to create a delicious meal. Eat at a table for two or at a community table with other locavores. These dinners have proven highly popular and often sell out shortly after being announced, so you need to be vigilant when watching the events page of your favorite farm or chef. This past fall, my husband and I experienced a romantic Friday night cenetta (dinner) at Campo di Bella, a winery combined with a sustainable

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farm producing a variety of ingredients. Run by a husband-and-wife team, Mary Ann and Marc Bellazzini, Campo di Bella has a wine bar/tasting area coupled with a small dining room and kitchen. They serve from a wine bar menu on Fridays and Saturdays, host set menu cenettas on Friday nights, and farm-to-table communal dinners on Saturday nights. The cenetta includes a salad, main course featuring a farm ingredient, and dessert. And you select from wine not just from their winery, but a variety of white and red wines. Their inspiration is Italy, expressed in the menu that Marc presents, in their winery, and the farm itself. On Fridays, you make a reservation and pick a seating time. We arrived about 30 minutes early thinking we would explore the wine bar and have one of the bar menu offerings. We were greeted by the friendly family dog and a fading sunset illuminating the small building with a patio and flower, herb, and vegetable gardens around it. On a warm summer evening, the patio, with its western view, would be very romantic and beautiful. The dining room and bar are basically a one-room affair, with seating for approximately 30 guests (think private birthday party or family gathering). A large group

occupied much of the dining room, but with staggered seating, it all worked. We loved Mary Ann’s passion as she described both the wines and the dishes as they were presented.

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Eggplant was the featured ingredient, and the eggplant parmesan was flavorful and surprisingly light.

and found that most people had already arrived and the appetizers were going quickly!

dinners might highlight the creativity and skills of a renowned chef in addition to fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Our other farm dinner this fall was at Flyte Family Farm, near Coloma. Their family-style fall dinner included a beverage, appetizers, choice of salad, vegetables, main course, and dessert. Everything was seasonal and sourced locally. We arrived for appetizers and a drink shortly after the start time,

Caprese skewers, jalapenos wrapped in bacon, and melon balls/brie skewers were served on an improvised table in a large hay shed. The cash bar was set up at the back, and two musicians played toward the front. Improvised high tops and wooden wire spools on end were seasonally decorated. This barn bar also had regular tables and hay bales to sit on.

If you follow chefs, ingredients, or you just want to take a further step to support local farms and wineries, try one of the many options available. The season generally starts in the spring and runs through fall. And don’t forget breakfasts! In addition to the traditional farm breakfasts, farms, like Flyte, have a fall breakfast for families with corn and hay mazes, introduction to farm animals, and fall activities. Pricing will vary with the type of event.

For dinner, we were assigned to table 13 with two other couples. Many people seemed to come from nearby, and their ages ranged from grade school to seniors. This was the farm dinner I was picturing in my mind. Tables were set out in the grass alongside the hay barn with the cornfields, silo, and farm house in sight. Each table sported a tablecloth with fall decorations and bowls of salads and vegetables to start. Once seated, family members and recruits served the hot food platters and bowls to each table. The pork loin with spiced apples and blueberry cream cake were delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed our tablemates and the beautiful evening at the farm. After dinner, some guests returned to the bar for more conversation, while some others explored the farm grounds, and others started home. Flyte Family Farm’s dinner put a spotlight on the seasonal ingredients available. Other farm 46 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Liz Wessel is the owner of Green Concierge Travel, which has information for honeymoons and other ecotravel at Photographs provided by Green Concierge Travel.

Liz Wessel



SINCE 1990

Braise, Milwaukee Dinners connecting diners with chefs and farmers.

Campo di Bella, Mt Horeb Cenettas and communal farm-to-table dinners and wine tasting.

Flyte Family Farm & Flyte’s Fieldstones, LLC, Coloma Dinners and family-friendly breakfasts.

Holy Hill Art Farm, Hubertus A variety of events, including dinners, classes, and concerts.

June Breakfast on the Farm Locations for farm breakfasts across Wisconsin.

