Exhibition | Wisconsin Triennial 2016 at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Several weeks ago, after attending the last outdoor Farmers’ Market on the capitol square, I ventured into MMoCA and was pleasantly surprised by the Wisconsin Triennial exhibit. Featuring only local state artist, it opened on September 23 and will be on display through January 8, 2017. The exhibit aims to give an idea of the diverse types of art that are being created within Wisconsin. Below are a selection of photos from the exhibit, which I hope motivate you to go and see this free exhibit!


Fern Stations : On Invisibility by Meg Mitchell

Beads, Birds and Bombs series by John Hitchcock


Selections from the project Transmission Networks by Brendan Baylor

Selections from Remnants series by Amy Fichter


Blue Little Red Barn by Michael Kautzer


Pictorials | Chinatown, New York City – market month photo 29

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Fish market in Chinatown. 2005. New York, New York, USA.

Pictorials | Helsinki, Finland – market month photo 09


Hot and ready in Kauppatori / Central Market. 2014. Helsinki, Finland.

My blog post: Helsinki | From Sweden to Italy : Through Europe on Ferries, Busses, Planes & Trains

Helsinki | From Sweden to Italy : Through Eastern Europe on Ferries, Busses, Planes & Trains

Suomenlinna Playground

Suomenlinna Playground

Series Background: I spent October traveling from Stockholm, Sweden to Rome, Italy. Though I’d been to Italy before, I hadn’t been to the other eight countries I explored – Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary and Croatia. I’ll try to keep it brief, sticking to the cities I stayed in, their highlights and foods, and how I got around. And maybe a few photos… <Here’s Part 2, all about Helsinki.> <See Part 1, Stockholm.>

I arrived in Helsinki by ferry boat from Stockholm. The walk from the port to downtown was quick, with a large market, Kauppatori, in the middle. This market was pretty incredible. In addition to fresh and smoked fish, there were fresh fruits and vegetables, hot food vendors with reasonable prices and craft booths. Some of the stuffed smoked fish was so good I ate it two days in a row. After checking into the hotel, I strolled around the Kaartinkaupunki, Kruununhaka, and Kluuvi neighborhoods. The Helsinki Cathedral was completed in 1852 and previously called the St. Nicholas Church. It was quite massive. I enjoyed relaxing in Esplanadi park and seeing the Czar’s old summer gazebo, and also learning that the lovely park (Vanha kirkkopuisto) next to my hotel was where the city buried half of its population in 1710 – victims of the plague. Had an excellent dinner at the number two restaurant on Trip Advisor (Kolo), but they closed two days later…

Next Day: Walked through the neighborhoods of Etu-Töölö, Kamppi and Punavuori. Saw the Temppeliaukion kirkko (church built inside of solid rock – quite impressive), Vanha Kauppahalli (the Old Market Hall – it was a snooze fest at the time I was there), and caught a ferry for a few bucks to the island of Suomenlinna. This UNESCO World Heritage Site began as a maritime fortress in 1748 and is full of history, amazing for photos, and lovely to walk around. It was a major highlight of the trip – don’t miss it! There is also a brewery on the island… Although Helsinki was very quiet and not too many people were out and about, the ones I spoke to were very kind and welcoming. The food was excellent without being overly expensive and my favorite beer of the trip was Finnish. Before I knew it, it was time to catch the ferry to Estonia. <Watch for the next installment about Tallinn, Estonia.>

Kruununhaka Harbor

Kruununhaka Harbor


<Previous post: Stockholm, Sweden>  <Next post: Tallinn, Estonia>

Stockholm | From Sweden to Italy : Through Eastern Europe on Ferries, Busses, Planes & Trains

Stockholm bike share

Stockholm bike share

Series Background: I spent October traveling from Stockholm, Sweden to Rome, Italy. Though I’d been to Italy before, I hadn’t been to the other eight countries I explored – Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary and Croatia. I’ll try to keep it brief, sticking to the cities I stayed in, their highlights and foods, and how I got around. And maybe a few photos… <Here’s Part 1, all about Stockholm.>

I flew into Stockholm – Arlanda (very nice restrooms). The airport is far from downtown, so a cab or train is needed. The train is inexpensive and fairly quick. I checked into my hotel on the Nybroviken bay, a few blocks from the Dramaten (Royal Dramatic Theatre). It was a quick 10 minute walk to Nalen Restaurant for dinner. The food and service were excellent. I tried local reindeer, a Swedish appetizer sampler with some amazing cheese pie, and fresh caught fish.

