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Midwest Fest

DeannaS's picture

Midwest Fest (post #56769)

So, the topic of a midwest fest was brought up in another thread. Pamilyn and I were discussing the fact that here in Madison we have one of the greatest farmer's markets in the country, and a top-notch high-end restaurant (L'etoile), and lots of yummy ethnic food.

So, I thought I'd throw the idea out there - anyone up for a midwest fest here in lovely Madison sometime in the summer? Probably later summer, when all the fruits and veggies are ripe.

Thoughts?

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

MadMom's picture

(post #56769, reply #1 of 384)

MadMom is always up for a fest...just tell me where and when!


Edited to say that if we hold a fest in Madison, maybe I could finally get to meet Jean.




Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!


Edited 2/25/2005 4:51 pm ET by MadMom

Jean's picture

(post #56769, reply #2 of 384)

I'll bet I could talk DH into a trip around the lake with me. :)

Veni, vidi, velcro        I came,  I  saw,  I stuck around.


http://www.thebreastcancersite.com

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
sandermom's picture

(post #56769, reply #3 of 384)

Okay!  Deanna...what are your favorites?  Ella's is fun for distraction...we could all ride the merry-go-round.  Son #1 is getting married at Olbrich gardens in July...you could all crash the party!  (Just joking, the in-laws to be aren't quite used to me yet.)

Klaatu Barada Nikto

sandermom's picture

(post #56769, reply #4 of 384)

Or take the ferry...to Milwaukee and then it's just an hour and a half west of there.

Klaatu Barada Nikto

Jean's picture

(post #56769, reply #5 of 384)

That's a possibility too.

Veni, vidi, velcro        I came,  I  saw,  I stuck around.


http://www.thebreastcancersite.com

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Meryl's picture

(post #56769, reply #6 of 384)

You're not kidding about your farmer's market - it's amazing! I was there many years ago and couldn't believe it - the best I've ever seen. Wish I could come to the Fest. 


Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

Biscuits's picture

(post #56769, reply #7 of 384)

If you have it in Madison, I'll come.  I'd love to come.  Especially if Jean is coming! (G)  I'm going to fly in, though.  It looks like about an 8 hour drive for me, and I'm not doing it. 


This is a great idea.  Who's making reservations at L'etoile?


Ancora Imparo -

Ancora Imparo -

Doris1149's picture

(post #56769, reply #8 of 384)

Count me in!

DJ-

DJ-

Risottogirl's picture

(post #56769, reply #9 of 384)

oooh, I LOVE Madison and Chicago is so close too...hmmm we haven't been there since July 4th.  And SO's fave uncle is in Southhaven (or he in St. Joe now).


But alas, after almost 6 months in Paris, I won't be going anywhere for a while :(


I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate
Julia Child

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

KarenP's picture

(post #56769, reply #10 of 384)

  Could be a good time to plan a trip home.......

pamilyn's picture

(post #56769, reply #11 of 384)

Jean We took the new ferry last September. It is a little pricy but it sure beat driving around Chicago. We had a very calm day and it was just wonderful...Pamilyn

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

pamilyn's picture

(post #56769, reply #12 of 384)

We could plan it in conjunction with the food for thought festival that is in September, right on the square next to the Farmers Market. I'm not sure who the speaker is this year but in years past we have had Alice waters, and Rick Bayless. It is put on by REAP, (Research and education for agricultural policy) and MACSAC (Madison Area Community Supported Agricuture Coalition) I am a volunteer and can find out more if anyone would be interested  in that weekend...


We should do this Fest no matter when it will be...eat drink and be merry...Pamilyn

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

MadMom's picture

(post #56769, reply #13 of 384)

Pamilyn, previous fests have been all over the calendar.  October seems to be a fairly good month, but I think September, during an event such as you describe, would be great fun.  As far as planning, you need to get a good idea of attendees (people often decide to come or not come at the last minute, but this would give you a starting point in planning dinners, etc.)  Someone needs to pick a good hotel.  We normally use priceline, try to find a 4-star hotel at a really good price, and lots of times, people share rooms.  Of course, with priceline, you don't get to choose your hotel, but it often works out, particularly if you find a really good price, that the hotel someone gets is the one everyone ends up at.  Since most people won't have cars, the area where people stay should be close to the Farmers' Market and/or the major restaurant.  Someone who is local should contact the restaurant, once you get an approximate idea of how many are coming, and get a price for a tasting menu.  Usually the tasting dinner runs about $100 - $125/person, including wine, and can be anywhere from seven to eleven courses.  Advice...don't post the menu in advance, or you will have people like me saying "I don't like shrimp or foie gras...can we change that?" while others will be saying too much seafood, or not enough seafood, or too much beef...you get the idea.  Bear in mind we have some vegetarians, so that option should be available for them. 