Outstanding in the Field, a farm near you A national roving dinner, setting tables at the source of ingredients and serving farm-to-table dinners that honor the local farmers and food artisans across the country.

Taliesin Summer Farm Dinner Series Four course dinners with local beer and wine, featuring seasonal vegetables from the Taliesin Farm.


MADISON HOME Since opening the doors to Monty’s Blue Plate Diner over 27 years ago, we have committed ourselves to creating great restaurants. But it’s about more than great restaurants. As a company we are focused on providing exceptional food and hospitality to our guests, positive working environments and the industry’s best benefits to our people, and steadfast support to the local communities we call home.


Find out more about each location and learn our story at

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es s ential landmark

AMERICAN EXCHANGE BANK by Jeanne Engle The American Exchange Bank building at 1 N. Pinckney Street in Madison is one of the few remaining buildings serving as a reminder of much of the architecture that once surrounded the Capitol. Made of Madison sandstone in the Renaissance Revival style, this three-story building was designed by architect Stephen V. Shipman, one of the best of Madison’s pioneer architects. He also designed the dome and rotunda of the second Capitol building, built in 1859, when the first became inadequate for the growing state. Another Shipman building that can be seen facing the Capitol Square is the Willett S. Main building currently housing Teddywedgers at the top of State Street. The cornice of the American Exchange Bank building, the horizontal area that protrudes just below the roof line, is massive. The rusticated first floor shows 48 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

off masonry that has been achieved by cutting back the edges of the stones while leaving the central portion of the face rough to provide a rich, bold surface for the exterior wall. The original structure on the site of the bank building was the pioneer American House hotel, built in 1838. The Wisconsin territorial legislature convened there in November that year—the third time since Wisconsin was deemed a territory in 1836. The first Capitol building was still under construction at that time. The hotel burned down in 1868, and the current structure was built in 1871. The Madison Landmarks Commission designated the American Exchange Bank building a local landmark in 1975, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. According to

the National Register nomination, the architecture of the American Exchange Bank is “significant as a fine example of the Italian Renaissance Revival, displaying excellent craftsmanship in sandstone, a local material used frequently for the highest quality 19th century Madison buildings.” In 1911, major alterations took place when the southeast facade facing East Washington Avenue was extended. The addition was identical to the original building, making it impossible to detect where the existing building and addition met. The main building entrance was relocated to the west corner of the building facing Pinckney Street, where it still exists. Urban Land Interests (ULI), a local real estate development and management firm operating in downtown Madison

for nearly 40 years, purchased the American Exchange Bank building in 1994. ULI restored the facade and the window grading to match the original. A new elevator was installed to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Floor plates on the second and third floors were expanded by extending the building east over the city alleyway. A new first floor suite was created east of the alley. While today’s tenants in the American Exchange Bank building have modern mechanical systems, efficient office suites, and access to parking, they also have high ceilings and historic details. “What sets [ULI] apart when it comes to restoration is that we spend a little more to get the right finishes so the restoration speaks to the original character of the building,” states Emily Mehl, ULI brand manager and member of the commercial development team. From the time of its construction in 1871 to the present, the American Exchange Bank building has housed a number of banks. The original occupant was the Park Savings Bank until 1881, when the building was purchased by the First National Bank. The American Exchange Bank then bought the building and took over in December of 1921. Today, the building accommodates American Family Insurance’s DreamBank, the company’s flagship retail store with space for consumers to explore their

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passions, pursue their dreams, and celebrate with others. The American Exchange Bank started out as the German Bank, founded by John J. Suhr Sr., in September of 1871. Suhr Sr. was born in Bremen,

Germany, in 1836. He came to Madison 20 years later and began working as a bookkeeper at the State Bank. Soon, Suhr Sr. recognized a need for banking services for Madison’s large German community and opened the German Bank on King Street. Suhr Sr. was concerned with community affairs, and he; his wife, Louise Heicke; and five children made many contributions to the cultural and economic life of Madison in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Suhr Sr. was president of the Madison Turners Society, a German athletic club. He also served on the Madison School Board, was president of the Madison Free Library, and raised funds for Civil War veterans, widows, and orphans with his wife. Suhr Sr. died at his Langdon Street residence in 1901. After his death, two of his sons continued to manage the bank until the death of John J. Suhr Jr., in 1957. The Suhr family’s integration into the community was represented by

