Archive for the category “Milwaukee”

A month of celebrations!

My birthday is right in the middle of March, but I celebrate all month long! This year, my friends and I joked that it’s also a celebration of my “divorce” from my former employer – as the separation was finalized just two days before my birthday. So… we celebrated!

My friends spoiled me quite a bit this year. I think we were all itching to get back out to restaurants after two years at home, and they were all anxious to treat me to something special since I’m often baking for them. Speaking of which, my friend (and neighbor) Kathy and I had another super fun “baking date” to make Guinness chocolate cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream icing for St. Patrick’s Day (and my birthday) – which the neighbor’s eagerly gobbled up! (I threw in a photo of Rory and one of McPaddy just because they’re cute!)

The week of eating my way through the greater Milwaukee area started off with an impromptu dinner at The Knick with my next door neighbor, Brenda. It was a gorgeous spring evening and we enjoyed dining out on the patio. A lovely evening of catching up and enjoying some outside time together.

The next evening (St. Patrick’s Day / my birthday), my friends Wayne, Yazan and Kelly had planned to take me to dinner at Milwaukee Steakhouse. I will admit that I barely ate that day, knowing that I would be enjoying a remarkable steak later that evening. ūüôā Milwaukee Steakhouse has a traditional steakhouse atmosphere – inviting, not too fancy, and a pleasant place in which to have a delicious meal. Plus, our server brought her own spunk to the experience!

Following munching on the relish tray and fried cauliflower, I delighted in a perfect 6 oz filet mignon with bleu cheese crumbles and sauteed mushrooms.

6 oz filet mignon and sauteed mushrooms

The four of us sat at the table having great conversation and lots of laughs before returning back to the city and continuing the conversation into the late hours of the evening. It was a perfect birthday!

Then, of course, I had to use the cauliflower I had at home to attempt to replicate the appetizer. I think I did a pretty good job. Remember, Milwaukee Steakhouse, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! ūüėČ

The following evening, my friends (and more neighbors) Peter, Iris and Kathy treated me to a divine dinner at Birch downtown. This is one of their regular haunts, but I had not been since well before Pandemic hit us. I allowed my neighbors, Peter and Iris to choose the food of the evening, and they did not disappoint!

We started off with the Chef’s bite, followed by grilled garlic focaccia, beef tartare, and sweet potato and braised short rib skewers. Each small plate was individually incredible! We then enjoyed duck ragu and “chicken under a brick” for the entrees – splitting everything amongst the four of us. I don’t recall having ever had such moist and tender chicken, and pairing it with homemade pasta – perfection!

We ended the meal with two desserts. Oof! Does any birthday ever go unacknowledged with a grand dessert? The goat cheese cheesecake was definitely my favorite of the two, though the chocolate tarte with sea salt and house-made whipped cream was certainly decadent!

I had to take Saturday as a day of rest!

Because… on Sunday, my friends Kelly, Wayne, Yazan, Nabeel and I went to Central Standard Craft Distillery for brunch and a drag show. I asked our server, Dory, to choose her favorite thing on the menu and to surprise me. She delivered churro French toast. My friends were a bit concerned because they know that I don’t typically like sweet dishes – at least I don’t gravitate toward them. However, I ate every bite of that French toast (after removing the small pitcher of maple syrup from the area). It was not too sweet, and the cinnamon added a bit of warmth to the overall flavor. No complaints!

Following brunch, we headed upstairs to Central Standard’s event space which was all made up for an afternoon of drag queens lip-syncing to party music for a couple of hours. What better way to spend a Sunday out with friends?!?

I couldn’t leave without purchasing the woman’s v-neck version of this t-shirt!

I honestly have not been this busy, seen so many friends, or enjoyed myself so much in a long time! I’m really grateful to have such wonderful people in my life. I wish everybody could be so fortunate!