As far as the schedule goes, a lot of people come in on Thursday, so there probably should be some sort of dinner planned for Thursday night and Friday night...in the past these have usually been ethnic.  Sometimes people receive many dishes to choose from (sort of buffet style, this has happened at the Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants) and sometimes people order off a menu (we've done that at Thai and Indian restaurants.)  To make things simpler, appetizers are usually shared, and everybody just pays the same price, whatever it works out to be.  We haven't had any major problems doing that (the idiot who spends $60 when everyone else is spending $15, or vice versa.)  These venues should probably be within walking or cab ride distance of the hotel.  Most people tend to leave by Sunday, although some might stay over for Monday, but that's always been pretty much an independent thing.  This is probably TMI (too much information) but TracyK has planned one fest, Mean has planned two, and I'm not sure who was responsible for the first Vancouverfest...those people could help you out.  You should probably settle on a suggested date and toss it out and see who can be there then.  If it turns out to be a really bad weekend for a lot of people, you could try another one.




Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!
pamilyn's picture

(post #56769, reply #14 of 384)

Thanks Mad Mom, that helps alot. Not too much choices for decent hotels near the Market. The new Hilton is the best. The Edgewater is walkable but a little far, the Concourse is a dump, as is the Best Western Inn on the Park. I would highly suggest the Hilton. Only 1/2 block to the Square (Market) and one block to L'etoile wich is a must do. It might be more expensive than you quoted with wine. Veggie food is no problem as Odessa Piper is veggie Queen and she gets all her produce from the Market and that will be height of veggie season around here. So I guess I will try to work out a date. Let me do a little research on the REAP website. I should know the date since I volunteer for it!!!


Thanks for the help, Pamilyn


P.S. Odessa won Best Midwest Chef last year in the James Beard awards.Check out the website....

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

Adele's picture

(post #56769, reply #15 of 384)

I'm looking at under $300 in airfare, Thurs to Sun.  Did you know there are lots of Madison's?   Looking good for me.  


Edit:  Do we get our own cheese hats?  HaHaHaHa!  Hey, is there a local tour of a cheesery?  (Okay, I know it's called something other that cheesery, it's been a long day)


 

 

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!


Edited 2/26/2005 9:43 pm ET by Adele

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

MadMom's picture

(post #56769, reply #16 of 384)

Maybe a cheese making class?



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

DeannaS's picture

(post #56769, reply #17 of 384)

Wow! I'm so glad to see so much enthusiasm for our fair city.

Pamilyn - I think coordinating with the REAP weekend sounds like a wonderful idea.

As to a cheese factory tour - I'm trying to remember the place that was recently highlighted in the Co-op newsletter...I'm pretty sure they said they did tours. But, it would definitely be a drive away. But, maybe with three locals, we could swing sharing rides (my vehicle fits 5 besides me and my wee one). We could research this. I know I could swing a tour of a dairy _farm_ but that's not going to be as much interest to foodies. ;)

As for ethnic restaurants, it would all depend on how many people we had. The square, where the farmer's market is and where L'etoile is, doesn't have any ethnic restaurants that come to mind. But, on Willy (Williamson) Street, which is not far, there's Laotian, Thai, Jamaican, Chinese, Indonesian, and Vietnamese. Some of the places are tiny, though. State Street is an easy walk, but I can't think of any spectacular places - though there's lots of decent places.

Pamilyn - yell when you get those September dates. Maybe when we have an idea of how many would come, we could get together and do some planning.

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

sandermom's picture

(post #56769, reply #18 of 384)

For cheesemaking we could do Babcock...and finish with a cone.  Or for a road trip Carr Valley is up in my area, about 45 mi and their aged swiss is tdf.  Brews are no problem but for wine, eh, wollersheim...Frankly though, visiting cheese factories as a child totally put me off milk for life.  Visiting a winery is a totally different experience.  I mean, does anyone really want to visit oscar meyer's and then eat a hot dog, ever?


Klausen's bakery is good, apple orchards?

Klaatu Barada Nikto

Jean's picture

(post #56769, reply #19 of 384)

ITA about dairies and cheese.  The stuff smells bad. Kinda like barf IIRC.

Veni, vidi, velcro        I came,  I  saw,  I stuck around.


http://www.thebreastcancersite.com

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Risottogirl's picture

(post #56769, reply #21 of 384)

The stuff smells bad. Kinda like barf IIRC


LOL!


I love to visit cheesemakers, cheese (aging) caves, cheese shops, etc. If there is good cheese, I am THERE!


Way more interesting (to me) than wineries. Possibly because I have been to SO many, living in the Bay Area for years.