50 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

The American Exchange Bank itself underwent several transitions in its latter years. In 1986 the bank was renamed to American Exchange Bank of Madison. Then in 1988 it became Valley Bank. In 1990 Valley Bank moved to 222 W. Washington Avenue and occupied the same building that had housed the corporate headquarters of Wisconsin Power and Light for many decades. M&I Madison Bank acquired Valley Bank in

1994 and subsequently closed the W. Washington Avenue location. The American Exchange Bank building stands as a testament to the influential people in early Madison who made the city what it is today. Jeanne Engle is a freelance writer. Photographs provided by Eric Tadsen.

Photograph by M.O.D. Media Productions

subsequent changes in the name of the bank. First, a blend of German and American business reflected in the German-American Bank in 1885, then fully American with the American Exchange Bank in 1918. Most likely this name change was a result of antiGerman sentiment in the country at the time of World War I. The bank helped the city remain stable during economic downturns, such as the Great Depression. The first home loan in Wisconsin under the Federal Housing Administration is credited to have been made by the American Exchange Bank.

Jeanne Engle

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es s ential food & beverage

Weizening Up, to Wit: by Kyle Jacobson

Wheat Beers

The gap between the beer enthusiast and the brewer in both knowledge and preference can sometimes be rather hazy. Some drinkers today just want the craziest thing a brewer can come up with. In some ways, this pushes the boundaries of how we define beer. But sometimes the outcome can be… questionable. Just the other day I had a Milkshake IPA. Maybe my taste buds aren’t up to snuff, but I thought the decision to make this beer was more daft than me deciding to drink it.

Wheat-forward beers aren’t disappearing …at least, not yet. However, the future for one of my favorite wheat beers in Wisconsin has been decided. 3 Sheeps Brewing Company has done away with their Black Wheat: Baaad Boy. This beer had a lot of fun with a style that too many eccentric beer drinkers choose not to find the time for. Grant Pauly, brewmaster and founder of 3 Sheeps, broke the news to me, and, though the choice wasn’t easy, it had to be done.

It’s never been my aim to tell people what they should and shouldn’t drink. To that end, if a Milkshake IPA floats your boat, then raise the anchor and cut through some rather funky waters. Just know that something will get left behind.

Grant says, “Wheat, as an ingredient, I love. I think there is an element to it that provides an effervescence. I put wheat into a lot of my beers.” Instead of going into the history of wheat beers, like the Bavarian Hefeweizen, the more classic Dunkelweizen, and the Belgium

52 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Witbier, I’d like to discuss what wheat actually does to a beer. First thing people notice is how the beer looks. Wheat contains a lot more protein than barley, and the result is good head retention. Some drinkers feel like they’re getting ripped off when there’s half an inch of head on their beer, but that head is integral to the overall flavor. There’s a lot of hop aroma being released in the head of the beer. Without it, the drinker is robbed of the experience the brewer intended.1 The overall effect of having all those proteins tends to be a level of cloudiness, but this can be enhanced depending on how the beer is filtered. Some Weizens even have bits of yeast hanging around in the bottle. Scott Manning, brewmaster

and equal partner of Vintage Brewing Company, says “I always like to do the spin move on the table to get all the yeast worked up ‘cause I want mine mit hefe, which means with the yeast.” Even after fermentation, yeast has something to give beyond flavor, including a smooth mouthfeel. And if there’s one thing yeast and wheat do well, it’s mouthfeel. “Wheat’s got a certain texture,” Scott says. “I like to call it a fluffiness. It’s not a chewiness necessarily, like you get with oatmeal, but it’s like a body you just can’t replicate. And body is maybe even the wrong word because then you assume it’s going to be really thick, but I’m drinking this Weiss and it’s just sliding right down.” Perhaps this is where some drinkers get lost. They view drinking beer as a challenge. It seems like there’s a mentality that liking a beer others don’t means those people just don’t get it. For me, it’s so much better to drink a beer a lot more people can enjoy, and observe

