Sunday, December 30, 2007

Santa is a Stumpjumper

Happy New Year!

Last Friday, December 28th, Bobbi and Doug from the "Out n' About in Manitowoc County" radio program visited with Santa Claus while broadcasting live from the North Pole. You can hear their 30-minute program by going to the web address below, scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking on the audio file play button. See if you can guess who Santa sounds a lot like.

Also, we're filling up our music and event calendar over the next few days so be sure to go to our myspace site and mark your own calendar with some of those things that we've got going on:

Have a safe and fun New Year celebration.

David & Kim and Glen & Stef

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kelly & Derek gigs this past weekend

Last Saturday night was a blast. Kelly Underwood played to a standing room only crowd and everyone had a great time. Derek (Pritzl) performed to a good audience (many of the same faces both nights) on Friday night (the 21st) and he was just as outstanding. This was a great weekend of music and fun with Kelly and Derek...a very nice way to slide into Christmas and kiss 2007 goodbye.

I've linked below to a couple of Flickr sets from both nights. And check back on our myspace site in a few days as we pull together the music calendar for the first part of 2008.

Kelly's Flickr here.
Derek's Flickr here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Derek Pritzl's Saturday night gig

Here's some Flickr images from last Saturday night's soirée with Derek Pritzl. We had a real nice crowd...people were totally into Derek's performance. The guys was a machine...didn't take a break for over two hours (I think he lost several pounds in sweat and energy), playing almost entirely his own tunes (including one or two that he wrote that very week). Derek will be playing here again on Friday, December 21st (and Kelly Underwood will be here the day after, Saturday the 22nd). Check out the rest of the pics here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Manitowoc Coffee

Yesterday (Monday) Kim and I stopped in to the new Manitowoc Coffee shop at 836 S. 8th in the old Kresge building...and I am writing this post from there today as well as we stopped in with my laptop to check mail before heading home from grocery shopping. This place has a very nice feel to it...the ambiance is warmly urban and inviting, with light brick and dark wood throughout, a softly hued tile floor and three flat screen televisions that project a rotating series of vintage images of downtown Manitowoc. Dark wood tables and chairs and a few luxurious leather chairs and couches make for comfortable sitting. They have done a really beautiful job in creating a warm and relaxing space.

Yesterday, Holly (I believe she said that she is the general manager of the building...forgive me if I got that wrong, Holly) was manning the counter and espresso machine...and the service both yesterday and today (different folks running the shop today) has been expedient and very friendly. I like the logo of the business too; a silhouette of recognizable Manitowoc landmarks, that also dovetails nicely with their tagline of "Your Community, Your Coffee" (although, according to Holly, they use Cedarburg Coffee Roastery. I might think they would use Two Rivers Roasting if they wished to really stay true to the "Your Community, Your Coffee" line...but that may be a minor quibble...or maybe not...).

In any event, it's great to have this place open in downtown Manitowoc. It is a wonderful-looking cafe and the folks staffing it seem to be excited and very keen on doing it right. After they get their website up and running we'll link to it. It's a great addition to the community and I have a feeling that they will do very well (I've always said that it's better for everyone, both businesses and the buying public, to have more choices). Check them out next time you're downtown in Manitowoc. Kim wants to get going so I have to cut this short.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christmas parade tonight

The "Christmas Fantasy Parade" (a title that promises far more than it can likely deliver) is tonight...5:30...downtown Two Rivers...runs right by the Stump. Derek Pritzl plays at around 8:00 (see below).
Angel & Bobbi doing some illegal gambling while waiting for the parade to start.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nudity! Censorship! Protestors! Bears Smoking Cigarettes!

The coffee buying public expresses outrage at Stumpjack art exhibition!

(well, maybe not the "public," per se...
...and maybe not exactly "outrage"...
...and maybe not...ok, ok, it was one lady,
and she politely scolded me...
...but it could've easily gotten out of hand,
with stuff getting broken and picket lines and tear gas and paddy wagons...
...hey, coulda happened...)

Click here for the story.

Updates and Flickr photos

Nick doin' his thang...

Ok, these last couple weeks have seemed hectic, yet I can't really think of anything substantively out of the ordinary that I got accomplished. Here, finally, are some images from the last few weeks of partying and music. Click on the purple text links for the Flickr pic.

