Supper Club Book Features Close to Home

WIsconsin Supper Clubs, Another Round, by Ron Faiola

One of the greatest joys of being in business is watching my clients succeed. So when Jaci, of Donny’s Girl Supper Club, told me her restaurant was being featured in ‘Wisconsin Supper Clubs, Another Round,’ I couldn’t have been more excited.

Donny's Girl Supper Club featured in Wisconsin Supper Clubs book

Wisconsin Supper Clubs, Another Round,’ by Ron Faioli, celebrates the distinctly Wisconsin culture of supper club restaurants. It’s a sequel to Faioli’s hugely popular ‘Wisconsin Supper Clubs, An Old Fashioned Experience‘ and similarly, it highlights a delightful mix of 50 supper clubs throughout the state.

Maybe you’re wondering what constitutes a supper club? Think family-owned, supper only, hearty fare made from scratch, and a welcoming patron mix of friends and newcomers. Oh, and don’t forget the Brandy Old-Fashioned cocktail and Friday fish fry! Donny’s Girl embraces these qualities deliciously.

Adunate is proud to serve as webmaster for Donny's Girl Supper Club, Watertown, WI

As Jaci’s web designer, I have the distinct honor of maintaining her site. Inevitably, when updating her menu, I find myself craving a tasty dinner and the warmth of the supper club community. Thankfully Donny’s Girl is just down the road!

Looking to get a hold of ‘Wisconsin Supper Clubs, Another Round?’ Jaci is selling them at Donny’s Girl Supper Club, located here. The books are also available online here.

Enjoy!

Difference Between Giving and Taking? NYPL’s 187,000 Images

Dinner by Food and Cookery Magazine“DINNER [held by] FOOD AND COOKERY (MAGAZINE) [at] “THE MONICO, LONDON, [ENGLAND]”

Generally, professional designers don’t like crowdsourcing. We hold little enthusiasm for so-called “opportunities” offered by profitable companies to submit work—for free, of course—in hopes of winning their approval (like when Dog é Style Restaurant announced its logo contest). In most cases, crowdsourcing results in companies taking a lot for themselves and giving very little to designers.

That’s one side of the issue. Here’s another, more positive side:

The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is “chronically underfunded,” as PCMag says in this article. Yet, the 105-year-old public institution initiates brilliant crowdsourcing programs that benefit the givers (doers) and much as the receiver (NYPL). Take, for example, What’s On the Menu?. Launched in 2011, this epicurean’s delight crowdsources the transcription of 45,000 historical restaurant menus, which, by virtue of their type and design, are indiscernible to optical character recognition when digitalized. To date, online volunteers have transcribed more than 1,331,929 dishes from 17,545 menus.

In return? We, the people, whether we volunteer or not, are given viewing access to NYPL’s magnificent collections.

Just last week, NYPL thrilled the world once again with this news release:

“Today we are proud to announce that out-of-copyright materials in NYPL Digital Collections are now available as high-resolution downloads. No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse!”

That’s right, 187,000 public domain images for digital download. For free! For artists, historians, educators, scientists, well, for everyone, this is an unimaginable treasure trove. Oh, the glory of it all!

In celebration of this release, NYPL invites us to participate in its Labs Remix Residency. Yes, this is crowdsourcing of sorts (the PR will certainly generate donations). And yes, it’s a contest. But once again, NYPL puts the people back in public and offers us something in return—creative use of 187,000 images!

So here’s the dish:

NYPL invites us to brainstorm “transformative, interesting, beautiful new uses” of its digital collections. They’re looking for projects that use pre-existing works to create new things (you know, a remix). Maybe a menu? Maybe a quilt? Maybe a board game? They encourage us to surprise them!

Here’s another way NYPL is unique in its crowdsourcing: Participants are only required to submit a proposal of their project. From there, NYPL will choose two proposals and award them each a $2000 stipend for completing their project. How cool is that?

