Archive for the tag “adventure”

#MKEFoodCrawl in Walker’s Point, Milwaukee, WI

This past weekend, friends and I (mostly) enjoyed a walking food tour of Walker’s Point (sometimes AKA “The Fifth Ward”), an up and coming neighborhood in Milwaukee.

photo c/o of MKEFoodies

photo courtesy of MKEFoodies

I learned about the food crawl through social media – shocking, I know!

After consulting with a friend who was supposed to still be in town visiting, I bought both a “gold” (12 small plates) and “silver” (7 small plates) ticket. The tickets weren’t necessarily inexpensive at $75 and $50, respectively, but I was excited to experience dishes from a variety of restaurants I hadn’t tried before – and one that I had. Here’s the map/menu…

menu

My friend’s plans changed, so as Stairwell Guy says, I turned to “Plan B”.  He’s very good company, and not really a “Plan B”, but I did originally buy the ticket for a visitor, so I guess he is partially correct there.  I thank him for being an enthusiastic and fun fill-in.  Several weeks earlier, I had also invited my friend Phi and her husband to join us, which they happily did!

We met at the Blue Jacket on National Avenue, which served both as the kick-off point as well as host to Bloody Marys. I was especially happy to be there to see Phi experience her first Bloody Mary – EVER!  First sip…good stuff, then…the tomato kicked in a little too far for dear Phi.  In my opinion, the Bloodys were a bit heavy on the seasoning, but were tasty enough (disclaimer: I don’t typically drink liquor drinks, so I am NOT an authority).

Bloody Mary at The Blue Jacket.

Bloody Mary at The Blue Jacket.

From The Blue Jacket, we headed on to Chez Jacques for crepes.  From the almost hour-long wait we had, I have to assume that we were not alone with the plan to start with breakfast. This was both a frustrating, and surprising start to the #MKEFoodCrawl.

Note: Throughout the day I spoke with folks on the food crawl, and to a T, every person expected a casual walk through Walker’s Point with tents or tables stocked with small plates for us to try, converse, and then move on.  Instead, we were seated at each restaurant and served the small plates – sometimes in a timely manner, and often not.

Chez Jacques staff addressed every table in the room before they even greeted our four-top, and we were the second group in the room.  It was so frustrating that we were just getting ready to leave when someone asked us if we had been attended to.  So, we placed orders and waited, and waited, and waited. When we finally were served our crepes (four choices, folks…shouldn’t the kitchen be prepared for that?), three of the four were met with positive reviews.  The chicken curry, the spinach Roquefort, and the vanilla berries crepes hit the spot.  The banana Nutella (read: Hershey’s syrup) was, sadly, a bust.

Here is my spinach Roquefort crepe:

Crepe

The dense filling of spinach and cheese along with the pine nuts were a delicious combination.  It’s just too bad the restaurant seemed more than ill-prepared to deal with the #MKEFoodCrawl crowd.

But, we were on to our next stop (finally!) by noon.  We tried to visit Circa 1880, but the line was out the door and starting to wrap around the corner!  So, we went on to Braise.

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I have written about Braise before (my first meeting with Phi!), and although Stairwell Guy was a newbie, we were all looking forward to checking out the yellow curry dal with ramp yogurt and the Grilled chorizo sope with ramp chimichurri & garlic chive crema.

We were in and out of Braise in 20 minutes, and we had really exceptional dishes in that time. There were two servings of the curry, and two of the chorizo…both dishes were met with rave reviews.  Phi and I also viewed the rooftop garden and dining area in the time we waited for our meals.  Very efficient!

Then, onto Wayward Kitchen for Pork Belly Tostada with Watermelon Rind Salsa, Queso Fresco, and Refried Black Eyed Peas w/ Jalapeno. I liked the casual atmosphere of this “off the beaten path” place.

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Again, by all accounts, service was not expedient, but the experience was a good one.

I struggled with my tostado because of its brittle nature – or because of user error!  Nobody else seemed to struggle like I did. So, I’ll take the blame on that one!

