Mar/Apr
2017

Haute Cuisine: "Oui, Madame!" La Cuisine Francaise Chez Vouz–French Cooking at Your House

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Written by Emily Watkins Photography by Dawn Sanborn Photography

have a not-so-secret passion for France. I’ve studied the language and culture for almost 25 years and have lived, gone to school and worked there for a combined two years. French food provides vivid memories: creamy butter on fresh bread and croissants on a slow morning in Paris, fresh seafood on the coast of Brittany, lettuce tossed with vinaigrette, waiting for the cheese course after a long Sunday afternoon dinner with family.

“Haute cuisine,” according to Wikipedia, is food served at “high level” establishments, gourmet restaurants and luxury hotels, characterized by meticulous preparation and careful presentation, at a high price level, enjoyed with expensive wines. While there are many restaurants like this in France (as well as here in the U.S.), by and large, the cooking that happens in the home in France is simple and straightforward, eating to savor delicious food while enjoying time with friends and family. 

FRENCH CUISINE WITH A TWIST

Rochester is home to many classically trained chefs who add riffs to classic French fare. Bleu Duck Kitchen offers top-notch cuisine, wines and cocktails in a “fun-dining” atmosphere. Casablanca Creative Cuisine & Wine allows diners to get close to fine French dining without leaving the city limits, and owner and chef Youness Bojji might even teach you a little French. ZZest brings you the most amazing selection of cheeses from France and everywhere else, modern dishes and fabulous cocktails. All three restaurants present incredibly creative dishes that will delight your palette.

 

Champagne is a region in northern France where true champagne is made. In other countries it’s known as a sparkling wine. In the Champagne region, the climate is cool, and the soil is chalky and rocky. Growing in these elements keeps the grapes from losing their acidity, creating crisp, dry flavors. However, sugar can be added to champagne to add a touch of sweetness. The three main grapes used to create champagne are chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.

Champagne is not just for celebrations. Break out the bubbly on a random Tuesday evening and let the bubbles dance across your palate while dining on burgers, deep-fried cheese curds or fried chicken.

TESSA'S TWO CENTS

Tessa Leung, owner of Tessa’s Office wine boutique, has a deeply rooted relationship with champagne. In fact, her dream job is to be a champagne ambassador. 

 

Christina Ganfield was searching for friends—the kind of friends that only come from shared loves and losses, the kind from home. Home for Christina is Malaysia, seemingly a world away from Rochester, Minnesota. She tried to be a part of different social groups, but nothing ever seemed to fit. Many people she met grew up in Rochester and already had well-established social circles and family support. It was hard to break into that kind of shared history when trying to connect with other women.

One day, while at Christ Community Church, Nancy Dockter, the women’s ministry leader at the time, approached Christina and Rodica Alexander about starting an international group for women. Nancy had come across a resource for women’s groups that offered a monthly conversation prompt. In the summer of 2013, they organized the first International Table. Over the years, the group has brought together between eight and 10 women monthly. Most of the women are from other countries, but the group has several Americans (of mixed or no strong foreign ethnicity) too. The group currently has members from Malaysia, Sierra Leone, Canada, Louisiana, Chicago, Illinois (married to an American born Japanese), China, Korea, Taiwan, Long Island, New York and Romania.

 

Jerry Holecek didn’t take a gradual approach in remodeling the country rambler that he grew up in during the 70s and 80s. He modernized both the house and its surrounding grounds in a year-plus remodeling binge. “It’s quite a transformation,” Jerry says. “There was updating done inside and out.” 

Jerry made much of the transformation possible with his own expertise. He owns and operates H&H Company of Rochester, LLC, which builds custom homes, remodels residences and specializes in unique decks, porches and other outdoor structures. He spent his workweek putting up other clients’ homes and then went home to fix up his own house, located just inside the Dodge County line south of U.S. Highway 14. 

MODERN WITH RURAL REMINDERS 

Jerry and his partner, Kim Banfield, describe the style of their home as a “modern farmhouse,” placing the emphasis on “modern.”

The couple created an open design in the main living areas, featuring plenty of space and some accents reminding them of the home’s rural heritage. They tied them with a light gray color scheme and brown, rustic-looking wood laminate floors. They wanted their surroundings to be flexible for decor. “Gray is the new neutral,” Kim notes.   

 

Heather Woitas, owner of Cherished seconds, was raised by parents who enjoyed do-it-yourself projects and home remodeling. Heather's dad told her that if she wanted a new bedroom, she would have to build it herself. So she did, and she loved the challenge.

