Every state capitol building must, by law or simply deference, be a few feet shorter than the one belonging to the nation in Washington, D.C. It would be disingenuous … nearly irresponsible … for a show with the state’s name in its title, to eschew a visit.
We had already made our way to Madison this past summer when we filmed and sampled beer at “The Great Taste of the Midwest,” but our cameras and crew were across the lake and in the open summer air. For this episode, we chose winter, the hallowed halls of the capitol building, and the exceptional kitchen of L’Etoile situated on the Capitol Square.
L’Etoile broke culinary ground over 30 years ago. Founder Odessa Piper worked only within the parameters of what would eventfully come to be called things like “sustainable agriculture,” “Slow Food,” “regionally reliant cuisine” and “farm to fork.”
For Piper, it was simply the only way to honor the place in which she was cooking, and the dishes she wanted to make even more exceptional with top local ingredients from people who loved growing or raising them. In her words, L’Etoile uses “a large network of small scale farms.” With this approach, now en vogue in the culinary world, L’Etoile was country, when country wasn’t cool.
Exceptional in one other way, Chef Piper and now executive chef and proprietor Tory Miller have kept L’Etoile at a such a high level of cuisine for so long, they are now a touch-stone in the region for how to do it on one’s own terms, for the long run.
Having taken the reins several years ago, Chef Miller was vetted under Chef Bill Telepan of New York’s Judson Grill fame. Manhattan, still being the place to cut your teeth as chef, Tory returned to the Midwest to stretch out his talents. Combining ingredients from some of L’Etoile’s 206 local farms, Chef Miller made me one of the best meals of my life — sincerely. Dry-aged sirloin (from the upstate farm where he and his wife were married), with bone marrow butter, garnished by an amazing winter spinach side. Chef fireworks abound these days, but the proof is in the palate. I honestly found myself craving the meal days later.
L’Etoile has long been a bit of a Mecca for Foodies throughout the state and the region. In Tory Miller’s talented and affable hands, it is great to know one of our state’s treasures is safe.
Wisconsin’s grande dame of goat cheese, Anne Topham, retired this spring after nearly 30 years of making French-style fresh chèvre and handcrafted aged goat cheeses for the market.
Try this deliciously amazing Caramelized Mushroom and Onion Melt Sandwich by Dax Phillips of SimpleComfortFood.com
Spring is finally here (kinda), make sure to get on board with a CSA program now, here are some tools to help. Early season shares are going to be on the way soon!
Out of 1,698 wines from 13 countries, the Prairie du Sac winery’s Dry Riesling was named Wine of the Year, Best of Show White and Best of Class Riesling at the 30th annual San Diego International Wine Competition (SDIWC), held March 16 and 17 in San Diego, CA.
Myrica Von Haselberg of Horno Magico shares a very simple, versatile way to make tofu. You see, tofu wants to be delicious, and you want it to be delicious, so we are all on the same team.
It’s a long way from Russian language and literature to the world of artisan cheese and sausage that help distinguish Milwaukee’s food scene.
If Wisconsin were a country, it would be a superpower. At least in cheese. America’s Dairyland outproduces all but three nations, racking up international awards along the way.
If you’re a Milwaukeean who has never heard of Bittercube, now is the perfect time to get familiar.
Edible Milwaukee is a free quarterly publication, dedicated solely to the production, distribution, and consumption of food in Greater Milwaukee, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Racine, and Kenosha.
Late winter cuisine can be so drab. While dreaming about sun-warmed raspberries, luscious ripe tomatoes draped across my toasts, and nights warm as bathwater with gelid white wine . . . I am in fact eating cabbage, butternuts and frozen peaches. Again.