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No Coast Kitchen, February 2012

March 4, 2012

Have you ever paused, looked around and suddenly realized that you having a truly excellent experience?  That’s how I have felt at both No Coast Kitchen dinners. There’s a magical combination of really good people, exceptional food and je ne sais quoi that fills each NCK event with a particular glow. On February 13, 2012 the No Coast Kitchen crew threw an aphrodisiac themed meal in honor of valentine’s day. It was out of this world. Great people, incredible food, tasty (and strong) drinks.  Here are some images and descriptions from the night.

Truffle Truffle: winterspice to increase circulation, basil + maca for stamina, energy & circulation.

Watercress Fennel & Leek Soup with Cucumber Mignonette

Roasted Garlic, Basil Chutney stuffed Figs, Asparagus Spears and Sourdough Bread (by Chris Janik)

Ancho & Potato Masitas with Mole and Avocado

Rustic Salad with lettuce, arugula, mustard greens, local root vegetables & tarragon vinaigrette

Chocolate Ganache, candied almonds, coconut rosemary ice cream, honey rosemary glaze.

Interested in attending the March No Coast Kitchen event?  Email me and I’ll get you connected.  The dinner will be on 12 March, 2012 from 6:30-10:30pm.  Since the house was totally packed last time, reservations are strongly encouraged!  So, leave a comment or send an email.  Trust me- it’s going to be awesome.



Inspiration from Ira Glass

February 28, 2012


Thanks to David Shiyang Liu for making this video.

A Few Nibbles from the Past Couple of Weeks

February 26, 2012

Hi everyone,

I apologize for being a bit absent lately.   February is always my worst month, when the urge to hibernate deep in my head and bed is nearly impossible to overcome.  Creativity is not easy to come by.  Thankfully I have wonderful people in my life who keep me inspired, even during this final stretch of winter.  I had the privilege of lunching and brunching with Anda Marie and Holly the Healthy Everythingtarian over the past couple of weeks, as well as roommate Erin time at The Victory.  I’ve been taking more pictures of my food again, including the delicious purple potatoes I had last week (still holding strong from my summer CSA)- more on that come Tuesday.  Tomorrow I’ll share some images from the February No Coast Kitchen dinner (which was AMAZING).  March is just around the corner, and the sunshine has been plentiful.  I feel the change in the air, and maybe, just maybe, this sleepy late winter fog will break soon. Maybe even tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s to local deliciousness!

Bountiful lunch at Los Gemelos.

Food loving photographers = cameras at every meal.

Book recommendations from Anda.

Kickapoo Coffee at Bradbury’s.

Holly, cute in stripes.

Bradbury’s crepe

Scrambled eggs, fresh mozzarella cheese and ramp pesto.

Nutella muffin

The Victory

Victory coffee.

(Belated) birthday thank you cards.

Gluten free, dairy free, completely delicious cupcake. At The Victory.

A little morning rainbow.

Have you eaten anything delicious lately?



P.S. I almost forgot!  I wrote another article for the Willy Street Co-op’s Reader, published this month.  Check it out: When a Food is Not Your Friend: Food Allergies, Intolerances and Sensitivities.

Wednesday Treat: Stop Motion “Food Rules” video

February 15, 2012

I love Michael Pollan’s book, “Food Rules” and I adore this stop motion version too.  The makers are a part of the RSA / Nominet Trust Film Competition- hop over here and vote for them if you like!


Poetry Pause: Of Love by Mary Oliver

February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day folks.


Of Love
I have been in love more times than one,
thank the Lord. Sometimes it was lasting
whether active or not. Sometimes
it was all but ephemeral, maybe only
an afternoon, but not less real for that.
They stay in my mind, these beautiful people,
or anyway beautiful people to me, of which
there are so many. You, and you, and you,
whom I had the fortune to meet, or maybe
missed. Love, love, love, it was the
core of my life, from which, of course, comes
the word for the heart. And, oh, have I mentioned
that some of them were men and some were women
and some—now carry my revelation with you—
were trees. Or places. Or music flying above
the names of their makers. Or clouds, or the sun
which was the first, and the best, the most
loyal for certain, who looked so faithfully into
my eyes, every morning. So I imagine
such love of the world—its fervency, its shining, its
innocence and hunger to give of itself—I imagine
this is how it began.

-Mary Oliver


Goodbye January, Hello 02.01.2012

February 1, 2012



Can you believe it? January 2012 is OVER.  I’m rather still in shock about it.
With January’s departure I ended my 30 Days of Kombucha Challenge.  It was actually 31 for me, since I started right on 01 January.  What do I think of the experience, now that it’s over?