Next Day: explored Gamla Stan (Old Town), the Royal Palace, the island of Djurgården, the Vasa Museum and the Östermalm neighborhood. The massive wooden ship in the Vasa Museum from the 1620’s is more than 95% original and was preserved underwater for over 300 years. I spent most of the day walking. If the weather is good, the local bike rental would be a great option to cover more ground quicker. There were also street cars on Djurgården. Dinner at Prinsen tasted good, but was a bit stuffy and expensive.

Next Day: checked out the neighborhoods of Norrmalm and Vasastan, Sergels torg (new town Square), the Stockholm Public Library, the Kungsträdgården park and a farmers’ market showcasing Chanterelles outside the Royal Swedish Opera House (Kungliga Operan). The library’s reading room is completely round with book shelves that curve 360° around the inner walls, very unique. In the afternoon it was time to hop on the ferry through the Åland Islands (more than 6700 of them!) for the overnight ride to Helsinki. <Check out the next installment about Helsinki, Finland.>



<Next post: Helsinki, Finland.>

A Culinary Stroll through Charleston, South Carolina

Slightly North of Broad bar

Slightly North of Broad bar

We arrived late on a Friday evening. Lucky for us, dining after 9 pm meant no waiting for a table. For our first dinner we chose SNOB – Slightly North Of Broad. We were seated in the back of the dining room with a nice view into the kitchen and were able to watch chefs at work. We started out with a Cheese Plate that included nuts, fruit and bread. It was the highlight of my meal, really good cheeses from Wisconsin, Virginia and elsewhere. The various other bites on the plate really helped balance it out as well.
I ordered a bowl of the daily soup, Tomato Split Pea, and was pleased with the first bite, but then overpowered by onion. My partner got the Trout special and I’m pretty sure I ate more than my fair share of it – very tasty and served with an excellent corn and risotto mash and a few grilled shrimp and squash slices. A basket of bread and cornbread accompanied the meal and we ate it all. Overall the food was good, but the service was quite slow and this would probably not be in my top picks during a return weekend visit.
Outside Jestine's Kitchen

Outside Jestine’s Kitchen

Saturday morning after visiting the city market we walked a few blocks up Meeting Street to Jestine’s Kitchen hoping the line wouldn’t be too long when we arrived. The cool rainy weather was likely why it wasn’t yet packed. In a very short time I had a plate of fried Flounder special with fried okra and mashed potatoes sitting in front of me. Across the table was Crab Cake Blue Plate Special with okra gumbo and mac & cheese. Each bite tasted great and warmed us right up. Don’t miss the fried okra!
Homemade sweet pickles accompanied the meal, my partner ate them all. Jestine’s is a favorite of mine and a local favorite. The prices are reasonable and its good down home cooking – though of course with lots of tempting fried options it’s not really super healthy. This is one of the must-trys, though and they have a dessert shop right next door. I’ve heard the Coca Cola cake is a force to reckon with.
Saturday dinner was a bit of a battle. We didn’t plan ahead enough and without reservations our options at our top choices were limited to a long wait or eating in the bar. For appetizers we grabbed a high top at Blossom. I ordered She Crab Soup, which turned out to be an oniony trap. (I have a slight onion allergy)… P got Buttermilk Fried Calamari, which was tasty, though a bit greasy. Our server was great, but I wish we’d skipped it.
Magnolias bread