To this day, Heather credits her father’s love of DIY for instilling her passion for refurbishing and restoring vintage and unique items. She isn’t afraid of hands-on work, either. In fact, she relishes it. “There is something to be said about a woman using power tools and using them proficiently. I used to borrow my dad’s tools, but now I have more saws than he does,” she says.  

CHERISHED SECONDS

Heather’s store, Cherished Seconds, opened in Stewartville in 2015. “When I first opened the shop, I needed the trifecta: a place to sell, a place to teach and supplies for people who want to do it themselves.” 

 

Mar/Apr
2017

Spring Gardening: A Time of Renewal and Rebirth

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Written by Cindy Mennenga

It’s always a sure sign that spring is just around the corner when the seed and flower catalogs begin arriving in the mail. Spring is such a hopeful time of year, and the prospect of seeing young shoots break through the soil can help pass those seemingly endless winter evenings. Leafing through colorful catalogs helps people dream about spring, with its longer days and the awesome flowers and edibles they may want to plant.

GARDEN TRENDS 

Spring is, of course, the busiest time of the year at area garden centers. Nina Sargent, co-owner of Sargent’s, says, “There is definitely a shift toward more folks growing their own veggies.” She shares that people want to control what they are eating and know how their produce
was grown. She adds that the availability of organic products that
really do work has contributed to this growing trend.

 

Mar/Apr
2017

Body Contouring: Weight Loss and Skin Removal

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Written by Brittney Marschall

After losing a significant amount of weight, extra skin can make it difficult to manage a healthy, active lifestyle or a more sleek and toned appearance. Body contouring can remove excess skin and fat tissue from one or more areas of the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, chest, arms or breasts. 

BODY CONTOURING CHOICES

Body contouring involves many choices. One of the most important is choosing a surgeon you can trust. There are several options here
in Rochester.

Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) offers reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. Dr. Srdan Babovic and the newest member of the OMC plastic surgery department, Dr. Ghassan Mehio, share a passion for helping people look their best. Dr. Babovic has been a practicing plastic surgeon since 2000 and is named one of America’s Top Plastic Surgeons according to Consumers’ Research Council of America (Reconstructive Surgery Liposuction Facts, Tummy Tuck). OMC cooperates with other doctors and specialists in many medical groups, including Mayo Clinic and private practitioners. 

 

Mar/Apr
2017

Only Half (13.1) Crazy: Journey of Four Non-Traditional Runners

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Written by Stephanie J. Sawyer

Brenda Shamblin, Mandy Wanzek, Kathy Johnson and I were all acquaintances, and we have become very close friends over the past four years. Our journey started in 2012 when we met at Moms on the Run, a running group for moms of varying fitness levels. The program’s support system of coach and team community has been life-changing for many moms who said, “I couldn’t run around the block,” and are now running half marathons. This was true for us, and our group catapulted us into a world where we didn’t think we belonged. 

MOTIVATION

Last year, we decided to set a lofty goal. We signed up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas, Nevada. We followed the Hal Higdon training plan for half marathon training. We did short runs during the week and long runs on the weekend. Time constraints were definitely the biggest challenge for us. We are all working moms, and carving out the time for training was difficult. We ran three mornings a week at 5:30 a.m. It wasn’t easy, but I can speak for all of us when I say it was well worth it.

 

Mar/Apr
2017

Travel Insurance: Peace of Mind for Unexpected Travel Changes

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Written by Catherine H. Armstrong

Spring Break is fast approaching, so families and students may be looking to escape the blustering cold of Minnesota in favor of more moderate temperatures. But what happens if weather or other personal factors creep up and your travel plans are delayed or cancelled completely?  The solution for all things is to take advance precautions, and travel is no different. By considering the advantages of travel insurance, you can rest easy that any change of plans can be only temporary.

Marcy Jacobson, owner of Adler’s Travel, is a strong proponent of travel insurance. “Clients buy insurance on themselves, their homes and cars; they need to insure their vacations, as well,” she states. 

 

The Rochester International Film Festival (RIFF) is a one-week event, screening approximately 20 films not otherwise available to people in southeastern Minnesota. The festival runs from April 21-27, 2017 and is hosted by the Rochester International Film Group (RIFG).

Jan Behrens, RIFG board member, explains, “Our basic goal is to provide a local opportunity to see world cinema. And, movies are always better in a theater.” In addition to international films, one or more Minnesota filmmakers attend the showings to answer audience questions. “Two years ago,” Behrens recalls, “we showed a Minnesota-made film called ‘Miss Tibet: Beauty in Exile.’ The filmmaker talked afterward about how she happened to make a movie about a young gal living in the Twin Cities who traveled all the way to India to be in the Miss Tibet contest. Fascinating!”

 

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