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Slide into points at Alterra.
Slide into points at Alterra.
Mmmm, coffee.
Mmmm, coffee.
The new Alterra loyalty card.
The new Alterra loyalty card.
Swipe it with every purchase.
Swipe it with every purchase.

Alterra slides from punches to points

Alterra Coffee Roasters is launching its new loyalty program so it's time to trade in those paper coffee punch cards.

On your next visit to any of its 11 and growing locations, you'll get a new plastic loyalty card that needs to be registered online. It's easy.

Indeed, the days of losing those paper punch cards will soon be gone, and as of May 30, 2012 they will no longer be valid.

The new plastic card (complete with fake coffee stains) is swiped with each visit as you continue to earn points for beverage and bulk coffee purchases. And, no worries, "double punch" Tuesdays aren't going away as you'll still get two points for every beverage bought on a Tuesday.

The new point system is similar to the current punch program, but it's based on dollars spent not just drinks purchased.  Specifics on the program are here. And, in order to qualify for a free bag of coffee on your birthday, "you must be an activated or registered user and accrue 20,000 points in a 12-month period." 

And, while I'm talking about Alterra congrats to everyone there on making "Food and Wine's" list of "America's Best Coffee Bars."


Grayson Schmitz is making pizza in Milwaukee on Sunday.
Grayson Schmitz is making pizza in Milwaukee on Sunday.

Grayson Schmitz brings "Top Chef" talents to Streetza on Sunday

Wisconsin native and passionate competitor on season 9 of "Top Chef," Grayson Schmitz, is coming to town Sunday, March 4 for a special event with Streetza Pizza.

Grayson lives in New York City, but was born in New Holstein.  

Grayson will be at the Verlo Mattress Factory Store at 6501 W. Layton Ave. in Greenfield beginning at 1 p.m., and she’ll not only meet and greet fans but she’ll use her chef talents to create two new pizzas.  

"We are truly honored to have such an accomplished chef and vivacious person help us create amazing pizzas for an amazing cause," said Scott Baitinger, president of Streetza Pizza.

Grayson is making a "Sex in the Mouth" slice and a "Like a Meatball" slice.  Sounds good, hey?  You’ll be able to try both pizzas and vote for your favorite via the Facebook page. A small $5 donation to Independence First, a nonprofit serving Milwaukee region with a vision for full inclusion of people with disabilities, gets you a small slice of both pizzas. Verlo will be making an additional donation to IndependenceFirst’s programs for each mattress purchased during the event.  

"Grayson is a fun, driven woman who pursued her life goals to be a Top Chef – People with disabilities get assistance from IndependenceFirst to achieve their life goals to live independently and be successful." said Carol Voss, PR & Marketing Director for IndependenceFirst. "And, we love to have fun too!" added Voss.

Your vote will determine which slice gets a permanent spot on the Streetza menu.  

Here’s a bit more about each slice:

Sex In the Mouth Pizza
Béchamel sauce topped with emmentaler and gruyere cheese, pancetta,
caramelized onion and caraway seeds.

Like A Meatball Pizza
Red sauce, béchamel sauce, meatballs, roasted cherry tomatoes,
sauteed mushrooms and Togarashi. Topped with fontina, mozzarella and
parmesan cheese.

Streetza pizza, Independence First, celebrity chef Grayson Schmitz and all together.  Sounds like a gre…

The bar at the former Haute Taco is turning to burgers.
The bar at the former Haute Taco is turning to burgers. (Photo: thecreedler)

Haute Taco turning to burgers

I liked Haute Taco, 18905 W. Capitol Dr., but always thought it may have faired better in greater Downtown Milwaukee.  My gut tells me that it was a bit too hip for Brookfield.  Here's a snap shot of the vibe via an April story by Damien Jaques from our team, "Opened in the spring of 2008, Haute Taco exudes a hip and casual vibe in both its ambiance and menu. Where else can you sip a Hibiscus Cosmo while browsing a menu that includes Wisconsin duck and goat cheese quesadillas with BBQ sauce and a side of guacamole ($8) or a slow roasted wild mushroom and asparagus taco ($3.50), burrito or bowl (both $8.75)?"

If you haven't been to Haute Taco, you won't be able as it's closed.  And owner Jake Replogle (also owner of Jake's steakhouse) may just agree with my assessment of Haute Taco as it soon will turn into a burger joint.  

The voice mail at the former taco place confirms saying, "thank you for calling Jake's Burger we hope to see you in March."

Stay tuned, Brookfield, as you'll soon have another burger option.  We'll keep you updated as we learn more.  

Urban farming works.  (Photo: M. Muza)
Urban farming works. (Photo: M. Muza)
Milwaukee's Sweet Water Organics.  (Photo: Sweet Water Organics)
Milwaukee's Sweet Water Organics. (Photo: Sweet Water Organics)

"What's right with America?" Milwaukee's Sweet Water Organics

The Economist’s Schumpeter blog had an engaging item this weekend titled "This time it’s serious: America is becoming a less attractive place to do business."

All gloom and doom aside, the blog cites a recent Harvard Business Review feature on "American competitiveness." 

And, after its jolt of negativity, the blog goes into a section called "What’s right with America can fix what’s wrong."  It’s within this section that Milwaukee takes the lead.  Specifically with a mention and accolades for Milwaukee’s Sweet Water Organics and UWM.  

The blog states, "Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School points to the extraordinary amount of innovation that is going on not just in Silicon Valley but across the country. For example, water researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have linked up with urban farmers who occupy abandoned factories. The fruit of this alliance is firms such as Sweet Water Organics, which produces fish and greens in a former crane factory."

Read and form your own opinions on the blog here

No matter what you think about America’s rights or wrongs, it’s great that more and more  people are seeing the right, right here in Milwaukee.