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the different ways people experience it. With a refined palate, a drinker might pick out the flavors and appreciate some banana or clove bits in a Weizen beer. Others may just appreciate how easy the beer is to drink and like the fact that it doesn’t come off as flavored water. Still, I like the crazy drinker, the one who wants to be challenged with wacky flavor combinations and explosions of once-considered off-flavors. It’s the potential lack or regard for what went into their wild beer that spurns me to write these articles. When it comes to putting wheat into beer, there’s a reason. Grant says, “If I’m gonna have wheat in there, I want it to add to the longevity of flavor and also the dropoff. I want my beers to be drinkable. Wheat is a really good element to make sure the flavor doesn’t linger too long.” And with those qualities, there is a lot of room to play. I’ve had Hefeweizens that nail the banana flavor, and Witbiers that lace coriander and orange peel notes expertly through the yeast profile. Then there’s the art of subtlety that can make a beer

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just as deserving of praise and attention. On the Bavarian Wheat, Scott says, “I think there’s just nothing better than that bright citrus banana, a little bit of cloviness on the nose that’s so inviting, then you get that freshly baked bread toastiness.” Wheat is a unique ingredient for the brewing world, and it’s one that carries some strong opinions on either side. The thing is, a beer drinker who thinks all beers should have wheat in them is limiting the scope of what beer can actually be. On the other hand, the beer drinker who thinks there’s no room for wheat in beer because it smooths out stronger flavors is discounting an enormous factor that played a large part making beer what it is today. The good news is when everyone’s a little wrong, everyone’s a little right. Wheat beers wouldn’t be what they are without the skepticism and the adoration. The conversation isn’t always easy, but the platform is there to make talk happen as long is someone is willing to open their mind or take a chance. To old enemies and new friends. May they be one in the same. Cheers! Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor for Madison Essentials, and a writer and beer enthusiast (sometimes all at once) living in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Photographs by Kyle Jacobson.

The Spruce. -beer-353431 1

Scott’s Favorite Wheat Beers

Lakefront Brewing – Wisconsinite Lake Louie – Prairie Moon Great Dane – Crop Circle Wheat Be sure to check out Vintage Brewing Company’s rotating wheat beers, including Hefeweizens, Dunkelweizens, and unique spins on some wheat-forward classics.

Grant’s Favorite Wheat Beers

A lot of the stuff Ale Asylum’s doing, such as their Hefeweizen – Ünshadowed

Kyle Jacobson

Though Baaad Boy is dead, 3 Sheeps has no shortage of great brews. Try their Imperial Black Wheat with Coffee – Hello, My Name Is Joe

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e ssential finance

Financial Planning for the Finer Things in Life

and Not Going Broke Getting Them by Derek Notman Shiny car, big house, fast boat, beautiful jewelry, world travel. It could be argued that we are programmed, if not at least acclimated to, wanting the finer things in life. And what’s wrong with that? You work hard for your money, so why shouldn’t you live a little and enjoy some of life’s finer things? The problem is that we don’t know how to get them and spend responsibly. We’re not taught how to make these purchases as part of our greater financial plan. Just because we see friends, coworkers, and people in the media with fun toys, beautiful homes, and on exciting trips doesn’t mean they can actually afford them. Yet, we’re led to believe that we will only be happy if we also have these things, regardless of how we pay for them. Doesn’t it seem counterintuitive to buy things we can’t afford to be happy when, in fact, by going into debt we actually have more stress and less happiness? Through both my own experiences and those of my clients, I would venture to say that things aren’t what make us happy. Sure, the day you buy the new sports car, boat, or bigger house you’re 56 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

going to feel great, but if you can’t actually afford it or went into greater debt to buy it, then the luster of your new toy is going to dull quickly. Looks can be deceiving. Just because your neighbor seems happy with their new toy doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling stress and pressure from the financial burden they’re under. People rarely admit it, but it’s more common than you may realize. Believing that having things is important is actually irrelevant. Since what we deem necessary and important is subjective and entirely unique to each one of us, what actually then becomes important is how we pay for these things so they don’t become a burden instead of a joy. It’s my passion and purpose to work with entrepreneurs, founders, startup employees, business owners, and their families. I work with them to ensure they don’t irresponsibly get the things they want in life; they plan for the things they want.