November 3, 2007: Stumpjack One-Year Anniversary Party
Marty's Flickr pics of the evening again.

Nick Venturella Nov 9, 2007

Full house for Nick Venturella...Nick was a blast, lots of fun and silliness, interaction with the crowd, and some mighty fine music from this singer/songwriter from my old stompin' ground in Madison. We're planning on having Nick back sometime soon.

TRiP Nov 16, 2007

TRiP was just that...not music in the familiar, traditional sense. Here's what I wrote on the HTR Forum, along with a couple of responses from people who were here.

"The trio of upright bass, electronic cello and keyboard/accordion, performed what was in many ways an experiment in aural stimulation and sound. It was very much a free form, electronica and jazz improvisation performance from the three artists (from Chicago, Milwaukee and Manitowoc, respectively).

If I had to describe what they did I might also add that it was at times very intriguing and engrossing, and at times almost painful and unsettling...but always interesting. The interesting thing, as it relates to the subject of this thread on the power of music, is how people reacted to it. There were those who were totally into it, trying to follow and figure out where the piece might be going, and how each musician was playing off the others. And then there were those who thought it was just too weird, too harsh, too non-melodic, too unfamiliar...those people didn't like it at all, even to the point of appearing irritated and expressing themselves rudely to what they were hearing. Attentiveness and applause from one contingent...disregard and disrespect from another.

I occasionally wonder if the prevailing musical taste in our area is automatically antagonistic to anything that ISN'T a polka, punk or pop cover band. It was nice to see at least a few folks last night who were willing to entertain the idea of something completely different."

A few responses:

My family appreciates the local injection of diverse musical styles found at Stumpjacks. Thanks, David, for taking the risk of doing something new. We had fun last night and were lucky to get a table. You may have to invest in some folding chairs - or knock out a wall.

The urban atmosphere at Stumpjacks reminded us of being downtown Mad Town. If I didn't recognize the building across the street...

-- Gopnot

Although the music last night at the Stump was not 'my cup of tea' I am continually thankful for David broadening my mind. We were pretty sure we hear a rendition of happy birthday in there - and David - I would have applauded - but I was never quite sure when a song ended. lol.

-- Outnabout

I appreciate most sorts of music and was at Stumpjack for TrIP. I didn't recognize it as music at all, but it's great that [Stumpjack] brings those types of performers to Two Rivers. I didn't stay to listen because I just couldn't get into it at all - but it would have been the same case if it would have been a old style country band.

-- TR

Y'all have an outstanding Thanksgiving now! Be thankful for, among many other things, your family and friends...and for good coffee too!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Anniversary Party Pics

Ok, here's a few images from last Saturday's Stumpjack Coffee's One-Year Anniversary Party.

John Will Balsley was outstanding as he played some great bluesy tunes, including some on steel guitar. My amigo Larry on the right...lookin' pretty fit there bro!

Lots of people dressed up; lots of coffee, wine and beer was consumed; lots of good vibes and warm compliments from all the Stumpjumpers in attendance. We're thinking of hosting parties like this (maybe themed costume parties...can you say "toga!") at least a couple times a year now.

We drew names and a bunch of people won stuff, and I'll put the names and prizes up on the next thread (gotta finish this one up now). That' me above there, gettin' some lovin' from my own personal prizes (Debbie and Laurie..."StumpBunnies").

Go here to see a Flickr set of images from the evening courtesy of our pal Marty ("Thing 2") "View as slide show" in the upper right corner when you get there.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Nick Venturella...This Friday, Live Baby!

I'll post some images and whatnot from Saturday night's anniversary party, but first I need to let you know that this Friday night we will having another fan-freaking-tastic night of live music, with Nick Venturella. We're not doing many Friday night gigs this year so this is an extra special night in that regard. Nick will have his CDs available for signing as well. Here's the press release:

Friday, November 9th at 8:00 pm...Nick Venturella at Stumpjack Coffee!

Nick is a folk-rock/garage/pop singer-songwriter who delivers smart songs with simplistic savvy. He has been writing and performing his music for a little over a decade. His music stems from personal experiences and observations of life, relationships and self-awareness.

Nick's acceptance of various influences allows his sound to be versatile and forever evolving. Plus, with a loose personable performance style, Venturella connects well with his audiences making each show a memorable one.

