Archive for the tag “bloody mary”

Saying goodbye, with fond memories. Recalling a great brunch at Trocadero Gastrobar, Milwaukee

A few weeks back, I had lunch with the guy I had been dating at the time.  Not the right man for me, but we had many fun times together. I appreciated that this man knows and enjoys so many places around Milwaukee.  He introduced me to some very cool places. One of those times was at Trocadero Gastrobar on Water Street near Brady.  I had never been to Trocadero, and, I was in for a treat!

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Courtesy of Google search.

It was a chilly Milwaukee morning, so I was craving a warm beverage. Those of you who know me, know that I do NOT drink coffee!  And, frankly, I haven’t had hot cocoa in quite some time either.  BUT…the Mexican hot cocoa, mixed with Godiva Chocolate Liqueor, Ancho Reyes Liqueor, and sprinkled with cinnamon was too tempting to pass up!  Drinking in the AM is okay when it’s masked by hot cocoa, right?? 🙂

Please let the photo speak for itself!

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Amazing!!!

My brunch companion decided to have the spiciest jalapeno Bloody Mary on the menu.  It did have good flavor, for sure!  Quite a bite, as he once or twice had to “recover” from the “hot hit”.

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He doesn’t appreciate photos being posted, and although we’re not together any longer, I certainly respect his wishes.  So, I’ve superimposed (comically, and in a way that will make any “creative type” cringe) someone with whom I’d adore having brunch!  Ever since he appeared on Alias almost 15 years ago, Michael Vartan has had a major fan here!

_notGCI include the picture at all because he  was holding up the menu…a key piece of information!  Plus, my then boyfriend was kindly helping to make the picture a bit more interesting.  His idea, as he supported my unusual dining habits and my blogging.

For brunch,  I had the BELT – bacon, fried eggs, lettuce, tomato, garlic aoli, and Breadsmith herbed focaccia.  I had asked for avocado to be added to it, but alas…the one downfall of Trocadero Gastrobar is that they don’t offer avocado on any dishes.  Boo to that! Still, it deserves to be mentioned that the bread was so soft and delicious (not like any focaccia I have ever had!), and the sandwich was just fabulous!

The picture does not do the sandwich justice!  Trust me, it was SO good!

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He had the biscuits and gravy (Southern roots coming out, y’all?). House-made cheddar biscuits, white country gravy, two eggs. A large portion, but I can tell y’all that this man was pretty darned happy with the choice.

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We both really enjoyed our respective meals tremendously, and each others’ company very much. A lovely late morning/early afternoon out in our beloved Milwaukee. Plus, the atmosphere at Trocadero is quite casual and cool.

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Courtesy of Google search.

Unfortunately, all good things seem to come to an end, and we ultimately determined we were not a good fit for each other.  Perhaps we’ll find friendship together, but in any case, I wish him happiness in life.

I had originally reported that this was the weekend of NCAA March Madness consumption.  I was a week off.  It would be a week later that we decided to sit on the couch and watch NCAA basketball, and eventually ordered Smoke Shack BBQ to bring home.  Yum, yum, yum!

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It was also the day that I watched my baby of 13+ years begin to lose the use of his hind legs, and would ultimately experience the single most difficult day of my life…saying a tearful, heartbreakingly sad goodbye to my Seamus.

I was blessed to have this gorgeous goofball / knucklehead / ever-loving, angel of a baby live 14+ years (13 with me, after surviving and thriving after being rescued from an abusive home).  It has SUCKED to say the least, but I know that I will recognize that the good times will far outweigh the sorrow – in time.

RIP, my angel.  I could not have loved you more, my sweet baby.

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– Ker

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

Milwaukee! The First Post… AJ Bombers!!

I haven’t quite moved into my apartment in downtown Milwaukee yet, but I have been spending my weekends here in an attempt to learn a little bit about my new home.

I've graduated from using the dogs' bed to an air mattress.  This is all I have at "home" right now!

I’ve graduated from using the dogs’ bed to an air mattress. This is all I have at “home” right now!