I’ve also really been enjoying some time off for the first time in a long, long time. I’m taking Marie Kondo’s advice and evaluating what brings me joy in my professional life before making a decision on the next steps. I’m also confusing myself because I am really enjoying all of the baking and cooking that I’ve been doing, but I’m terrified of starting a business of my own – be it a side hustle, a storefront, a gig as a personal chef, etc. It’s something I talk about with friends frequently but have yet to act on. At least the ink is dry on the “divorce papers” and I am free to move in a better direction. ūüėÄ

How many people are getting back out into the world of dining out? Did you ever really take the break that I did? Are we finally coming to a phase in this COVID world where we might stabilize? I’m sure hoping so!

Now, I still have one more week in my birthday month, so I’ll be adding to this. My friend Nabeel is taking me to lunch today, and I’m meeting up with Brenda’s friend, Leslie, for some networking time next week. The fun truly does not ever end!

Cheers!

Ker

Lunch & Brunch, Milwaukee Style…

I have been SO BAD about finding time to write, so I’m grateful for a day off, college football on the tube (thankfully, my Clemson Tigers pulled off a huge win yesterday so the rest of the bowl games are just gravy), and a comfy spot to sit with my laptop.

I have some photos from a meal in Vegas, but I think my disdain for that city has prevented me from posting about the excellent Beef Wellington I had at Mon Ami Gabi. I have more upcoming travel (San Antonio, I’m looking at you!), so I look forward to hitting my “She Ordered What?” stride again in 2016.

In the meantime, I have recently tried a few¬†restaurants right here in Milwaukee. They’ve been on my list of places to try, but it took me 2 1/2+ years to check them off the list!

First up was Engine Company 3 in Walker’s Point. My brother was in town for Doors Open Milwaukee and I convinced him to venture out to a new, and very cool joint. The Polenta Con Gamberi e Uovo is not on the current menu, but dear gosh…it was GOOD! Excellent, really! It gave me a sense of good southern shrimp and grits from back in the college days in South Carolina. ūüėČ

I’ve recommended this spot to others, always with satisfied feedback!

Next up is Story Hill BKC in Milwaukee. ¬†Our server – if I recall correctly, Beth – was energetic, funny, and on top of her game. She was lovely, and was totally amped when I handed her my card. She showed no hesitation, though my friend did. It was her rookie outing with me during a “She Ordered What?” meal! I¬†have been known to¬†make dining dates uncomfortable by surrendering the decision to our server. It’s not on purpose, I promise!

I was served a flavorful dish which is a standard on the menu – the Shakshouka. The dish consists of two Local Eggs Baked in Cumin-Spiced Tomato Sauce, Smoked Lentils, Cilantro, Goat Cheese, Sumac Mayonnaise, with Flatbread on the side and our server added avocado because that’s how she likes the dish to be enjoyed.

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I admit that I don’t think I ever would have ordered this dish on my own accord, but that’s the beauty of trusting servers to introduce me to new dishes. The Shakshouka was deliciously full of flavor. It was also a healthy portion, but not overwhelming large. When my friend took a bite, she agreed that Beth had chosen a winner for me!

And, let me say that I love having servers who get so excited about reading the card and choosing a meal for me. Beth wasn’t the only one… Next up: Blue’s Egg (a sister restaurant of Story Hill BKC).

Upon arrival, my friend and I decided to take the opportunity to snag two open stools at the counter rather than wait for a table. We both agree that counter service is usually quite good, and there’s just something fun about being close to the action. ¬†Cory was our server that morning.

When I handed him my card, he admitted that he had been wondering what I had sitting on my menu and then gave it a read, gave me a wink, and said he was “on it”. ¬†Frankly, there were so many interesting dishes on the menu, so I knew there was no way I could choose. I also had heard nothing but praise for Blue’s Egg, so I was confident I would be in for a treat. And, I was! I was served the Blue’s Classic Benedict with a helping of stuffed hash browns.

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A huge serving of poached eggs, pulled ham, english muffin, hollandaise and goat cheese stuffed hash-browns. Hello decadence!

