Monday, March 16, 2009

Ah, Wisconsin!

We spent the weekend in Kenosha, Wisconsin visiting family and eating some of the best Italian food we've had in a long time. The food feast started with the Lent special at Mike and Angelo's in Racine. Lake Michigan perch fried golden in a light batter and served with your choice of fries or spaghetti.

After dinner, we headed for drinks at Captain Mike's Lighthouse Pub, the bar where everyone will know your name if you can make it through the 100 beers on hand (30 on tap) in record time. On Saturday we started with a trip to Oliver's Bakery for cookies, and then off to Tenuta's. If you are from Wisconsin, you know this is the place to get any of your Italian staples. Their cheese, charcuterie, and wine selections are impressive as is their collection of dried, fresh, and frozen pasta. We loaded up on Parmesano Reggiano, aged provolone, and dried pasta, but, regretfully, had to leave the pasta sauces and wine for our next road trip.

Tenuta's meatball bombers and seasoned olives held us over until dinner at Wells Brothers Pizza rated one of the top ten pizzeria's in the U.S. by USA Today. Cut in squares, the incredibly thin and crispy crust is piled with savory toppings and cheese in any combination you want: anchovies and garlic, sausage and onions, tomato basil, or simply pepperoni. It is simply amazing how quickly those little squares of savory goodness go down. We tried some of Wisconsin's microbrews with our dinners, but will definitely have to come back for a more thorough examination of the state's breweries.

Finally, we capped the weekend with a home-cooked lunch that bested them all, complete with arroncini [fried risotto balls] made from scratch, fresh ravioli, and my father-in-law's newest invention, an eggplant-topped dish with layers of potato and spare rib meat hiding underneath. Top that off with a Kenosha staple, Cardinali's bread, and what can I say, it was great.

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