By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jul 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM

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 details about a new episode of America’s Best Bites featuring Crazy Water, movie night at Love Handle, fifth anniversary celebration for Thief Wine, new hours and menu at Bavette, and a BBQ dinner at Bacchus featuring dishes from around the world.

Not so Crazy publicity for local restaurant
Peggy Magister, executive chef and owner of Crazy Water restaurant in Walker’s Point is scheduled to be featured in an episode of "America's Best Bites" on the Cooking Channel on Saturday July 20th at 3:30 pm. During "America’s Best Bites," host Natalie Forte scours the country to feature those hidden gems and local favorites in each episode of "America's Best Bites." The entire 30-minute episode next week will focus on Magister’s background and the story behind Crazy Water. 

Magister, who trained under greats like Wolfgang Puck, has built a restaurant that has received acclaim both within and beyond Milwaukee. Built from a 19th century feed store, a vintage tavern serves as the backdrop for Crazy Water's refined American cuisine. The ambient feel of the dining room is inspired by that of a European bistro from a bygone era.  The contemporary menu is based in tradition and utilizes seasonal, local and organic products when available.

Love Handle launches movie night
Catch a free flick at Love Handle on Wednesday night, July 17 from 8 to 10 p.m.  This week’s feature is "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead," which will be accompanied by beef tongue and cheek chili cheese dogs and Liege-style Belgian waffles topped with salted peach caramel ice cream to correspond with the food themes in the film. Duck fat popcorn will also be available for purchase.

Co-owner, Chris Benedyk, originally went to school to study film.

"I used to do a film club while in school at Purdue in West Lafayette (Indiana) where we would show films and work on various art projects as a small group," he recalls. "It was way fun and I kinda miss it. My friend Adam and I were talking last week and it came up that he had a projector and was willing to let us borrow it here at Love Handle and get this thing started.

Benedyk says that if the event goes well on Wednesday, they are likely to continue offering films every Wednesday night at the restaurant.

Thief Wine turns five!
Celebrate with Thief Wine as they mark its fifth anniversary with a party on Sunday, July 21 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. upstairs in the Milwaukee Public Market. Enjoy a casual walk-around tasting featuring 40-50 delicious wines, including lots of sparkling varieties, light nibbles anniversary cake. 

There will be live music, door prizes and giveaways. Cost is $35 per person including a high-quality Riedel glass that's yours to keep. Tickets available at any Thief Wine location. Profits generated by the event will be divided equally between Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. 

Bavette extends hours and menu
We brought you the news of the opening of Bavette La Boucherie, 330 E. Menomonee St., this spring. A butcher, specializing in sustainably raised meats, Bavette also features a café serving daily lunch specials and small plates.

The café recently acquired its liquor licensure and now carries a full selection of both beer and wine. The wine selection, curated by local wine expert, Jessica Bell, founder of My Wine School, includes bottles of wine sold at retail prices, as well as number of wines are available by the glass. Bottled wine can be purchased and consumed at the café for a $10 corkage fee. The café will add wine on tap in the coming weeks.

The ever-changing shared-plates menu includes cheese and charcuterie plates ($12), paté grandmére ($9.25/$12.50), souse style headcheese ($9.25), beef carpaccio with arugula, parmesan & capers ($17), and a variety of other dishes as well as a selection of olives, pickled vegetables, and spiced nuts.

The café and shop has also expanded its hours to accommodate summer diners. Wednesday through Saturday the café will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, the café will serve diners from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sample BBQ from around the world at Bacchus
Bacchus Chef de Cuisine Nick Wirth is a huge aficionado of all things pork and BBQ. On Wednesday, July 17, he’ll showcase his passion by presenting five courses of world-inspired BBQ including shrimp on the barbie from Australia, Korean bulgogi, Greek soulakia, and Kansas City pork spareribs. Dinner includes drink pairings as well as a dessert of peach cobbler with bourbon ice cream and toasted pecans. Dinner, which starts at 6:30 p.m. is $65 per person, plus tax and gratuity. To make your reservations, call (414) 765-1166.

Girard wine dinner
Milwaukee Chophouse, located inside the Hilton City Center, will host a six-course Girard Wine Dinner on Wednesday, July 17, at 6:30 p.m.

The Hilton Milwaukee and Milwaukee ChopHouse’s Executive Sous Chef Aaron Miles will create unique dishes featuring locally sourced, seasonal ingredients to perfectly pair with Sonoma, California-based Girard Winery’s current vintages of award-winning varietals, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, "Old Vine" Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and an exclusive Proprietary Red Blend. The featured speaker of the evening will be Aisha Waller, a senior wine educator who works nationally with the Girard Winery brand. 

"This event’s partnership with Girard Winery is a special one," explained Hutch Renk, general manager of Milwaukee ChopHouse.  "The winery has an outstanding reputation for premium wines and is acclaimed for its green business practices. We look forward to showcasing how our talented chefs can match each course with a different wine varietal."

The Girard Wine dinner will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m. in Milwaukee ChopHouse’s private dining room with dinner starting at 7 p.m. Cost is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. The event has limited seating. For more information, visit To reserve your seat, call (414) 271-7250 or email Hutch Renk 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.