Pork Belly Tostada

Pork Belly Tostada

The Wayward Kitchen is also where I met up with a friend of the friend who left town early.  We had met up with Jon Thursday evening, so it was nice to see him and meet his friends out in a different part of town!  This is the friendly Midwest after all!

We then headed up to Clock Shadow Creamery for pretzels and cheese.  Well, cheese.

@SweetPhi !!

@SweetPhi !!

The first thing we heard when we walked in the door is that Clock Shadow had just run out of pretzels.  Since I’m not a fan of cheese curds (aka: squeakies), I opted to try the Basket Ricotta with lemon jam from The National Café and Take-away – another local fave! The Ricotta was quite tasty and the jam was a perfectly sour complement, but it was simply too much for any of us to finish. We were a bit bummed about not trying the pretzels, because they looked really good!

From Clock Shadow, we headed toward Ginger, with a quick stop to check out a restaurant that will be opening very soon, Morel.  It was cool to see the space in its final stages of construction and to meet the owner, sous chef and general manager.  A very friendly bunch, and very excited to be opening a new space in Walker’s Point!

Once we got to Ginger, we finally sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather of the day. Ginger has a lovely back patio. Again, the service was a bit slow, and our server forget to bring three of the plates we ordered. She apologized, quickly brought the remainder and comped the glass of wine I enjoyed with my Vietnamese Rice Noodles (chilled napa cabbage, carrot, peanuts and cilantro, soy chili dressing) and Hoison Braised Pork Shoulder on wonton chi (served with ginger carrot jicama slaw).

Vietnamese Rice Noodles

Vietnamese Rice Noodles

Hoison Pork

Hoison Pork

Everyone else tried the Passion Fruit Ceviche: scallops and shrimp in a passion fruit citrus base with plantain chips and sweet potato and enjoyed the dishes as well.

By this time, it was 2:45PM and the food crawl was to end at 3PM. We had only managed to visit half of the restaurants on the tour, and we had several tickets left. Phi and Nick needed to head home, so Stairwell Guy and I planned a quick stop at Zak’s Café for the stuffed French Toast he had been craving.

Stuffed French Toast

Stuffed French Toast

He was not disappointed, although he was served the wrong dish – are you seeing a trend here with respect to the service that day?

We hustled down the street with mere moments to spare in an attempt to finish with dessert. Jeff and I decided to divide and conquer, with him standing in the long line at Purple Door for ice cream (his favorite!) and me waiting in an equally long line at Indulgence Chocolatier (featured here).

Lines

It was past 3PM at this point, but the local businesses were not going to turn away participants. We were able to hit the two spots at which we had planned all day to finish! Score!

Five mini-scoops of ice cream and 3 truffles to take home (for each of us!)

Five mini scoops of ice cream and 3 truffles to take home (for each of us!)

I have to give Stairwell Guy props – he knew my only criteria was “no maple!”, and he chose really well.  He ordered me mini scoops of: Lime sorbet, chocolate cinnamon, Bailey’s Irish Cream, chocolate banana and butter pecan.  A delicious sampling!

For him, I ordered orange cardamom, Thai peanut butter and milk chocolate truffles.  He ate them on the way home, and told me just how much he enjoyed them.

Indulgence Truffles

Indulgence Truffles

So, while the #MKEFoodCrawl was not exactly what we thought it would be, and the service in many venues did not seem prepared for our crowd, we really did enjoy the food, uncovering new restaurants and, of course, a lovely day with friends!

One final note: Next year, I will not order the “gold” ticket package for 12 tickets, because the schedule just does not allow for sampling at enough venues to make it worth the $75.  The “silver” package at $50 for seven small plates is absolutely sufficient.

I’d love to hear comments from others on the #MKEFoodCrawl tour of Walker’s Point, as well as those of you who live in other cities and have participated in local food crawls.  Please leave a comment below!

Cheers!