Music has afforded Nick the opportunity to open for and work with some outstanding performers, including: Jason LaVasseur, Copeland (Yes, the same Copeland that is on the MySpace Records Compilation), Catchpenny, Life in General, Fade 2 Shade, John Hermanson (of Alva Star and Storyhill), and Ryan McIntyre (formerly of EXIT).

Nick has recorded and released six CDs, including the just released "Premium Blend," a collection of live performances, demos and Holiday tracks. He is also currently compiling information for a book on independent musicians and performers in Wisconsin. College radio, word-of-mouth and "through the grapevine" fan distribution have grown a loyal following for this Midwestern D.I.Y. independent.

As with all shows at Stumpjack Coffee the only cover charge required is the purchase of a drink.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Click on the image for a larger, clearer version.

I forgot to update this with more info like I said I would. Here's part of the text from the email we sent out to the Stumpers:

We are having a little soirée this coming Saturday, Nov 3rd from around 7:30 until around 10:00 at the Stump, as a way to say thanks to you for helping us survive the first year. It's something of a costume party too, although you are not absolutely required to wear anything other than your normal goofy apparel (some of you I wonder about)...but it is right on the heels of Halloween and so if you do wear something we're going to be taking some pictures throughout the night that will someday become a significant part of the Stumpjack Empire history and when the Stumpjack History Museum is erected and people enter the "One Year Anniversary Party" exhibit you can proudly point to yourself in the framed pictures and say to your great grandkids, "That's me there, kids...yup, that's me in the sexy pirate costume and there's your grampa next to me in the Tarzan get-up!" And of course the kids will go "oooooh...gramms and gramps, we had no idea you were so cool!"). But if I'm the only idiot wearing a costume all night that'll be okay too...

However, if you do come wearing a costume of any kind you will be the recipient of an extra little something special...(bwahahahaaaaaa...evil laugh...). Coffee drinks are on us this night too (of course decaff too, if you need it).

John Will Balsley from Milwaukee (and recently Chicago I guess...where he recorded his first CD) will be performing. He's a singer/songwriter in the old folk and blue tradition, and does some real nice guitar work too. Check out his music at his myspace site here (

Mark it down...Saturday, Nov. 3rd at around 7:30/8:00 pm. Stumpjack Anniversary Party. Bring the attached invitation in, print your name on it, and we'll throw it in a drawing for some cool stuff too.

Be there or live in shame!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Live Music at the Stump this weekend

Saturday night at around 8:00
Kerry Michaels doin' his thang...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stumpy on Don's Auto

Here's a cool pic from the home page of Don's Auto in Two Rivers. Our friend, John Hopkins, took the picture of this Hyundai Accent that they have spotlighted on their site in front of Stumpjack when he was in for his daily cup of coffee. There's the sidewalk sign peaking into the picture...they are sure to sell untold thousands of vehicles now! Thanks, John.

If you're looking for a vehicle please check them out...they're good folks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Derek Pritzl plays the Blues...

This Saturday night at 8:00 Derek Pritzl, of the 3-piece acoustic blues band Casual Steve will be performing at Stumpjack. Casual Steve played at this year's Acoustic Fest and blew everyone away with their sound. Derek plays and sings his own music with a powerful, bluesy vocal...the guy definitely has the sound.

Mark your calendar, tell a few of your friends, and come on down for a beer or java...and listen to some great, original unplugged roadhouse tunes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rosalee in Sheboygan last night

Last night I drove over to Paradigm the coffee house in Sheboygan to catch John and MJ again. It was a real treat to be able to just sit and listen and enjoy, without having to work while doing it...and it only made me appreciate the talent these guys have even more. MJ is an excellent guitar player, moving back and forth from 6-string to bass,and occasionally using a cool little gizmo called an Ebow to make some beguiling, haunting sounds. John is also a skilled player, but the thing that really grabs you while watching him is his voice, alternating between lilting, almost fragile sweetness to powerful and deep resonance. He sings with conviction and passion, and a clarity that draws you into the song like a good writer or poet's work should. MJ has a really fine voice as well, and his backup to John on several songs is rather beautiful.

The guys also make a great duo, MJ being more the outgoing "jester" of the two while John appears a bit more reserved, maybe shy even...they have a really nice stage presence together, one that encourages intimacy and directness with the audience. The songs are strong, passionate, fun, sad, melancholy, thoughtful, picturesque. Great stuff...

