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Sunday, September 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 56.0° F  Overcast
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Madison eats agenda: Cine-a-Dine, Iron Chef TRC, Frokost, Polish Easter, Maple Syrup Fest
The week in food, and Underground Food to cater Outstanding in the Field
Spring Festival
Spring Festival
Credit:Madison Polish Heritage Club

This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.

Tuesday, March 23

Madison marks its fourth annual Greenbush Day this afternoon, a celebration of the historic south isthmus neighborhood bordered by West Washington, Regent, and Park streets. The event will feature entertainment and food organized by the Italian Workmen's Club. More background about its origins is detailed in an article published by UW-Madison about last year's celebration. UW Welcome Center, 21 N. Park St., 3:30-6 p.m., free. Call 251-2885 for more info.

The Orpheum Theatre invites film fans to make a date for Cine-a-Dine, a week-long prix-fixe dinner and a movie series opening this evening. The State Street movie palace is screening a special remastered 35mm print of Touch of Evil, the classic 1958 film noir directed by Orson Welles, broadly considered by critics and cinephiles to be one of the director's best, and an essential entry in the American film canon. There are three-courses in the meal, with four options for each. The appetizer choices are: tomato bisque soup; roasted beet salad with arugula, pecans, pickled red onions, and blood orange vinaigrette; spinach salad with blue cheese, egg, red onions, bacon, croutons, and warm brown sugar dressing; and, house salad with mixed greens, chèvre, cucumber, red onions, tomato, carrot, and balsamic vinaigrette. The entrée choices are: bone-in-pork tenderloin with braised fennel, pears, and fingerling potatoes; pan-fried Lake Superior whitefish with thyme, shallots, white wine, lemon, and matchstick fries; spring chicken roasted with lemon tarragon butter and truffled whipped potatoes; and, a vegetarian option of artichoke hearts sautéed with wild mushrooms, swiss chard, and creamy polenta. The dessert choices are: pecan pie, crème caramel, German chocolate cake, and fresh berries with cream. This is the first time the theater has offered a joint dinner-and-a-movie series, if patrons respond positively, more series featuring other classic film titles may be held on a regular basis. Orpheum Theatre's Grand Lobby, 216 State St., dinner between 5-6:30 p.m. and the screening at 7:30 p.m. through Saturday, $25. Call 255-2594 for reservations.

Thursday, March 25

Whole Foods is offering an Indian cooking class this evening that focuses on light dishes. The lesson menu will feature marinated fish baked in a tomato sauce with black mustard seeds and cilantro; basmati rice with whole spices and black cumin seeds, and "spicy potatoes." Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6-8:30 p.m., $25. Call 233-9566 to register.

Fromagination revives the spirit of St. Patrick's Day this evening with an Irish farmhouse cheese tasting. Artisanal cheesemaking is on the rise in Ireland as it is in Wisconsin and elsewhere, and four of the finest cheeses made by farmhouse creameries on the Emerald Isle will be featured at this tasting event. A selection of whisky and ale will also be provided for pairing with the càise. Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., 6:30-8 p.m., $35. Call 255-2430 for reservations.

Friday, March 26

Nearly a dozen local progressive politicos and activists will be squaring off this evening in the eighth annual Iron Chef Cook-Off, a fundraiser for the Tenant Resource Center and its Housing Crisis Fund. Hors d'oeuvres will be the field of this particular culinary battle, which fill feature four head-to-head match-ups: Michael Jacob vs. Heidi Konkel; Michael Quieto, Julia Kerr, and Kate Golden vs. Cole Hubber; Jacque Pokorney vs. Brett Hulsey; and, Wyndham Manning and Bessie Cherry vs. Judith Siers Poisson. Six judges will taste and evaluate their creations: Andy Heidt, Scott McDonell, Michael Basford, Shannon Henry Kleiber, Leslie McAllister, and Isthmus features editor Linda Falkenstein. Battlefield observers are advised to bring an empty stomach, as they'll likewise be able to eat the fruits of the cook-off. Organizers suggest supporters make donations of $25-$100 at the event, but appreciate contributions of any size. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go solely to the Housing Crisis Fund, which provides direct grants to community members facing eviction; otherwise, donors can also specify funds to be directed to general center operations. Brink Lounge, 701 E. Washington St., 5-7 p.m., donation requested. Call 661-8599 for more info.

The vast global chasm between the hungry and satiated is the focus of an OxFam America Hunger Banquet this evening. Participants at this benefit for the Fritz Food Pantry will be selected by lottery to dine at one of three "income levels," with the majority finding themselves less well-fed than they might hope. "Organizers and participants alike can experience firsthand how our decisions affect others in the world," reads organizers' description the meal. "After an OxFam America Hunger Banquet event, few participants leave with full stomachs, but all possess a greater understanding of the problems of hunger and poverty and will hopefully be motivated to do something about them." For those diners who find themselves lucky enough to draw the best spots at the table, Monty's Blue Plate Diner is donating all of the food served at the banquet. Donations of food and funds to the pantry for those in the community who experience real hunger are encouraged. Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 5-7 p.m., free though donations of food and money are accepted. Call 241-1574 x.249 for more info.

Grassroots Caravan, an eleven-day cross-country bicycle pilgrimage from Madison to Motown this summer, is throwing a benefit extravaganza this evening to support participating riders and in celebration of two-wheeled culture. Departing Madison on June 10, the caravan will roll over hills and around lakes, with stops for service project in Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Ann Arbor before arriving in Detroit for the U.S. Social Forum ten days later. Supporters attending this fundraiser will find a buffet dinner with food donated by the Weary Traveler, Tex Tubb's, Ha Long Bay, and Gotham Bagels. The program also features a raffle, antics and shenanigans care of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army, and live music by Subvocal, Orphan Bloom, and Thistle & The Thorn. Proceeds from the event will help finance ride expenses. High Noon Saloon, 701A E. Washington Ave., 5-8 p.m., $10-15 sliding scale donation. Call 268-1122 for more info.