Ker

Odd Duck – An odd’s on favorite in Milwaukee

Last week, my parents were in town to help me with “elderly dog care” while I was booked from day til night with business meetings.  They spent the days in my apartment downtown, only venturing out a couple blocks or two (due to weather and because they were uber-productive at home!).  Mom cleaned my place from top to bottom (including all of the dogs’ toys) and finished all of my laundry for me.  I didn’t ask her to do so, but I was appreciative of her help.  And, dad took care of early morning dog duties as well as running errands.  Oh, and bankrolling our few meals out!  🙂

It wasn’t until later in the week that I would be able to spend quality time with my parents, and on Thursday evening I relied on Yelp! for a recommendation on Mexican food.  Let’s just say, it was a bust.  Not that the food was terrible, but it certainly wasn’t 4 or 5 star rating worthy.  So, when mom informed me that they wanted to take me out for an early birthday dinner (I gracefully age another year on March 17) on Friday, I wanted to make sure to have a good dinner.  I researched a bit that Thursday evening, but ultimately didn’t decide on a locale until Friday afternoon.

Way to go, Ker.  Not good for reservations!

I called Odd Duck, which has been an ongoing recommendation from a coworker and friend for months, and they had one 5PM reservation available.  Mom and dad were totally cool with that. It was 6PM their time, and they had been on a breakfast and dinner only schedule, so eating early was perfect.  Since I was quite under the weather, getting home early was actually appealing to me too!

So, off we went to see what Odd Duck was all about…Nestled in the lovely neighborhood known as Bay View, Odd Duck is a small restaurant overloaded with character.The menu was diverse and reasonably priced.

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Odd Duck Kitchen

Odd Duck Kitchen

Our server, India, came over to greet us and to ask about our drink order. At this point, I told my parents “screw this cold, I’m having wine tonight!”.  When I advised India that I’d have her choose my meal and asked her to bring a glass of wine to complement it, she gave an affirmative nod of her head and simply asked if anything was off-limits.  Just the scallops (and later, i would determine that the maple vinaigrette would not have made my cut).  So, off India went.

India returned with a glass of Portuguese red wine for me, it was so new it isn’t even on the drink menu online.  She suggested that it is a very versatile wine and she thought it would complement her (still secret) entrée choice for me.  Then, wisely, India asked if we’d like to try one of Odd Duck‘s awesome cheese plates.  She and my dad collaborated on choosing five cheeses, including: Hook’s 5 Year Cheddar, Roth Kase Buttermilk Blue Affinee, and Izar-Gazta Raw Milk Idiazaba amongst a couple of others that escape me now but were delicious.  This was the perfect savory start to our meal – not too much food, but a variety of things to nibble on as we enjoyed the atmosphere.

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As we finished up the cheese plate, my dad’s mushroom salad arrived.  It looked wonderful, and he devoured it so I think it’s safe to say it was a very good, earthy-flavored salad!

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My parents were in awe of the crustini as well.  So thin and delicate!

Mom and I ordered another glass of wine (come on, that’s what we Kilbourne women do!) to be delivered with our entrées, which would be coming momentarily.

Mom had ordered a Korean BBQ style pork dish – which was a departure for her, for sure. Let me just tell you how that egg yolk perplexed her!  She finally gave in and broke the yolk to give the rice a better texture.  Aside from the bite of the Kimchi and the pickled pears, she thoroughly enjoyed it!  (mom doesn’t like spicy food) It had great flavor – we all shared bites of our dishes with each other.

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Dad ordered the braised short rib beef stroganoff, which also looked and tasted exceptional!  And, the portions were not overwhelming.

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And, India had chosen the “Duck times two” as I dubbed it.  In fact, it’s much more sophisticated than that by the restaurant’s description: seared duck breast over bread pudding with a cranberry gastrique and handmade (duck) sausage over confit. It was a simple dish, but expertly prepared and very flavorful, yet not “gamey”.  The seared duck and bread pudding were my favorite components of this dish.

