By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 13, 2014 at 11:04 AM Photography:

Even if you're paying close attention, it's sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest in food news here in Milwaukee. So, here's a taste of what's new and notable – including a special Empty Bowls event, the Amilinda Valentine’s Day pop-up dinner, new meat boxes from Bavette, and beer and tequila dinners from Horse and Plow and BelAir Cantina.

Buy a bowl of soup to fight hunger
Milwaukee Empty Bowls, an all-volunteer run non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of hunger through art, is hosting a special fundraising event at Art Trooper, located at the Audubon Court Shopping Center in Fox Point, on Jan. 19, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. 

For a $20 donation, attendees are invited to select a hand-painted pottery bowl created by Girl Scout troops, corporations and religious organizations and enjoy soup donated by Northshore restaurants, including Shully’s Catering, Peking Chef, Maxfield’s Pancake House, and Bruegger’s Bagels. 

All money raised will go toward Milwaukee Empty Bowls’ hunger initiatives including community meal programs and food banks.

Due to the size of the venue there will be specific seating times available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the following times: 3, 3:40, 4:20, 4:50, 5:20 and 5:40 p.m.  Each time slot will be limited to 40 people and no reservation or tickets will be taken in advance. In addition, all attendees who purchase three bowls will also get one free.  

Cafe Bavaria in Tosa now hiring
The new Lowlands restaurant, Cafe Bavaria, under construction at 7700 Harwood Ave. in Wauwatosa, is currently accepting applications.

The restaurant, which is planning a late January opening, will feature German-style plates like schnitzel and locally made sausages, as well as standards like rotisserie chicken, burgers and salads. German beers will also be a feature. Cafe Bavaria will be open for lunch, dinner, late night plates and weekend brunch.

Applications are available at Hollander in Wauwatosa and online at

Amilinda to host Valentine’s Day pop-up dinner
Looking for something delicious to do on Valentine’s Day? Look no further.

Chef Gregory Léon, will host a very romantic pop-up dinner on Friday, Feb. 14 at 3840 S. Lake Dr. in St. Francis. The five course dinner with wine pairings will include duck confit salad, seared sea scallops with grits, porcini mushrooms and truffle, seared halibut with melted leeks, braised beef ribs with creamed spinach and bittersweet chocolate and caramel tart.

The dinner is $90, with tickets available for purchase online.

Leon, who moved to Milwaukee last year from San Francisco, says he hopes to open his restaurant concept, Amilinda, this spring. The restaurant, run with partner Orry DeYoung, will feature seasonal food influenced by Spain, Portugal and the American South. 

Léon is currently scouting restaurant spaces to accommodate his restaurant. In addition to dinner service and weekend brunch, Leon aspires to offer cooking classes, including free classes for low-income families.

New beer garden cookbook launch
Milwaukee's own Lucy Saunders will celebrate the launch of her brand new cookbook, "Dinner in the Beer Garden," on Sunday, January 19 from 4-7:00 p.m. at the Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave.  

The cookbook isn't your stereotypical sausage and cheese-filled beer garden book. In fact, it focuses on pairing craft beer with plant-based recipes, enjoyed outdoors in gardens and other social spaces.  Recipes include roasted corn with chile and Cotija sauce, fresh beet gnocchi, hop-infused grilled cheese and heirloom tomatoes, millet flatbread with Manchego and rosemary and summer rolls with coconut-Sriracha dipping sauce.

The launch will include samples of recipes from the book, as well as a signing. So, grab a pint and celebrate with one of our city's local authors!

Bavette introduces monthly meat boxes and butchery classes
Would you like to serve more sustainably raised meats to your family, but don't have the time to plan out nightly or weekly meals? Are you tired of making regular trips to the meat counter or butcher shop?

Bavette has an answer for you – monthly meat boxes. For just $300, you can enjoy 20 pounds of mixed beef and pork sausages, roasts, steaks, ground meat and bacon. Each box will also include recipes for some of the items in each box.

For more information, call Bavette at (414) 273-3375 or stop into the shop at 330 E. Menomonee St.

Due to demand, Bavette will also be offering butchery classes at the shop in 2014. The first class half hog butchering demo on Jan. 28 at 6:30 pm. Bavette’s master butchers will demonstrate the step by step process of breaking down a half a hog with discussion of the different cuts and preparation methods as we go.

Attendance is very limited, so reserve your space now. The cost is $50 per person and the butchered meat will be available for sale at a discount. Call (414) 273-3375 to reserve your place.

Kohler Horse and Plow dinner to feature 3 Sheeps Brewery
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, join the brewers from 3 Sheeps and Loren Rue of The Horse & Plow at the American Club in Kohler for the first of the 2014 Beer Dinner Series.

The evening will begin with a reception and passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a four-course menu specifically created to pair with the offerings of Sheboygan’s own 3 Sheeps Brewery. Enjoy stories of how brewing went from a hobby to a dream to a successful business for 3 Sheeps in the atmosphere of the renovated Horse & Plow pub.

The beer dinner is $50 per person, which includes tax and gratuity. For those who wish to make a trip of it, discounted room rates are available at The American Club and Inn on Woodlake. Call (800) 344-2838 for reservations.

BelAir Cantina hosts Casamigos Tequila dinner
Casamigos "House of Friends" is a small batch, ultra premium tequila made from the finest, hand-selected 100 percent Blue Weber agaves, grown in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. To celebrate this extra special tequila, BelAir Cantina will host a very special tequila dinner on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m.

The evening will feature margaritas made with Casamigos tequilas well as four courses of special dishes, including lobster mango salad, sautéed scallop pasta, au poivre filet mignon, and avocado mousse and sweet totopos.

The event is $75 per person, not including tax or gratuity. To reserve your spot, call (414) 988-8533 or email Christine at

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.