Monday, September 9, 2013

#MKEFoodies - Wild Earth Cucina Italiana

Tonight, I had the opportunity to experience a dining venue at Potawatomi Bingo Casino like many won't be able to. Wild Earth Cucina Italiana is not typically open on Mondays, but for the #mkefoodies group, we were treated to a special night of food and drinks in a food station atmosphere.

The restaurant ambiance has a warm, earthy feel to it, with natural stone on the pillars, brown tones and foliage. Large booths were against the walls and tables filled the middle of the dining room.

We were greeted by Paul & Lori of the #mkefoodies group and provided aprons from Wild Earth with a pocket full of swag. The swag included poker chip mints, green apple lip balm, a recipe, info on Potawatomi and menus from the restaurant. Prices were extremely reasonable for what the ambiance portrayed and I couldn't wait to dig in.

The first stop we made was to the "make your own flatbread" line. A counter of toppings was laid out for us to fill our plates with. Then we put our name on a card and chose our sauce and in about 10 minutes our name would be called for our flatbread as they made it fresh in their wood fire grill.

If you have been following along, I am on a flatbread kick lately (see this too, and this)! I chose sausage, tomatoes, marinated red peppers, mushrooms, and artichokes and they added fresh mozzarella to it for cooking.

We stopped at the Italian soda station next and asked what was recommended. Our Barista suggested a sugar free Raspberry soda with lime and Tiffany went for that. I am still on a Mango kick and she suggested getting the soda with cream for a true dreamsicle experience. The whole station took me back to childhood with getting phosphates from Chocolate Factory with my grandma. And before the Carroll University bookstore cafe changed hands, they used to have Italian creme sodas and I would treat myself to those quite often between classes. It was delicious and hit the spot. 

We then went and got carved beef over mashed potatoes. I'm a meat and potatoes kid and the potatoes were buttery, garlicky goodness. The meat was a little too rare for me in the middle, but had great flavor on the outer edge. Tiffany went back for a second piece that was a bit more done later in the night and thought it was spectacular.

Tiffany brought back the Salmon Penne for us to split and it reminded me of a widely-loved special from Gondola Grille (now Jose's Blue Sombrero on Bluemound) with a rich buttery, cream sauce. It was soooo delicious. I always forget how much flavor peas and asparagus can add to a dish. I will definitely be making this at home because they provided us the recipe.

Next our flatbreads came and it looked so much better than I could have imagined. I selected the garlic and oil as that is what I used on mine at home. The veggies did make the middle of the flatbread a little soggy, but the flatbread itself was really good. I couldn't put my finger on it, but the dough or oil that was used had a nutty taste. I didn't mind, but I couldn't figure it out.

Tiffany went wandering for a bit while I captured a few more pictures and found the Caprese salads. The fresh mozzarella was salted and peppered lightly over a ripe juicy tomato and drizzled with oil. A piece of their dinner Ciabatta bread was put on the side and I used it to soak up the olive oil. This was delicious.

And then there was even dessert - pistachio, cherry and chocolate gelato with a vanilla wafer cone and chocolate biscotti. The gelato was nice and creamy and I used the cone to scoop my gelato with for a good crunchy bite. The biscotti tasted like a deliciously fudge brownie edge with a sweetness in the aftertaste that was somewhat fruity. Again, another unexpected, but lovely flavor. 

After the event ended, we went to the Fire Pit Sports Bar & Grill for a nightcap and were greeted by two handsome, young and fun bartenders. Not only was I mistaken by a security guard for being 22 (+10 mister but thanks!), but the bartenders were really fun to chat with and it was a great way to end our evening.

I highly recommend checking out Wild Earth Cucina Italiana and really any of the other restaurants in the Casino. I have eaten at Spit Fires before and I have heard good things about the new buffet, nothing about the Asian place, but it's been there for a while so it must be good.

Consider coming to an #mkefoodies event soon. This even was a $20 charge for all that food, but most events are much less than that. Follow the group on Facebook and Twitter for updates about upcoming events.

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