Her point of view…where we left off

09 Nov

So…..Madison, first evening. We spent some time at Fromagination, a local cheese, and specialty shop with everything you might need/desire for that special cheese experience. What a great store, and frankly, my idea of heaven. We sampled some different cheeses, and bought a few to enjoy later, and things to accompany them. What a good time. We then headed to a Nepalese restaurant….why not? It was so fantastic! Loved it! Then we topped the evening with frozen custard…fantastic cool and creamy treat!

 Wisconsin Cheese festival:

Did we have perfect timing or what? We were very stoked to realize this particular festival was going on while we were on our crazy trek. We went to the marketplace Sunday morning, and it was so great! We spoke with many cheese makers, and artisans in varying specialties. We had so much fun talking with as many as we could, and sharing our passion as well. There were some new cheeses that quickly have been put on my “favorites” list. We also found some new items we really are anxious to have in our shop! My new favorite cheeses: from Edelweiss Creamery (butterkaase) a fantastic creamy melt in your mouth fabulousness! Roelli Cheese haus (Dunbarton Blue) a wonderful cheddar/blue cheese combo. There were so many great cheeses, I don’t even know where to begin, so that was a few. So wonderful! Kevin and Nicole also enjoyed some meat snacks from Wild Hare brand beef snacks. Great stuff. We also met folks from a Wisconsin Maple Sugarhouse with some wonderful products that educated us on the different levels of maple syrup. All in all, a wonderful experience, and we are so glad we had the oppurtunity to go. 

We headed out of Wisconsin, and were on our way to the Chicago area. We met up with a great friend of ours Beth Nielsen outside Chicago. She invited us to her home, and cooked us a wonderful meal, and showed us such great hospitality. It was such a great evening! The next morning we met up with her again, and she gave us a tour of the Vanilla plant that she owns. It’s Nielsen-Massey Vanilla company. This is the only vanilla product that Coastal Mist uses, and Kevin has been insisted on it for decades. What a great place, and it smells really fantastic! She then took us to Chicago for a brief tour of a few spots in Chicago. We had a fantastic lunch at Custom House, a wonderful restaurant featuring seasonal and local ingredients. It was so good. Then Beth took us to the French Marketplace. A great marketplace filled with all sorts of great food vendors. We stopped at a great cheese counter where the cheesemongers sliced us up some great samples, and then as we walked around we discovered a wonderful crepe booth, which made us long for our crepes we’ve been able to enjoy as we walk the streets of Paris. Once again…Fantastic! We tried to go to Rick Bayless’s restaurant, but it was closed on Mondays. Oh well, guess we’ll have to come back :), we then enjoyed an afternoon nosh at Sepia. What a great day! We didn’t even care that we had to drive to Niagara falls…..We would like to thank Beth Nielsen again for her wonderful hospitality, friendship, and of course for the great product that her and her family have produced for many decades! Thank you Beth and Lily!!

Sampling from Cheesemongers at French Market in Chicago

As I said before, we then left Chicago, and headed to Niagara Falls. It’s funny the looks we get from people we speak to when we tell them where we’re from, where we’ve been, and where we are headed. We get that same skeptical “are you guys crazy” look. As witnessed last night. Like I said we left Chicago, and took turns driving through Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario Canada, Upstate New York, and back to Ontario, and on to Quebec. We pulled an all nighter and arrived in Niagara falls shortly after 4 am. Believe me, not a lot of stuff going on at Niagara falls at 4 am, and we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. We came in on the Canadian side, and it was like it was a “Vegased” up. We drove across the border again, and found a parking lot. Surprise, surprise, no one was watching the booth at that hour, and we got in free to park. We spent a little time enjoying the falls in the dark, and marveling at it, and then headed on our way. Sorry no pictures from Niagara, as it was dark 🙂 All in all we have had wonderful weather, couldn’t ask for better!

Nicole enjoying a "belated" birthday dessert in Chicago


Leave a Reply

  1. Billie Sturtevant

    November 10, 2010 at 8:52 am

    You certainly received the ROYAL treatment from Ms. Nielsen….how gracious and generous of her all the way around! My nose was basking in the imagined vanilla smell coming from her production facility….yum!! I loves me some vanilla, yes I do!!! Cheese, cheese, and more cheeeeeeese…you have to be confused and think that you have died and gone to heaven, right? Tomorrow the INTENSITY grows as you approach the NYC chocolate fest…be safe in that crazy city! Love to all!

  2. Lisa

    November 10, 2010 at 9:01 am

    One of my all time favorite cheeses was a Stilton/sharp cheddar that I used to get from Trader Joe’s. The Dunbarton Blue sounds heavenly.

  3. Vanilla Mama

    November 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

    You all must be in New York by now – seeing Chef Ebow Dadzie’s chocolate dress for the fashion show. As always, I had such a wonderful time with you! It is always refreshing to be with chefs sans egos, especially since many times I’m with the divas – you know – Charlie “Ross”, Jean G “Turner” and Ferran “Houston”. It’s just food, it all comes out the same way! And what a delightful day – the company better than the food & drink, of course! Big hugs & wishing you safe travels home! Vanilla Mama & Vanilla Chicita

  4. Vanilla Mama

    November 17, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Hey all! Just got the news yesterday (a day early, if you hadn’t heard about the “leak”) that Sepia, where Nicole had her belated birthday in Chicago, received a Michelin Star. Now Kevin, I know you agree with me about these silly awards, but thought I’d let you know anyway.
    Also, Vanilla Chicita keeps saying “my Kevin, my Tara, my Cole” and tries to immitate Kevin saying her name with that deep voice – hilarious! Safe travels, my dear friends! Vanilla Mama