Archive for the category “Asian”

2 Tall Sushi

It was a week ago tonight that I drove into a nearby and charming neighborhood in an area of Milwaukee outside of my typical 3 mile radius to join some friends for a new dining experience. My friends Mike and Ericka purchased an in-home six-course sushi dinner for eight people at Next Act Theatre’s Bravo event last summer, and they were kind enough to invite me to join in on the fun.

Of course,  I had to have a little fun with the theme!

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The dinner would be prepared and served by “2 Tall Sushi” – a team of wonderful folks that offer up dining experiences to raise money for non-profit and charitable organizations.  They each have their day jobs, but enjoy giving back to the community by sharing their talents in the kitchen!

We started off with small talk, meeting new friends, and sipping on various pre-dinner drinks.

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Then, as we sat down at a beautifully dressed table, we were served edamame, both standard style and marinated (yum!). An exquisite asparagus dish followed. Such amazing flavor! And, then…Miso soup (which will become my new go-to for a healthy, yet filling dish).

I may not get the exact order of the evening correct – it’s been a full week, friends! 😉 But, I think the tempura came next. Absolutely delicious broccoli, shrimp and more – lightly battered to perfection!

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After that, the gluttony began (at least for me – I don’t turn down sushi or maki!).

First, please allow me to share this photo of my friend Mike (not the host Mike, but the fellow guest Mike)…

12593967_10207199226433019_6295581923090998342_oWithout exception, all of the diners’ tastebuds, sinuses, and tear ducts were surprised by the “hidden” wasabi in the sushi that was served up prior to the maki. As we would quickly discover, our chefs added wasabi between the seafood and the rice.

As I always do, unknowingly, I loaded up my sushi with wasabi (on top of the seafood), and took a big bite. And…WOW! I managed it, but not without serious clearing of my sinuses! (our li’l secret: I liked it!)

In my haste to exchange my dying phone for a new one, I think I accidentally lost the sushi pics. Sorry, folks! Aside from the hidden wasabi, they looked like traditional salmon and tuna sushi.

Following this sushi course, our servers allowed us to have a nice pause for lovely cup of tea.

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And, then came the maki…  Spicy tuna, rainbow roll, spider maki, and Unagi (with double servings of a few of these – because they were THAT GOOD!).

By this time, we were all feeling satisfied and full. The only dish left… You guessed it – dessert! Green tea ice cream!

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After dessert, we chatted, exchanged stories, laughed (there is likely a sitcom coming out within a few years that I will key y’all into – MUST SEE TV based on the stories told over this dinner), and just had a great time enjoying the company!

Y’all KNOW I had a good time when I didn’t even begin to head home until after 9:30PM on a Sunday night. I’m lame, and I don’t stay up that late!

Who could leave when the food was so excellent, the company was both lovely and hilarious, and the cause was such a good one?!?

Here’s to supporting the arts in Milwaukee (thank you, 2 Tall Sushi!), and to enjoying quality time (and really good food) with great folks!

Cheers!

Ker

 

 

 

Kofusion! Champaign, IL Serves Up Great Sushi!

Several weeks ago, I found myself going on a road trip with a colleague of mine. We were headed to the wonderfully sleepy town of Shelbyville, IL. Or, as I affectionately call it: the place where dreams go to die in a cornfield!  Seriously, there’s not a lot going on there. We weren’t able to book a hotel in Shelbyville, not even at the “hotel and bait shop”, so we ended up driving part way and staying overnight in Champaign.

We took the advice of our sweet desk clerk and headed downtown to a sushi joint. Thankfully, my colleague Mike enjoys good, local food as much as I do! He and I don’t choose chains or franchises when we travel together.

Downtown Champaign is small and cute, from what I saw. Kofusion is where we ended up dining. It was a pleasant enough evening that we were able to enjoy the outside patio, which makes any meal all the better in my opinion!

There was a ten piece maki sampler available for $10, which both Mike and I ordered – and thoroughly enjoyed!  There may have been one piece that I wouldn’t necessarily order again, but it was great to sample so many flavors so as not to get bored.

Maki platter!

Maki platter!

We also ordered pork filled pot stickers, which were cooked perfectly and had really nice flavor.  Mike also ordered a house salad (greens, fuji apple and ginger dressing), which he mentioned was quite good as well. The dressing was a hit!

Finally, I ordered an additional roll – the Flaming Phoenix – tempura fried shrimp, mango, butterfly shrimp, avocado, spicy mayo and unagi sauce. So good! I love rolls that are fire-roasted (for lack of a better term) since they have a grilled flavor to them.

Flaming Phoenix roll

Flaming Phoenix roll

Not only did I finish my meal, sharing a few pieces with Mike, but he did as well. I KNOW a meal is good when Mike finishes it because he would rather walk away from a sub-par dish than to struggle to eat it.