•  Before buying something, they identify their hopes, dreams, and goals. • They are willing to wait instead of needing instant gratification. • They manage their cash flow like a hawk. •  When they find something they want, they figure out what it will cost and then build it into their financial plan. •  They don’t buy things they can’t afford. •  They don’t buy things for status or looks. • They understand that money is a concept and a tool, and then they leverage it. •  They know money in itself is not important. Planning is work, which is not exactly the most fun thing we can think of to spend our time on. Given the fast-paced world we live in and the fact that we are not formally taught how to plan for the things to spend money on, it’s not surprising we struggle with impulsive purchases. These impulsive purchases

Start with the end in mind. After all, it’s fun to dream! provide short-term happiness, but in exchange they tend to give us long-term stress. This is an imbalance that can be fixed with financial planning and education. It can help you buy whatever you want without putting yourself in a stressful financial situation. Start with the end in mind. After all, it’s fun to dream! Figure out what you want and be reasonable. Buying your own island is simply not possible when it’s a long weekend in the Caribbean that you can afford…for now. Once you know what you want, then you can start to plan how to get it. • What does it cost? • Will it be a one-time cost or will it be a recurring financial obligation? • Will you have to go into debt for the purchase? • Does your cash flow allow for you to comfortably make this purchase? Financial planning is often thought of as a discussion about rates of return, financial products, fees, investments,

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asset allocation, and so on. This is a major misconception. Financial planning is the process of using these concepts, tools, and ideas to realize your hopes, dreams, and goals for the future.

by the horns to enjoy life’s finer things without putting ourselves in situations that wear us down. Get a notepad and pen, gather your loved ones, and have a fun conversation about what you all want for the future. Derek Notman is a Certified Financial Planner® and Founder of Intrepid Wealth Partners LLC.

Photograph by Eric Tadsen

When we shift our minds to thinking about it this way, it then becomes real

for us. It becomes a fun exercise that we are excited to engage in because it helps us get what we want. This is arguably the first step in this entire process of getting what we want without going broke in the process. Once we’re open to and engaged in our financial planning, we can then take the bull

Derek Notman

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58 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s


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Wisconsin Born Spirits

Home is our inspiration. Spirits are the expression of our inspiration. Highest-quality grain-to-glass spirits using Wisconsin-sourced grains and botanicals. Visit our East Madison Cocktail Lounge for a new, spirited experience. Th & F 5-10PM, Happy Hour 5-7PM; Sat Noon-10PM 1413 Northern Ct. • (608) 571-4717

Live All Your Dreams, Love All Your Chocolates Fine chocolates made right here on Madison’s east side. Taking inspiration from the finest single-origin chocolates, Gail and her staff are constantly tasting, adjusting, and concocting signature truffles and treats to create the ultimate chocolate experience! 2083 Atwood Ave. • (608) 249-3500

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es s en tial home

Think by Joan W. Ziegler

Outside the Box

Everyone enjoys the deliciousness of fresh and local food. Vegetable gardening is experiencing renewed popularity. Wonderful farmers’ markets abound. Farm to table has become the hallmark Strawberry ground cover under a lilac tree.