Saturday, March 27

Volunteers at the winter Dane County Farmers' Market and are preparing this week's Taste of the Market breakfast, one of the last such farm-to-table meals of the indoor season. The menu will include: a Blue Valley and Snug Haven spinach and Blue Mont Swiss frittata made with Pecatonica Valley eggs; Blue Valley strawberry-ladled pancakes; Don's fresh mixed greens sprinkled with Cress Spring granola and cranberries; Daval's bison breakfast sausage; a "taste" of Grace's Cheesecakes; and, organic fair trade Just Coffee and tea, Greens Orchards apple cider, cranberry juice, and milk. The Old Gray Cats will perform their old-time string music during the meal. Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., 8 a.m.-noon, $7.50 adults and $3.75 kids. Call 455-1999 for more info about the market.

The Sons of Norway Idun Lodge will be buzzing this morning at Frokost, its semi-annual Norwegian smorgasbord brunch and accompanying bake sale. The menu at this all-you-can-eat buffet will include smoked salmon, herring, ham and sausages, cheeses, boiled eggs, lefse, fried cakes, heart waffles, crackers, breads and other baked goods, fruit soup, coffee, juice, and milk. Those looking to bring a little Norske spirit home will find lefse, coffee cakes, traditional Norwegian cookies like rosettes, krumkake, and sandbakkels, and other goods from books to "Take a Liking to a Viking" t-shirts at the sale. Idun Lodge, Sons of Norway, 2262 Winnebago St., 9 a.m.-noon, $9 adults and $4 kids 6-12. Call 277-8190 for more info.

The West Madison Jaycees are hosting an Easter egg hunt this morning, complete with games and drawings for prizes for the entire family. Kids participating in this springtime holiday tradition will be happy to learn that the Easter Bunny and Madison firefighters will be stopping by to join in the fun. Elver Park, 1236 McKenna Blvd., 11 a.m., free. Call 277-0737 for more info.

Madison resident Eric Johnson harvests gallons of blueberries outside his east side house every summer, despite difficulties posed by the city's calciferous soil and hard water. The basics of urban cultivation are the focus of his Introduction to Growing Blueberries in Dane County lecture, which will offer a practical guide for persons interested in trying their hand at the practice. The talk will cover site location, planting methods, threats, and water supply, particularly the issues of lime content and pH. Willy Street Coop, 1221 Williamson St., 2-4 p.m., $10 owners and $20 non-owners. Call 251-6776 for more info.

Sunday, March 28

The Madison Polish Heritage Club welcomes a new season at its Spring Festival, an annual celebration it holds on Palm Sunday. A luncheon of kielbasa and pierogi will be accompanied by a wide-ranging sale featuring traditional Polish baked goods, Polish artistic glassware, books, maps, and other imported craft items. Attendees will also find a display of Polish pisanki (Easter eggs) and baskets, a demonstration of egg painting, and children's activities. Immaculate Heart of Mary School, 4913 Schofield St., Monona, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., free. Call 798-1478 for more info.

Sap is flowing once again, and with the transition in the seasons the Aldo Leopold Nature Center invites families to partake in the bounty of Maple Syrup Fest, its annual celebration of the spring thaw. Ten indoor and outdoor stations set up across the center's grounds will guide visitors through the history, science, and production of maple syrup, from tree tapping to the bonfire boil. The sweetest part of the fest, though, will come in the form of raw sap tastings, cooking demonstrations, and ice cream sundaes topped with fresh maple syrup. Aldo Leopold Nature Center, 300 Femrite Dr., Monona, 1-3 p.m., $6 individuals and $20 families for members and $7 individuals and $25 families for non-members. Call 216-9371 for more info.

Harvest cruises far beyond its standard Wisconsin-raised culinary terrain with a seafood dinner this evening. The six-course menu created by Chef Derek Rowe features: crudo of fluke with radish; bay scallop hush puppies with lemon jam; mackerel in Scapeche and potato salad; grilled octopus and white beans, roasted wahoo with collards and bacon; and, shiso panna cotta. Every course will be paired with wines. Harvest, 21 N. Pinckney St., 6 p.m., $65. Call 255-6075 for reservations.

Monday, March 29

Whole Foods is hosting a vegetarian dinner this evening as a fundraiser for the Whole Planet Foundation, a non-profit founded by the natural foods chain that provides support to microcredit programs in the developing world. The menu will feature: Ethiopian-style chickpea stew, vegetable biryani with cashews, coconut bread, and mango agua fresca. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6-7:30 p.m., $15 donation. Call 233-9566 for more info.

Upcoming eats events

It's worth knowing about some events that require reservations farther in advance.

Monday, August 9

Accolades and honors continue to mount for the Underground Food Collective, which has been selected to prepare an Outstanding in the Fields farm-to-table dinner in Madison in August. A touring comestible showcase that seeks to bring diners as close as possible to the land that provides food and the people who work it, these locally-sourced meals are served atop an impressively long table that is oftentimes stationed in the middle of a host farm's field, an approach organizers describe as "a restaurant without walls." It returns to Dane County this summer with a dinner at Troy Gardens, with Claire Strader and Jake Hoeksema serving as the host farmers alongside Kris Noren and other members of the Collective in their role as chefs. It's far too early for a menu to be announced, but there's no doubt that the combination of setting and culinary provenance will once again make tickets to the dinner a hot commodity, no matter the price. Troy Gardens, 3601 Memorial Dr., 4 p.m., $180. Tickets for the dinner are expected to go on sale soon. Call 240-0409 for more info.

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