Magnolias bread

After 9pm we scored a table at sister restaurant Magnolias. Not feeling so great after the onion soup, I just ordered a small Wadmalaw Field Greens salad and side of Green Beans. P picked the Fresh, Local, & Vegetarian plate, which turned out to be phenomenal. We couldn’t stuff the medley of corn, beans, mashed potatoes, spinach, fried green tomatoes and ? (other veggies) into our faces fast enough. Wow – if you are a vegetarian who appreciates flavor this plate is a must try. It is the “Chef’s selection of the season’s finest vegetables in an Uptown/Down South presentation”.
With wine, beer and the complimentary fresh bread we were unable to accommodate dessert. Our server was exemplary and the couple next to us obviously enjoyed their man too, as they had several interesting conversations with him. We would definitely go back for the vegetarian plate!
Sunday morning for brunch we trekked out to Hominy Grill on Rutledge Avenue figuring there would be quite a wait when we arrived. There was. The sun was out so waiting 45 minutes wasn’t so bad. Previously I had had and greatly disliked the “Nasty Biscuit” sandwich so this time I opted for something a bit more traditional, Country Breakfast – scrambled eggs, grits, fresh ground sausage and toast. This was a much better choice. I would order it again. P got a Grilled Vegetable Omelette with home fries, biscuit and jam. It was a hit and I stole a few potatoes.
Our server was attentive and they really do hustle and bustle about. It’s good food, a light and welcoming atmosphere, but fairly noisy and not very relaxing. This is a solid breakfast place, but the wait and noise may not make it a perfect spot to hit on your relaxing vacation.
Outside Poogan's Porch

Outside Poogan’s Porch

Smart enough to make a reservation for our final dinner, we headed to Poogan’s Porch on Queen Street. This was the most memorable meal of the trip for me. All of the staff were really on point and made us feel very welcome. Our server had a great sense of humor and the food was excellent.
Crab Cakes with fried okra for a starter, double thumbs up. I’m pretty sure it looked like we licked the plate clean. Next it was time for Buttermilk Fried Chicken to make an appearance so P got that with mashed potatoes and slaw. I had Sweet Tea Glazed Salmon with asparagus and lemon mint risotto. I thoroughly enjoyed each bite of my food and his potatoes (he thought they were a bit buttery, but yum, yum, yum). The pairing of the fish with the risotto was really perfect – my compliments to the chef, and the fish was cooked expertly.
Since it wouldn’t be fair to leave the low country without having dessert, we split the peanut butter pie. It was served cold and reminded me of very velvety ice cream, but it was some kind of mousse. I apologize for the photo of an empty plate, but the pie was too good and gone before it could be photographed. Our neighbors heard us raving as we ate it and ordered the same. I would definitely go back to Poogan’s and can see why they’ve become “one of Charleston’s oldest independent culinary establishments”.
brunch dessert - Stars Restaurant - Rooftop and Grill Room

brunch dessert – Stars Restaurant – Rooftop and Grill Room

That sums up our 48 hour culinary journey through Charleston. I’d like to point out a relaxing coffee shop we stopped by twice, Bakehouse Charleston on Bay Street. They have reasonably priced beverages and a few small food items and offer both indoor and outdoor seating. To really relax, try a craft beer while you soak up the afternoon sun.
Inside Bakehouse Charleston

Inside Bakehouse Charleston

For those readers unable to try the true low country flavors in Charleston, check out these local Manhattan Southern flavors: Hibachi Hut and Bourbon and Baker.

Invasives at Fault for Great Lakes Salmon Dearth?

Four decades ago, salmon were added to the Great Lakes by Michigan fisheries biologists. In the following years, the fishing industry flourished as did the salmon. Cars hauling boats would be lined up with anglers just waiting to get out in the lakes and catch fish. But now, things have changed.

The invasive mussels came in and altered the food web. Alewives, one of salmons’ favorite fish to feed on, have mostly disappeared from the Great Lakes. Without enough time, the salmon were unable to adapt their diet as their food supply disappeared. Walleye, a native species, have returned to the lakes and are also responsible for eating the salmon. Last fall the Lake Michigan salmon never showed up at spawning time. Things aren’t looking good for the salmon.

Listen to the NPR Story for more details.

Photo credit: Coho salmon – muskegon-mi.gov