We then returned to our hotel, preparing for an early morning drive over to Shelbyville where we would spend the day watching glue run. Fascinating stuff, I tell you! (actually, I LOVE going to manufacturing facilities to see how products are made, so it was fascinating)

If you ever find your way to Champaign, I’d recommend Kofusion. Are there other restaurants I should try if I find myself back in Champaign?

Ringing in the New Year – Out & About in Milwaukee with Good Friends!

Upon returning from Ohio in time to watch my Clemson Tigers beat Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl (yes, my priorities are a bit odd!), I found myself preparing for a visit from my dear friend Dana. Dana has been mentioned here (actually, she wrote that post!), here, and here.  She was driving in from Michigan the morning after I arrived back home, and planned to spend a few days in Milwaukee over the New Year’s week.

Dana is a wonderful and curious traveler, so she suggested several local things to try.  Before I get into how Dana and I ate our way through New Year’s week, I’ll share a few pictures of the other things we saw and did.

First, Dana needed her Bloody Mary from AJ Bombers!

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I’ve mentioned AJ’s before…

Then, on to the Pabst Brewing Company…Not a traditional brewing process tour, but rich in history and quite interesting, in my opinion.

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IMG_1127[1]Though the tour doesn’t focus on the process of brewing beer, you still get to enjoy beer during the tour.  Plus, this facility has a wonderful and intimate space in which to host weddings, parties and other celebrations.

Lakefront Brewery… My neighbor, and friend, Andrew also joined us for LFB and dinner later.

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(pro tip: The fried cheese curds are fantastic! The Beer Hall Wheat Ale batter is light and crispy…this is the only way I’ll eat cheese curds, and I’m not generally a big fan of fried foods!)

The Old German Beer Hall… Dana’s pick for dinner on the evening of her arrival.

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After all we had munched on at Lakefront Brewery, we were not as hungry as we thought we might be. Total bummer, because the German menu seemed to have real promise!

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We did polish off the Hofbräuhaus Brotzeitteller, which consisted of classic beer hall style bread, meat & cheese board, a 10oz pretzel, Rye bread & Obatzter with (local) Usinger deli meats, Swiss cheese, beer radish, and pickles. A great appetizer to pick at – a lot of variety, and very good food!

We may have polished off a few beers as well.  My choice… the Hofbräu Delikator – “Dopplebock” – actually, that was our server’s choice, and it was quite tasty!

Now…on to the main culinary events!

New Year’s Eve at Kanpai Izakaya… I made reservations for the five course dinner special.  $59 / person, for fresh sushi, sashimi, and wine/Saki pairing?  Yes, please!

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Courses one and two: Lobster Miso Soup and House Salad.  The addition of lobster meat to the soup…brilliant!

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Hamachi Ponzu appetizer (course three).

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Course 4: The “OMG” roll as it cooks. The roll has shrimp tempura, avocado, eel, shrimp, spicy and wasabi aiolis, and is served flaming under the fire of burning rum.  The resulting taste is of a delicious grilled sushi roll.

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Everyone at the table enjoyed this roll immensely, as do I!

The Chef’s Choice sashimi plate was the final delivery.  Please allow me to say that, OMG, this was amazing!!

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If I had a proper camera, this plate would have looked even better.  However, even with a phone camera, I hope you see just how beautiful all of the seafood looks!  This lovely plates hosts a party of Crab, White Tuna, Yellow Finned Tuna, Salmon, and Talapia (the chefs were advised that Scallops were off-limits for this gal).  I’m not even kidding when I say that the fish melted in my mouth – and, the Yellow Finned Tuna was my favorite, by far!

I’ve always enjoyed the food and service at Kanpai, but I think they managed to (somehow!) step up their game on NYE! And, Mary, thanks for wonderful service – always with a smile!

Kanpai was a great start to our NYE outing!  We then walked over to Cafe Benelux for a drink, and ultimately cabbed back to East Town to enjoy acoustic music (very good acoustic music!) at The County Clare.

The County Clare was busy, but not overly crowded.  Dana, Andrew and I had a great time just chatting, listening to the music, and watching folks (overly) enjoy their evenings.  We also thoroughly enjoyed the complimentary bottle of champagne The County Clare provided just prior to midnight! What a wonderful way to ring in 2015!

It was difficult to get a good photo with the lighting, but you see the "a hundred thousand welcomes" (céad míle fáilte)!

It was difficult to get a good photo with the lighting, but you see the “a hundred thousand welcomes” (céad míle fáilte)!

And…then came the After, After Party at GoodKind.