Thanks again John, thanks MJ...well worth the drive.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

RoMoRev...good Muscatine mojo...

John and MJ played last night to maybe the best Wednesday night crowd we've had at the Stump (Wednesdays are generally the slowest night of the week by far)...I'd say at its peak we had 60-65 people in the house, with others coming and going throughout the night. I walked around and chatted with several folks who told me how much they were digging the music, the drinks (made a few Doodah Smoothies too) and the whole vibe. Here's a few images from my crappy camera (have decided to start saving seriously for a new, good digital...too many of the crowd shots didn't turn out at all).

It was a fun day and a half with John and MJ...good humored, self-effacing and just dang nice guys...we most definitely want to have them back, maybe once or twice a year at least. We were able to get five decently recorded songs too, and we'll be gearing up for putting out a CD soon I hope. My daughter Jesse did a nice job on the video camera and got at least one song recorded nicely (haven't looked at the whole tape yet)...will put that up on here soon too.

The guys said that they had a great time and were pleasantly surprised at the diversity of the crowd we had...young and older, punks and church kids, yuppies and grandmas...nothing new for us, we've always enjoyed a real diverse group of friends and coffee lovers.

Earlier in the afternoon we went over to the Courthouse Pub in Manty for a mighty fine lunch and a couple of tasty microbrews from them (try the "fuggled" brew). After the gig we went over to Element for a drink from our friend and bartender el supremo, Justin. It was a tad difficult getting into work this morning...

When we get our web site up and running I intend to enrich these stories and accounts with more detail than I do here on the blog...but for now I'll just say that in the few hours we hung around together we think of John and MJ as dear friends (oh, and they're pretty good musicians too, btw...seriously, you ought to stop in and pick up a copy of their CD "Tablespoon" is simply excellent). Can't wait to have the guys back again.

Thank John, thanks travels and appreciative audiences...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Big News of the week (after the Packers-Bears game of course)

Ok, you know that we post our live music nights here and that I always say to come on over and have a great time with us...and that's always the gospel truth, those nights are always a good time. But this time I'm telling you to definitely ink your calendar and make plans to be here next Wednesday night, October 10th, because there're some guys coming who you really will be mighty pleased to see and hear. MJ Dunlap and John Watkins from Rosalee Motor Revival are stopping by on their tour through the Midwest to do a one-nighter here at the Stump. John told me that some have labeled their music "dark weird indie folk," and I suppose that's as accurate as anything.

A FREE unlimited edition poster - click, print and frame for your den or kitchen!

In any event, I know that Wednesday nights are funky for a lot of people (kids church stuff and sports, rehearsals and practices, meetings and so on...), but make it happen anyway! Come on over to the Stump at 8:00 or after, to unwind, have a smooth coffee or a fine brew, and listen to some darn good'll be glad you did. Check out their sound at the RMR myspace site:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Stumpjack MySpace = Music Calendar

We've got a MySpace site now, which makes it a lot easier to post our live music and events calendar and keep it updated, I'm just getting imy feet wet with it now and will be adding some more stuff to it in the next week or so (audio, video, more pics). My daughter, Cheyenne, is helping me with it (thanks, honey!). The music calendar from Oct thru Dec is up now, but check back once in a while because we'll update it whenever something else gets added to the schedule. Check it out here and bookmark it:

Monday, September 24, 2007

Food Porn Goddess indeed!

This past Saturday night was a fun night. Kerry performed for a small but appreciative crowd, and played a couple of his new tunes (one he said he finished writing the day before). Bobbi, Lowell and Doug stopped in to play cards and celebrate Doug’s birthday with a couple of Doodah Hops Smoothies (our beer smoothie that was inspired by an off the cuff challenge Doug made). Pat staked out his spot, chatting with Cheryl, our new friend from upstairs and later Arlie, who dropped in after work. There were a few new faces in the house, which is always nice to see. And maybe the best surprise of the night was when Jin (Jennifer) from “Uniquely Yours Pastry Shoppe” stopped in with her husband, David…I say best surprise because even though we’ve cross-linked each others blogs and have known about each other for a while, this was her first visit to the Stump…and she came bearing gifts!