I’m not normally a huge fan of ham, but this shredded ham was off the charts good! Admittedly, I had to have half of the meal boxed up – only because it was such a large portion, not because I didn’t enjoy every bite. In fact, at one point, our server overheard me mention that “holy hell this is GOOD”. That definitely put a smile on his face!

This time, my friend was familiar with my routine and knew to wait to eat until I got a picture of his crab cake and poached eggs as well as his Bloody Mary.

 

In addition to the places I’ve detailed here, I’ve also enjoyed breakfast pizza at Wolf Peach (for three meals!), had many great breakfast dishes at Hotel Metro, and yet I feel like there are a million treasures I still need to visit in Milwaukee. We’re so fortunate to have a great culinary scene here!

What is your favorite brunch spot? Brunch dish?

Cheers!

Ker

An honestly good time at Onesto! (Did ya catch that?)

How about party of one at “ONEsto“? ¬†I’m feeling pretty punny today, friends!

Some people do not enjoy dining alone, but I have never really had a problem doing so. ¬†I think having to travel for business so much throughout my career taught me to feel comfortable as a “party of one”. ¬†Back in the day, I would bring a book with me and sit at the corner two-top table at which hosts and hostesses would inevitably seat me. ¬†I’d read and casually eat my food while servers seemed to try to rush me out. ¬†I never really knew if it was because they were feeling uncomfortable for me, or if they were just trying to turn the table – probably a bit of both.

Nowadays, let’s face it. I have my nose stuck in my iPhone – either playing “Words with Friends”, checking social media sites, returning emails, or taking photos to include in blog posts like this. ¬†I really do feel that my “smart phone” has had the opposite effect on my intellect!

Anyhow, onto the story of my experience at Onesto, which opened last summer. ¬†My first adventure on Sunday was to finally get out and see Next Act Theatre’s final show and final performance of the season… “Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Evolution”. ¬†A WONDERFUL show, and it featured local actors I’ve come to know, as well as a Chicago-based actor whom I had as a houseguest for the first two weeks he was rehearsing the show. ¬†So, you know I really did want to see Kyle in the lead role much earlier, but business travel and personal issues delayed my seeing the show. ¬†(and, many thanks to my Next Act crew for giving a(n unnecessary) special mention in the program!)

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I loved hearing the remarks from audience members, both at intermission and after the show. ¬†As a board member, I found that folks really appreciated providing me their points of view, their personal experiences, and the reactions to the theatre space in general. ¬†It was a great afternoon! ¬†But, I was hungry by the time the show ended! ¬†That’s when I decided to head over and try Onesto¬†(which was mentioned to me by my favorite gal at AJ Bombers).

When I walked up to Onesto, I was greeted with “Ker?” by the gentleman at the door. Simply amazing to me since I am just barely coming up on two years in Milwaukee! ¬†Matt and I met at AJ Bombers a while back, and we know each other over Twitter, but I didn’t really think he would recognize me out of the blue! ¬†What a warm welcome!

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And, a cool spot! ¬†Check out the artwork that’s for sale when you stop in!

It was a gorgeous day, so I sat at the last seat at the bar, near the open windows facing N. Broadway Ave.

As he walked me to my seat, Matt gave¬†me a few recommendations (Mussels with Linguini, Bolognese with meatballs, Butternut Squash Ravioli), but he also mentioned that Jason (behind the bar) would “take good care of” me. So, as Jason greeted me, I promptly greeted him back and handed him my blog card. ¬†Jason verified that he understood the “instructions” and quickly went on his way.

He served me a glass of the featured wine:

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Then, I was served up a happy hour special – free Honey Roasted Bruschetta (roma tomato, basil, housemade ricotta) – and I bonded with Jason over his pronunciation of the word “bruschetta” – we both learned to pronounce it with a hard “k” sound rather than a “sh”. ¬†It’s the simple things, folks!

