In case you need any more proof that digital media is changing the way we do everything, here is a story of a food group that started on Twitter. Digital followers turned real-life friends, #MKE Foodies now meets offline once a month at a restaurant in Milwaukee to dine, enjoy and discuss food. And that pound sign, that’s called a hashtag in Twitter speak, allowing people to search and follow the same topics.
They call themselves “Food lovers making a difference in Milwaukee.” Food bloggers Lori and Paul Fredrich lead the group that also raises money for local charities. It started in 2010 with 25 food bloggers and has now grown to 50-75 people per event – foodies, not just bloggers.
“This is the second time we have been to Mason St. Grill. It was so popular, registration was full after one day,” said Paul. Events are free and open to the public, but they do require registration and collect a suggested $5 donation at each event for a selected nonprofit. Usually it’s a food-related nonprofit, but Wednesday night the cause was Optimist Theatre, who presents Shakespeare in the Park.
There was an electric buzz in the room. Succulent seared meet, juicy red wines, warm glowing lights – these are the sights and smells of Mason St. Grille on a winter night. The jazz music was purring like a happy cat.
Restaurants are able to craft their own specials, depending on what they want to showcase to the group. Mason St. Grill was offering free wine and draught pours, and free appetizers for #MKE Foodie members.
“We like to chose locally owned restaurants and if they use locally sourced food, that’s a plus,” Paul explains. “We typically chose American fare, though next month we are trying sushi and we hope that goes over well.” Find Paul and Lori’s recipes and musings, along with more information about #MKE Foodies at their award-winning Burp! blog.