And not just any gifts, mind you, but gifts of éclairs she made herself and that were absolutely the most fantastically delicious and fulfilling cream filled creations I have ever had in my life. Ok, listen, I’m a foodie, and I have had a fair amount of exceptional food in my life thus far, and so I don’t want to sound overly gushing or goofy just because someone brought in some yummies for me…and so when I say that these éclairs were exceptional, I mean that they were really exceptional…as in so good that they honestly deserved the sex comparison I blurted out. You know when you have something that is really above average and you enjoy it so much that you don’t want to keep it to yourself? You have to share that thing, that experience, with someone else because it’s just too darn good to enjoy alone and sharing it makes it even better. Well, after the first mouthful, as much as I wanted to keep those three or four éclairs to myself, I had to share them with everyone so that everyone else could enjoy this moment with me (well, not everyone…but Kim and Pat anyway). These things were just freaking awesome! And I am now on a mission to acquire this Queen of Pastry’s wares for the Stump.

Jin and David hung around for an hour or so, had a couple of vanilla caps and listened to Kerry.

Jin with the goods!

Now this is funny…I wrote that bit above a little earlier and decided that a picture would be cool to go with the post…so, I checked Jin’s blog in the hope that maybe she might have an image somewhere in her archives of some éclairs…and lo and behold, she has a whole new how-to post on these very ones (the ones she brought me) complete with pics (including her eating one…Food Porn Goddess indeed!). Check this out and be prepared to drool.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Latest Rock Star Fashion in Italy

NineDays frontman John Hampson in front of the Coliseum in Rome.

John Hampson would probably shake his head and tell me to shove off for calling him a "rock star." He's a down-to-earth, unassuming and working-class kind of guy, but as the leader of the band NineDays, who have indeed had top ten hit success, sold a ton of CDs and played before legions of fans, it's fair to call him a rock star (and even if he might scoff at it I'm going to call him that anyway if for no other selfish reason than because it's expedient to do so!).

While visiting his wife's family in Italy recently, John was nice enough to snap a few pics of himself in Rome wearing only the coolest T-shirt in the Mediterranean.

John looking the cool musician in front of the Pantheon in Rome.

A Stumpjack tee, worn by a helluva good guy, across the ocean in my favorite European cool is that?! Thanks, John!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ethnic Fest 2007

This past Saturday was the day of the annual Ethnic Fest event in downtown Two Rivers. I won't go into details of the actual event other than to say that it was and is a super-fun day and is something that our community can be proud of. From both a personal and business point of view it was an absolutely awesome day for us here at Stumpjack.

We opened for business one year ago on Ethnic Fest 2006. Given our newness and inexperience, we found that day to be a very busy one and full of miscues and uncertainties. Only one year later we found ourselves in an even more charged situation, where we did almost three times the business and traffic we did a year earlier, with a more expansive menu and live music in the store to boot. From around 9:30 to 4:30 it was nonstop...hundreds of people...counter to door, and yet we were, for the most part, smooth, efficient and having a great time. It didn't seem as busy this year as it did the year before when we were newbies.

For that entire seven hours Kim, Glen and I didn't stop, take a break, or really move from our spots. It was "crazy fun," as Glen said. What a ride...

We were so busy I forgot to snap some pics, so I lifted these from the Lester Library's Flickr site...even though they don't show what was going on at Stumpjack, specifically, they do give you an idea of what was going on in town. Thanks to Glen and Kim for being the Delta Force for the day, to Becky and Bill (and later, Pat) for the excellent live music (they played for 4 1/2 hours), to Allie and Heidi for helping to keep things rolling smoothly, to Russ for the excellent (as always) coffees that people raved about, and to the dozens and dozens of people who came in to share their day with us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NineDays CDs at Stumpjack now

Jeremy Dean, keyboard and sax player for MetroJam headliners and top ten hit makers, NineDays, sent me a packet of goodies the other day, including a bunch of NineDays' new CD "Slow Motion Life (Part I)" for us to offer to folks here at the Stump. (Jeremy has a graphic design company that does some pretty cool stuff...check out his site here.)

NineDays at MetroJam this Summer. Image from Emily Thiessen's Flickr site.

So, we've got copies of NineDays most excellent CD here now! They're only $9 apiece (NineDays for $9), with $3 going to the Domestic Violence Center, courtesy of the band (very cool of them, don't you think). Stumpjack Coffee will toss some cash into the DVC kitty as well.

