We spent a chilly Sunday early afternoon at Frontier Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee for the Southwest.Com Milwaukee Sentinel Wine & Dine Wisconsin 2010 – a long-winded way of saying that for brunch we sampled everything from Serbian pavé of lamb and gluten-free vodka to cheese designed for grilling and small-batch butter. Oh, and a fair amount of tasty, tasty wine 😉
Bob and Don had gone last year and had a great time, so this year we tagged along.
We started off with a refreshing glass or three of wine, mostly reds for Rich and I (though who could resist the Conundrum Chardonnay?) – then made a mental note to return to one of the demonstration kitchens to catch a local chef make cider brined pork chops and potato cakes. His brine wasn’t really any different from mine – but I liked the way he sautéed his chop AND his potato cakes AND his cabbage in one, large frying pan (I gotta get me one of those). The potato cakes were also tempting – a mixture of leftover mashed and fresh grated potato and bacon. They, very nicely I thought, passed out samples of the entire menu which we quite enjoyed. Fresh-made Irish coffee was also offered, but at that point the line got too long to deal with; so we went off in search of other goodies.
Our friend Norma had taken us into a cool specialty oil and vinegar shop when we were last up in Door County, and it would seem that this concept is exploding. Oro de Oliva had a cart filled with urns of aged and flavored oils and balsamic vinegars – and little cups to sample. I loved, Loved, LOVED the basil olive oil sample they very kindly mixed with some of their 18 year old Balsamic vinegar, and had to bring some home (the vinegar was lovely as well, but we still have some 25 year old from Door County). Rich picked up some black truffle oil to go with the white truffle oil his brother and sister-in-law brought us from their trip to Saugatuck this past summer.
Happy with our purchases, we decided it was time for another glass of wine – this time going for old favorite Clos du Bois Cabernet at the Ravenswood table. We also sampled a really, really nice Washington State Syrah that I WISH I had noted the name of. *sigh*
Oh well, on to more food:
There was a lively crew at Due Sorelle Two Sisters Fine Italian offering tastes of their pizza dough and tomato basil vinaigrette. Both were so good that we bought the sampler box – just $20 for all these goodies! I have to admit that we are both stumped by the concept of ‘Italian’ Chili – but what the heck?
A quick turn of a corner brought us to the Sartori cheese table – filled with samples of parmesan (their Bella Vitano® Gold will be on my next market list) and a really lovely, creamy blue cheese that, surprisingly, is their worst seller(!).
Cheese sampled, we just had time for a quick sip at Mondavi’s booth – they have a very nice Meritage and a nibble of hand rolled butter on crusty bread before heading back to the lamb demo – a pavé of lamb with green fig sauce, sautéed green figs and arugula salad with an orange vinaigrette. Mmmmmmm.
By the way, pavé of lamb (pavé d’agneau in French) is, literally, a slab (paving stone) of very choice lamb tenderloin; which I plan on ordering soon from our butcher – maybe for my birthday?