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Again, the portions were just right, allowing us entertain the idea of having dessert.  As soon as India mentioned sorbet, I knew what my dad would be ordering.  Odd Duck was featuring Concord Grape sorbet – something I had never heard of before!  I opted for the lemon-ginger creme brûlée.  Mom insisted that she didn’t want dessert.

Funny, because that third spoon India brought “for sharing” sure was put to good use by Pamcakes!  She enjoyed the sorbet, but she could not get enough of the creme brûlée!  Both desserts hit the spot – for all of us.

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From beginning to end, my family enjoyed our first experience at Odd Duck.  And, I’m pretty sure the wine mom and I had comprised half the bill!  It’s an affordable place with exquisite food that is not pretentious or intimidating.

As I gazed at the crowd as we were leaving, I saw a young demographic swaying more toward the hipsters’ scene than anything else.  Casual and comfortable sums up my experience.

To India, thank you for making my early birthday dinner delightful.  You know your stuff, and you are a really pleasant server.  Hope to see you and the Odd Duck gang again soon.

Cheers!

Ker

From Soup to Nuts, errr…Dessert: The Noble, Walker’s Point, Milwaukee

A quick note: ICYMI (in case you missed it), Amanda S. was the randomly chosen winner of the Spreading WI Love Giveaway. She professes to be “obsessed with all things wine and chocolate”, and plans to try the “secret family recipe” I shared with her. Congratulations, Amanda!

Last week, “Stairwell Guy” (Jeff) and I decided to meet for dinner. I was heading to Memphis for friends’ wedding over the Valentine’s Day weekend, so we opted to have a nice dinner on the Tuesday night prior. I lost our Superbowl bet (thank you Denver Broncos for that!), so dinner was going to be my treat.

As a side note: “Stairwell Guy” is a man I literally met in a stairwell. I was walking over to Irish Fest last summer, and happened to hold open the door to a public parking garage that led down to the street that leads one on the way to Summer Fest grounds. He and I struck up a conversation as we walked ~15 minutes to the festival, and then he asked me for my number, or if he could give me his (so as not to appear too forward). Since then, we’ve met up a number of times to explore the greater Milwaukee area. I still refer to him as “Stairwell Guy”, both because it “stuck”, and because I know many Jeffs and this minimizes confusion. *end note*

I think “Stairwell Guy” is the only person I know that is more indecisive than I am; so when my friend Phi reminded me of her and her husband’s favorite restaurant in Milwaukee (The Noble), I texted Jeff and offered it up as a suggestion. He checked the website and thought it was a great option. So, we met at my apartment (in East Town) and drove a few miles down to Walker’s Point to enjoy our first dinner at The Noble.

The Noble is a small and unassuming joint, both inside and out. Phi had warned me that the restaurant doesn’t accept reservations and only has six or seven tables. For these reasons, I felt like heading over there on a chilly (okay, downright cold) Tuesday night was a wise choice.

We were greeted warmly by the staff and were seated right away. The tables, like the general atmosphere, were simple, yet inviting. Brown paper over white linens and silverware wrapped in paper napkins, but tied with sweet little bows.

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Jeff and I opted for hot tea as our beverages – we needed to warm up after the brief walk in the cold Milwaukee winter air. I didn’t even check the drink menu, but the bar in the restaurant gave me the impression that one could order some really delicious drinks if one wanted to do so.

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After perusing the small menu, which consisted of some wonderful appetizers and salads as well as nightly specials of the “Hunters” (meat dish), the “Gathers” (vegetarian), and the “Middle of the Road”, I decided I really couldn’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

Jeff decided to have the tomato and roasted red pepper soup to start. He then decided on “The Hunters” special, which was a NY Strip steak covered with crab meat and shrimp in a cream sauce for dinner.

Since I was so confident in the menu, I simply asked our server, Amanda, to choose her favorite dish for me. She was a bit startled (as was Jeff), but she quickly agreed to take good care of me.

Jeff’s soup came out quite quickly and was a large bowl of thick, creamy soup with wonderful flavor. (I failed to take a photo).

