The Black Sheep Restaurant in Whitewater, Wisc plus Chef Tyler’s Polenta recipe

We’re supposed to meet with Chef Tyler Sailsbery of the Black Sheep at 4 pm, but we showed up at his place (to me, the Black Sheep dining room layout design is nice and warm with interesting black and white fixtures) about an hour early.   Chef/Owner Tyler has this smile that is so welcoming and that really made us feel pretty excited to know more about his newest Whitewater restaurant venture and his menu offerings.

It wasn’t busy yet so we seized the opportunity and got comfortable with Chef Tyler who then handed us the menu (single white paper sheet shows antipasti, entrees and dessert on front page and wine list at the back page…simply perfect!).   The menu items were Chef Tyler’s interpretation of French and Italian classic restaurant fare.  Also written in the menu, “Sharing our love for fine local food!”, which Chef Tyler explained he pride himself of being constantly motivated to use fresh, locally sourced foods and ingredients  (from fresh vegetables to award-winning Wisconsin cheeses) for his well thought-out and inspired dishes.

I love hors d’oeuvres — and Chef Tyler’s bruschetta plate offerings were indeed a fitting introduction to this Whitewater gem, The Black Sheep restaurant.  The bruschetta appetizers (derived from the Italian word for “roast over the coals”) start with roasted Italian bread that has been rubbed with garlic cloves, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.  And the variety of toppings really offered that unexpected element of complex combination of flavors and colors  — roasted red pepper, avocado, goat cheese, balsamic fig glaze, brandied fruits, etc.  They all disappeared fast — who could resist the nice crunch and surprise flavors.

We did enjoy some entree samples as well.  Chef Tyler’s house-made ravioli stuffed with local farm lamb sausage and then topped with a fresh rosemary mushroom cream sauce and to that I simply remarked, “Wow”.

Then there’s the oven roasted lightly-seasoned salmon filet (baked to perfection and am pretty sure “fork” was involved to check its doneness), drizzled with a lemon caper cream and nicely resting on a cedar plank (yes, a piece of wood, and not for consumption) and over a square of firm polenta (really great flavors for such a simple side dish…Tita Veronica loved loved loved it).

And the star dish for me:  Pork loin glazed with Cherry Stout Reduction.   Pork was not bland and dry at all, and the combination of spices and fruity flavors just made this dish successful and I must say, to die for (hats-off to Chef Tyler!).

The standout dessert, the Chef’s specialty, Pot de Creme was perfection in both flavors and sophistication:  rich and satin-smooth chocolate custard, not too sweet and topped with macerated pears and fresh whipped cream (and note I only had a spoonful and the rest enjoyed by Tita Veronica, now she’s all too “frenchy-sophisticated” come Hall of Fame Awards Night!).  Chef’s dessert is indeed a chocolate lover’s dream come true…simply divine.  For more information, including renovation gallery, location, menu and wine list, please visit website;

CHEF TYLER’S POLENTA (oh-so-good!)

6 cups water   2 teaspoons salt  1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons salt, gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter and stir until melted.

Tyler’s Personal Polenta Recipe Addition:
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup diced shitake mushrooms –> sauteed in a pan with onion and garlic
1/4 cup baby bella mushrooms
1 tbs fresh rosemary  1 tsp savory   1 tbs thyme
Put this mixture into the basic polenta mix and combine.

We (Veronica, Joe, Glenn and me) all went home full….there really is nothing better than starting April with a happy tummy.

A party starter that is simple to make, you can even snack on this anytime.

What you need:
cutting board, bread knife, olive oil, salt, pepper, baking sheets, serving platters, and toppings

Bread Preparation:
Make 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices of crusty baguettes or Italian breads.   Arrange slices on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Brush the bread with extra virgin olive oil (you may want to rub a garlic  clove cut in half or top with chopped herbs) and lightly toast them in the oven, 325 F, about 6 to 10 minutes (watch closely as not to burn the baguette slices).  Or you can brown in toaster oven.

Topping Preparation:
2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
freshly squeezed juice of half lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
paprika, salt and pepper to taste
splash of balsamic vinegar (for sweetness, if desired)
Stir and allow to marinate to develop flavors

Place toasted baguette slices on your serving plate and put a heaping tablespoon of marinated toppings.  Garnish with strips of roasted pepper, chunks of fresh mozzarella, chopped basil leaves (and endless variety of toppings, check your pantry).   I usually squeeze more lemon juice on top. Serve immediately.


