We may be caught up in Dining Month, but we haven't forgotten how to steer you toward things that we think are cool. This week in the editorial office, we're recommending a delicious dessert from Outpost Natural Foods, a great baking device, some hearty whiskey, a good new breakfast spot and a do-it-yourself way to check out groceries.
These are a few of our favorite things this week:
The Outpost's apple kuchen -- "Really?" my internal voice asked. "You're really going to spend $10 on an apple kuchen?" However, last night, all of my voices were thrilled that I decided to indulge in this German cake from Outpost Natural Foods, 100 E. Capitol Dr., after I warmed it in the oven and served it with Breyer's vanilla ice cream. The warm, moist kuchen (hmmm ... did I really just type that?) is a hot apple-y complement to the cold, all natural ice cream. But the star of the pair is truly the kuchen. Although I know a few German grandmothers who make a darn good one, the Outpost kuchen is nothing short of fantastisch. --Molly Snyder Edler
Self check-out at Metro Market -- People are funny. The lines can be long at Metro Market Downtown, yet in their opening weeks many shoppers seemed scared of the new self-check-out lanes. But, in my humble opinion, they are easy to use and very convenient. Sure, they are not without a glitch or two and some of the features are annoying, but overall they are quick and even kind of fun. Try them. --Jeff Sherman
The Perfect Brownie Pan Set -- Like most kids, my 9-year-old tends to want nearly everything she sees on TV. This brownie set was no different. Every time the commercial was on, she'd say "I want that!" and scramble for a pen and paper to write down the phone number or Web site. She asked for a set for her birthday. I happened to be in the local Walgreen's, which for some reason carries a huge selection of "As Seen on TV" products, as the sprout's birthday was approaching. She's been really interested in cooking and baking, so I figured "What could it hurt?" I plunked down the money and made it part of her birthday present. I didn't have high expectations, but the pan actually works about as well as shown in the commercials. Each brownie is perfectly sized and has a fine crust around the edge. I don't hesitate to recommend it for bakers of all ages. --Drew Olson
The breakfast menu at Qdoba -- We've all heard it, time and time again: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And if you're like me, you continue to ignore the adage and opt for an extra half hour of sleep over that bowl of bran flakes. Well, I think I may have just discovered a reason to set the alarm clock a bit earlier. Qdoba has started offering its breakfast menu Downtown at the 16th and Wells Streets location (previously, it's only been available at 124th and Capitol Drive). The breakfast burritos are smaller than the normal burritos and are perfect for morning. They come with scrambled eggs, seasoned potatoes, salsa and your choice of queso or ranchera sauce. Fillings include chicken, Mexican chorizo, and egg and potato. They also offer breakfast quesadillas, which come with scrambled eggs and cheese, sour cream, salsa and choice of chicken, Mexican chorizo, and egg and cheese. A good way to start the day. --Julie Lawrence
The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes Irish Whiskies -- There's nothing like an early nip in the air to send me to the tummy-warming liquor cabinet. I usually favor grappas and single-malt scotches this time of year, but I decided to check out the four different Irish whiskeys lengthily named The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes Irish Whiskies, created by Ireland's last independent Irish-owned distillery. What makes comparing them especially interesting is that all four come from the same distillery. Three of them -- Classic Blend, Rare and Limited Edition Fourth Centennial -- are blended, while Single Malt is, well, a single malt, that is, to my mouth, the best of the bunch, with its hints of oak and vanilla and a great earthiness that I love. Classic Blend is lighter and sweeter, while Rare is maltier and more peppery. Limited Edition is also a real gem, with its great maltiness and long finish. It's got a malty nose and smooth, sweet start on the tongue. Really, you can't go wrong with any of these, but I've said my bit, start where you will. If whiskey is the devil, then no one gave this distillery the news. --Bobby Tanzilo
Homemade slime -- If you have little people in your home, or not-so-little people with a penchant for all things gross, then consider making your own slime this month. It's easy to make, uses cheap ingredients (water, glue, Borax and food coloring), serves as a science lesson for kids and is a timely Halloween "craft." I made three different batches with my gross-obsessed little goblins and decided this recipe is the best. We made ours in a variety of different colors, but I suggest going with green, because it's classic. --M.E.
Cookies Galore and More-- When I was a kid, The Original Cookie was an automatic stop at the mall. But outside of Mayfair Mall or Brookfield Square Mall, the concept of a cookie store eluded me until I ran across Cookies Galore and More, 128 W. Broadway, in Waukesha. If you happen to find yourself on the westside of Milwaukee, this dessert destination is well worth the stop. Family owned and operated, the small bakery opened earlier this year to perfect and produce one product only: the cookie. Baked in house daily, bakery case staples include Three Chip (a combination of milk chocolate, white chocolate and butterscotch), white chip and cranberry, Neiman Marcus, oatmeal raisin and classic ginger snaps.-- Maureen Post