After having heard about GoodKind from a colleague, and reading about it being one of the top 21 new restaurants in the US, I decided we should make reservations for the After, After Party Brunch on New Year’s Day. We had a lazy morning and then headed over to GoodKind in Bay View with my friend Katie in tow as well.   We walked into an inviting atmosphere, busy with other brunchers!

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This was the inaugural brunch at GoodKind, so nobody, including the staff, knew exactly what to expect!

After reviewing the day’s menu, I knew I couldn’t decide (except to eliminate the Smoked Rotisserie Pork Belly served with a Maple Buttermilk Cake.  I LOVE pork belly, but there is no way anyone will get me to eat anything maple-flavored!)  Everything else was fair game.

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Our server, Caitlin, advised us that most tables had been ordering tapas style and sharing dishes, so we decided to do the same.  We took a few recommendations from Caitlin, and I asked her to choose an additional dish to surprise us.

We started by sharing a bottle of wine.  This Ramon Bilbao Rioja was rich in flavor and definitely improved as it sat.

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We then ordered:

Polenta Madame with hometown ham, goat cheese curds and fried egg.  What an extraordinary and savory delight!!

Polenta Madame

Polenta Madame

The Pork Cheek Donut – it’s just like it sounds…a sugary donut filled with tender pork cheek and served over a chocolate raspberry sauce.  I LOVED the concept here, but I think the sweet overpowered the savory a bit.  I would have loved to have a bit more pork in each bite.  However, if you have a sweet tooth, this dish may be the one for you!

IMG_1144[1]The aforementioned Smoked Rotisserie Pork Belly with Maple Buttermilk Cake was highly recommended by our server, so we did order that dish,  After being assured by my friends that the pork did not have a maple flavor, I gave it a try.  As it should be, the meat was very tender, if a bit high in fat content.

Smoked Rotisserie Pork Belly with Maple Buttermilk Cake

Smoked Rotisserie Pork Belly with Maple Buttermilk Cake

And, Caitlin’s choice for us was the Dungeoness Crab Bread Pudding with frisee, tarragon and lemon vinaigrette.  I thoroughly enjoyed this dish too!  The crab meat was not overpowering, but what a rich flavor!  I loved having a serving of savory bread pudding for brunch!  And, the frisee with lemon vinaigrette…so light and fresh!

Dungeoness Crab Bread Pudding

Dungeoness Crab Bread Pudding

As if my friends and I hadn’t tasted enough goodness at GoodKind, Dana made the executive decision to order each of the two desserts that were being offered that day!  I don’t recall what GoodKind named these desserts, but one was Door County cherry tart with whipped cream and anise sprinkles, and the other was chocolate cake, topped with chocolate mousse and brittle bites.

Door County cherry tart

Door County cherry tart

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Chocolate mousse cake

We enjoyed both desserts, although the chocolate cake was deemed a bit too rich for my rookie friends!  (I, on the other hand, thought it was super tasty!).

I think the menu at GoodKind, being so unique, may seem a bit intimidating to some people.  I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to take the leap of faith and to dine at GoodKind, knowing you’ll have great flavors served up!

GoodKind will begin regular Sunday brunches this month, and I hope locals and visitors give it a try!  If you’re into sushi, sashimi and the like, I really suggest Kanpai in the Third Ward.  Neither my guests nor I have ever been disappointed there.  And, for  local fare that is not fancy, but is just good, AJ Bombers, the Old German Beer Hall, and Lakefront Brewery are great local options.

I hope you enjoyed our tour of Milwaukee over the past few days!

Happy new year!

Cheers!

Ker

Happy New Year from “She Ordered What?”!!

Happy New Year to everyone!  I’m very excited to be taking some friends to my favorite local sushi spot, Kanpai Izakaya, tonight before heading over to the County Clare for some Irish music and new year’s celebration!  It’s going to be wonderful to ring in a new year with good friends, and I think 2015 is going to be another great year!

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I’d like to say thank you all for your readership and your comments on “She Ordered What?”.

2014 was a busy year, and I didn’t post as much as I would have liked, but I’m hoping 2015 will offer more opportunities for adventuresome dining!

There were ~20 new posts, 8,600 views, and readers from 93 countries!  The give-away posts were the most popular, followed by Melt Bar & Grilled, Mussels in Brussels, and Karu’s Indian food in Singapore.  I’d say that’s a pretty good variety of posts, locations, and types of food!

Here’s to more adventures in 2015 and possibly more guest posts (hint, hint!).

May everyone stay safe, be healthy, and be happy!  Enjoy the New Year’s celebrations!

Cheers!

Ker

Miscellaneous in Milwaukee

Happy holidays, friends! I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely holiday season.

Wishing you warm and wonderful holidays from Riley (top) and Seamus (bottom).

Wishing you warm and wonderful holidays from Riley (top) and Seamus (bottom).