Here’s the press release from Christine Lindler of Flavorful Insight, thanks Christine…

Experience Local Flavor and Flair at The Black Sheep Restaurant Grand Opening Whitewater, Wisconsin

At the new Black Sheep Restaurant’s preview event, “Taste of Wisconsin,” you can meet, greet and eat while sipping local wines and microbrews.  It’s the perfect opportunity to discover how Chef/Owner Tyler Sailsbery combines locally sourced foods and seasonal ingredients with his own interpretations of French and Italian classic menu items. The “Taste of Wisconsin” Evening Grand Opening Social and Dinner takes place on March 30th and 31st. In addition to sampling signature appetizers and entrees, attendees will have a chance to get acquainted with some of the local producers whose foods are featured on the menu. Local producers attending the Grand Opening tasting event include Steve Pinnow of Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms offering fresh WisconsinLamb™ and Joe and Wendy Staller of Staller Estate Winery.

Chef Tyler Sailsbery was raised on a Wisconsin farm, schooled in the culinary arts, and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, having specialized in business entrepreneurship. With an emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, a majority of the foods featured at The Black Sheep are grown or produced within 75 miles of the restaurant. His menu offers a quality local food experience featuring items such as local rainbow trout, high-quality lamb, award-winning Wisconsin cheeses and fresh-from-the-farm seasonal produce. Some of the locally sourced foods have come from DaVALS White Buffalo Farms, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Flyte Family Farms, Forgotten Valley Farms, Gourmet Delight, Don’s Produce, Under the Oaks Farm and Waterhouse Bakery. Locally produced beverages on the menu include Staller and Wollersheim Wines, as well as wide selection of local microbrews from Ale Asylum, Capital Brewery, Central Waters Brewery, New Glarus Brewing Company, Sprecher Brewery and Tyranena Brewing Company.

For the March 30th and 31st “Taste of Wisconsin” Grand Opening, Chef Tyler Sailsbery will be offering a sample of Black Sheep’s menu. From 4 to 6 p.m. on both evenings, samples of bruschetta appetizers will be paired with local wines and microbrews. The name bruschetta is derived from the Italian word for “roast over the coals.” The appetizer menu features of selection of specialties that start with roasted bread that has been rubbed with garlic cloves, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. The Black Sheep bruschetta varieties include combinations such as roasted red pepper, goat cheese and balsamic; and brandied fruit, goat cheese and balsamic fig glaze. From 6 to 8 p.m. on both Grand Opening evenings, entrée samples will include lamb ravioli, and pork loin glazed with cherry stout and paired with New Glarus microbrews.

For reservations or more information, contact The Black Sheep by calling 262.458.4751 or visiting the website at The restaurant’s hours are Monday, and Wednesday through Saturday from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., with Sunday Brunch served from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.  The Black Sheep is closed on Tuesdays.

The Black Sheep Restaurant is Downtown Whitewater’s newest dining restaurant offering a quality local food experience.  Serving local rainbow trout, high quality lamb to award-winning Wisconsin Cheese coupled with seasonal produce, truly adds local flavor to French and Italian inspired dishes. For a homegrown and hearty dining experience nestled in Downtown Whitewater, eat at The Black Sheep.

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Lake Geneva Country Meats (Home of Leahy’s award-winning sausages)

Lake Geneva Country Meats (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin) is a family-owned and operated business since 1965.  We were greeted at the door by father and son, Scott and Nick Vorpagel.   We loved what we saw right away  — spacious interior with hundreds of food displays.

While interacting with Nick for the CPRTV segment, I could see Veronica, Joe and Glenn being offered samples of sweet and savory items — really one enjoyable food experience.  Nick Vorpagel is the Sales And Technology Manager and he showed us the various meat processing areas (it would have been great if there were actual meat crafting, sausage making operations taking place; no such behind-the-scene activity happening on Saturdays though).

But so relieved to learn that Lake Geneva Country Meats was recently featured on Discover Wisconsin and anyone can view the full episodes via   And we were also joined by the Master Meat Crafter himself, Jeff Schmalfeldt.

