What We Love About This Year's Honorees

Chocolate Champ

Gail Ambrosius is on a chocolate trip—and she wants us to come with her. So if you want to taste “lemon groves and the steamy tropical sun” or perhaps “a Nutella crepe from a Parisian street cart” try her lemongrass ginger or hazelnut chocolates, respectively. But you don’t have to fly overseas to take your tastebuds to a whole new level—just stop by the chocolatier’s cute storefront on Atwood to try her twenty-one dark chocolate varieties. New this summer are fruit and chocolate sorbets, or pick up her seasonal S’mores Kit, featuring seventy-percent dark chocolate, handmade marshmallows and Madison’s Potters Crackers.

Ode to NOLA

Eating in the basement isn’t as grim as it sounds here—in fact, Louisianne’s Etc. is dedicated to honoring one of the most vivacious and
celebratory cuisines—New Orleans and Cajun. Like New Orleans, the building is packed with history: the 1850s building was destroyed in a fire in the 1900s, says owner John Hosking, but the basement remained. So diners nibble on house specialties seafood au gratin, catfish and tenderloin cordon bleu in hip, historic surroundings. 


Many golf courses rely on landscape designers’ brains and heavy machinery’s brawn to create the perfect combination of challenging holes amid beautiful surroundings. University Ridge, home to the UW men’s and women’s golf teams and the Boy’s and Girl’s State High School Tournament, is a breathtaking and historic exception. Its natural, undulating terrain was carved out by southern Wisconsin’s glacial past and today the Ice Age Trail, one of only eight designated National Scenic Trails, runs through part of the course and is open to hikers. This year marks its twentieth anniversary. (BN)

Best Bargains

Seasoned shoppers know something the rest of us don’t: you don’t have to spend a ton of money to look good. ReThreads on State Street is the answer to our fashion equation and if you’re looking for chic on the cheap, it’s the place to go. We’ve seen several items with the tags still on (!) selling here for a quarter of the price—as well as gorgeous vintage pieces, sassy stilettos (usually unworn), jackets, costume jewelry, premium denim and more. The racks are plentiful but not packed like some thrift shops, and staffers are customer friendly as well as refreshingly discriminating on what they’ll take from consignors.

Record Speeds

Smart Motors, one of the nation’s oldest car dealerships (founded in 1908) is embracing the new this year with Hybrids on Parade. On July 24 the dealership is inviting 500 hybrid drivers to join a parade that’ll start at Smart and end at the Green Drive Expo at the Alliant Energy Center. The goal? To break the Guinness Book of World Record’s longest hybrid vehicle parade (Belgium currently holds it with 140 cars). Better watch out for traffic that day, though: organizers expect the line to be six miles long!

— SM

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