Homey Spot with Family-Sized Portions at Rico’s Family Restaurant – Camille’s Choice

Breakfast is always something I often miss due to my habit of sleeping in or sometimes simply just not having an appetite right away in the AM. However – whenever I know I’m doing a breakfast episode for Camille’s Choice I get extremely giddy until the day comes. For my last episode of Camille’s Choice, I brought my good friend Morgan with me to Rico’s Family Restaurant in Kaukauna for the worlds biggest brunch.

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First off it was the perfect day to grab a nice warm meal in the cozy environment that Rico’s has to offer. It was raining and so gloomy outside that all I wanted was a nice cup of coffee and something to warm my belly. Sure enough, the coffee was delicious and a great start. Not only that, but the Rico’s staff are so friendly and welcoming that their presence warms you up as well. As soon as you walk in the door the feeling of “I would totally come here with my family for a Sunday morning brunch” fills your heart and you feel at home.

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Our experience continued with an awesome server. He gave us the low-down on what was good, and what was to die for. So naturally, we took his best recommendations and rolled with it. His face lit up every-time he talked about the food and the flavors that they all provided with their dishes – it was so obvious that he loved his job.

For our first dish – an appetizer of course. Because even though it was nine in the morning, courses are still important when you’re getting to know a new spot. We ordered their quesadillas, plain. Sounds typical, I know, but they were very tasty. The cheese was melty – not too little where it wasn’t gooey, but also not so much that it’s like drinking nacho cheese. And all of the spices and veggies on the side made them tasty for Morgan and I to enjoy all four pieces (oops).

Our entree’s were a mixture of breakfast and lunch – and we did happen to get three entrees for the two of us to share (oops, again). We started with their Mexican omelet that Morgan could not get enough of.
With the omelet, they gave us a potato pancake for Morgan to try for the first time. I told her she had to pair it with applesauce because… duh! She did say the texture was different but the flavor was definitely great – and she loved the applesauce with it. My taste test agrees – yummy and obviously homemade.

Next we both got a “lunch” item. So yes, we had three dishes each. My lunch entree was their JT burger which essentially is every burger lovers go-to. It had “the works” and more. For starters it was 1/3 pound patty with bacon, cheese, onions, mayo, lettuce, mushrooms, and pickles – basically you name it and it was on that burger. So good and tasty, the bun was crispy from being on the grill for a bit and the mayo tied everything together. Probably one of the only good burgers I’ve ever had at 9 in the morning. Morgan got their chicken avocado wrap – which is basically exactly what the name states. However there was some bacon and secret sauce on their to spice up the wrap. She said it perfectly – “They don’t mess around with portions at Rico’s!” The wrap and burger were both huge and it was so great how you could taste each little spice and flavor the wrap had to offer. Avocado was a friendly familiar face I was happy made a visit.

If you can’t already tell, Rico’s is a must. The environment is so cozy and welcoming for a breakfast date or a family meal on a Sunday afternoon. Good coffee, big portions, and great flavors were experienced throughout our entire time. Thank you so much to Rico’s for having us for Camille’s Choice, and we can’t wait to come back and try your amazing ice cream which we’ve already gotten a lot of comments on!

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Have y’all ever been to Rico’s in Kaukauna or any of their other two locations? If so – what did you order? Comment below so we have an idea for which dish to try next!

See you all next time.

Wait… I can find THAT at the Oshkosh Farmers Market? Camille’s Blog

What are your Saturday mornings filled with? Pancakes in bed, maybe catching up on some Netflix shows, or a nice morning walk? How about a trip to your local farmers market? That is one of my favorite things to do on my Saturday’s once the summer rolls in. I love seeing all the flower and fresh vegetable stands with local vendors sharing their stories of their locally grown products, and the smell of all the local businesses selling some early afternoon snacks. So, Camille’s Choice took a trip down to the local Oshkosh farmers market to sample three things from three local businesses to show the Fox Cities some of the many things the market has to offer.

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Our first stop: coffee of course. You can’t start off your Saturday the right way without enjoying a nice cup of coffee – at least in my book. What better way to enjoy your coffee than fresh and locally made?! We stopped over at JSA Roasting and went with something classic to do a true taste test. I tried their pecan flavored roasted coffee with just a splash of some almond milk creamer.

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Truthfully, the coffee didn’t need any sort of additive at all. The flavor was bursting from the moment I took the lid off and took a smell. The pecan flavor was subtle but mouth-watering good. I finished my cup of (hot) coffee within 10 minutes easily in the middle of an 80 degree day – THAT’s how good it was. I normally can’t drink straight black coffee, but from JSA it would have been easy.