I loved it.  I plan to continue drinking kombucha every day that I can.

Over the course of the month my crazy sugar cravings have almost completely gone away. I noticed an increase in overall energy, which stayed steady throughout the day.  I ate less, in part because the kombucha triggered something in my stomach that made me feel full, faster, and snackish less often.  As I noticed these other positive changes, it became easier to eat in a more healthy way overall.  I had more energy to prepare food, and I spent more time being active, largely outside.  I dropped some pounds, and feel like I’m starting the second month of the year on a stronger note than when 2012 began.

Now, I know that all of these changes aren’t directly linked to drinking kombucha.  A sip of kombucha didn’t magically transport me outside for a walk, didn’t force my hands to cut squash or throw a salad together.  Kombucha wasn’t a magic happy potion that alleviated all of my less than pleasant cravings or feelings upon ingestion.  But, it certainly helped.

There is no magic bullet for good health. I believe that health, be it physical, emotional, or mental, is a gradual process that is so completely interwoven with all the different aspects of our lives, you can’t pull out one certain thing that makes all the difference.  That being said, I also believe that sometimes the introduction of something new (be it kombucha, starting to take a multi-vitamin, going on a daily walk, starting a belly dance class) can cause a domino effect of additional positive changes.  Like the commercial I referenced earlier in the month, sometimes “one healthy decision leads to another”. In the case of me and my kombucha, I can confidently say that is true.

Thank you again to the amazing folks at NessAlla Kombucha for sponsoring me during the challenge!  If you get a chance, try their kombucha.  Their raspberry is my favorite stand-by, but the seasonal flavors are really special.

Now I want to keep the momentum going with my February Challenge: Detox.  I’m still getting my ducks in a row (February snuck up on me) so there will be more on that later this week!

I do have some other fun activities to share with you all.  My roommate Erin, her friend Colleen, my dear friend Casey and I all went to the Mermaid Cafe’s breakfast at the Farmers’ Market this week.

Each week during the winter a different chef hosts the Saturday morning Dane County Farmers’ Market breakfast.  Meals usually include a vegetarian and meaty option, and are always made with products purchased from market vendors.  Breakfast was delicious (it always is) and fueled us well for the Madison Public Library art exhibit, Bookless. The library is going to be completely renovated (hurray!) and for one day they changed the emptied out space into an eclectic art exhibit/dance hall.  We had our picture taken in the photo booth, made bookmarks out of old card catalogue entries, and even asked the reference section oracle questions about our future. It was a blast. Can’t wait to see the library when it opens again in the summer of 2013.

And there was another session with Chloe as well, the day before her birthday!  We ventured out into the cold and took some images that I’m pretty excited about.  Chloe’s post for outfit number 1 is here.  Keep an eye out for outfit number 2 in the days to come.  Here are my favorites.

The weather here has been eerily warm over the past couple of days, but it is definitely still winter.  Winter usually gets me down, but I’m find more and more that I like about these dark and frozen months.  I went on a walk before meeting Chloe, and even though it was overcast and grey, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful everything around me was.  The light has a different quality in winter, and maybe because of its scarcity sometimes I just have to stop and appreciate it. Find it where I can and hold onto it.

Hope all of you are holding onto something that makes you glow.  Cheers to the beginning of a new month!  I have a feeling it will be better than the last.



No Coast Kitchen

January 28, 2012

On Monday, 16 January 2012 I was invited to take pictures at No Coast Kitchen’s fabulous eastern europe inspired dinner.  Their food was phenomenal, and their cocktails made me swoon.  I’ve included an image of each course and a description of the food in the captions.  If you’re looking for a fun date night, check out their next dinner on 13 February!



Seasonal citrus palate cleansers.

The makings of cocktail magic, including Rishi scarlet tea infused vodka, house made almond milk and earl grey/lavender infused whiskey. 

Course 1: Borscht with dill creme, potato rye sourdough, and chive cashew cheese, followed by a shot of cumin vodka.


Course 2: Fennel potato latkes with cumin apple sauce and sour cream.


Course 3: Butternut, buttercup ravioli with sage vodka mushrooms, sage and parsley pesto.


Course 4: Spinach and spice salad with candied blood oranges, pepitas and aronia berry vinaigrette.


Course 5: Poached harrow’s delight pears with chèvre ice cream and aronia wine glaze.


Clean plate club.



DIY mood lighting.

The chefs.

Thanks for having me over No Coast!  Can’t wait for the next one.