Archive for the tag “burgers”

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!




HôM, Charleston, SC – Distraction led to a delightful dinner

In just as many weeks, I’ve had the honor of publishing three wonderful, and very different guest posts to my blog (this one included)!  I’m so grateful for the support that my friends and family have given me.  This post is from a woman I call “Superwoman”.  She does it all!  Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend – and all to the max!  I won’t go into great detail describing Rachel, because she does a great job of describing herself in her post. Just know that I adore her!  This is the story of how she ended up with a delicious and unique burger at a local burger boutique in Charleston, SC (another city I LOVE!)…

Rachel’s story: [and sorry, Rachel, I interjected a couple of times – couldn’t resist!]

I am one of the few people I know that never makes substitutions on my food, omits ingredients, nor do I have allergies or any type of aversion to trying new foods. Yet, I still like to make my own choices off the menu. I get nervous when other people order. I fidget in my seat when someone suggests, “Let’s split some appetizers!”   Simple answer for this: When I go out to eat, I like to choose items that I won’t make at home (I am an adventurous cook, too), and I anticipate others to not be liberal enough with the menu. There are times I will let my husband give the waiter(ess), my order – as a gentlemanly gesture, although I have told him beforehand what I wanted. I am a petite girl and I get judged very quickly by what foods others *think* I eat.

But here’s the thing: I LOVE meat and I can put away killer amounts of food [Ker here: folks, it’s true, tiny Rachel can pack it away!]! Accordingly, if my husband puts in an order of, let’s say, a meal salad and a giant, medium rare steak with all the sides, guess who they stick the salad in front of – without fail? Yeah, me!  It’s why I figured I’d never trust a wait staff to decide my food fate.

But then, that brings us to Friday night, where it all changed. The husband, Jason, and I decided to try HôM (a boutique burger and ping-pong bar in Charleston, SC). There seems to never be a shortage of new restaurants or new menu items to try in the Charleston dining scene – and I have no complaints! There has been a recent crop of these boutique burger bars to pop up recently in the area, and all have had their own twist a special bun, local ingredients, sliders, etc. I’d heard a lot about this restaurant and loved the idea of a ping-pong table in the back room! [Ker here…me too, Rachel!]

Y’all, it’s a ping pong joint too!

Right when we walked in, I got a text from a friend that needed some emergency consultation.  Although my husband is a computer and gadget nerd, and checks his phone repeatedly throughout a meal, I keep my phone stashed away. I like good old-fashioned conversation during my meal and focusing on the food in front of me [Ker again: Amen, sista!]. Well, here was my first exception of the night – my friend needed me and, although it pains me to say this, friends come before food!

I was absorbed in the conversation, when our waiter appeared. I shrugged and said, “You know what, just bring me whatever. It’s fine with me.” {BTW- huge side eye from Jason right here, who couldn’t believe I was actually doing this….. he knows me well, which means he knows how much I like to order my own food. He might have even interjected with an “Are you really going to do this now???”}

Our waiter went along with the idea pretty quickly and questioned, “Well, let me ask you this, first – Do you like all American Beef burgers, and how do you usually have them prepared?” Me: “Yes, I like beef and I tend to order medium to medium-well but whatever you bring me is fine.” Waiter, a little bolder, “So, if it was rare, you’d be ok?” Me: “If that’s what the chef feels is best for that burger, okay. To be perfectly honest, whatever you bring out and set in front of me, I’m gonna eat. Just take a look at me and whatever you feel is right, bring it!” He started to ask if I wanted to start with a salad and I kinda gave him a *look.* He pulled himself together and said, “I’m going to suggest you start with the Golden Beet Salad (honey-herb vinaigrette, arugula,goat cheese, golden raisin puree).” I gave my go-ahead.

Golden Beet Salad
(honey-herb vinaigrette, arugula, goat cheese, golden raisin puree)

Not a lot of people were there at the time, so our food came rather quickly. The salad was delicious – very light and I am a huge fan of beets. It was large too. About halfway through the salad, our burgers came out. He just kinda slid it in front of me and started to walk away (yes, I was still rudely absorbed all in my phone) so I called out: “Oh! What is this?” He smiled and replied, “THE HURRICANE!” {From the menu: stuffed with duck confit & goat cheese, hōm steak sauce, vanilla onion relish, crispy rings}

Y’all- it was amazing! Very juicy and not too overpowered by the duck confit. It did have that distinctive “duck taste” but it was also very sweet. A decent sized burger and typical for this area – filling but not gut settlingly full. Sadly, I did not take any pictures of the burger, because I dove into it before there was even a chance!

Overall, I appreciate that the waiter went with a specialty meat burger even though he originally questioned me about an all-beef burger. I think he understood that he needed to impress, yet still wasn’t sure if I was legit. He might have even thought I was drunk- I am rather high energy and bounce and squirm and use lots of hand gestures, all which can be misconstrued as being under the influence very easily. Furthermore, this particular burger was one of the most expensive ones on the menu ($9.50). A very reasonable price for the type of burger, and I have no issue with the cost. I do, however, wonder if the waiter chose that burger because of the high price, or did he really assess me and feel that was the best choice for me? And, yes, I was happy with the choice.

It really was a good balance between light and heavy. The interesting part is that after looking at the menu afterwards, I probably would have gotten THE RITZ {oven tomatoes, parmesan, truffle braised mushrooms, red onion marmalade}, which was also a $9.50 burger. I will definitely return to HôM and if the waiter happens to remember me, I’ll take a moment to ask him why he decided to bring me that selection. What are your thoughts?

Thank you, Kerri for sparking this movement! I might even give it another shot. Someone else will have to call me with an emergency emotional situation, which I can’t ignore, right when I have stepped into a restaurant, so that I am thoroughly distracted! [Ker again: I’m on it! I’ll manufacture a great emotional story for you!]

[Ker again]  Thanks so much for documenting your experience at HôM, Rachel.  When I come to visit, game on!!  (and who can’t love this place just for the picture on their latest blog post alone?!?).  HôM is also on Facebook and Twitter.

I have to say, he had several options between $9.00 – $9.50, so I think he really personalized his order to you!  But, then again, I can’t read his mind!  😉  Look forward to seeing what other readers’ takes on the question are…

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