Swing by for an espresso or mocha and pick up a CD of great tunes, and help out the DVC in the process. It's a win-win for get some great music, the DVC gets some help, and you get to feel good about contributing to a good cause. We'll keep track and post the tally sometime next month or so.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Going more green

In our continuing desire to be environmentally responsible we've begun using Eco-Products Corn Oil cold drink cups here at Stumpjack. These cups are fully compostable and are made entirely from the renewable resources of corn. Also, unlike regular plastics, these cups are not made from petroleum, and will return to the earth in as little as 45 days in a commercial composting facility (imagine if just every coffee shop in the country used these instead of plastic for their smoothies and iced drinks...there go several hundred thousand, if not millions, of plastic cups not taking up space in landfills each year, as well just one more reason not to depend on foreign oil).

The cups cost a little more than regular plastic cups, but we feel that the benefits to the environment and to our sense of purpose trump the cheaper cost of plastic cups. We can't say that we're completely green, as there are a number of other areas where we can yet improve but where the cost is still too much to overcome right now, but this is one more step in that direction.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stumpjack caps & tees are in, baby!

Out first bunch of digitally printed T-shirts and embroidered caps are in the shop. Make sure you wear one of these stylish chapeaus on your noggin and a cool tee on your torso the next time you visit a different coffee house and you will surely be the center of attention and admiration! I wore mine this past weekend in Door County whilst quaffing espressos and lattes at several cafe's along the thumb, and was practically body-surfed around the room by the envious and admiring mobs of fashionistas.

Tees are $16 apiece...with XXL at $18
Low crown caps are also $16
You get a free coffee or latte with everyone you buy (which effectively knocks 'em down even more, to the neighborhood of $12 to $14)

Click on the images to get a blow-up pic.

Friday, August 24, 2007

gelato testimonials abound!

Yet another gelato testimonial (see Mike Z's in the post below) from one of the many highly intelligent, sophisticated and demanding gourmands who frequent Stumpjack Coffee Co.

WOW! I just finished a bowl of Gelato from Stumpjack Coffee, and all I can say is WOW! I've been all over the world (including Minnesota and the UP) and this is the best Gelato I've ever had! Keep up the good work David.

Co-creator of Dr. Marv's Morning Tonic and world renowned Gelato connoisseur

An absolutely uncanny image of Marv...Simpsonized.

Ok, here's another one from Kim from Persimmons:

Ok I am not a world traveler by any means.... I have been to Mexico once but stayed in a resort which hardly qualifies as experiencing the culture...... so when my friend David at Stumpjack told me he was getting gelato soon I didn't know what it was. Well I went there this morning and let me tell you gelato is flippin fantastic! Oh my it was the yummiest creamiest dreamiest thing I honestly ever tasted (I had pistachio). I love ice cream but I am afraid I will never eat another Dairy Queen cone without thinking if only this was get to Stumpjack next week and get some.

I haven't Simpsonized Kim yet.

Disclaimer: Kim's comments reveal an almost orgasmic ecstasy over the gelato. While we will concur that it is a deeeeeelicious taste treat, I don't want people to get the wrong idea. So, while gelato has been shown to have powerful aphrodisiac qualities and will surely enhance your love life in ways too racy to recount here, we cannot absolutely guarantee that you will experience actual full-blown multiple orgasms while eating gelato here at Stumpjack (of course we can't guarantee that you won't experience those sensations either...the blueberry gelato might be a good bet).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stumpy vacay this weekend/Gelato update

Stumpjack Coffee will be closed this weekend, August 25 & 26, and we will back on Wednesday the 29th as usual. Taking a much welcome little getaway with the family before school starts up in another week (I miss my girls! Didn't do any fishing or hiking together this summer at all). I think I'm going to be much more adamant and disciplined in making sure I take a little time off more regularly, even if that means closing shop for several days every so often. Cheyenne is going to Lincoln High this year as a sophomore and Jesse is entering junior high as a 7th grader. Man, time is surely a thief.

Gelato! Only have a few minutes to write this but we actually made some gelato this afternoon. Our rep, Ken, came in and showed us the ropes and we made some pistachio and blueberry gelato. Deeeelicious! I gotta boogie now if I'm going to make the finale of Lakeshore's Rising Stars! so I'll write more tomorrow.