We chatted as we soaked in the eclectic atmosphere, and before we knew it, our entrees were served. Jeff’s was set down first, and it looked spectacular!

photo 1Amanda told me that she chose the “Middle of the Road” special, which was Beef Stroganoff, because “it’s the perfect meal on a cold winter night”. I definitely liked her reasoning, but honestly, after seeing Jeff’s plate, I was kind of wishing that I had gotten the NY Strip. That was…until I tasted the Stroganoff.

photo 2As you can see, it was served with rice, green beans and tomatoes. The sauce was creamy and light, but still very rich. It was a different take on Beef Stroganoff for me – mom had always made it over egg noodles and sans vegetables (well, veggies on the side, but not in the dish!).

I only managed to finish half of the dish, but was excited about the prospect of freezing the other half for dinner at a later date.

When Amanda asked if we were interested in hearing about the dessert specials, Jeff and I looked at each other awkwardly. Were we interested? After several seconds passed, I advised Amanda that we would like to hear the specials. I think Jeff probably let out a sigh of relief when I made that executive decision. 😉

I remember that there was a blackberry bread pudding special, and something else being offered up – but I cannot remember the details after hearing Amanda talk about an orange cake with chocolate ganache, fresh whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. Y’all, I will eat chocolate on the regular, but given the choice, I’ll pass it up for an orange flavored dessert almost every time. So, pairing the two? Genius!

Jeff actually spoke up and ordered that, knowing how much I like orange desserts (and, he has a massive sweet tooth that never quite seems satisfied).

photo 3It took us no time at all to dive into this delicious dessert, and only a few minutes to completely clean the plate! This may be a dessert I need to attempt at home. Or, perhaps I’ll have my friend Katie, of Katie’s Adventures in the Kitchen give it a whirl! It is BY FAR my favorite dessert in the past several years.

Both Jeff and I really enjoyed a casual night out for dinner with exceptional food (and so reasonably priced!). Walker’s Point has so many spots to check out that I’ve made the mental note to spend some time there when the weather warms up a bit (June? July? 🙂 )

I want to thank Phi for the recommendation to check out The Noble. I’m thinking we should go back and enjoy dinner together sometime!

To learn more about their ever-changing menu, please check out http://www.facebook.com/thenoblemke or on Twitter @thenoblemke

Cheers!

Ker

My Favorite Dining Experiences of 2013…

I wrote about my favorite experiences of 2012 last year, and it has been fun to go back and revisit some of them periodically.  So…I thought I’d make another list for 2013 – the first full year of “She Ordered What?”.

First, let me say that 2013 has been a fantastic year!  I left a job that, to put it nicely, was un-fulfilling, moved to Milwaukee (a city that I am LOVING!), am working for a supervisor I respect – and like, and have coworkers I enjoy (so much so that we opted to spend time together after the holiday party this year).  I am living in downtown Milwaukee, and am thoroughly enjoying metropolitan living (as are my (now 13-year-old) dogs!). I am also traveling a bit more again, allowing for some interesting dining experiences.  For me, change has been very good!

So…I started compiling my top 5 choices of 2013, but the list quickly grew beyond five.  I’ll list my “top 5” and a few honorable mentions – which provided great memories with a bunch of friends and colleagues.

5) Melt Bar and Grilled: This is a bit of a cheat, as I actually posted this on December 28, 2012.  However, I think Melt deserves a mention since the sandwich was so very good!  Full of carbs and comfort, the “Mom’s Meatloaf” grilled cheese was excellent, and very filling!  I did end up having the second half of the sandwich for lunch the next day – and I ate it cold.  It was really delicious as a cold leftover!  I’d also like to thank Melt Bar and Grilled for posting a link to my blog on their website.  I really appreciate the additional traffic!  I’m looking forward to hitting up Melt when I make it back to Ohio next year.

