May 2013

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play with your food Simple Sips New Zealand Sauvignon... Better than ever! By Karen Eigenberger A south-side bakery with south-of-the-border charm By Michael and Jean Muckian It's the jangly strains of Mexican pop music that draw you in, and the fragrant aromas of fresh bakery that keep you there. From the savory "pan de anis" to the sweet, whimsical puerquito, the little storefront's atmosphere is alive with sounds, sights and scents of a typical "panadería." Welcome to La Concha Bakery and Deli, a vibrant source of authentic foods from Mexico on Fish Hatchery Road. The bakery was recently launched by Tomas Ballesta, who's carved out a remarkable 35-year career as a local restaurateur known for establishments like Paco's, Tio Pepe's, L'Escargot and La Paella. Ballesta sold La Paella in 2005, but discovered that retirement wasn't for him, and set out on his next culinary adventure. A native of Spain and graduate of France's Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, Ballesta and his wife vacationed every winter for 14 years in Acapulco. Ballesta fell in love with the city's flavorful baked goods. Ballesta returned from one trip with a baker, several chefs and a cake specialist in tow to start his own bakery in Madison. Mexican bakeries stand out for their celebrations of pastry. The portions are ample, the flavors rich and the contents 58 BRAVA Magazine May 2013 varied in their approaches. Cheese and chilies, anise and orange add to the savory flavor of "bolillos," footballshaped rolls, and "teleras," the elongated, disc-shaped bread used for sandwiches. Cinnamon and sugar add to the sweet dough used to make "besos," two cookies that "kiss," held together by frosting. The bakery's namesake "concha" is a sweet bread that looks like a large seashell. La Concha bakes these and other delicacies by the hundreds each week to satisfy the hungry, largely Hispanic crowd. All the signage and deli menus are in Spanish, but the cheerful staff are happy to translate. Come Cinco de Mayo on May 5, a day devoted to celebrating Mexican heritage and pride, chances are the conchas and other baked good will really fly out the door. That's when La Concha will realmente brillar, or really shine. Michael and Jean Muckian have covered the local food and arts scenes for more than 25 and 15 years, respectively. Find them online at the Culturosity blog on Cheers! Karen Eigenberger is partner at STEVE'S Wine-Beer-Spirits on Mineral Point Road. Visit Photo by Sarah Maughan Viva La Concha! I have been in the wine business for almost two decades now (Yikes, how old does that make me?) and I have tried more than my share of wines. I remember a particular time about 10 years ago when every wine vendor had me trying—and loving—New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. These bright, grapefruity white wines were the new rage for wine lovers. Well, just like '80s music and mall bangs, my love affair with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc ended. For the past few years I have continued to try these wines, but am always left with a "been there, done that" feeling. Just the smell of these wines has made me turn up my nose the same way I do when I see fluorescent clothing in stores. Sometimes you can have too much of something. Well, welcome back '80s music and acid-wash jeans! On a recent spring trip to Florida with my family, I found myself sitting at a beachfront restaurant with the bustle of oysters being shucked next to me, the sun shining brightly, me sipping a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc—and loving it! All the good things I originally loved in these wines was back in my mind and mouth. This white wine gem was fresh, crisp and lively with a tinge of freshly squeezed grapefruit flavors coming through. Sunshine in a glass! These wines scream spring and summer. They're a perfect pair for briny, fresh oysters. Welcome back, old friend! Some of my favorite New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs to try: • reywacke: Small, artisan producer, G long finish • im Crawford: Easy to find, consistent K quality and style • og Point: Elegant and refined, D smooth

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