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When my entree was delivered, it was actually one of the dishes Matt had mentioned during our brief chat.  I was served the Bolognese (housemade spaghetti, topped with brisket) and served with two pork and grass fed meatballs (Oh My Goodness!  I thought I was completely in love with the au gratin potatoes (served under the grilled beef tenderloin) at Millioke, but I now have to share my heart with these meatballs!)

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I mentioned that I was hungry that day! ¬†I hadn’t eaten anything substantial until I went for this late lunch / early dinner. ¬†This was a LOT of food, but it was so tasty! ¬†Homemade spaghetti and meatballs – with brisket to boot! ¬†I was absolutely full by the time I was finished.

That didn’t stop Jason from bringing me (another free of charge item) a decadent dessert! ¬†Flourless chocolate olive oil cake with pistachio brittle (perhaps the best new discovery of recent times!). ¬†Y’all, this cake…it was almost like eating pudding! ¬†So smooth and creamy. ¬†But, the brittle was the true hero, in my opinion!

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I advised both Jason and Matt that I would be sending the bill for my gym membership after having this meal! ¬†It’s a miracle I had the energy to walk Riley and then do some work that evening. ¬†I probably should have given into a carb crash and called it a night!

It was a perfect Sunday afternoon, and I thoroughly enjoyed dining solo while catching occasional conversation with both Jason and Matt throughout the afternoon. ¬†They’re just lovely men and very friendly.

To sum it up: great service + great food + great atmosphere = a great time! ¬†I’d love to know if you’ve been to Onesto and if you have a favorite dish!

Cheers!

Ker

Lunching and Brunching in Milwaukee

This past weekend was a bit decadent for me. No real “working”, and lots of quality time with neighborhood friends.

On Saturday, my neighbor Andrew and I decided to head to The Historic Third Ward for a late lunch (mostly due to the fact that I indulged in a late morning nap!). Andrew suggested trying Swig after reading about it on Urbanspoon. I had heard of¬†Swig and had passed by the place, but hadn’t stopped in yet, so I was game!

Natural light by way of a garage doorfront.  Mixed media decor. A nice, comfortable vibe (IMO).

Natural light by way of a garage doorfront. Mixed media decor. A nice, comfortable vibe (IMO).

Swig has a rustic modern casual vibe and because we were lunching at 2:30PM on a Saturday, the place was fairly empty. Andrew and I were seated at a table near the fireplace (the thing I miss most about my last apartment!) and greeted warmly by Kate, our server for the afternoon. I immediately liked Kate because she had spunk! As Andrew contemplated having a drink, Kate quickly called him out about enjoying the weekend Рand soon after he was enjoying a Ginger Old Fashioned. Kate: 1, Andrew: won!

Ginger Old Fashioned

Ginger Old Fashioned

I was impressed, and overwhelmed with the menu.¬† I knew that I wanted a house salad – I needed my veggies!¬† Beyond that, I could have chosen almost anything!¬† The two items that bubbled to the top of the list for me were the Brie Grilled Cheese (I LOVE Brie, and I haven’t had it in quite some time) and the Crab Cake appetizer.¬† If I’m *really* honest with y’all, the baked Brie appetizer was appealing as well!

Long story short, I asked Kate to surprise me by choosing between the two and by choosing a flight of wine for me to enjoy along with the chosen meal.  She was on board from the get-go.

*side note: At Swig, you may choose your own flight of wine (three 2oz glasses Рof your choosing) and then a 5 oz glass Рall for $15. 

There was no way that I was going to be able to choose a wine flight with so many options from which to choose!

Borgo Pinot Grigio, Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc, and Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

Borgo Pinot Grigio, Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc, and Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

An incredibly tasty house salad (and only $4.50).

An incredibly tasty house salad (and only $4.50).

The house salad was loaded up with veggies and topped with parmesan cheese.  And, the dressing was AMAZING!

An amazing sweet and spicy apricot vinaigrette dressing!

An delicious sweet and spicy apricot vinaigrette dressing!

Kate gave me an idea of how to make this apricot vinaigrette, and after lunch Andrew and I promptly walked to Oro di Oliva in the Public Market to buy the appropriate vinegar!

