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Sinks, Moulton, and Mollenkamp at Kohler Food & Wine

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Aida Mollenkamp "feeding the chickens."
Aida Mollenkamp "feeding the chickens."
[Photos: Joshua David Stein/]

This past weekend I went to Kohler, Wisconsin, a place I never thought I'd be. There was a Food & Wine Festival Experience there to be had and boy, did I have it! As far as festivals go, this one is tiny and it's in the middle of nowhere. It rained and the fixtures everywhere were really nice. This wasn't SoBe, it wasn't even PeBe. It was it's own thing and it furnished me with these hungover observations:

Well first of all, I really had a good time. I love toilets. I love sinks. So even if there weren't any chefs there, I'd be in hog heaven. The town is I guess owned by the Kohler family which still owns Kohler. So everywhere I went, from the gym to the mini-mall, was outfitted with incredibly nice porcelain fixtures.

I met Sara Moulton early one morning for an Eaterrogation. [It'll run next week.] She is a tiny tiny woman and pretty upfront about the stresses of being unemployed. [When Gourmet folded, she was left without a full-time job and benefits.] You'll read about it soon. She's also very smart which wasn't surprising and incredibly well-versed in early hip-hop, which was surprising.

The Main Stage was a tent in a parking lot with black Astroturf and a funny smell.

Aida Mollenkamp is rather attractive and gave a culinary demo — I don't understand the appeal really of culinary demos — about Modern Oktoberfest. I think she might have been to hip for the crowd. Example: At one point, Mollenkamp was beating the crap out of some dough. "I'm bad a percussion," she said. "But I was still in a band in high school. Anyone here in high school band?" A few women — in sweatpants in varying shades of lavender — tentatively clapped or raised their hands. Clearly the understood band as marching band. They were really sharing. Mollenkamp: "Yeah, it was a reggae band. Can you imagine me singing reggae? It's like Damian Marley called. His dad is not happy." The women looked confused and hurt. What, they wondered, was ray-gay?

Relatedly: John Philip Sousa, "The March King" twice conducted a brass band on the grounds of what is now The American Club, once in 1919 and again in 1925.

I had just missed Bryan Voltaggiowe had spoken on the phone Friday night but he had, I thought, left. It turns out, according to Graham Elliot, he loved the place so much he stayed Friday night to rage really hard, singing karaoke with Elliot. Sadly, by the time I figured this out, he had gone. Video will be coming shortly.

Lots of mustaches in Wisconsin. The best one, or one of the best ones, belongs to Marc Mondavi, the winemaker for Charles Krug. He also wore a golden double-breasted suit with gold buttons. Another nice one belonged to the guy who drove me from Milwaukee to Kohler. He, like everyone in Wisconsin it seems, hates Brett Favre and thinks his weenis is tiny. I think the angle was just unflattering. It's an hour from Milwaukee, Kohler, so there's a lot to talk about.

Chicago Eater editor Ari Bendersky was there. He spent a lot of time with Graham Elliot, who did a cooking demo Saturday afternoon.

Aida Mollenkamp liked my Happy Socks. "They're so orange."

But the best piece of intel: Anne Burrell, who I saw at the hotel bar, drinks her white wine with like eight ice cubes in it. Somehow I am not surprised.

· All Hangover Observations on Eater [-E-]

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