Bayless, Frontera Foundation grants help family farms

Rick Bayless knew what he wanted after doing book research in Mexico around 30 years ago: Start a restaurant that served authentic Mexican food. So the Chicago chef opened Frontera Grill, which earned a James Beard Foundation award as Outstanding Restaurant in 2007. His biggest challenge wasn’t finding the perfect music, art or menu ideas.(…)

Titletown, Bucks, Eau Claire: Major projects boost reasons to travel

At least four Wisconsin cities are pursuing huge projects that will give travelers new reasons to visit. The Wisconsin Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus described it as “an infrastructure boom” during the group’s annual conference this month. Here are quick updates. Titletown District, Green Bay: Pro football is why we make our way to(…)

Madison museum is all-year tribute to military veterans

This presidential election sure felt like a nationwide battle, regardless of whether you think we won or lost, and that is what compelled me to visit the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison on the morning after votes were tallied. Here live the stories and artifacts of wars beyond words and ballot boxes. I needed to(…)

Breakfast: an all-day meal whose variety grows

Remember what Mom used to say about breakfast? Most important meal of the day. Less predictable, as time goes on, is when and what is breakfast. It’s no longer just about eggs, bacon, pancakes … or mornings. Academic researchers recently suggested dessert for breakfast may spur weight loss and dark chocolate at breakfast may enhance(…)

About clowns in Wisconsin, where coulrophobia rules at a Manty B&B

What’s the difference between a clown and a mime? Not much these days because neither is talking, at least to me. Widespread chatter – make that panic – about criminals dressed as clowns has brought a yanking of clown costumes and masks from Target stores, clown costume bans in school districts from California to Connecticut(…)

How and where to find ghosts of Bob Dylan in Minnesota

As I write this, the Swedish Academy is waiting for a call from Bob Dylan about his Nobel Prize for Literature. The award was announced days ago, comparing Dylan’s lyrics to the work of long-ago Greek poets. The singer-songwriter is known for his reclusiveness. Much more accessible are Joe and Mary Keyes, whom the London-based(…)

Anxious about this election? Philly sites reassure us about unity

Many coins from passersby top the tombstone for Benjamin Franklin at Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia. We still respect this country’s founding father and inventor of electricity to bifocals, daylight savings time to catheters. Fewer hunt for Francis Hopkinson, Dr. Benjamin Rush, George Ross or Joseph Hewes, whose burial plots are in the same(…)

Autumn’s bounty of food fests, hearty recipes, cooking contests

Hard to believe it’s October as I write this because forecast temps remain about 10 degrees higher than average for the month, but that hasn’t stopped me from shifting my menus to soups, stews and anything else that seems traditional for this time of year. For some people, this is a month of pilgrimage. The(…)

“Roughneck Grace” book excerpt from Michael Perry

It is rare for me to track down an author to his home, but that happened 14 years ago, to interview a guy in New Auburn about his first book with a major publishing house. Although dozens of unsolicited books made their way to my newsroom desk in Madison, this one seemed extraordinary because of(…)

Reader mail: national parks, Germany, Twin Cities, Ephraim

Readers, thanks for filling the mailbag. Here are excerpts. We have two winners in the challenge to write about your favorite national park experience in 50 words or less. Both will receive National Geographic books about the National Park Service during this NPS centennial year celebration. “While in Yellowstone, a bear reared next to our(…)