Start brainstorming! Proposals are due February 19, 2016.

Looking for ideas? Here’s a good article. In fact, any one of the NYPL blogs is a good article!


Want to show your appreciation for 187,000 free images? Consider donating to NYPL or your own local library. Libraries offer us so much!

Superior’s Slice of Local Color

Thirsty Pagan Brewing, Superior, WI

Name aside (since I’m a believer:-), Thirsty Pagan Brewery is my kind of place. Located in Superior, Wis., it’s laid-back, unpretentious, warm and full of local color. So far, it’s my favorite venue on the tour.

Thirsty Pagan Brewing, Superior, WI

Nothing says welcome more than a hand-printed sandwich board. We stopped for a bite, thankfully just before the noon hour rush. And rush there certainly was!

Thirsty Pagan Brewing, Superior, WI

When I say local color, I mean color. Located in an old creamery, TPB, as they like to call themselves, is a uniquely divided space. The tiled dining room in front reflects the purity of the building’s former life. The bar in back is hipster-vibed with multi-colored walls, beer art and, once again, hand-printed signage. Blackboards will do it every time!

Thirsty Pagan Brewing, Superior, WI

This sign made me laugh. It was posted over the small stage where live music plays daily.

What? How can you outlaw Freebird?!

Thirsty Pagan Brewing, Superior, WI

As you can tell, ambiance is huge for me. But food and beverage must also make the mark and TPB hit it spot on. We had a delicious deep dish pizza, complimented with a North Coast Amber and Lawn Chair Ale. Heavenly!

A very fun place and I’d love to come back for the live music.

Our previous stop: Fitgers in Duluth.  Our next stop: Leinenkugel’s in Chippewa Falls.

Dreaming of Fresh Food in Freezing Wisconsin?

seed catalogs and starter trays

Just so you know, that’s not a studio backdrop in this photo. It’s snow outside my window. Actually, this is a rather oxymoronic image in that it doesn’t fully convey the blistering-blue cold we’re braving these days, with temps far below zero and wind chills 20 degrees even further still. But the earthiness of seed catalogs and starter trays makes winter hibernation a warm and tolerable thing. Yep, I’m planning my garden and dreaming of fresh food.

I was motivated into a gardening mood yesterday after talking with new client Jane Hansen, who is coordinator for the Wisconsin Local Food Network (WLFN). WLFN is a collection of people and organizations that work to build sustainable, equitable and resilient food systems throughout the state. To put it simply, in their words, “We help local food businesses (whether a farm, a processor, a distributor, a restaurant, a farmers market, or a grocery store) thrive!”

As Jane and I discussed local food here in Wisconsin, we targeted some of the challenges both producers and consumers face. On days like today, it’s obvious that Wisconsin’s short growing season puts a freezing halt to the availability of fresh and local food. Yet, as Jane says, in the summer we have a wealth of produce—sometimes too much, which results in waste in the fields, in distribution and in the kitchen. These are just a few of the issues WLFN deals with as it helps local food producers connect with consumers.

On January 30-31, the WLFN is hosting its 9th Annual Wisconsin Local Food Summit in Wisconsin Rapids. The event is in conjunction with the Wisconsin Farm to School Summit on January 29. So if you’re interested in a 3-day weekend of food networking, education and a much-needed break from winter, this is the place to go.

In the meantime, I’ll be busy writing a promo piece for the WLFN. For such a worthy and purpose-driven organization; this will be an honor.

Day #6: Trempealeau Food, Fountain City Brew and Good Company

GlenDi_CartoonI don’t know if you’ve noticed but cartoon Glen and Di are getting more and more robust with each post I write. That’s what happens when you spend a week feasting on Wisconsin’s savory fare and specialty brew.

No calories there whatsoever.

As we navigate our way up the Great River Road, each Mississippi town has been as quaint as the next and we’ve met some super nice people. Trempealeau and Fountain City are especially distinct.