Next up we went to the stand literally right next door – The Roxy Club. My options were a breakfast wrap with assorted things inside (eggs, peppers, seasoning, hot sauce, sausage, etc.) or something called a kraut kuchen. Yeah trust me, the kraut thing wasn’t my first option. However, I do Camille’s Choice for a reason and that is to try new things, right? So, I went for it. I ordered out of my comfort zone and soon found myself eating a pastry stuffed with ground beef, cabbage, onions, and something called dusseldorf mustard. Going into something not wanting to eat it (like – at all) normally ruins it for people, especially me. Not even close to the case with this. It was a pleasant surprise with a flavorful and unique dish. It had a lot of bold flavors that combined perfectly. It reminded me of a classic home cooked meal with some mixed in flavors and spices that I had never tried before. Overall, it kicked me out of my comfort zone and surprised me in the best way.

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Last on our list was Compassion Creamery. Who else serves ice cream nachos?! No one that I’ve heard of! Talk about a unique and fun idea. It caught my attention enough, and we had to order them. The two initial flavors we ordered were their chocolate (duh) and their vanilla with Lucky Charms cereal mixed into it. And, as if we couldn’t make it anymore sweet, we added MnM’s to our chocolate. To make the ice cream a “nacho” tray, they add little wafers to the side of your platter to scoop your ice cream with. The wafers reminded me of little flat sugar cones, but way softer and really sweet. Everything tasted really great, but I have to say I liked the chocolate way more with the wafers. Just a little less sweet than the vanilla, and I love chocolate anything and everything. 10/10 recommend trying ice cream nachos at some point in your life though – they’re so fun!

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This Camille’s Choice experience was so fun and unique – and I visited three places I had never had the chance to try before and learned about them each as a local small business. There is so much Oshkosh (and other Wisconsin cities) have to offer at their farmers market that you may have no idea about. Be sure to check out the Oshkosh market, or surrounding cities to discover something new. You won’t be disappointed.

The Oshkosh farmers market is right on Main Street in downtown Oshkosh. It runs from June – October every Saturday from 8:00 to 12:30.

New Social Animation App. Raises $600k in Combined Locks, WI

Dodles App in Action. With Mario animation

Big Tech in Small Town Wisconsin

(Note: Full video interview with Dodles founder here.)

Imagine you have a crazy experience with a stranger at the grocery store. You want to tell people, but you need to show them. Do you go tell the story to your mom? Maybe your three best friends in person? What if you could quickly make your story into a cartoon, and share it to the world?

Dodles wants you to make your story into an engaging animation, and share it with your friends, all on your phone. The app was conceived by Craig Doriot with money from one of his past startups, an online mortgage engine.

Dodles sign inside the Combined Locks Headquarters. A refurbished church.

When you think about social media startups, you probably think of Silicon Valley. So what about Combined Locks, WI, a small village on the Fox River outside of Appleton? A few months ago Dodles, a mobile social animation app, closed on a $600,000 round of fundraising, and have launched the beta version of the app in smaller markets around the world.

The app is meant to bring animation to a broader audience. Just in time considering the constant rise in video content online. YouTube alone says 1 billion hours of video are consumed each day on their platform alone.

Dodles And Autism

Dodles also intends their product to be useful in engaging autistic users. Playing to their strengths by allowing them to express themselves through technologies, and also giving them an opportunity to make money on the app if they are creative enough. Doriot says that some members of the Dodles team, including himself, are on the autism spectrum.

“Traditionally we’ve had a hard time with gainful employment because of being on the spectrum usually presents a number of interpersonal challenges that employers have a hard time with.”

A senior developer at Dodles.

According to autism.org, people with autism, “are often disadvantaged when it comes to getting and keeping a job because of difficulties with social communication and interaction, other people’s lack of understanding, and sensory issues.” Dodles is a tool that works well with this group’s strengths and weaknesses.

Funding Dodles

It is unusual for Northeast Wisconsin to see this type of startup outside of Green Bay or the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dodles continues picking up steam. They just finished their third round of funding, picking up $600,000. Doriot initially invested two million dollars of his own capital into Dodles. He says of Northeast Wisconsin, “I believe you can build a good technology company here. As well as you can build it in any other place.”

Dodles app in action.

Cost of living was cited as a benefit to starting a tech company here in Wisconsin, along with other factors. The company has launched the app in beta in secondary markets around the world.

