We always appreciate a cool, refreshing drink in the editorial office. This week, it's infused with cucumbers. We'll sip it and munch trial mix while discussing a cool movie, a great musical collaboration and a way to prevent colds.
Adding a cucumber slice to a glass of water -- Sure, the lemon or lime wedge gives plain water a mild kick in the glass, but lately I've opted for a thin slice of cucumber instead. Roots Restaurant, 1818 N. Hubbard St., turned me on to it -- it offers guests the option of either a lemon or cucumber or both, and I always go for both. The cucumber adds just a hint of sweetness and is really refreshing and light. Some restaurants might react with surprise to the request, but if you get cucumber in a salad or something, slip a slice in there and see for yourself. On a similar note, I've also been served a piece of cucumber in place of a lime when ordering a gin and tonic with Hendrick's gin, which is a tasty import from Scotland that is infused with cucumber and rose petals. --Julie Lawrence
Trader Joe's "Simply Almond, Pistachio & Tart Cherry Trek Mix" -- I have tried many different bags of nuts and dried fruit mixtures from Trader Joe's and recently I declared this one my absolute favorite. It's even made it onto my camping checklist. I love that I get to eat already-shelled pistachios (three cheers for instant gratification) along with almonds and tart cherries that add a completely different texture and taste. It's a brilliant mix of munchies that I never would have thought of -- and a bag costs less than $5. --Molly Snyder Edler
Simply Saline -- It's the season for head colds, non-stop "seasonal allergies" and sinus issues. Unless you are just a hard-core sufferer, I recommend keeping the over-the-counter meds and 'scripts out of your system. There is no need for them since Simply Saline does the job just as well. It cleans out your nasal passages and helps to prevent sinus headaches, sinus infections and even colds. It's made from only purified water and sodium chloride (.9%) and produced in a way that it remains sterile throughout your entire use. But, common sense here, don't share it with another person or you may spread bacteria on the outside of the nozzle. Try this stuff, it works. --Jeff Sherman
"Talk to Me" -- Don Cheadle is one of my favorite actors. In this movie, which tells the story of ex-con turned disc jockey Petey Greene and his friend / manager Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Cheadle displays incredible chops as the wisecracking antihero who questions his own success. The movie gets off to a somewhat lame start. The scene in which Hughes gets Greene onto the air by locking everyone else out of the studio seems ridiculous, but Cheadle rises above that and the rise and fall of the friendship between the two men carries the rest of the movie. I don't know if I'd have liked this move for $10 at a theater, but it's great on late-night cable or as a rental. --Drew Olson
Cinnamon Muffins from C. Adams Bakery -- I've raved and recommended C. Adams Bakery in this column before. This place is great and if you've never been there, get to the Milwaukee Public Market soon. Trust me, this is one of Milwaukee's finest bakeries. My latest find here are the cinnamon muffins. With a nice crunch on top, it's like eating a light cinnamon-flavored coffee cake. They are excellent, and since studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol, they're good for you, too! C. Adams opens daily at 7 a.m. (Cedarburg Coffee also opens at this time), before the rest of the market opens at 10. --J.S.
"Two Men With The Blues" -- At first glance, the pairing of Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis seems about as likely as the matchup between feta cheese and bubblegum. But, it works. From the opening notes of "Bright Lights Big City," it works. Willie has jazz chops. Wynton can play the blues. These are two of the greatest musicians of our time. This disc isn't perfect. But, it gives other "supergroup" pairings a run for their money. --D.O.
Stampede Light Plus -- I recently picked up a six-pack of Stampede Light Plus at Whole Foods Market. It was on sale for $5.99. Since I was in the mood for something new, it made the cut. Little did I know, until a Web search, that the stuff is peddled by (and co-owned by) Jessica Simpson. With this new knowledge, I figured it could be less than tasty. I'm not sure why I thought this, but I did. Direct celebrity endorsements for beers don't carry a ton of weight. I'm here, though, to report that this stuff is good. It's light, refreshing and infused with a few vitamins (the "plus"). With 115 calories, it's not the lightest beer on the market, but it's just slightly more than a Miller Lite. Want to sample a new brew? Try this stuff. It's made by Dallas' Stampede Brewing Co. --J.S.