Andrew decided to go “Ahi all the way”, with the seared tuna, arugula, and avocado salad with chimichurri sauce.

Seared Tuna salad with lots of avocado!

Seared Tuna salad with lots of avocado!

I was envious of all of the avocado that accompanied the beautiful seared tuna! ¬†We both thoroughly enjoyed our salads, and probably could have stopped there, as they were generous portions. ¬†But, we didn’t!

Kate brought me the crab cakes small plate.  These meaty crab cakes were covered in panko crumbs, sat on avocado puree, and were covered with roasted corn relish (another fave!).

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Like I mentioned, these were meaty (real) crab cakes.  The flavors were mild, but really tasty, and the wine paired beautifully with the dish.  For my 5 oz pour, I decided on the Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

Andrew stuck with the ginger Old Fashioned and had the Ahi tuna sandwich which had spring mix, red onion, wasabi aioli, and tomato cucumber salsa on it.  It was a big, and beautiful sandwich! Andrew said he liked that it had the teryaki flavor to it, making it a different experience from the salad he had just enjoyed.  The tomato-basil soup looked pretty thick and tasty as well!

IMG_1477[1]We ended up enjoying a few adult beverages and just hanging out on a Saturday afternoon. ¬†After hitting up the Public Market, we stopped in at Hudson’s Business Lounge – simply because Andrew had never been in there. ¬†It’s a cool shared space office building that my work team had used last year for an off-site working session. ¬†There is a full bar attached, so we spent a few minutes there before calling it a night. ¬†Nothing like a five-hour lunch! ¬†ūüôā

Then, in a blink of an eye, it was Sunday!

I had previously made plans to have brunch with my friend Katie on Sunday morning. ¬†The original plan was to head to the Hotel Metro because I love their breakfast and Katie had yet to experience it. ¬†However, after talking with a colleague about Black Sheep, we decided to head down to Walker’s Point and hit it up.

We arrived just as the doors opened and found a small high-top table for two – which was a good thing since the place filled up pretty quickly!

After day-drinking with Andrew the afternoon before, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have a drink with brunch, but the list was intriguing. ¬†After tasting the Wolf’s Spiked Tea, and having our server Corrine hint that there may be maple in it, I decided to head in a different direction and ordered the 2nd Street Cup (Canton, cranberry, lemonade and champagne), and after striking out twice with her orders (due to missing ingredients), Katie ended up choosing the Perfectly Peared (Belle de Brillet Cognac, pear nectar, and champagne). ¬†Both were refreshing and light – and didn’t taste too heavy on the alcohol! ¬†And, through the tea-tasting, Corrine learned of my disdain for maple (and she shares it due to a bad experience in the past! ¬†I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!!)

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The 2nd Street Cup in the foreground and the Perfectly Peared in the background.

 

As I perused the brunch menu, I couldn’t find any item that was off-limits, and so many things looked yummy. ¬†Corinne was on board for choosing just as Kate had been the day before. ¬†And, she made a great choice for me! ¬†Lobster Benedict, which consisted of poached eggs, lobster meat, arugula, hardwood smoked bacon, tomato confit and hollendaise sauce all atop brioche toast. ¬†Did I mention it was a decadent weekend? ¬†ūüėČ

Lobster Benedict

Lobster Benedict

Katie chose what I learned is a Wisconsin staple: ¬†Hot Ham & Rolls – which is a¬†Parker House roll with shaved smoked Berkshire ham, maple butter (ick!) and two eggs. Though Katie mentioned this was a simple dish, she also said it had really good flavor. ¬†We also agreed that Black Sheep’s fries were excellent – crispy and flavorful.

Hot ham & rolls.

Hot ham & rolls.

Both Swig and Black Sheep¬†are local spots that I plan to revisit, especially since we didn’t try any of the wines on tap at Black Sheep!

Do you have a favorite daytime destination?  Please feel free to share in the comments!

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!

Kanpai

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

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