Whether it's healthier eating, a classy gift, a new and unique beer or just a good read, we think you'll find something you might like in our latest installment of tips, suggestions and recommendations.
Joining a CSA -- CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it's a great way for Milwaukeeans to buy seasonally fresh, locally produced food this summer and early fall. I have been a member of Pinehold Gardens for a couple of years, but there are over 100 Wisconsin farms offering this service to choose from. Know virtually nothing about how to get involved or where to find farm fresh food? The Urban Ecology Center hosts an open house this Saturday, March 13, which will feature more than two dozen area farmers. It gives the community an opportunity to see what each has to offer and to ask questions face to face. There is more information here. -- Julie Lawrence
Aquafier magnifier kit -- The Aquafier demonstrates the scientific principle of refractive index. OK. It's 92 percent efficient. I'll take their word for it. But the two lenses and two heavy duty rubber bands (one is a spare) that hold those lenses together once filled with water is great fun for a kid. THAT I can verify. Submerge the two lenses under water (although bubbles don't affect its performance, being a perfectionist, I worked hard at trying to avoid them, which was not easy) and wrap the band around the edge to keep the water in. Voila, instant magnifying glass. I'm a little embarrassed to note that while a little kid in the instructional video at myaquafier.com snaps the thing together in one try in far less than a minute, it took me a few tries and a few minutes to get it together. But once assembled, we had fun magnifying words in magazines, things around the house, etc. My kid, however, wondered if it was only safe for bathroom use. As long as you don't mess with the band, the Aquafier doesn't appear to leak. So, I say use it anywhere. -- Bobby Tanzilo
A monogramed glass cocktail shaker from PotteryBarn.com -- Looking for a gift that will dazzle the host at your next dinner party? Any idiot can pick out a decent bottle of wine. Why not go the extra yard and order this cool glass shaker with your friend's initial on it? You'll have to order in advance, obviously, but it's a great gift that will only set you back about $30. -- Drew Olson
Kehr's Chocolate Cinnamon custard -- I still long for a custard or ice cream destination Downtown. Kopp's, Ben and Jerry's, someone build a store in the largest city in America's Dairyland! Anyway, until I get my dream, Kehr's Candies in the Milwaukee Public Market is more than satisfying my occasional ice cream crave. It makes about 10 different flavors of custard, ice cream and sherbet and all are mighty tasty. My favorite is the bold and beautiful chocolate cinnamon. Certain that I'd never seen this mixture in custard, I tried it last week on a sugar cone. Wow. It's great. The cinnamon blends into the chocolate to create a lovely taste explosion. You've got to try this stuff. -- Jeff Sherman
Stevens Point Brewery 2012 Black Ale -- This unusual brew from Point looks like a stout in the glass, though with a duskier head than, say, a Guinness. But it has a less heavy body and very different taste, of course. Available since March 1, this ale is made with pale, Munich and roasted malts and a mix of Saaz hops from the Czech Republic and Cluster and Cascade hops from the American northwest. The result is a smokey ale with an ever so slight burnt edge. Served cold, it's a lot more refreshing than you might think and in this era when breweries are all making fruity novelty beers, this is a new product I can get interested in. The name, by the by, comes from the Mayan round calendar that, according to the beer's label, "ends ominously on Dec. 21, 2012. This date is the inspiration for the name of this ale." -- Bobby Tanzilo
Dress shoes from Allen-Edmonds -- A couple years ago, I won a romantic weekend package from a local hotel in a raffle. Despite my then-better half standing right next to me, I traded it in for a gift certificate to the Port Washington-based shoemaker. Sure, it was one of the many gaffes that led to my eventual dumping but you know what? I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Almost five years later, my Allen-Edmonds "Birmingham" wing tips are still dispelling the notion that I'm nothing more than a poorly-dressed sportswriter with little knowledge of how to present himself in a classy situation. The shoes are pricey, but I'm telling you (as somebody that, due to awkwardly sized and formed feet, goes through shoes a a ridiculous rate) these things last. They're also among the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. I still can't comprehend why women spend hundreds on multiple pairs of shoes, but every guy should make the investment and have a pair of these in his closet. -- Andrew Wagner
Hacienda del Plata's Zagal Malbec -- A New York Times article a few years ago made this delightful export from Argentina tough to find, but it's worth the effort. It's lively, fruity and delicious when you're throwing something on the grill. -- D.O.
"The Boys of Winter" by Wayne Coffey -- Coffey's book chronicling the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team -- and the game which made it famous -- came out five years ago, but much like the actual "Miracle on Ice," the story is timeless. Coffey walks you through the game by delving into the backgrounds of the coaches and players that upset the mighty Soviets and went on to win gold in Lake Placid. Even if you're just a casual sports fan, you'll want this in your collection. -- A.W.