Archive for the tag “lunch”

Montreal Smoked Meat – Can’t Beat Pete’s!

Typically when I travel for business, I don’t have much time to really enjoy touring the cities I’m in. This trip was no different.

On Monday I flew from Milwaukee through Detroit to Montreal, arriving at 1:30AM. I flew out of Montreal through Detroit to Cleveland on Tuesday afternoon. I left Cleveland for Miamisburg on Wednesday afternoon and left Miamisburg to stop in Cincinnati on Thursday before flying out to Milwaukee on Thursday evening. There was not much time to see anything but the inside of airports and rental cars, folks! I was fortunate enough to have a meeting less than five miles from my parents’ house, so I did get a chance to say hi to them while staying overnight at “home”.


At least in Montreal we had time to stop for a local lunch prior to heading back to the airport. My colleague loves Smoke Meat Pete’s because of the food, and because of the live blues music they have in the evenings.


Since this was a lunch stop, no live music, but still plenty (I mean plenty!) of good smoked meat! (it was tough to get a photo of the stage because of the sunny glare coming in through the windows, but here it is…)


In case you’re not familiar with it, smoked meat is a type of kosher-style deli meat product made by salting and curing beef brisket with spice, either “lean” (my preference) or regular and served as a platter or on a sandwich. I had asked the man behind the counter suggest his favorite menu item for me – whoops! He had “recently decided to become a vegetarian” (an interesting choice for working at a joint known for its meat!), so he couldn’t make a personal recommendation. Fail.

However, he did recommend the “Pete’s Special” which is a smoked meat sandwich with yellow mustard, french fries (frites) and cole slaw (salade de patates – vinegar based). It was a LOT of food, and it wasn’t healthy (evenly “lean cut”), but it was a tasty indulgence. (much like a REALLY GOOD corned beef deli sandwich is)


The meat was thicker than I thought it would be for “lean cut”, but I forgave it because of the flavor! It’s also one of those sandwiches that has to be (at least partially) eaten with a fork.

And, those fries… so good! Real cut potatoes, perfectly fried to heavenly perfection!

As any great joint has, here is the ever-present “neon sign”!


And, for good measure… great press for Smoke Meat Pete’s

Lord of the fries

I’ve seen smoked meat spots in the US, but admittedly have not tried it. If you’ve had smoked meat, in Montreal, or elsewhere, did you enjoy it? How do you think it stacks up to US style deli meat? Please comment below!




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 – and 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 – of your choosing) and then a 5 oz glass – all 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!).


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!  🙂

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!!)


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?  😉

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!




Delicious Dining at Restaurant Hôtel du Nord, Compiegne, France

In this post, I’m combining a couple of meals that we had in the restaurant in our hotel in Compiegne, Francethe Hôtel du Nord.  We arrived into France late on Tuesday evening and decided to have dinner at the hotel rather than going out.  It was a very good choice!  We also had lunch there on Thursday because we were meeting in the conference room at the hotel all day.

At dinner, we started with a les amuse-bouches (appetizer) of Brussel sprout mousse.  It sounds strange, and it was a bit peculiar, but it was also surprisingly tasty! But, then again, I love Brussel sprouts!


Then, I had a traditional Filet Mignon with crispy polenta and mixed greens.  It was nothing fancy, but it was a good, solid, and well-prepared meal.


I didn’t partake in any extra appetizers or dessert, but I thought I’d share pictures of my coworkers’ dishes, because they are so beautiful!

Image (4)

Appetizers: vegetable torte on the left and avocado and green pea starter with a mint jelly base on the right.


Dessert: Tiramisu

The French certainly do know how to innovate food with flavors and design!

For lunch, we had a set menu which was all a surprise to me because I don’t understand French!

We started with a layered carrot mousse with ginger cream.  Again, it’s an interesting flavor and texture, but we all agreed that we liked it.


After the small plate (errr, shot glass!), we were served the classically French appetizer of Foie Gras.  We were all a bit surprised by the chocolate crust, and my French colleagues thought it was too sweet and overpowered the flavor of the Foie Gras.  They all ended up removing the crust and focused on enjoying the center.


The dish was served cold and almost tasted like an ice cream to me.  I’m not sure I would order it on a regular basis, but I did enjoy trying a new appetizer.

Our main course was roasted cod, served over broccoli puree.  I truly enjoyed this dish.  The fish was light and flaky (and the knife the French serve with fish does a fantastic job of peeling the skin right off the meat), and the broccoli puree had a thick and somewhat chunky texture.  It felt like a substantial meal, but not overly filling – which is good since lunch in France is a four-course meal!


The dessert we were served was not only beautiful (again!), but light and delicious!  I didn’t finish the dessert, but I did try each component and loved the flavors.

This was a coconut mousse served over a small muffin (almost banana-nut-like) with a crispy wafer over it.  Isn’t it lovely?


To say that this lunch is way more fancy than I normally have would be an understatement.  It’s also more food than I would normally have!

I’m excited to share another great experience in Compiegne with you shortly.  I had a wonderful young server who was all-in on the surprise, much like Ralph was in Bocholt! Please stay tuned!