Ok, it's Thursday morning so let's talk gelato. Made some chocolate this morning and it is...very...very...chocolaty. Only made a half pan as I'm still experimenting and learning the process. But everyone who's been in has loved the stuff. We don't yet have everything we need, like proper gelato dishes and those cool little neon shovel spoons (some dingbat forgot to order them when he ordered product...yea, that was me), so we've been giving away samples in little drinking cups with plastic picnic spoons. This morning I found that the display freezer is running too cold as well...the stuff was hard as a rock. So I've been playing with the temp on that all morning.

Kim bought some decorative stuff for the display: wafer cookies, pistachio nuts, blueberries, drizzle...decorating the gelato in the display case will be a lot of fun. Shoot, the whole thing is fun...even cleaning the machine (although I won't be surprised if that doesn't take too long to not be fun anymore). Gotta order those dishes and spoons now.


This just in the email pipeline from our pal Mike Zimmer:

Hello Everyone,

I know that it's a tough job, that's why I'm doing it --- testing Stumpjack Coffee Company's new Gelato offerings!

I can unequivocally tell you that calling this wonderful product "ice cream" is doing it a disservice. It is GOOD! It has a creamy mouth feel and richness that is positively decadent.

You must stop in to try it.

There it is, you have my recommendation.

Michael S. Zimmer
Executive Director
Two Rivers Main Street, Inc.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Smackdown at the Forum

Well it's been a wild and woolly past few days. After the gelato equipment's arrival on Monday I thought we might have a day to chill a wee bit. Wishful thinking. Wednesday we began experiencing ghosts in the water pipes...cold water, then scalding hot water, then spitting and spurting water. The water heater in the basement needed both repair and exorcism.

Then the local newspaper online forum, one thread of which I have been recently and occasionally posting concerning the singing competition Lakeshore's Rising Stars!
(Stumpjack is a sponsor) started getting some real skunky and vitriolic attacks on yours truly (to paraphrase the verbose Mr. T, "I pity those fools...they don't know who they messin' with!"). After verbally smacking those ne'er-do-wells back into the stone age we have heard nary a peep...thanks BigJ and Bored for the extra help in spanking those naughty little tykes . It never ceases to amaze how some people seem so eager to tear down others and only ever succeed in looking like fools themselves. It's that old law of sowing and reaping in action again.

And today I was the guest on our friends Terry & Riley's radio program, "Rising Stars Replay," a show that spotlights the previous night's performance of
Lakeshore's Rising Stars! Those two cats are the producers of LRS. While these kinds of media things are always fun and easy for me (they are little breaks in the routine and are really just hanging out and chatting with friends) I also find them to be a bit inconvenient in that the time traveling to and from is greater than the time actually spent on air. But like I said, they're light-hearted fun.

Riley pretending to be an International Male model and Terry pretending to be a executive.

I told Terry that I was going to hijack the show in the name of Stumpjack Coffee and that's just what I did! Each question about Rising Stars was an opportunity to interject the name "Stumpjack" ("Carli's voice was dry after her song last night? Well she was obviously in need of a cup of fine Stumpjack coffee!") and when the guys would banter with each other about the show I'd be in the background chanting "stumpjack...stumpjack...stumpjack..." (not-so-subliminal advertising, baby!). By the end of the show they're rolling their eyes and cussing at me during the break and we're all laughing. It was fun...thanks Terry and Riley for being good sports. After all the crap those guys have also had directed their way in the chat room I think it was nice for us to just laugh and let go a little bit.

Next week Wednesday is the finale of Lakeshore's Rising Stars! What a great production, what great fun, and what a great thing for this area this event has been. I don't talk to much about LRS here on this blog...I guess because I seem to constantly be talking about it or doing something related to it almost daily anyway...but it is a fantastic accomplishment and I'm very pleased and proud of our friends Terry and Riley for what they've been able to do with this, and I'm grateful to be a part of it in whatever way that I might be. Well done guys!