I decided to try to maximize my day (and the nice weather) this weekend by exploring different aspects of the city.

This morning, I got up and took part in my first Bikram yoga class in three years!  The studio is about 1.2 miles from my place, so it was a nice morning walk over to class.  Then, Bernadette, the instructor, proceeded to kick my toosh!  Well, it really wasn’t her fault – it’s the nature of Bikram!  The walk back home was a nice way to decompress and keep the muscles stretched a bit.  But, y’all, I smelled FOUL!  I really should have showered at the studio, but space is limited.  In any case, I managed to make it home without offending other pedestrians!

Post-Bikram: A little sweat and a lotta water!

Post-Bikram: A little sweat and a lotta water!

After making it home, showering, and throwing my drenched clothes into the washing machine, I was finally able to cool down enough to think about venturing back out.

The group I failed to meet up with last night was heading to AJ Bombers for lunch.  I missed them (again), but the seed was planted and I decided to make my way over for “Happiness, w/ a side of Burgers” by myself.  It’s about 0.7 miles to get to Water Street.  I love that I can walk so many places – and the city feels so safe!

AJ Bombers, at the corner of Water Street and Knapp.

AJ Bombers, at the corner of Water Street and Knapp.

I passed by the giant chairs, which you can see at the right of the picture and into this unique establishment.  It’s funny, because I have been tweeting @AJBombers for a couple of years – ever since I read about them in an article and sent them a link.  I never imagined I’d be living in Milwaukee and would walk my way into their building.  As I was walking over, I tweeted @AJBombers to let them know I was finally coming by for a bite to eat.

I took a seat at the bar, rather than waiting for a table.  I perused the laminated menu (their Web site advises customers to bring a Sharpie!), ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and asked my server to choose her favorite thing to serve me (No, I didn’t bring the trusty card with me! Shame on me!).  She asked me how creative I am willing to get with my food, and I answered her by advising her that if she thinks something is good, I trust her.

By this time, AJ Bombers had tweeted me back – and a conversation began.  In fact, I learned that my server’s name is Emily because I mentioned the jersey she was wearing to their Twitter account, and proceeded to get the skinny on her!  And, when I showed Emily the tweet, she jumped right in!

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How fun are these folks!?! Not to mention that we were “bombed” with peanuts shortly after I took my seat at the bar.  You’ll see the peanut delivery system if you look closely (sorry, the sun’s glare made for poor picture quality).

Do you see the bombers in the background?

Do you see the bombers in the background?

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When my meal arrived, Emily let me know that she chose the burger that came with American cheese, bacon, and chunky peanut butter <– Yes, CHUNKY PEANUT BUTTER! on it. She advised me to try it without ketchup or mustard to start, and then doctor it up as much as I wanted.

I never messed with it – the burger (known as the Barrie burger) was delicious just as it was.  Emily also chose sweet potato chips to pair with the burger, rather than the standard fries.  While I’m not typically a huge fan of sweet potato fries (because I feel like they tend to be mushy), these chips were fantastic!  Not greasy, just enough salt, and crispy.

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Emily and I talked about the fact that I would likely never have chosen to put peanut butter on my burger, and that’s the beauty of having the server choose a meal for me.  I’ve tried plenty of things that I otherwise may not have tried.  And, she was totally game for making the recommendation (though she did say that she would bring me something else if I hated her recommendation).

All in all, I had a great experience at AJ Bombers.  Emily was a wonderful server/bartender, and the food and atmosphere were equally fantastic! And, I’m looking forward to going back to try one of these

BOMBERS SECRET Bloody  Mary Recipe:garnished  with a lemon, lime, olive,  pickle and our signature  AJ Burger strip with  muenster cheese and bacon. Served with your choice  of domestic shorty.

BOMBERS SECRET Bloody Mary Recipe:garnished with a lemon, lime, olive, pickle and our signature AJ Burger strip with muenster cheese and bacon. Served with your choice of domestic shorty.

(thanks to the dude next to me who allowed me to photograph his drink!)

Off to meet some folks to explore more of the city!

Cheers!

Ker

 

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