Monday, January 23, 2012

Chocolate And Other Amazing Food

Earlier I wrote about my adventures last weekend, and besides what I already wrote about, I also ventured with a few friends to Gail Ambrosius. Gail Ambrosius is a truly delightful chocolate shop in the Atwood neighborhood of Madison. You can watch the chocolates being hand made through a window into the back room and they have a wide variety of chocolates. Everything ranging from rose to classic vanilla and lemongrass ginger. I loved the chocolates so much that I had to visit her website. There I discovered that Gail Ambrosius is the chocolatier's name and she was raised on a Wisconsin dairy farm. On the website, she talks about how being raised on a dairy farm shaped her and how that never leaves you, includes how it taught her to care for the land. She visits many of the cacao farms that her chocolate comes from and ensures that they meet her standards. It's always nice to see how growing up on a farm influences others.

Though I do most of my shopping at regular grocery stores, I love small, specialty shops like the one I was at last weekend. When I was in Kansas City, Glace Artisan became my favorite ice cream as soon as I tried it. It's a small shop owned by a chocolatier in the area who ventured into ice cream. The flavors are pretty unique but intense, rich and amazing.

This weekend I attended the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest, which featured many small breweries and cheesemakers. While I had tried some of the beer & cheese at the festival before, most were completely new to me and I wouldn't be able to find in a typical grocery store. One of my favorite cheeses was a smoked butterkase cheese, similar to smoke gouda, but I enjoyed every single beer and cheese that I tried there. I'll always be a Minnesotan, but that festival was so classic Wisconsin.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Video Killed the Radio Star

I was at an 80s "New Wave Rave" this weekend, and "Video Killed The Radio Star" played. 80s night was surprisingly awesome for someone who wasn't even alive in the 80s. All my coworkers think I'm crazy young since I was born in the 90s. At least I can appreciate how great 80s music was despite being young.

In other events from this weekend, I toured Capital Brewery and the National Mustard Museum. Yes, the National Mustard Museum exists and it's in Middleton, a Madison suburb. One guy decided to collect all kinds of mustard and there's now a museum dedicated to it. The place has mustard from every state and many countries. They have cheddar ale mustard, pumpkin mustard, cranberry mustard, banana mustard, etc. My favorite though wasn't even mustard - it was the cow shaped cookie cutter that I found at the museum store.

Capital Brewery provided a great tour and, naturally, free samples. Their Supper Club beer is brewed with corn, which was actually pretty good. I was with a group of almost 50, but was still able to hear and see everything well. Capital Brewery only fills the kegs at the location that we visited and a different brewery fills the bottles for them. They're a German style brewery that abides by the German Purity Laws as much as possible.

The cow I gave as a 1st birthday present in on the right. 
We got to see their raw ingredient storage, which included malt from Belgium in a bag that said Cargill. I'm known for liking cows and knowing about ag in my group of friends in Madison, which of course came up again when I saw the Cargill bags of malt. Just to be even more predicable, I attended a 1st birthday party for the daughter of one of my friends and gave her a stuffed cow in a cow gift bag.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's Been a While

Ah, old county music. The 90s were probably my favorite decade for country music, though I admit I was only born in 1990. Pandora will always be great, but right now I'm loving Spotify for it's ability to play "The Bluest Eyes in Texas" from my carefully crafted playlist when that song is stuck in my head at work, as it definitely was today. These are the lyrics to the song I'm listening to now from the same playlist:

It's good to see your face again 
It's been a while 
How am I doing? 
Well I get by somehow

It's Tracy Lawrency's "I See It Now", and well it's been a while since I've posted so it's rather fitting. There's just not much more comforting and calming than this playlist of "90's & Older Country". It's fun to find older songs that I know and love, but don't get to hear often on the radio, and add them to the playlist. I even get to listen to entire albums so I find songs I hadn't even thought of adding or didn't remember the name of.

This playlist reminds me of home because my dad always has the radio set to country in the barn. His favorite band is Alabama and when I was little we saw them in concert at the Minnesota State Fair when they came every four years. Alabama is now one of my favorite's, and one of my younger brother's as well. I mean, this is just such a great song and it is so fitting. 

I've always loved different kinds of music, and was in band and choir in high school and briefly in college. Since I live alone, I'm listening to music quite often as I generally don't like a quiet apartment. I don't know how people can even study when it's dead silent sometimes. Just don't get it. Music keeps me going.