These are a few of our favorite things this week:
Mrs. Renfro salsas and jalapenos -- One of the nation's five largest family-owned and managed salsa manufacturers, Renfro Foods makes some mighty tasty salsas and jars some amazing jalapeno peppers. Too many canned or jarred jalapenos lose their pop and heat, but somehow Mrs. Renfros keeps the heat and flavor. Wow. Try their green salsa too. It's hot, hot, hot but darn tasty with only jalapenos, water, onions, vinegar, salt, spices, garlic and corn starch. Get it online or at many area stores like Metro Market and Sendik's. --Jeff Sherman Detoxifying Therma Mud Wrap at Sundara -- Sundara Inn & Spa in the Wisconsin Dells offers a long list of rejuvenating services, including the heavenly detoxifying thermal mud wrap. The intense treatment cakes your skin with a mixture of organic ingredients, allowing your body to naturally detoxify by opening the pores, eliminating toxins and increasing circulation. During the detoxification, you'll also receive a face and scalp massage. Afterwards, the therapist gives you a cup of tea, but chances are you'll be in such a dream state you'll barely remember drinking it. Check it out at sundaraspa.com. --Molly Snyder Edler
Sprecher Root Beer float -- Warm weather calls for cool treats. What could be better than a delicious root beer float? Dip a glass mug in some cool water and pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Fill half the glass with chilled Sprecher Root Beer, pop in two scoops of vanilla ice cream, top with more root beer and enjoy. The trick is to get ice cream and soda in each spoonful. Once the ice cream is gone, guzzle the liquid and try to avoid brain freeze. If you're having company or just feeling fancy, fill an ice cube tray with root beer -- you can even drop a cherry in the middle -- and use that as a base for the entire deal. --Drew Olson
Jackie McLean's "Bluesnik" and "One Step Beyond" (Blue Note) -- Alto saxophonist Jackie McLean was a fine, if underrated, bop guy in the 1950s, when many dismissed him as a Charlie Parker clone. By the early '60s, McLean was surrounding himself with some of the most forward-looking musicians of the time and focusing on exploring "the new thing." These two sessions -- now available in Rudy Van Gelder Series reissues from Blue Note -- are stones in McLean's path from old to new. Recorded in January 1961, "Bluesnik" finds McLean right on the cusp of change. Here, the post bop is instant recognizable and only the inclusion of drummer Pete LaRoca and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard suggest winds of change. By 1963's "One Step Beyond" -- part of a string of amazing records that also included, among others, "Let Freedom Ring" and "Destination Out" -- McLean is exploring modal forms and working with young drummer Tony Williams, vibesman Bobby Hutcherson, bassist Eddie Khan and trombonist Grachan Moncur III; that is, some of the edgiest guys in jazz at that time. The contrast between these records -- separated by just two years -- is stunning. --Bobby Tanzilo
Forbes.com's "State of the City" -- This is a solid compilation of city-centric content and issues surrounding today's cities. You should be interested, so check out this special section on Forbes.com. --J.S.
Cherry-cheese Kringle from O & H Bakery -- I called my mom this weekend and no sooner did she say "I'm in Racine," did I tell her to bring me back a Kringle from O & H Danish Bakery. Yeah, technically, I'm still trying to diet and, for the most part, I've been watching what I eat. But there's just something about this marvelous, oval-shaped pastry that hits the spot. You can take the road trip or order online from ohdanishbakery.com. Go ahead and order a couple, Kringle freezes very well. --Andrew Wagner
"Religulous" -- No, that isn't a typo. The name of the documentary is "Religulous" -- a cross between "religion" and "ridiculous" -- and it is just that. Political commentator / comedian Bill Maher wrote and stars in this film that satires extreme aspects of religion. Maher -- who is half Christian and half Jewish -- travels to various Holy Lands, from Jerusalem to Salt Lake City, and interviews a variety of fanatical, fascinating and at times down-right freaky folks who are consumed by their religious beliefs. Regardless of one's faith, or how deep it runs, most viewers will agree this film is funny. It's completely one-sided -- Maher doesn't bother to interview a single intelligent person of faith -- but the hilarity overshadows the blatant subjectivity. --M.E.
GB Leighton at Shank Hall -- As front man for one of Minneapolis' top bar bands, Brian Leighton has been providing the soundtrack for excellent parties for nearly 20 years. Think of the gig Thursday night at Shank Hall as a warmup for the summer festival season. Roots rock with catchy originals and clever covers, delivered by a group that never seems to take a night off -- literally or figuratively. --D.O.
We Want Media -- Granted, this recommendation is a bit media-centric, but if you want a quick, easy way to stay on top of all the daily media news and changes, this site and daily newsletter is it. It aggregates about 20 stories each day and provides summaries and links. Check it out here. --J.S.
The Double Webb breakfast -- There is no better way to prepare for a busy Saturday filled with yard work, grocery shopping, soccer games and other errands than with this perfectly symmetrical offering from George Webb. Two eggs, any style. Two golden wheatcakes. Two strips of bacon or sausage links. Throw in a side of toast and you won't be hungry until the middle of the afternoon. --D.O.
Summerfest lake walk -- I've written about Lakeshore State Park before. It's a great getaway and a peaceful place for a walk or run. I really enjoy accessing the park via the lake walk along the Summerfest grounds. There's something oddly serene about walking near the empty grounds that makes you appreciate Summerfest and long for it. The lake walk is open daily (when there isn't a festival or other event) until 10 p.m. --J.S.