Archive for the tag “Culture”

Girls’ Night Out at La Masa – Empanadas and empathy!

After weeks of planning, and waiting, my girlfriend and I finally found time to catch up over dinner.¬†Shannon, you can tell your mom I called you my girlfriend – even though it doesn’t mean what she might think it means!

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Shannon writes a blog about the “fun” of dating in Milwaukee, and I LOVE reading it! Though I can’t relate to everything (mostly because I don’t date enough), some of her stories strike a big chord with me. Most just make me laugh and / or shake my head as I picture the scenarios Shannon describes.

Naturally, our conversation turned to the latest goings on in our personal lives, which made for a funny (and at times frustrating) couple of hours of conversation.

The biggest take-away, men: we just want to be a priority some of the time! It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, but it feels like it must be. ūüė¶

Anyhow, on to the dinner portion of this post.

La Masa is an empanadas bar on Brady Street. It’s casual, cute, and full of friendly service! Plus, we each had City Tin coasters, making it a perfect chance to try out a new place.

The menu is full of options. How does one choose?

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We started off with an appetizer of aji queso dip with apple slices, sliced red pepper,  jicama stick, and toasted bread. We could have eaten that all night long, but thankfully, we were wise enough to ask that it be removed from the table before we finished the pot! So delicious!

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Shannon then asked me if I was going to use one of my blog cards¬†or if I would actually order. Um…I pulled out a card, and Alicia was more than happy to choose my meal for me. I did give her a bit of guidance: I’d go with the La Masa Trio and I’d like smokey blue cheese sauce on the side, please.

I was delivered three very cutely branded empanadas along with jicama slaw. Alicia chose the black bean and chorizo (BB), the Wisco corn (W) and the mushroom truffle parmesan (M) empanadas. They were all very tasty, and the mushroom was a very close second, but the black bean and chorizo was my favorite of the trio.

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The jicama slaw was a refreshing side (though the serving was way too big for me!), and the sauces provided nice additional flavor.

I’m glad I purchased¬†City Tin coasters¬†because I’m not sure I would have stopped into La Masa without the prompt. It just wasn’t on my radar. However, I’d certainly go back. Shannon and I agreed that we wouldn’t wait ten months for another girls’ night out. Perhaps we’ll even have more positive and inspiring stories to exchange next time! Fingers crossed!

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Cheers!

Ker

 

A Killer Dinner at Kil@wat, Milwaukee

Last week, my employer, Bostik, Inc., had it’s annual UPAF¬†(United Performing Arts Fund) donation campaign. I decided to be a member of the campaign committee for Bostik, though I can’t say that I felt I really pulled my weight (all day meetings and such distracted me).

I did, however, become a member of the UPAF Next Generation affinity group – and was asked to be on the council of Next Generation¬†(you’ll see my name in the list!). ¬†Not only am I happy to support the arts here in Milwaukee (so much in the way of great arts!), but as a member of the NG council and contributing member above the threshold amount, I will be able to take advantage of great local networking events. ¬†I’m super excited to become even more connected to my current city!

Note: I also won the dessert category of the pot-luck fundraiser using the family recipe mentioned here.

I had missed serving my community. ¬†While living in Ohio, I had served on the board of my local Habitat for Humanity¬†affiliate. ¬†I continued to work with HFH when I lived in Orange County, CA (though I couldn’t afford the $50K donation being a board member required). ¬†My work life in Detroit affected me so negatively that I didn’t take advantage of any of the numerous opportunities to volunteer and be engaged that the wonderful city had to offer (save for a Kickstarter campaign or two), because there is no shortage of opportunities to be involved in Detroit’s community activity. ¬†It’s nice to be involved again!

On Monday of last week, I won two tickets to the opera. ¬†“Julius Caesar”¬†is running March 28-30 at the Uihlein stage at the Marcus Center¬†(a mere 0.5 miles from my place). So, my cultured friend Phi accepted my invitation to attend opening night.

We decided to grab a bite at Kil@wat in the Intercontinental Hotel¬†(which is a stunning space, in my opinion) prior to attending the opera. Conveniently, Kil@wat¬†is just across the street from the theater. They are one of four properties associated with the Marcus, and offer rewards and discounts (darn it – I hadn’t received my Smart Card yet!).

After a quick walk over to Kil@wat,¬†Phi and I¬†were warmly greeted, taken to our table, and advised that Jake would be our server. We had a drink menu, a full dinner menu, and a “pre-theater menu” presented to us. The theater menu (not up-to-date online) consisted of a few options for appetizer/soup/salad, entr√©e, and dessert for $30. Phi and I both opted to go that route, both because there were great options, and because she knew (from experience) that Kil@wat¬†was swift in serving those items.

The only decision I could make was that I wasn’t interested in the Navy bean soup. ¬†Salad, bacon-wrapped dates – yes. Braised short-rib, Trout, etc – yes. ¬†Chocolate times 3, panna cotta – yes. ¬†ūüôā

So, I advised Jake that I wasn’t interested in the soup, but would empower him to choose everything else for me. ¬†He was all-in from the start.

I was first served the Shepherd’s salad, which Phi had also ordered:

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Artisan lettuces, roasted cherry tomatoes, goat cheese roulade, torn crouton,¬†goat cheese dressing. ¬†Jake said he chose this because the dressing is so good! ¬†And, it wasn’t only the dressing that was fantastic…this salad is amongst my favorites of all time. ¬†The ingredients were so fresh, so simple, but oh so tasty! ¬†(plus, I love goat cheese!)

Phi had ordered the braised short-ribs, which were as good as any I have had (yes, we share!).  For my entrée, I was delivered the braised pork shank:

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Braised pork shank with Yukon whipped potato, braised scallion, roasted garlic jus.  Aside from that moment in which I bit into a thick slice of garlic and feared that Phi would not want to speak with me for the rest of the evening, this dish was perfection!

I had initially questioned whether I needed a steak knife (stupid me), until I touched my fork to the pork and it just fell apart on my plate. ¬†It was exceptional, and the garlic jus complemented it perfectly! ¬†I’m not ashamed to say that I finished just about every bite of this meal.

And…still had an appetite for the dessert Jake chose for me! He chose the Chocolate3 (chocolate cubed).¬†¬†Phi had also chosen this dessert.

photo 3This decadent dessert consisted of dark chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate caramel ganache.  The panna cotta of the evening was mango, and I would have been perfectly happy with that dish, but this chocolate 3-ways was fantastic.  Chocolate and caramel were made for each other!

Jake and the rest of the staff at Kil@wat did a great job of serving up exceptional food and doing it in such that Phi and I were able to make it over to the theater right on time!

Unfortunately, while we both felt that “Julius Caesar”¬†offered up extraordinary music, the set and the actual stage performance were a bit lackluster. ¬†It just started off slowly and never really seemed to gain the momentum that we both needed on a Friday evening after a long week of work.

It was definitely nice to get out and enjoy more of what Milwaukee has to offer, and I’m looking forward to future opportunities to do so. ¬†There are so many wonderful shows and performances coming to the city. ¬†Which are your must-see recommendations?

 

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