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Company Brewing opens Sunday in Riverwest.
Company Brewing opens Sunday in Riverwest.

A sneak peek at (yum) Company Brewing in Riverwest

Company Brewing, the new venture spearheaded by ex-Colectivo coffee buyer-turned brewer, George Bregar, is set to open on Sunday, May 24. And I’m genuinely stoked.

For a city of its size, with a brewing heritage as rich as Milwaukee’s, we actually have a relative shortage of brewpubs. And only a few of those we have really push the envelope with regard to great food.

A sneak peek (and taste) confirmed my suspicions that the Company Brewing concept is precisely the sort of spot that Riverwest (and Milwaukee) needs -- with a solid beer list, great cocktails and a menu that pushes boundaries in all the right directions.

I sampled three of the four beers on tap (priced at $3 for half-pours and $5-6 for pints) – First a solid red ale aged in oak, which was a nice strong brew, then the signature grapefruit IPA, which was nice and hoppy. and finally a dry-hopped Belgian-style wheat beer that lived up to every expectation of the genre.  Guest taps also looked good, with options from Karben 4, Central Waters, Colectivo Keg Co. and Door County Brewing (among others).

And, wow, the tap cocktails were good too (and priced right at $7-10). There’s always a little bit of magic when the folks from Bittercube get involved in a cocktail program, and Company Brewing’s selections made with Bittercube "On the Fly" elixers, were no exception. If you like dill, try the Cucumber Collins (my favorite of the night).

We started with ultra-flavorful grilled octopus ($12) as an appetizer. The tender sea creature was cooked with chorizo and topped with feta and mint, presenting a flavor combination that rivals most preparations of octopus I’ve sampled here in the city.

Tostones ($6) were crisp, though slightly under-seasoned. I would have liked to see a side of garlic-vinegar-cilantro sauce to augment the drizzle that came with them.

Everyone at the table loved the crispy fried pig ears (honestly a must-try with a pig-forward flavor and a satisfying crunch). At $9 for …

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Chef Peter Gebauer has been with Potawatomi Hotel & Casino since 2006.
Chef Peter Gebauer has been with Potawatomi Hotel & Casino since 2006.

Gebauer moving on from Potawatomi Hotel & Casino

Chef Peter Gebauer has announced that he will be leaving his position as executive chef at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino at the end of May.

Gebauer, who began his career in his home country of Germany, spent many years working internationally for cruise lines and restaurants and hotels in locations such as Hong Kong and Bahrain. His work also including consulting with Disney World Orlando, Disney Cruise Line, Star Cruises in Singapore, Aventura Spa Palace in Cancun and Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN.  In 2014, he was named "Chef of the Year" by the American Culinary Federation Chefs of Milwaukee.

During his time at Potawatomi, Gebauer sought to create exceptional, unique world-class dining options at the casino (and eventually hotel). He implemented an intense training program for culinary staff based on the standards for the Culinary Institute of America, as well as assuming oversight of the revamp of the casino buffet. Gebauer also guided the creation of Fire Pit Sports Bar and Grill, Ru Yi, Wild Earth Cucina and Locavore.  He was also instrumental in guiding sustainability practices for the casino, including working for implementation of the Potawatomi waste digester and inclusion of local fare and invasive species on restaurant menus.

In a personal email, Gebauer noted: "I have enjoyed my tenure here and I am looking forward to spend time with my family before I take on a new opportunity next month."

There's nothing quite so cruel as not being able to smell -- or taste -- your morning coffee.
There's nothing quite so cruel as not being able to smell -- or taste -- your morning coffee.

What it's like to be tasteless

There is little, I’ve decided, more cruel than losing one’s ability to enjoy the flavors of food.

This past week, I had a more intimate look into the phenomenon of "taste-impairment" than I think I’ve ever experienced before, thanks to an epic five-day bout with the respiratory flu, which left my body tired, my sinuses plugged, and my mouth disturbingly devoid of its ability to parse the food I ate.

While I was sick, I blamed my lack of gustatory enjoyment on the fact that I simply wasn’t feeling well. But, as my recovery continued, I realized there was more going on.

My morning smoothie – made with plain kefir, frozen blueberries, ripe banana and greens -- tasted only vaguely sweet. There was no hint of the cinnamon or vanilla I added, despite the fact that I feel as if I added more than usual.  But, I could feel the tiny pearl-shaped blueberry seeds on my tongue and in between my teeth. And I noticed that the powdered greens mix – while not objectionable in its flavor – felt more powdery and gritty than usual.

My second awakening came as I stood in front of the coffee maker at work, waiting for the nutty roasted aroma of the brewing coffee to greet my nose and give me that "aaaah, I’m ready to face the day feeling." But, it never came.  

If I poked my nose directly into the coffee cup, I could conjure a vague whiff of coffee; but, I fear it was more wishful than it was real.

Nonetheless, I sipped the brown liquid in my cup relishing its slight bitterness and the feel of the warm liquid as it made its way down my throat.

And, while I normally look forward to leftover Chinese takeout when I bring it for lunch, the egg foo young I reheated was as bland as bland could be. Although there was something to be said for the experience of finding crunchy bits of fresh bean sprouts to grind between my teeth, there wasn’t a modicum of joy in the flavor of the dish itself.

"Isn’t the gravy for egg foo young supposed to be salty?" I asked my husband …

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On Saturday at the Home & Garden Show, Betty Holloway of NuGenesis Farm will present a session entitled "Food Synergy" focused on eating well for health and vib
On Saturday at the Home & Garden Show, Betty Holloway of NuGenesis Farm will present a session entitled "Food Synergy" focused on eating well for health and vib

Fresh Cooking at the Home & Garden Show: Betty Holloway's kale-abration salad

The Fresh Cooking Patio at this year’s Realtors Home & Garden Show promises to enliven your taste buds with a packed selection of cooking demonstrations from area chefs and food experts.  Read more and get the full Cooking Patio schedule.

On Saturday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m., Betty Holloway of NuGenesis Farm will present a session entitled "Food Synergy" focused on eating well for health and vibrancy.

Holloway MNS, RD, CD received her master’s degree in clinical nutrition from Cornell University.  She is a registered dietitian specializing in the area of preventive medicine and overall wellness at NuGenesis Farm, weight management with the ProHealth Care Inside Out Program and plant-based cooking through her business Nutriphoria LLC.  Holloway’s mission is to create a path to greater vitality and freedom from disease through nutrition education and culinary practice.  She believes that fresh whole foods are therapeutic and taste great too.

At all NuGenesis wellness classes, Holloway teaches students how to cook with seasonal, nutrient dense ingredients, as well as how food works to help the body with every bite. Through simple and delicious recipes, she demonstrates to students how specific foods can help prevent chronic illness, or simply support a healthy lifestyle! 

Holloway’s kale-abration salad is the perfect example of how healthy foods can come together to make delicious meals while providing the body with vital antioxidants and nutrients.

Kale-abration Salad

1 large bunch kale (about 8 c.)
1 large clove garlic* finely minced
2 T. olive oil
2 T. honey
½ tsp. salt
Thin slices of red onion
1/3 c. walnuts, pecans or other nut
1 Gala apple, chopped
1 cup raspberries
1/3 c. raisins or craisins (optional)

Finely slice (chiffonade) the kale. Make a paste with the garlic and salt by pressing with the flat blade of a knife. In a small bowl mix in the olive oil and honey. Put the sliced kale in a large bowl and massage the garlic mixture…

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