Parsley in the flower garden.

of good eats. But the potential to harvest food from foundation plantings, shrub beds, and flower gardens is often overlooked. Once we think outside the box, edibles are easy to integrate into our landscape even when time and space are limited. Many ornamental plants are edible and delicious, and many of our food crops have exceptional ornamental value. Truly nothing tastes better or adds more to a meal than just-picked foods, so why not incorporate plants that provide fruits, nuts, vegetables, and herbs into your landscape plantings? My favorite place to grow herbs is in the flower beds and containers just outside my kitchen door. Parsley and thyme provide excellent edging for flower beds, and basil’s light-green color and good form is a perfect foil for flowers of all colors. Dill and fennel are reliable self-seeders whose feathery texture and beautiful chartreuse flowers are a welcomed addition to flower beds and bouquets. Lovely silver foliage and good form make culinary sage a wonderful perennial to incorporate into the garden. Besides always having fresh sage to cook with, their spikes of showy lavender flowers are beautiful in bouquets.

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Vegetables with good form, flowers, fruits, or leaf color can also add variety to shrub beds and flower gardens. Perennial rhubarbs’ strong bold leaf textures and statuesque flowers make a dramatic statement when incorporated into perennial flower beds. Pepper plants have glossy, dark-green leaves and abundant colorful fruit that spark a fall flower show. Eggplants perform beautifully, adding unique shapes and colors. Lettuce, cabbage, kale, and chard add distinctive leaf colors and textures to the front of the garden. You would be surprised at the amount of salad you can harvest from planting a border of mixed greens in front of your foundation plantings. Edibles can also be used as ground covers, and can eliminate the need to mulch around trees and shrub. Homegrown strawberries are exceptionally delicious and sweet, and make an excellent perennial ground cover for sunny spots. Alpine strawberries are shade tolerant and fun to plant near pathways so that you can easily pick extra flavorful tiny berries throughout the summer. A tapestry of mesclun mix could be a lovely ground

landscape architects garden designers site planners 831.5098


Create more fun foraging in your yard by choosing trees and shrubs with both edible and ornamental value. For small flowering trees, nothing is more carefree or beautiful than sour cherries. Their spring flower display rivals flowering crabs, and their beautiful red fruits make exceptional pies. Birds also love cherries and will race you for the fruit so

that there is never a mess on the ground to clean up. Other ornamentals with worthy fruits include Cornelian-cherry dogwoods, Juneberries, elderberries, Dolgo crabapple, hazelnuts, hickory, and junipers. The berries can be used for jams, pies, wine, and sauces, and the nuts, though difficult to crack, are a great winter treat that is well worth the effort. Flowers may also be worthy of grazing on, using for garnishes, and adding to salads. Not all flowers are edible, but it’s surprising how many common flowers are. Begonias have a slightly citrus flavor. Hibiscus has cranberry overtones. Nasturtiums are peppery. Dianthus

Cherry and pear trees—beautiful spring flowers, fabulous fruit.

is clove like. Daylily shoots are fresh tasting and add a slightly sweet crunch to salads. Violets, lilacs, and lavender have a sweet perfume and may be used to decorate cakes. Impatiens, fuchsia, marigolds, and chrysanthemums are also used for garnishes. The idea of combining flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables to create a beautiful landscape is as old as time. Even if the responsibilities of a vegetable garden or fruit tree are not for you, your landscape can be both beautiful and delicious! Joan W. Ziegler is a horticulturist and garden designer and winner of the 2015 Perennial Plant Association Merit Award for Residential Landscape at ZDA, Inc. Landscape Architecture, 4797 Capitol View Road, Middleton. Call (608) 831-5098 or visit Photographs provided by ZDA, Inc. Photograph by Betsy Haynes Photography

cover for lightly shaded areas. Consider combining salad greens with drifts of other low-growing vegetables, such as radishes, beets, and carrots, to enjoy more diversity. The only hardship is that to keep it looking fresh you need to harvest and often replant when crops are done.