I’ve already written a few posts about some of my adventures in Milwaukee, but there are a few experiences I have yet to share.

I have written about AJ Bombers, my first outing to a local hot spot.  I’ve also written about Coquette Cafe  (a major disappointment) and Braise  (home to several wonderful dining experiences).

I’ve been to Louise’s (both locations) a handful of times.  Homemade pasta,  a warm environment, good service, and fun experiences with friends and family!  I first met my friend, Wendy, at the Brookfield location while she was in town for work.  Since then, I convinced coworkers to forgo dinner at a chain restaurant and dine out at Louise’s.  I’ve also taken my friend Eric to the downtown location – conveniently located just blocks from my place – and I’ve taken my parents there too.  My favorite dish is the Pappardelle with Italian sausage, plum tomatoes, and fresh garlic. The homemade pasta is tossed in tomato cream sauce with red chiles – and it has great flavor!

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Papperdelle with Italian sausage, plum tomatoes, and fresh garlic

Wendy had the chicken marsala, which she said was the best she’s ever had (with a caveat that pregnancy may have played a part!).  Everyone I’ve dined with at Louise’s really enjoyed his or her meal.  One note, the Arrabiata sauce does have a small kick to it, so if you don’t care for spicy dishes, I’d stay away from Penne All’Arrabiata (though I enjoyed the dish quite a bit when I had it!).

Another place I’ve gone to a couple of times, once with Eric and once with The Wine Guy, is Kanpai (sushi) Restaurant.  Kanpai is located in the Third Ward, about a mile from my place.  It’s a spacious restaurant, with a good-sized bar and plenty of seating.  There are “service buttons” on each booth – not that I’ve had to come close to using one!  The first time I went there was with Eric, and my time-management skills were absent…so, we were very rushed – yet our server took excellent care of us!  The second time was with The Wine Guy, and he was a minor celebrity at Kanpai – employees and customers all seemed to know him!

I don’t have many photographs of the beautiful, and delicious, food I’ve had at Kanpai, but you’ll see several rolls on their homepage.  And, here’s a token photo taken when Eric and I dined there.

O My God roll:  shrimp tempura & avocado topped with shrimp, eel sauce, spicy aioli and wasabe aioli - served flaming

We were fortunate enough to dine at Kanpai during their anniversary celebration – half off!  We tried a couple of flaming rolls (like the one above) and some cold rolls.  The Kamikaze, the Red Dragon, and the O My God were just a few of my favorites!  When The Wine Guy and I had dinner, I decided to treat, since it was my invitation to him to meet up.  As a “thank you”, he offered me a ticket to his wine shop’s tasting later that weekend.  I really enjoyed the event, and I bought quite a few bottles of fantastic wines!

A couple of other highlights from visits and adventures are:

Breakfast at the Plaza Hotel and Apartments – right across the street from my place.  It’s not a fancy venue, but the food is excellent!  I have other breakfast spots to explore, but in a pinch, I’m glad to have a great option just across the street!

Seeing a graphic novel (aka: comic book) come to life as a live-action stage production.  Eric and I enjoyed The Intergalactic Nemesis quite a bit!  It certainly stimulates one’s senses with actors voicing out the novel’s storyline, a sound effects guy providing additional atmosphere, and a pianist improvising the score as the show plays out.  It was definitely a unique, if somewhat nerdy, experience!

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During the holiday season, I also enjoyed the holiday spirit that embodies downtown Milwaukee.  There are so many fun holiday decorations throughout the city.  Here’s just one example – a mailbox that sends mail directly to Santa. I know it works, because my letter was answered!  You’ll also see the outdoor ice rink, which had free skating on the day it opened.  Just beyond the rink is a slew of holiday lights which were celebrated with fireworks and hot cocoa.  Milwaukee is a city that LOVES to celebrate!

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Just before I left Milwaukee to visit my family in the Cleveland area, I decided to head over to The Rep theater and see a show I’d been anxious to see – Noises Off.  Back in the early ’90s, the movie was one of the funniest movies I had ever seen, and the reviews for the stage show were fantastic, so I was really looking forward to seeing it.  The stage production did not disappoint!  The audience was laughing throughout all three acts, and an enthusiastic standing O was delivered at the end.  I’m glad I took a little “me time” to enjoy the show.  If a stage production comes to a city near you, I highly recommend seeing it!  Your abs will likely be sore from all of the laughter!

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And, just to leave you with a taste of the holiday weather, here is a sunrise picture taken on December 19th during the morning walk with the pooches, and a picture taken the morning of December 22nd during our morning walk.

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I’m sure I’ll have plenty more adventures in and around Milwaukee.  If you have an opinion as to something I should “not miss”, please feel free to leave a comment!

Cheers!

Ker

 

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