The store was getting a bit busy, but we managed to get footages of smoked sausages ready for cutting into separate links, hanged sides of beef,  sausage making equipment, locally manufactured food products (honey, brownies and cheesecakes), cheeses and yes, wine too.  Nick surprised me with a bottle of 2010 Late Harvest Riesling wine, B. Lovely to take home and enjoy (Nick you are a darling!).    Glenn made some purchases, including taco sausages and cheddar cheese and pepper bratwurst.  Nick emailed me this step-by-step “how to cook the bratwursts” and this gave me an idea of how I’d prepare the brats we purchased.

How to Cook Lake Geneva Country Meats Portabella Mushroom and Swiss Cheese Brats
All of our Fresh Mushroom Swiss Bratwursts come wrapped in white butcher paper, and you should follow these directions in their entirety.  If the brats are in a clear plastic package, they are already precooked, and you can start at Step 5.

1) If the brats are frozen, thaw them either overnight in a refrigerator or in warm water.

2) Place brats in a pot (medium-sized saucepan) of beer, butter and sliced onions, fully covering the brats (A dozen of brats with 1 sliced large sweet onion and 2 tablespoons butter).  If you do not like any of these items you can omit them and use water instead.

3) Bring pot of liquid to a boil.

4) Turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes. The water will turn foamy and the brats will turn gray as they cook.

5) Remove brats from water and place them on a grill, under a broiler or in a frying pan to brown.

6) Brown on each side for approximately 5 minutes. Remove brats from heat and serve (on fresh baked toasted buns). Use the onions from step 2 to top the brats with, if you like!

Since I’m a big fan of barbecued caramelized onions for my brats, you may want to do this extra step:  Caramelize 1 sliced large sweet onion with 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet.  Then add a jar of your favorite barbecue sauce and let simmer until mixture thickens.  Oh I can’t wait for summer!

The late John and wife Rita Leahy (Nick made sure we get to chat with Rita, and she is such an amazing and so approachable lady) started the business in 1965.   Rita gladly posed with son-in-law Scott and grandson Nick for Viatimes camera.

Rita ushered the crew to the tasting table…for some “bratwurst bracketology”.   Samples of 2 newly created “not on sale yet” gourmet bratwurst flavors were available for tasting — Honey Mustard Bratwurst and Spinach and Feta Cheese Chicken Bratwurst, with tasters voting for their favorites.  I loved them both…so glad the crew were busy shopping,  I didn’t leave the tasting table until I had samples after samples of the awesome meat products and cheeses too.

We didn’t get to meet Nick’s mom, Kathy Vorpagel, John and Rita’s daughter who is married to the President and CEO of Lake Geneva Country Meats, Scott Vorpagel.   Thanks again Rita, Scott and Nick… now we know where to get these quality brats and sausages for outdoor grilling this coming summer season.  Visit Lake Geneva Country Meats website for more info/special events ( ongoing wine tastings the third Saturday of every month; April tasting focus on Argentinean wines): And while at the website, view recipes like Carne Asada, Cranberry Glazed Ham and Lori’s Prime Rib.  More specials posted via facebook page,

I requested Nick to take some snapshots of meat processing activities….he sent these sausage making and custom meat processing exclusively for my blog (Nick, you are wonderful!)…

This is a picture of part of a customer’s locally raised and custom processed beef.  All of these roasts will be wrapped soon.  The white card contains all the instructions about how they would like their beef cut, thickness, package size, which roasts, etc.

Chuck is sawing some T-Bone steaks for the same customer. The saw cuts right through the bone.

Jose is trimming roasts from a primal cut.

This is a batch of Chicken Cordon Bleu brats being mixed together.  It has lean chicken, spices, and you can see the bits of cheese in with the meat.

 Jeff is stuffing some of our famous Cherry brats. The mixed meat and seasonings goes in the bowl in the left, and it comes out as a stuffed sausage from the tube!

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About Lake Geneva Country Meats: 5907 State Road 50 East, Lake Geneva, WI 53147
Home of Leahy’s award-winning sausages, fresh produce, local wines and cheeses and more visit Lake Geneva Country Meats to bring home a gourmet meal.  Be sure to look for Leahy’s Sausage in your grocer’s sausage section throughout Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Chicagoland areas. To sample or learn more about award-winning meats, sausages and gourmet foods, visit Lake Geneva Country Meats Gourmet Retail Shop, located just 3 miles east of Lake Geneva, visit online at or call 262.248.3339.

Connect with Lake Geneva Country Meats Facebook and Twitter.