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Dobra's closure points to changes in Madison's tea, State St. business culture

Dobra's closure points to changes in Madison's tea, State St. business culture

On Dobra Tea’s last day in business, owner Adam Ernst invited the community to come visit the State Street shop to drink tea and shatter teapots from around the world.

The gesture offered him an opportunity to share some of the philosophies surrounding tea culture and to gain a sense of closure as the tea shop closed its doors Feb. 9 after five years in downtown Madison.

“Tea in general encourages us to embrace the imperfection in life, the impermanence in life, and thus smashing teaware is a kind of symbol to communicate to people,” Ernst said. “We need that sort of catalytic breaking, smashing and severing of all contacts in order to see and reunite them. Simply as a symbol of impermanence it seemed very effective.”

As a teenager, Ernst, a Madison native, discovered a passion for tea far from Wisconsin during a visit to the East Coast.

Supporters: Despite spills, manure digesters make positive impact

Supporters: Despite spills, manure digesters make positive impact

In November, a pipe ruptured on Dane County's community manure digester, which converts cow waste into power. About 360,000 gallons of manure flowed through a dry ravine, according to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bob Manwell. The spill entered a creek and reached the village of Waunakee, located more than two miles away, bringing with it an odor.

"As far as environmental damages, there was no immediate fish kill, which is a good sign," Manwell said. About 90 percent of the spill was cleaned up within a week, he said, but some of the spill, located in areas unreachable by equipment, remains.

"We're not saying there were no damages," Manwell said. "This is going to take some time, and we'll continue to monitor to see what impacts there may be."

$24M pavilions to replace Alliant Energy Center's barns

$24M pavilions to replace Alliant Energy Center's barns

Dane County will replace the Alliant Energy Center’s barns with multi-use pavilions in a $24 million project set to begin early next year.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Tuesday that the county will award a Middleton construction company a nearly $20.7 million contract to build the pavilions. 

The project is pending funding approval from the Wisconsin State Building Commission and the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

Middleton-based Miron Construction will build the pavilions that will create 290,000 square feet of multi-use space on the footprint of the Alliant Energy Center’s existing barns, according to a news release from Parisi’s office.

Demolition of the barns is expected to begin next year, with the project’s estimated completion in time for the 2014 World Dairy Expo.

Local food options open in Dane County Airport

Local food options open in Dane County Airport

Local options to grab a bite to eat have grown at the Dane County Airport.

The new Metcalfe's "Local To Go" Market opened Monday alongside the Great Dane and a recently re-branded and expanded Ancora Coffee as food options at the airport.

"It's important to have these here. This introduces people to the personality of our county with some of our restaurants and one of our themed coffee shops. It also is a nice place for people either leaving or coming who live here," said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.

The additions are part of a $250,000 investment.

The market and the second-floor Ancora can be found near gates 7 and 8. There's also an Ancora before the security check.

Food business incubator to open in north Madison

The city of Madison's North Side Council announced the opening of a new, million dollar, food business incubator on the 1200 block of Sherman Avenue.

The Food Enterprise and Economic Development kitchen is a 5,400 sq. ft. facility designed to accomodate mutiple service groups, training groups and food-processing projects.

According to a release, the $1.5 million facility is equipt with five commercial grade kitchens specializing in baking, canning, packing and preparing large amounts of food for catering or wholesale.

In addition to being a community-use facility, the council said in the release, it expects to add 25-35 full time jobs each year kitchens are open.

Madison park project goes back to drawing board

Madison park project goes back to drawing board

It's back to the drawing board for those creating a vision for Madison's Public Market.

Mayor Paul Soglin said the project may not be downtown and everything is back on the table. Soglin introduced a new consultant Tuesday who's beginning a new business plan for the proposed park.

Developing a new business plan could take six to eight months.

"We want to find a place for this that fits the vision and the program of uses and activities, and actual elements that will be in the market. We want a place that supports that," said Steve Davies, senior vice president of Project for Public Spaces.

The public will be invited to weigh in on the consultant's review, which is expected to cost $250,000.

Tasty breakfast at north-side Manna Cafe & Bakery

Tasty breakfast at north-side Manna Cafe & Bakery

By Michelle Li

You'll likely upgrade your breakfast standard once you've devoured a creamy, custardy plate of eggs at Manna Cafe and Bakery. Egg cookery is a specialty here, inspired by the great Julia Child and applied daily by owners Barb and Mike Pratzel.

"Breakfast is a big deal here," says Barb, who's spent nearly forty years in Madison using the science of cooking and the love of family to fill local bellies and hearts.

And the eggs are just the beginning.

"People will drive two hours to get the oatmeal pancakes," she says.

You're guaranteed to get a knock-your-socks-off morning meal, but the core of the cafe centers on the wide array of made-from-scratch Jewish breads -- from bialys to challah to the corn tzitzel rye bread made so famously by Mike's family at the iconic Pratzel Bakery in St. Louis.