The 2013 Good Food Award finalists have been announced for excellence in conscientious food production. Wisconsin producers on the list are Milwaukee's Lakefront Brewery, for two of its "My Turn" beers, Luther and Wisconsinite; Madison's Underground Meats, for its coppa and goat salami; Carr Valley Cheese for its cave-aged Marisa; Crave Brothers for its Petit Frère; CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley for its CROPP Blue cheese; Uplands Cheese for its Pleasant Ridge Reserve; and Kickapoo Coffee for its Ethiopian Organic Yirgacheffe. There were 184 finalists from 31 states. Winners - 100 of them - will be announced at a ceremony in San Francisco on Jan. 18.
Speaking of local producers, Yahara Bay Distillers is launching its new Seraphine Chai Tea vodka Thursday, Dec. 6. The launch party is 5-10 p.m. at the distillery, 3118 Kingsley Way. Yahara Bay is distinguishing the product via the label art, by Brazilian-born UW-Madison instructor Jonatas Chimen. The launch will include distillery tours, samples, live music by Frank Busch of Mighty Short Bus, food, and drinks featuring Seraphine. Chimen will autograph bottles.
And Quince & Apple's latest "cocktail box" is almost out. Four times a year, the local preserves and syrups maker puts together a craft cocktail kit with the ingredients (minus the alcohol), the recipe and even an instructional video. The latest, shipping Dec. 17, is a holiday mulled wine kit, with Q & A's tart cherry grenadine syrup, orange marmalade with lemons, mulling spices, honey from Wisconsin Natural Acres and a fresh lemon. Madisonians can pick up their boxes to save on shipping cost. See quinceandapple.com or call 608-301-5433.
Changes: Bunky's has opened a deli/takeout outpost in Westport at 5440 Willow Rd. (for practical purposes, this is Hwy. M), former site of Deli Delicious. Currently it is serving lunch Tuesday-Friday; dinner will begin Dec. 12. Hours will be Tues. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Wed.-Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Limited seating is available. Call-in orders are welcome at 608-310-2221.
Cocina Real, formerly at 6230 University Ave. in Middleton, has moved to 2518 Allen Blvd., former site of Tapas Rias. Cocina Real is one of the Laredo's family of restaurants. It has a new phone number: 608-831-0528.
Logan's Madtown, 332 W. Johnson, closed without warning on Monday after trouble with the city over its volume of alcohol sales.
Traveler's Hearth, a gaming place and coffeehouse that opened a little over a month ago at 2831 Parmenter St., Middleton, has closed. In addition to stocking games that customers could try out and buy, Traveler's Hearth served a full slate of coffee drinks, salads and sandwiches, plus a handful of dinner entrees.
An announcement on the business' Facebook page stated that "It is with a heavy heart that we must announce that we have permanently closed the doors of Traveler's Hearth Café & Games. We are working to keep our absence from being a permanent one, but for the time being, we cannot continue operation. It is our dearest hope that we may be able to return to the Madison area in the future and continue to provide a venue for great coffee, great games and great friends."
Traveler's Hearth was located at the site of the onetime Blue Spoon Cafe, which had been empty since 2010.