Melt

4) AJ Bombers:  As I mentioned, I had been following AJ Bombers on Twitter ever since I read about their social media program a couple of years ago.  So…when I moved to Milwaukee, I was really excited to walk over and check the place out in person.  After all, the place promises “Happiness, with a side of burgers”.  Not only is the food far better than your average bar food (let’s face it, it’s NOT healthy!), but the Bloody Mary drinks are the best in town – I don’t care what WISN readers say!  Finally, the service is always outstanding – though I tend to favor being a customer of this girl.  😉

AJB

3) Braise: I was introduced to Braise through a local food blogger, Phi, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole dining experience with her and another food blogger, Shanon.  The atmosphere is so cool.  This used to be a bowling alley, and the owners repurposed a lot of the old elements to create a unique and inviting space.  But, the food…is SO good!  The menu is changed up regularly to incorporate the best ingredients, and it’s not an overwhelmingly large menu so one doesn’t have to feel pressure to sift through pages of options, hoping to make the right decision.  I’ve been to Braise several times now, and in my opinion, any decision is a good one!  Also, Braise just opened a second floor bar/lounge area.  I’ll need to check that out!

Braise

2) Bacon Bros. Public House: Another locally sourced restaurant makes the list!  I have Yelp! to thank for introducing my friends and me to this hidden gem.   While visiting South Carolina to see my Clemson Tigers beat Boston College, we stumbled upon Bacon BrosThe food:  the meat is locally sourced, and spectacular, and the side dishes have a definite southern flair to them, but with a new twist.  The service was fantastic.  And, their motto is “Powered by Bacon”!  What’s not to love about this place?

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and…the top “She Ordered What?” dining experience of 2013 was…

1) The Publican:  The fact that I drove ~90 miles each way to and from Chicago on a Tuesday night (in traffic and weather) could not even put a damper on this meal!  Our server, whom I mentioned a few times in the post, was very good – and he was totally on board to surprise us that evening.  The food was expertly prepared.  Again, The Publican is a restaurant that sources its ingredients locally – must love that!  All in all, the atmosphere, the service, the food, and the company (Chanda!) were top-notch.  I loved this place that is off the beaten path, so to speak, but may be home to the best meal I’ve had in Chicago (and I’ve had some REALLY good meals there!).  I highly recommend The Publican if you’re looking for an excellent dining experience.  The menu changes up frequently here as well, but here is the selection from which we had to choose.

Publican

Honorable mentions:

I kicked the year off by celebrating a dear friend’s birthday in Detroit.  I was able to meet some of her other wonderful friends, and we just had a fantastic time enjoying a city that tends to be “off-limits” after work or late at night. Detroit does indeed have some safe and fun spots to enjoy “after hours”.

I also enjoyed celebrating my own birthday with friends – in Massachusetts.  My friends gave me a perfectly balanced weekend.  We had fun “out on the town”, enjoyed chilling at home, oh, and we ran a 10K in the middle of it all!  I’m looking forward to seeing this crazy crew when we meet up for our other friends’ wedding in Memphis this February.

Finally, categorize this under the “last, but not least” header… I had some fun times traveling with my new coworkers this year.  We had some really fruitful business trips, but always seemed to sneak in a good meal or two! There was the “first meal in Nola”, the “marathon trip”,  the “French food in Montreal”, the “mussels in Brussels”, and the “pork in Paris”.  We’ve had other dining adventures, but not all warrant a “She Ordered What?” post.

I will say this, I’m grateful for the way my colleagues have embraced me, and I find it refreshing to enjoy having a meal and/or a drink (or two!) with my coworkers. It certainly makes work more enjoyable!

“She Ordered What?”: 2013 by the numbers:

I wrote 22 posts to contribute to the overall number of 83 posts. The readers and I have posted 221 comments to the blog.  There are over 1,800 “She Ordered What?” followers who viewed the blog almost 17,000 times.  And, from all over the world…83 countries, actually (led by the US, Canada and Singapore)!

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Thank you again for your support and readership.  As I mentioned last year, if you would like to write a guest post, please let me know.  I enjoy sharing others’ experiences as well!

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling 2014!

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!

Capture

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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