When we lived in Chicago, we were really active with the AIWF and they plan a day long annual event called "A Day in the Country" where members can hop on a bus that leaves downtown Chicago and takes the group to several places that are food related, usually in Wisconsin. One year it was a cheese place, a microbrewery, a small candymaker and then dinner at L'etoile. Another year it was an artisan baker, a different cheese place, a brat place (it wasn't gross) and then dinner at a farm where they raise the free range lamb that ALL the good restaurants in Chicago use. Odessa and her staff came out to the farm to cook the dinner on site. It was GORGEOUS - the dinner and the setting. A guy from an Italian winery brought wine and did a vertical tasting. Wish I could remember more details but it was 10 years ago and Iam getting old :)


Those events were always a RAGING success, that AIWF chapter is a great one.


I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate
Julia Child

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

DeannaS's picture

(post #56769, reply #23 of 384)

Oooo, candy makers. We have Candinas Chocolates, which is a highly ranked chocolatier, right outside of Madison. I don't know if they do "tours" as it's a pretty small outfit. But, I know you can go directly to the shop to purchase. There's also the Chocolate Caper, in Oregon (also just outside of Madison). Wonderfully nice folks from Europe. Delicious samples in the store.

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

Risottogirl's picture

(post #56769, reply #24 of 384)

How long has Chocolate Caper been around - that name sounds familiar?


I have found, when organizing events (not for CT) around visits to farms, factories, workshops, etc. that often they don't publicize tours, but they may be willing when the hear the profile of the group, serious home cooks, professional chefs and artisans, oenophiles, from all over the country (possibly alll over the world) wanting to visit "their business". It can be exciting and flattering. As well, Li often attends the fests and then you could also say there willl be an editor (is that her title?) from a major food magizine attending as well.


I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate
Julia Child

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

DeannaS's picture

(post #56769, reply #25 of 384)

Chocolate Caper has been around for quite a while - at least 12 years, as they were here when my sister lived her in 93. It's a husband and wife team. They used to sell their wares at the farmer's market, but they stopped doing that long ago.

Yah, I figure that it wouldn't be that hard to get tours places, when we mention the affiliations. :)

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

DeannaS's picture

(post #56769, reply #22 of 384)

I think it was Carr Valley. But, you're right - a trip to Babcock might be better, though it might have to be a Friday thing, as I'm not sure they do tours on the weekend.

Brew Houses - the Great Dane and Angelic are both walking distance from the capitol. I prefer the Great Dane, especially if it's nice enough to sit in the outdoor garden area. I bet they'd do a tour-thing.

The Essen House could be another option - authentically German, though not much for the veggies in the crowd. They do have one "vegetarian" option, and they'll do fixed price family-style meals for groups. (I've been there for work functions on a couple of occasions.) If folks want to see wait staff in German costume, and foot-long glasses of beer, this would be the place to go.

Tutto Pasta on State Street could be another low-price casual option (maybe a lunch)?

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

mulch52's picture

(post #56769, reply #31 of 384)

I would SO love to come--have to check on what September is looking like at work.  I need to research various Wisconsin places as possible retirement destinations anyway, and this is the perfect occasion to do so! 

DeannaS's picture

(post #56769, reply #36 of 384)

Well, Wisconsin has many wonderful places to retire, if you like the cold. :) I wouldn't retire in Dane County, though - taxes are too high. But, right across the Dane County border wouldn't be bad. New Glarus would be a cute place to retire - you're close enough to Madison for day trips, and close enough to Monticello and the Dining Room for dinners.

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

Wolvie's picture

(post #56769, reply #27 of 384)

sounds like a plan!

Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.   Henry Steele Commager



 

 

Biscuits's picture

(post #56769, reply #20 of 384)

To expand on what MadMom said -


Thursday night should be casual - apps or a bar or something casual for those that come in that night.  Friday is usually something mid-range price-wise.  It doesn't have to be ethnic, but it shoudl be good and interesting (are there any brew-houses in Madison?  That could be fun.  Or something authentically German?).  The Saturday night is always reserved for the "big" dinner.  Then Sunday is usually brunch wherever.


Except for the Friday and Saturday meals, most things are pretty loose, structurally speaking. 


Ancora Imparo -

Ancora Imparo -

Wolvie's picture

(post #56769, reply #26 of 384)

definitely.


How far is Madison from Kohler? A great design center, so I hear.


Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.   Henry Steele Commager



 

 

DeannaS's picture

(post #56769, reply #28 of 384)

Hm...if I recall correctly, Kohler is a couple of hours drive away. I've only been there once, and it was a long time ago. So, I could be wrong. I'd have to look it up.

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow