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ABOUT ME:  To begin, hello and thank you for making this connection or re-connection.  I am a first-time father at forty-something, practicing Emergency Physician (aka E.R. Doc), Medical Director & Chief of Emergency Medicine, ultrasonographer, master teacher and master student, photographer, novice filmmaker, one book writer, hyper-localism entrepreneur: real estate developer, historic rehab of award winning Viroqua Public Market, co-creator of farm-to-fork Optimo Restaurant (now transitioned to new chef/owners as Rooted Spoon), and dot-dot-dot over-user.... passionate about engaging in the moment by moment evolution of our impermanence. Key outlook on life:   healing is not a destination, but daily practice

I grew up where I now live, after a 20 year right of passage... middle Driftless Earth, Viroqua.  Current sanctuary to many a used-to-be wandering soul.  Here, finally, I seek and I provide, I heal and I breathe.    


F E A T U R E D   F I L M S


Music Video Short: Work & Wisdom

By the band Soul Music



Music Video: Elephant Love (version 1)

Original works by the band Soul Music



F E A T U R E D   P H O T O G R A P H Y

An assortment of my photography our beloved Driftless Area and beyond.... 


Optimo is now Rooted Spoon!

Optimo is now Rooted Spoon!

 "Rooted Spoon Culinary is happy to invite you to share in our passion for good food and great community at our new Kitchen Table event space. Look here for upcoming events such as community brunches and special dinners as well as workshops, music, art openings and film showings. Rooted Spoon Culinary offers a distinct style of catering featuring seasonal menus that highlight locally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients. We proudly support our local economy and showcase the renowned, high quality food of the Driftless Region by purchasing directly from area farmers, butchers and food artisans. Our menus are custom designed to fit both the season and our client’s taste with food that is hand-crafted from scratch. We offer both off-site catering and on-site events at our event space ‘Kitchen Table’, located in beautiful downtown Viroqua, Wisconsin in the historic Main Street Station. Our philosophy is that the best food is fresh, in season, and locally produced. Let us bring our dedication to quality and love of good food to your private dinner, wedding, party, or any other special occasion"


Optimo closing, to relaunch as new eatery....

Dear friends: As you may have heard, yes, Optimo Restaurant - as we know it - has closed. 

In a way our restaurant, owned and overseen by my family, was overwhelmed with its own success. It is both a time to reflect on what our team has accomplished and prepare for what will come next. 

Our passionate team - dishwashers, servers assistants, servers, managers, bakers, line and prep chefs - led by General Manager Erin Ford and Executive Chef Christine Russell (as well as previously Chef Dave Teghtmeyer and Chef Frank Wildingway) - graciously served 25,000 scratch-made meals, catered numerous events and weddings and created many a great memory. 

Nonetheless, our family realized in order for the restaurant to be blissful and prosper for decades, management and ownership responsibilities must be transferred to a family better equipped to see this happen.

Joining the noteworthy dining scene in ones hometown is a responsibility we do not take lightly. Quite frankly however, we discovered that this responsibility was more than my family and I could handle without undue sacrifice and strife. In order to maintain family sanity, if you will, we simply had to cease attempting to manage what we could not manage.

This is not so much a closing, but an evolution, a beginning as well as an end. The result of everyones efforts will be something even better.

OUR CURRENT AND FUTURE GOALS: We will of course continue to run Main Street Station (home to the Winter Viroqua Farmer's Market, VIVA Art Gallery, Bramble Bookstore, Woodhookers Antiques and over 100+ other home town merchants). Furthermore, we pledge to help create a new well-run, farm-to-table eatery in downtown Viroqua (this time, owned and operated by another area family, tba).

Excitingly, we are actively brainstorming with several different local, premiere restaurateurs - all enthusiastic about taking over the Optimo space. All with working business plans.

Heartfelt thanks to our team, our town, our patrons, our farmers and suppliers and my family for all the good eats and wonderful times. 

Please watch for and support a new restaurant coming to Main Street Station in 2012.


Hope & Action - The Vision of Dr. Yunis

If you're looking for a more hopeful perspective on the problems of societal disparities, I suggest you check out the engaging film, Bonsai People. We screened it yesterday at Optimo Farm Market Cafe | with filmmaker Holly Mosher - part of the Driftless Film Festival. A humble yet highly effective movie about Noble Peace Prize winner Dr. Yunis, who's helping millions of Bangladesh women, help themselves, through social businesses, microcredit and mentorship. Lessons we could learn here, for our own issues. Capitalism (and access to capital) not just for male elite, but also rural, impoverished women. The film will be on PBS in the spring. We have DVDs for sale at the Viroqua Public Market. We'll have an encore screening soon too.

My Book - Hands Upon The Dying

I wrote a little book about my experiences at an inner city trauma center as an assistant professor, emergency physician.  A collection of reflective poetry, B&W photography and short stories. 

Available for purchase/preview here.


Driftless Film Fest (Viroqua) - at Optimo 7 OCT 11