My Coney Island experience that wasn’t – but it was good anyhow! Taylor, MI

Well, after numerous scheduling conflicts and cancellations, my friend Josh and I finally got to catch up for a bite.  Josh was one of the first people I met when I moved from Orange County, CA to the greater Detroit, MI area a year and a half ago.  In fact, on day two of my job with Masco Corporation (check out our beautiful, newly redesigned Website!), Josh and a couple of other guys roped me into doing my first 64 day session of the Beachbody Insanity workout (WordPress won’t link, but I suggest you Google it!)!  It was truly insane!  But, I’m so grateful to have met him, and a myriad of other wonderful coworkers/friends through our shared love of torturing our bodies!

Josh and his wife were the two I had to cancel dinner plans with a couple of weeks ago.  😦  We’re still trying to get all of us together, but at least Josh and I were able to catch up today.

He pointed me to yet another local spot that I had yet to try (after a year and a half of being here…I’m ashamed!).  Josh asked me if I had been to Mykonos Coney Island – just up the road from our office building.  Nope, sure hadn’t!  I have to admit that when he said the name, I was envisioning “Coney Dogs”, ala: American Coney Island or Lafayette Coney Island.  If you’re not familiar with local history, you might not appreciate my assumption.

While Mykonos does indeed serve Coney Island Hot Dogs on their menu, that’s just a tiny portion of their offering.  After perusing the first two pages of the menu, I told Josh today that I didn’t intend on having the server surprise me.  I was incredibly hungry, and was craving either a Reuben or a tuna melt.

That was, until I looked through the entire menu.  So much to choose from!  So, when our server came by and asked if we were ready to order, I asked that she choose her favorite meal and just surprise me.  I did advise her that I was really quite hungry, and not in the mood for ham – I’m never in the mood for ham!  She looked a bit excited about the prospect of ordering my meal.

Josh ordered the Greek salad, and our server quickly responded that she was going to order me that dish, but she would change it up since I could taste his.  And, he was quick to advise her not to tell me what she would bring me, but rather to surprise me.

After a few minutes of much-needed “catch-up” conversation, our meals were delivered.  Josh received his Greek salad, and I received a plate full of foil wrapped pita sandwich…

which I was informed was the Mykonos Original – chicken strips (delightfully fried, with a good pepper taste), lettuce, tomato, mayo, and cheese.  Our server told me that she and other staffers conferred as to what to bring me.  It was clear that she enjoyed the “She Ordered What?!?” experience.

The sandwich was nothing incredibly unique or special, but it really did hit the spot.  It was a solid sandwich wrap.  I admit that I would have been disappointed with a salad, given how hungry I was!

And, it was only $5.95 – another bargain lunch!  However, having lunch with a friend that I hadn’t caught up with in quite some time, was priceless!



Lunching Mexican-style with a good friend

About two weeks ago, I wrote that I wanted to have a Mexican meal out, after having spent an evening reminiscing about my friend, Erica.  Then, allergies set in and got the better of me – rendering me useless over the past weekend.  I had made plans to go out to dinner with friends, and was so bummed to cancel my plans on Sunday, but I physically could not eat!  My throat was that swollen and sore!

So, today, I went to lunch with a friend of mine, Jess, as I often do.  Normally, we go to one of a handful of local places (mostly chain restaurants nearby the office).  Seriously, we don’t have to ask each other, we just turn right out of the parking lot and go up to “the hill” for Panera, Chili’s, Qdoba, etc.  We typically make the decision once we’re nearing “the hill”.

For some reason today, Jess mentioned that there is a little Mexican joint nearby that she had been to with another coworker.  We decided to go there – because Jess mentioned it was good food, dirt cheap, and the place is hopping at lunchtime.  As we pulled into Manuel’s (Manny’s) Taco Hut,  we noticed that the parking lot wasn’t too crowded today. Odd, but it probably worked in our favor.

We sat down, took a look at the menu, and I instantly decided that I would just let our server choose something for me.  When she came to take our order, Jess gave her order, and I told the server that I’d like to her choose her favorite meal and surprise me.  Her response?  “Seriously?  Okay!”  Then, off she went.  She was awesome about it!

Jess and I chatted about a myriad of things, mostly physical fitness (ironic, seeing as how we were intending to gorge on Mexican food!) while waiting on our meals.  Thinking back, it fit perfectly with my desire to post about Mexican dining.  My last meal with Erica and her husband was lunch at a Mexican joint in Orange, CA.  I had spent the afternoon with two really wonderful people, enjoying their company, laughing, and just having a good time with friends.  Not unlike today’s lunchtime outing with Jess – an equally wonderful person and friend.  I’m really glad we went to Manny’s  – on a whim!

A few minutes later, when our lunches were delivered, Kelly, our server, laid down a plate of “healthy food, for under 6 bucks” in front of me.

She explained that she chose the chicken chipotle wrap, which consists of chicken marinated in olive oil and chipotle sauce, with pico de gallo, black beans, and lettuce, served in a spinach wrap, and with Manuel’s rice.  She also mentioned that the chipotle sauce was spicy so, “dip before pouring”.  She was right – it had a kick to it, but I ended up pouring anyhow!

The wrap was delicious – very flavorful.  Filling, but not overly so.  And, it was also quite messy!  I certainly wouldn’t order it on a date, but in the company of a very good friend – it was all good!

When Kelly dropped the bill off, she said that this was really fun for her, and thanked us for giving her the experience.  It was so nice to see yet another server enjoy choosing a meal for one of her diners.  And, this diner definitely enjoyed the meal chosen for her!

She left us with the (inexpensive) bill, and a smile!

And, I will add Manny’s to the list of local joints we should get out and enjoy on our lunch hour!

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