By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Nov 11, 2013 at 11:03 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 a brand new restaurant in Bay View, a restaurant closing in Elm Grove, the ARCW Holly Jolly Folly, a launch party for SURG’s Brookfield restaurant, Armenian fare at Sanford and the return of tea service at The Pfister Hotel.

New restaurant on its way to Bay View
Rumors have abounded regarding a new "tapas" restaurant coming to Bay View.

However, according to chef and owner, Amanda Dixon, Lazy Susan, 2376 S. Howell Ave., will be a casual fine dining restaurant featuring shareable large and small plates.

The menu will include a variety of items inspired by ideas generated by a collective of Dixon’s professional colleagues and friends who have been "dying for the chance to work together and rock out and make great food."

The build-out on the space has just begun, says Dixon, but will include a full remodel that will culminate in a rustic space with a vintage interior filled with eclectic furniture. Found and handcrafted items will also enhance the look and feel of the venue.

Dixon is a 2002 MATC culinary arts graduate who began her career learning to make soups from Roy Huth at County Clare. Her professional experience includes work as kitchen manager at Café Lulu, Jean Pierre in Shorewood, and The National, which she opened in December 2008.  Her more recent work includes Pastiche, where she took a break from cooking and concentrated on bulking up her knowledge of wines, and Centro Café.

The restaurant, which Dixon estimates will open in January or February of 2014, is an homage to her mother, a great cook who passed on when Dixon was just 14.  Follow the progress of the restaurant on Facebook.

Nora B’s Closed
If you’ve pulled up to Nora B’s, 890 Elm Grove Rd., lately, you’re likely to find the once buzzing restaurant dark and quiet. The restaurant provided its last official service on Oct. 31, according to messages on Facebook and Twitter.

The restaurant, which opened in March 2010, was a neighborhood café that served breakfast and lunch to a slew of loyal customers. Owner Nora Barton opened the café during the economic downturn with Executive Chef Christine Moshinski.

Milwaukee’s Holly Jolly Folly returns
The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) will host its 18th annual winter fundraiser, Jolly Holly Folly, on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

One of Southeastern Wisconsin’s premier holiday parties, Jolly Holly Folly begins with signature tastings from more than 20 of the Milwaukee area’s most popular restaurants, including Bella Caffe, The Soup Market, Blue’s Egg, Maxie’s Southern Comfort, Bosley on Brady, Cempazuchi, Classy Girl Cupcakes, Cubanitas, Indulge, Divino Wine and Dine, Eat Cake, HOM/Umami Moto, La Perla, Metro, Mia Famiglia, Riverfront Pizzeria, Rumpus Room, RuYi, Sazama’s, Transfer Pizza and Via Downer.

Attendees also have the unique opportunity to view the opening night performance of Irving Berlin’s "White Christmas," an offering that is currently sold out.

The performance, which features some of the greatest songs ever written, brings the classic holiday movie "White Christmas" to life on stage, promising a merry and bright theatrical experience for the whole family.

Proceeds from the event benefit ARCW, one of the largest and most comprehensive AIDS service organizations in the United States.  Through its integrated medical, dental and mental health clinics; pharmacy and medication assistance program; comprehensive HIV prevention efforts; and dedicated services such as food pantries, housing, legal representation and social work case management, patients throughout Wisconsin gain the health care and support they need for long-term survival with HIV disease.

Tickets are $125 ($100 for a purchase of four or more) and include restaurant tasting, MillerCoors products and wine, and Orchestra seating for White Christmas. A full cash bar is also available. For tickets, call Keri-Ayn Hough at the Marcus Center at (414) 273-7121, ext. 213.

HŌM launch party
The community is invited to a celebratory open house at Brookfield’s newest restaurant, HŌM, on Wednesday Nov. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. The event features complimentary appetizers as well as a cash bar.

HŌM, located at the former site of restaurant 8-Twelve, emerges as a completely new concept for the SURG Restaurant Group, focusing on Wisconsin ingredients, spirits and traditions.

HŌM's menu will highlight ingredients from Wisconsin farmers' market, small growers, ranchers and local fisheries. The unique partnership between SURG Restaurant Group's CEO Mike Polaski and his Hidden Creek Farm, located in New London, also allows HŌM to serve fresh beef, pork and produce from farm to table.

In addition to HŌM's regular menu, there will be a daily prix fixe selection, also geared toward "locavores." Handcrafted jellies, jams, pickled foods and charcuterie will be prepared in-house by HŌM chefs to preserve local harvests and use them in dishes throughout the year. Regional brewers, wine makers and coffee roasters will also be featured at HŌM's bar, which is decorated in farm style with photography of Wisconsin landmarks.

HŌM is planning the opening of its second location at Bayshore Town Center for early 2014, in the space formerly housing COA.

Sanford serves up Armenian feast in November
Each month, Monday through Friday evenings, Sanford restaurant has made it a habit to feature a different ethnic-themed tasting menu. The dinners, which are a steal at $49, feature four courses prepared with a modern twist.

This month’s offering is Armenian fare, with a menu featuring spiced beef sausage with marissa and pickled apricots, roasted eggplant soup with carrots and allspice cream, chargrilled Rushing Waters trout  with stewed tomato and green beans and yogurt cake with market strawberry preserve, sumac syrup and lemon ice cream.

For reservations, call the restaurant at (414) 276-9608.

The Pfister brings back tea service
For the past 20 years, The Pfister Hotel has honored its Victorian heritage by serving afternoon tea each season from November through March.

This year, tea service will take place in the Club Lounge, located adjacent to Blu on the 23rd floor. Guests will enjoy a panoramic view of Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee skyline, along with their choice of fresh scones, cheeses, sandwiches and pastries, along with tableside tea blending, presented in all-silver service by a Pfister Tea Butler.

The teas featured this year will come from Milwaukee-based Rishi Tea, and will include 12 varieties, including everything from cinnamon plum and tangerine ginger to vanilla bean and chocolate chai.

A brand new exclusive blend, Pfister 1893, will also be available for tea lovers this year. The blend was developed by Rishi Tea and representatives from The Pfister, and features a blend of jasmine and wild rose scented white teas infused with rejuvenating peppermint and calming lavender. The blend celebrates The Pfister’s opening in the year 1893, at the height of the Victorian era when boutique tea salons were popular in Europe. The hotel’s tea butler will inform guests about each tea’s origin, blending options, and perfect pairings.

Afternoon tea is held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons, Nov. 1, 2013-March 30, 2014, with seatings at 2, 2:30, and 3 p.m. Reservations are required; call (414) 935-5942 or (877) 704-5340.

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.