By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 20, 2013 at 11:02 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 – with news from Wild Earth Cucina, Bacchus, Distil, Alice’s Garden, and Wisconsin Wine and Beer Tours.

Spring menu at Wild Earth will please every palate
Chef Audrey Vandenburgh’s spring menu  at Wild Earth Cucina runs the gamut from Italian classics to more adventurous offerings featuring seasonal flavors and locally-produced ingredients.

The menu is noticeably divided into two distinct areas - one consisting of comfortable, classic Italian staples, and the other of contemporary plates offering bold interpretations of familiar favorites.

Classic offerings include fettuccine alfredo tossed with peas, pancetta and a choice of chicken, shrimp or calamari and chicken picatta prepared with parmesan mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas. Alternatives include balsamic glazed Alaskan wild king salmon with cheesy polenta and sautéed spinach or savory bone-in pork loin chop prepared with a white wine, mushroom and onion cream sauce. 

House-made spring desserts include peach cupola made with pistachio cake and topped with cinnamon pastry cream and peach amaretto gelée, caramelized peaches and amaretto cream sauce or cannoli stuffed with sweetened ricotta cream cheese with chocolate shavings and pistachios.

Wild Earth Cucina is open for dinner service Tuesday through Saturday. Serving hours are from  to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 4 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

A few tickets still available for Edward Lee dinner at Bacchus

Edward Lee, James Beard Award Nominee and former "Top Chef" contestant, will be visiting Bacchus to promote his new book "Smoke and Pickles" on the evening of Tuesday, May 21. Edward Lee is chef and owner of 610 Magnolia in Louisville. A Brooklyn native of Korean descent, Lee found his way to Louisville while attending The Kentucky Derby in 2003. The evening will include a four-course meal comprised of recipes from Lee’s book.

The menu includes roasted eggplant, ricotta cheese and country ham with fried black-eyed peas and grapefruit vinaigrette, rice bowl with beef, onions, collard greens, fried egg and corn-chili remoulade, pulled lamb BBQ with lardo cornbread and fried pickles, and peach and rhubarb kuchen, crushed pistachios and buttermilk whipped cream.  Tickets are $95 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) and include one signed book per person. Call (414) 765-1166 for reservations.

Distil Welcomes New Chef
Milwaukee native Joel Lichosik is the new chef at Distil, 722 N. Milwaukee St. He replaces Erik Hansen, who left to take over at The Bay restaurant in Whitefish Bay.

Lichosik, trained under renowned chef Tom Douglas at Palace Kitchen and The Dahlia Lounge in Seattle. He worked as chef de cuisine at McCaw Hall, home of the Seattle Opera and Ballet, as well as executive chef at Bennett’s Pure Food Bistro. He was also the chef at a deep field camp on the edge of a glacier in Antarctica. 

Spend Tuesday Evenings at Alice’s Garden
Join the folks at Alice’s Garden, 2136 N. 21st St., for their "Reclaiming and Nourishing Family Traditions" series on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., beginning June 4. Free programming encourages attendees to slow down, cook healthier meals, enjoy what they prepare, learn how to be an organic gardener, partake in a yoga class, all while embracing  the beauty of an urban farm.

Offerings include:

  • June 4: Healthy Culinary Cuisine
  • June 11: Monthly Potluck and New Gardener Welcome
  • June 18: Pre: Juneteenth, Remembering Caroline Quarlls
  • June 25: Enjoying the Strawberry Harvest
  • July 2: Healthy Culinary Cuisine
  • July 9: Monthly Potluck and Herbal Garden Drinks
  • July 16: Homemade Organic Garden Pesticides
  • July 23: Grilling the Harvest
  • July 30: Guys, Gardens and Grills
  • Aug. 6: Healthy Culinary Cuisine
  • Aug. 13: Monthly Potluck and Seed Saving with Damon Taylor
  • Aug. 20: Garden Pizza

For more information, visit

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.