Pagel legacy challenges farm-to-table assumptions

TweetThe plump bacon cheeseburger, weighing in at one-third pound, was a blend of ground chuck, brisket and short ribs. The cheese: a medium cheddar. The bacon: pecan-smoked. You could trace the source of those key ingredients to farms within 60 miles of my plate. And that beef? You could track it back to the specific(…)

Trendsetters in lodging: Yotel, Kinn Guesthouse

TweetHands off, and hands on: We apparently want it both ways while traveling. We want memory-making vacation experiences that are immersive and personal, in groups small enough to get behind the scenes and up close. We want to eat with a local, cook with a chef, volunteer to make a difference, tackle once-in-a-lifetime adventures. EatWith.com(…)

Deep discounts make wintry travel to NYC, Chicago worthwhile

TweetHibernating through winter is a good thing unless too much coziness feels like confinement. Thin is the line between peaceful solitude and bleak isolation. One remedy for cabin fever is the sunshine of southward travel, but it may be easier on the budget to break away to Manhattan or Chicago. Deep discounts, easier access and(…)

Take Twelve: new ways to lure you away

TweetSome weeks seem more eventful than others. Look what’s hot during the middle of winter. Anime Milwaukee: Arrive in costume (or not) to indulge in gaming for individuals and teams during three days of dance, masquerade, role playing, tabletop gaming and Asian animation. Activities happen downtown at the Wisconsin Convention Center and adjacent Hyatt Regency(…)

Museum of Broken Relationships: Loves lost, insight found

TweetWhat becomes of the broken-hearted? Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin turned a song by that name into an R&B hit one-half century ago, and musicians of other genres (Rod Stewart to Martina McBride) have spun their own versions since then. The lyrical lament of love lost still feels universal, especially in February, when the month of(…)

Upper Michigan snowmobile museum dwells on history

TweetThe last time I talked to Charlie Vallier, he was hoping for a snowstorm. The longtime snowmobile collector knows it’s good for his hobby and the economy where he lives, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Vallier is chairman of the nonprofit Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum in Naubinway. No Lake Michigan shoreline community is(…)

Native American cuisine: potential exists for sophisticated offerings

TweetIn my “in” box is no shortage of annual predictions that involve food trends. Native American ingredients, recipes and culinary traditions never seem to make the cut. Very perplexing. Do you know of a restaurant that specializes in Native American cuisine? What is that kind of food, beyond fry bread, wild rice and maybe venison?(…)

In stitches: Popularity of quilting extends to Millennials too

TweetQuilts cocoon us during winter’s harshest nights, but warmth is only one way to define their value. Homespun quilts cloak us with deep memories of people who matter. Maybe snippets of fabric come from your dad’s well-worn shirts. Maybe your favorite aunt hand-stitched for a gazillion hours. Maybe the design is the creative work of(…)

‘Holy Rover’ finds value in spiritual pilgrimage, near and far away

TweetWith the new year comes motivation to begin anew, perhaps with hope for significant change that starts with a public resolution or private vow. Maybe the path seems clear and easy to measure: Stop smoking. Lose weight. Exercise more. Eat better. But sometimes we feel compelled to address a restlessness, discontent, ambition, anxiety or sadness(…)

Take Ten: delectable diversions in dining

TweetA meal is worth remembering because of the good company, exquisite taste, price, quantity, artistic flair or unexpected offerings. Splendid settings turn the ordinary into something special. So do smart people who use food to catch and keep our attention in surprising ways. At year’s end, I recollect the source of some of my most(…)