Trempealeau

Sunset over Mississippi River in Trempealeau, WI

Trempealeau Hotel and Restaurant, Tremealeau, WI

Hands down, our best meal has been dinner at the historic Trempealeau Hotel and Restaurant, overlooking the river and this beautiful sunset. Besides serving Spaten, my husband’s favorite Oktoberfest beer (which we won’t discuss because it’s a German import), the restaurant has an obvious appreciation of its vintage atmosphere and local farmers. My husband had the walleye with a heavenly kale-bacon-whatever sauté. I had a shrimp skewer drenched in butter and lightly crusted with a blend of herbs.

Getting hungry? I am, just reminiscing.

To work this off, the next day we hiked through Perrot State Park, another beautiful area with killer-bluffs overlooking the river. Actually, hiking the bluffs isn’t that hard, but be mindful that this week real Glen and Di are not a tight stretch from cartoon Glen and Di. At the top of one bluff, we met a lovely family with young boys whose infectious enthusiasm for nature reminded us of how blessed we all really are.

Fountain City

Monarch Public House, Fountain City, WI

Further up the Mississippi we lunched at the Monarch Public House, a food and drink destination since 1894. We had fish because it was Friday and in Wisconsin you have fish on Fridays, even if the Monarch calls it fish ‘n chips, which it does because it’s Irish. It’s just what we do (along with run-on sentences).

Our server explained their heritage style of baking the fish at 600+ degrees instead of deep frying. It was delicious!

vintage bar in Monarch Public House, Fountain City, WI

Isn’t this bar stunning? Our server said it’s original to the building. The pressed tin ceiling is also original and easily 16-feet high, if not more. The Monarch’s website shares an interesting history of the building—be sure to scroll all the way down.

Fountain Brew, Fountain City, WI

In addition to being the longest running tavern in Wisconsin, the Monarch has also resurrected Fountain City Brewing Company. Long part of the community’s heritage, this brewery originated in 1862. When it closed in 1965 and the building later demolished, it seemed the local flavor would be lost forever.

That is, until 1997.

By then John Harrington owned the Monarch tavern and was guiding it through a loving restoration. One day a nearly 90-year-old, retired assistant brewmaster named Wilbert Schmitt came forward with the original recipes he had saved all these years. Harrington and Schmitty, as he’s known, collaborated and reintroduced Fountain City’s beloved brew.

Fascinating story, eh? The Monarch tells it in greater detail here. Again, be sure to scroll completely down the page.

Next year, according to our server, the Monarch will break ground for a brewery building right next to the tavern. Bucket list: Go back to Fountain City in two years and check it out!

Gasoline Alley, Fountain City, WI

Octoberfest_2014_FC_CarWhile wandering Main Street, we met John Campbell of Gasoline Alley. One compliment on his car parked outside and he proudly brought us inside to see his latest work.

I like his business logo!

Seven Hawks Vineyard, Fountain City, WI

John shared fun stories of Fountain City. He also pointed out how the buildings on the town’s main streets are all veered to match the angle of the river. None of them were built square to the street. Intriguing!

RatingsAdunate rates Fountain City Brewery, Fountain City, WI

Beer
Fountain City doesn’t brew an Oktoberfest but we enjoyed their signature styles nonetheless. My husband had an Irish Valley Spring Bock and I went all historical with the original recipe Fountain Brew. Both were great!

Ambiance
Need I say more? I loved this building and its meticulous restoration.

Food
My husband had fish ‘n chips. I had a Caesar salad. We shared and were extremely happy travelers!

Community
An endearing little river town, where life seems slow and peaceful. With this list of things to do, we could have stayed longer than the one afternoon we did. Next time!

Copy & Design
The Monarch has a great story to tell and does so very well on it’s website. It’s Facebook page shares the same enthusiasm and friendliness our server did. I’m looking forward to the promotions it puts out when they build the brewery.

Our next, and final, stop: Reads Landing Brewing Company, Reads Landing, Minnesota