Check the LRS
site and blog to get the gist of things.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gelato and the DooDah

Just got our gelato batch freezer and display case in! Eeehaa!! Tomorrow (Tuesday) I'll be talking to the guys who bring in the actual products that we use to make the gelato, we'll be running through some test batches and should, hopefully, have the real McCoy ready to offer by week's end. Yes, it's a couple weeks later than what we had anticipated and hoped for but deliveries were delayed for whatever reason (equipment from California, via Italy originally)...and if you see our little ad in the newspaper tomorrow just hang tight (it says that we "have gelato" now)...btw, I'm amazed at the number of people who saw the ad before I submitted it who don't know who those guys are that are pictured in it...if you recognize them, bring the ad in when we're ready with the gelato and we'll knock something off your first serving.

The DooDah Hops Smoothie looks like it's going to be the official name of the beer smoothie...named in honor of the chap who challenged me to come up with it (our own Doug Day, whose nickname is DooDah...or should I say one of his nicknames, he's been called other things I'm sure!). We'll be setting up an unofficial historical marker downtown, doing a fake ribbon cutting ceremony, taking some quick pictures and drinking a few DooDahs to celebrate (we don't need much of an excuse to have fun around here).

Heading up to Green Bay now on more coffee business...our closed days are really work days, after all, but I want to remind everyone again that we will be closed the weekend of the 25th and 26th, along with our regular Monday and Tuesday (Saturday through Tuesday) this month...for decidedly non-work activity (it'll be "book, beer and bug-spray" time in Door County for this mother's son).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Chaos reigns supreme...I'll drink to that!

Well, my posting has been a bit sporadic lately, because we've got so dang much going on right now. Last week during the muggy-wave our AC didn't work, problems with the phone and Internet, our bakery case up and died after overheating, gelato equipment was scheduled to arrive and got delayed, and we were running up to Green Bay every day to work on our new cafe...not to mention all the other usual living life things that we all do (you know, like concocting beer smoothie recipes and Simpsonizing ourselves).

We opened the shop in GB yesterday (softly, quietly, don't even have the sign up yet...). More on that location and that cafe' later. Gelato equipment was supposed to come in today (after it was supposed to come in on Monday) but it's looking like tomorrow will be the day. Guys are coming in today to fix the bakery case...the kitchen fridge is full of everything that was in the case.

Beer Smoothie! Spent the last week playing with the blender (really looking forward to getting a new one) refining my beer smoothie recipe ("drinking" might be a better word than "refining" actually). It's definitely a winner. Everyone who tried it really likes it (except for Kelly, but she doesn't like beer anyway...go figure...). Have to credit a friend on the HTR forum (won't reveal his identity here...don't have his permission) for challenging me to come up with a "hops-based smoothie." It hits your palate with chocolate, then you taste the hint of coffee mixed in, followed by a really nice chocolate/beer aftertaste. It's the perfect combination: chocolate, espresso, stout.

We're taking suggestions on a name for it now. Drop in and have one and give us your name suggestion. We'll have a beer delivery Friday afternoon so come on in this weekend if you can.

PS: We are planning to be closed Sat & Sun, August 25 & 26. I'll repost this over the next couple weeks and
periodically move it to the top of the list to keep it in front of people. You might want to come in and buy some beans before that weekend. Thanks.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Stumpjack Crossing

Rod put this together...keep your eyes on the road, you never know what you might see...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I'm a poet, I know it...hope I don't blow it...

Brian Muenzenmeyer

Last night (Friday) we did our second poetry night and our first "open mic" (sans actual mic though). Our friend Brian Muenzenmeyer was the featured poet, the main man of the evening, with nine or ten poems that he read before a very appreciative group of maybe 15 folks. It was very cool to not only listen to Brian recite his work but also watch him become more comfortable and find his groove as the session went on. It takes guts to get up in front of a group of people and speak things that you've written that are often very personally relevant.


I told everyone that we want to do poetry night at least once a month, and also that anyone who felt the urge to read or recite or perform to please jump into the fray. I read a couple of my own, along with Big Poppa E's "Wussy Boy Manifesto" to hopefully get the ball rolling. And so it was very cool when our friend Bobbi Schuetze did, in fact, step up and read one of her own poems (she had to print it off my laptop). And Brian's friend Lauren also stepped up to the plate, plugged in her laptop and read three of her writings. Brian finished everything up with a final triad of poems.

It was fun, and I feel like we've taken the first step to working this into a bigger, louder and more vibrant happening as we continue. The hope is to eventually have true slams every month. Check the blog for the next calendar of events.