My favorite things right now in the world of food are:
- Red Light Ramen MKE
My sincerest apologies to those who don’t live in the Milwaukee metro area, because this little shop is a gem. This ramen shop started as an after-hours pop-up after the main restaurant, Ardent, closed for the evening. Meaning, you could only get ramen on the weekend, after 11:30 at night and the lines were long. They recently secured a small space adjoining the main restaurant and now serve ramen Wed-Sat from 6pm-1am. Guys, this stuff is the BOMB. My husband and I have been 3 times in the last month…and it’s a 45-minute drive one way. I am completely addicted to their Grilled Corn appetizer and Tonkotsu Ramen. The broth is so rich, so creamy, and so nourishing. My husband also likes the Mushroom Miso ramen. The desserts are light and flavorful (my favorite is the Frozen Coconut) and they have delicious boozy slushies! If you are in Milwaukee…get there, fast. If not, well, Milwaukee has an awesome food scene and tons to do, so why not visit?
We are coffee lovers in this house. We have also tried almost every possible way to make coffee…drip, french press, pour over, Nespresso. But by far our favorite is the Aeropress. It is fast, easy, and makes delicious coffee. My amazing husband is the designated coffee-maker in the house (my heart swells with love for him every morning when he places my cup before me) and he uses the inverted method for the Aeropress. We grind our own beans and can adjust the amount of coffee grounds depending on the roast (I generally like 15-17g and he likes 22-24g). We usually just make coffee, but you can also make a “latte” if you have a milk frother. And it’s just as easy to make iced coffee.
Which leads me to the coffee. There are quite a few great coffee roasters locally, but by far our favorite is Stone Creek Coffee roasters. We buy the beans in the cafe and they give you a free latte with each purchase, plus a punch card that gets you a free bag after 12 punches. Our classic favorites are Cream City and Milwaukee, but their seasonal blends are always good, including the current Guatemala Preservation and the no-longer available Fest 2016.
I saw these pans on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube and had to have one. I had no idea how much I would love this little pan. It is so multi-functional and so easy to clean. It is the perfect size for roasting vegetables (my fall favorite Honey-Roasted Root Vegetables with Goat Cheese) & meats (been rocking out classic lemon-dill salmon all summer), making casseroles, marinating, serving, and as a tray. It is also regularly selected for science, crafts, & play in this house (it makes the perfect lap pool for Polly Pockets, fyi).
It makes the perfect shower gift with your favorite cookbook and a spatula/tongs/whisk tied up with a pretty ribbon.
This is my absolute favorite chocolate. The “Mokaccino” is so smooth, creamy, rich, and flavorful…and it contains Blue Bottle Coffee, so there’s no more to say. I loved this stuff so much that I bought myself the tub of 40 (which I found for like $18!) and hid it where my husband couldn’t find it and enjoyed secret chocolate for about a month, until a traitorous daughter betrayed me. My mom also tried a TCHO a Day tub that included a variety of flavors, “chocolatey”, “bright”, “fruity”, and “nutty”, all of which were delicious. The “Mokaccino” is harder to find than other flavors, but I can attest that “toffee + sea salt” and “extra dark” are also delectable. I know they carry it at Whole Foods, as well as other local health food or boutique food stores.
See, I saved the best for last! If you are a sommelier or some other expert-level wine aficionado, please look away now…I do not know what I’m talking about…I just like to drink the stuff.
Palacios Remondo La Montesa: This magical wine is from Rioja, Spain, and in my opinion Spanish wines are some of the best values you can find. This one is a blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, and Mazuelo grapes and it is dry and cherry-fruity with light spice. This wine is silky and well-balanced and a steal at around $13 (Costco!) to $17. We first discovered this wine during a Spanish wine tasting dinner and I buy a bottle whenever I find it. I’m not versed enough in the different vintages, and honestly don’t usually pay a ton of attention to that. But the bottles we’ve been getting have been 2012. Locally it has not been hard to find.
Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec: This lush, rich, full-bodied Malbec hails from Mendoza, Argentina, in the foothills of the glorious Andes mountains. And if it’s good enough for Francis Mallmann, it’s sure good enough for me! This wine is mature, smooth, and full of jammy fruit. It is a more powerful wine and goes wonderfully with grilled meats. This one goes for around $18 locally and is readily available. The most recent bottle we had was a 2013.
Dr. H. Thanisch Riesling: This German Riesling has been on repeat at our house this summer. It is a drier, slightly effervescent Riesling with apple, pear, and citrus coming through in a delightful balance. This goes for around $15 and can also be found at our local Costco.
BONUS! You absolutely HAVE to try out The Iron You’s Chicken Shawarma-Style with Avocado Mayo sauce. This dish is SO flavorful and so delicious. Our kids love it, too, and ask for it all the time. The only thing I change is subbing chicken thighs for the breast and we make a triple batch because they go fast.
Well, that does it for my FOUR DAYS of FAVORITES experiment. I hope y’all enjoyed it as much as I did!
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