• beverages,  booze,  bourbon,  food,  recipes,  seasonal

    Hot Toddy Time

    I hate to see summer end, but there are a few things I like about fall: football, tall boots, pumpkin bread, and hot drinks. My husband, son, and I recently visited an apple orchard near Lake Kegonsa just outside of Madison. Since our son is only 3 months old, we eschewed apple picking for simply buying a few bags of fresh McIntoshes and Empires and a half gallon of fresh cider. At our house, cider is the main ingredient in one of our favorite fall beverages. My husband modified his recipe for hot toddies from an episode of┬áSemi-Homemade with Sandra Lee┬áthat he caught while flipping through the channels. I wonder…

  • beverages,  booze,  food,  local,  restaurants,  reviews

    Local Spotlight: Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar

    It’s unfortunate that the grand opening of Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar on Madison’s East Side occurred just a few weeks before dump trucks and fork lifts rolled in to tear up Willy Street in a major road construction project that won’t conclude until October. Umami is located at 923 Williamson Street in a building that, from the outside, just looks like a renovated house. Inside, though, the space is modern and I dare say hip… all this in a neighborhood where tie-died shirts and Crocs are considered appropriate dinner attire. You can still wear your Crocs there, but you might feel upstaged a bit by the sexy lighting, bamboo…

  • beer,  beverages,  booze,  cheese,  food,  local,  microbrews,  nerdiness,  recipes

    A Recipe for Wintry Weather

    It’s been snowing all day here in Madison. My daffodils and hyacinth are covered in glistening chunks of ice. There’s almost nothing good about winter weather in spring, except for the fact that it gives me an excuse to make just a few more hearty meals before turning to lighter, springtime fare. And nothing says hearty like beer and cheese. As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a stipend from New Belgium Brewery to purchase their beer and create a recipe with it. Since I can’t drink beer these days (I’m 28 weeks pregnant), the next best thing is to cook with it. Most of the alcohol cooks…

  • beverages,  food,  reviews,  tastings

    Sexy Beverages Sans Sauce

    A pregnant friend of mine recently asked a waiter, “Do you have any sexy non-alcoholic beverages?” The waiter looked confused, but rose to the occasion and came back with a Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew–a strong and sweet ginger ale. The eager young server watched as my friend took a first sip. “Is it sexy?” he asked. She declared that it was. See, we preggos get tired of seltzer and Sprite (which I think basically tastes like sugar dissolved in water). It’s good to have some options to mix things up when mixed drinks are off limits. In the last few months, I have become somewhat of a connoisseur of nonalcoholic…