A look back: More than a restaurant bar

On Monday, May 14, a night Braise is typically closed, the bar was open. Braise hosted the MixTape Cocktail Competition Wisconsin Semi-Finals in partnership with Copper & Kings American Brandy Company.



Drinks from Roger Barts, the competitions victor.

The competition, consisting of six competitors from the Midwest’s best cocktail creators, focused on the relationship between drinks and music. Competitors were given 15 minutes to set up, prepare and make 3 of their drinks. They then were asked to explain the inspiration behind the drink and how it pairs with their chosen album, artist or song.

Braise hosted the competition thanks to bar manager, Nick Duhamel, who, when approached about bringing the competition to Braise, accepted without hesitation.



Duhamel (left)

“I love bringing awareness to Braise as a cocktail bar within a restaurant and this was a really fun way to do that,” Duhamel said.

In the end, Roger Barts of Heritage Tavern in Madison, WI arose the competitions victor. It was also a success in showing that Braise has more than just a typical restaurant bar. Duhamel says that being around the cocktail bar crowd was inspiring for Braise’s own drink creations.

“Doing themes is always a fun way to put out drinks,” Duhamel said. “And it’s a great way to engage people.”


John Waters-inspired drinks; crybaby, pink flamingo, and divine waters.

Braise recently put out drinks themed around the films of John Waters in celebration of Milwaukee’s Pride weekend. Check out Braise’s bar during normal hours of operation. http://www.braiselocalfood.com/

A look back: Igniting a renewed passion for food

Morel Hunt 2018

On Saturday, May 19, a group of curious foragers joined Braise owner and head chef Dave Swanson in La Grange, Wisconsin for Braise’s annual morel mushroom hunt.

The group collected for coffee and pastries early in the morning before heading out to explore the Southern Kettle Moraine in search of the delicious and edible fungus. They learned from Swanson’s expertise on how to spot and harvest morels, as well as other useful foraging skills such as how to identify a “false morel.” Thankfully, the weather was nice (for Spring in Wisconsin) and the group stuck some luck. Together, they amassed around 10 pounds of morels!



Morel mushrooms are one of the most easily identifiable mushrooms found in Wisconsin. When rainfall and sunlight strike the right balance, the fungus usually begins to emerge in the late days of March throughout May.

Not only are morel mushrooms easy to spot, they’re known to be a delicious and savory treat. After the group finished foraging, Swanson cooked the group a delightful lunch filled with their morel discoveries. Swanson believes it’s important to know that delicious ingredients, such as the morel, can be found in nature.

“People don’t always know what is okay to eat and what isn’t okay to eat in nature,” Swanson says. “There’s also a big difference between knowing what is edible and knowing what is good to eat. I think this is a perfect way to connect those two things.”


Swanson also notes that collecting your own ingredients is a great way to connect with the food you are eating and the natural environment around you.

“It’s all about reconnecting people with their food,” he says. “And spring is the perfect time to ignite a renewed passion for food.”

Braise’s morel hunt is an annual event. To be informed about next year’s hunt, visit our website or like us on Facebook! Support this story by visiting our Medium blog site