Joan W. Ziegler

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advertiser index association

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Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream......................7

Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison....................... 64

Clasen’s European Bakery............................39

Home Elements & Concepts........................57

The Conscious Carnivore..............................15

Madison Opera............................................. 58

Creative Confections................................... 59

Olbrich Botanical Gardens..........................41

Drumlin Ridge Winery....................................61

Red Arrow Production...................................24

Fisher King Winery......................................... 30

Stoughton Opera House.............................. 49

Food Fight Restaurant Group.......................47


Fraboni’s Italian Specialties & Delicatessen..............................................37

home & landscaping

Fuegos............................................................. 45

ZDA, Inc............................................................61

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier........................ 59 Gates & Brovi................................................. 30


Imperial Garden............................................ 35

American Family Insurance DreamBank.....2

J. Henry & Sons...............................................13

The Buckingham Inn..................................... 55

Landmark Creamery.................................... 50

Capital Fitness................................................21

Lombardino’s Italian Restaurant & Bar...... 53

DMA Tax & Accounting.................................57

Mid Town Pub................................................. 49

Elevation Salon & Spa...................................12

The Nitty Gritty............................................... 45

Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic.........................19

Norske Nook Restaurant & Bakery.............. 34

Gunderson Funeral and

Off Broadway Drafthouse............................ 54

The Old Feed Mill Restaurant...................... 42

The Livingston Inn.......................................... 55

Oliver’s Public House.....................................27

Monroe Street Framing..................................23

Otto’s Restaurant & Bar...................................8

Oregon Community Bank........................... 63

Paoli Schoolhouse Cafe.................................5

Tadsen Photography.................................... 43

Pizza Brutta......................................................41

Waunakee Community Bank...................... 63

Porta Bella...................................................... 49

Cremation Care....................................... 20

Quivey’s Grove.................................................5


Riley’s Wines of the World.............................24

Abel Contemporary Gallery....................... 33

Sa-Bai Thong...................................................51

Deconstruction Inc........................................19

Samba Brazilian Grill......................................11

Iconi Interiors & Consignment..................... 33

The Side Door Grill and Tap..........................11

Karen & Co........................................................5

State Line Distillery........................................ 59


Sugar River Pizza Company............................7

Luceo Boutique & Styling Co.......................25

Tempest Oyster Bar....................................... 50

Playthings....................................................... 42

PLEASE SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS! Towns & Associates, Inc. is happy to provide local lifestyle magazines free of charge to the Greater Madison area. We could not do so without the support of our advertising sponsors, and we appreciate every one of them. We hope that you, our readers, will consider them when deciding where to dine, shop, and play and when you need services. These businesses represent the true entrepreneurial spirit of our community!

62 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

CONTEST Win a $50

Gift Certificate! Question: What current business owner previously owned Black Earth Meats? Enter by submitting your answer to the above question online at, or by mail with your name, mailing address, phone number, and email to: Madison Essentials c/o Towns & Associates, Inc. 126 Water Street Baraboo, WI 53913 All entries with the correct answer will be entered into a drawing for one of two $50 gift certificates. Contest deadline is January 15, 2018. Gift certificates will be honored at all Food Fight restaurants (see— subject to change).

Good Luck!

Winners Thank you to everyone who entered our previous contest. The answer to the question “Which Madison business resides in a building that was at one time a World War II bomb shelter?” is Monroe Street Framing. A $50 Gift Certificate was sent to each of our winners: Mary L. Braskamp of Madison and Andrea Henrich of Sun Prairie.


Feel Good Lending.

733 North Main Street • 101 S. Alpine Parkway Oregon, WI 53575-1097 (608) 835-3168

1351 Water Wheel Drive Waunakee, WI 53597 (608) 849-3080


. . . o t s r ee Ch

y a d o t g n i t l u not ad OVER 1,200 SLOT MACHINES 100% SMOKE-FREE | DINING | BAR MADISON 4002 EVAN ACRES RD., MADISON, WI 53718 | 608.223.9576 | HO-CHUNKGAMING.COM/MADISON

Profile for Towns & Associates

Madison Essentials January/February 2018  

Madison Essentials is a bimonthly magazine dedicated to promoting the Greater Madison area and its independent businesses and organizations....

Madison Essentials January/February 2018  

Madison Essentials is a bimonthly magazine dedicated to promoting the Greater Madison area and its independent businesses and organizations....