Writer’s Thoughts

The prospect of a well executed app that can deliver on making animation accessible to a broader audience on your phone is very promising. I hope that Dodles acts as an example to local tech companies in Northeast Wisconsin. Showing the region and other entrepreneurs and investors what’s possible. I highly recommend you watch the full interview here! What are your thoughts on Dodles? Let’s start a discussion in the comments!

Coworking Spaces Are Destroying the Cubicle in Northeast Wisconsin

T2 Coworking Space in Green Bay, WI

With the dawn of startups, tech, and the death of the cubicle, co-working spaces have been a popular new office environment across the country. The benefit of coworking spaces is they are low cost and for businesses that are just starting or consist of a small team, these spaces are a great way to collaborate with others and network. These spaces are inhabited by all types of businesses; independent contractors, small startups, and satellite offices for large companies. This creates a low cost, high production environment where commerce and innovation can thrive.

What is exciting is that Northeast Wisconsin is investing heavily in these new spaces, and that means more people able to follow their dreams with less barrier to entry. We thought it is important to let people know that these co-working spaces are available, and where they can find one.

1. Rise & Grind – Oshkosh

A very successful coworking space is The Grind in the Beach Building in Oshkosh. The Grind packed with small, medium, and large businesses. Businesses like Verve Credit Union, Mirrorless Productions, and contractors for everything from social media to architecture.

Also embedded in The Grind is Planet Perk Coffee Shop, so you don’t have to bring any coffee because members get a discount. For more information visit their website.

2. T2 Accelerator – Green Bay

T2 is brand new to Green Bay. Depending on when you are reading this it might not be open yet, but it is slated to open early 2018. T2 is located near Titletown Brewery and the Cannery, and has a pretty cool view from the second floor.

For a better look at the space, check out the video.

3. Docking Station – Green Bay

Just down the street from T2 Accelerator is The Docking Station. The Docking station is geared specifically towards small time free lancers, independents, and solo-preneurs. This coworking space has a cafe feeling to it, and gives its small team/solo members a productive area to work and collaborate. More at their website!

4. Rise & Grind – Green Bay

Opens March 2018, this Rise & Grind is on the third floor of the Brown County Library. Visit their website for more details or to become a member.

5. Regus – Appleton

Regus Building in Appleton
Source: Regus

The Regus building is right next to The Fox River Mall, and many aren’t aware of the coworking space within. the building is host to many companies, and now they offer fixed desk and flexible desk coworking space. Visit their website for more.

6. World Headquarters – Appleton

World Headquarters is working on being everything! They have coffee, catering, and you can hire a virtual assistant through them to take care of things like data entry, marketing, and booking. In 2018 World Headquarters plans to roll out child care and an art studio.

World Headquarters is located on Northland on the north side of Appleton. Check our their website for more.

7. Appleton Coworking – Yep, Appleton

Appleton Coworking is a nonprofit coworking space. Located behind Antojitos Mexican Restaurant in Downtown Appleton, this is the most downtown located co-working space in Appleton. Appleton Coworking has a kitchenette, and you can learn about their memberships here.

8. Menlo Park – Appleton

Menlo Park is right next to the River Heath development on the Fox River in Appleton. Menlo Park is right above Tempest Coffee and also has a kitchen available. The biggest perk of Menlo Park however, is the views of the Fox River. Here is their website for more information.

Menlo Park Fireplace
Source: Menlo Park

9. Blank Slate Collective – Appleton

Not exactly a coworking space, but you’ll want to keep your eye on Blank Slate. This is an up and coming project for Appleton entrepreneur Brad Cebulski. The space is a place where members can have access to creative tools such as hardware and software for video, audio, music, etc. The hope to give creators access to tools they may not otherwise be able to afford and allow them a space to collaborate and create. Here is their Facebook account to follow along with the progress.

10. Jake’s Cafe – Sheboygan

Home to over 30 businesses, Jake’s Coffee is a homey coworking space in Sheboygan. Jake’s Coffee is a few blocks from Lake Michigan, and you can learn more about this cool place at their website.

Jake's Coffee in Sheboygan
Source: Jake’s Coffee

Coworking spaces are growing fast! Many of the places on this list are either brand new or nearly at capacity. The benefits of collaboration, and the cost savings as compared to renting your own office space has done tremendous things for many small businesses. If you are curious about any of these spaces, follow them on social and more importantly, check them out! If we missed any co-working spaces in Northeast Wisconsin, please let us know in the comments.