Archive for the tag “#MKEDowntown”

Sweet Milwaukee – Classy Girls Cupcakes Giveaway!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and that’s largely because I have been focusing on eating healthier, more well-rounded meals – at home.

However, when I saw a contest giveaway from one of my favorite local shops, I just had to enter!  Lo and behold, I won!

Classy Girl Cupcakes is an adorable shop in Cathedral Square in East Town Milwaukee.  Almost every time I have visitors, we make a stop in for a cupcake or a push pop.  With all the walking and exploring we do, CGC always seems to be a nice, sweet reward!

I’ve also used CGC for my “Clue-themed” party.

Six character themed cupcake styles from Classy Girl Cupcakes (on the right of the page).

Six character themed cupcake styles from Classy Girl Cupcakes (on the right of the page).

Classy Girl Cupcakes were also responsible for my contribution to UPAF Night at Casablanca earlier this year.  Four different flavors on hand, decorated in UPAF colors!  Carrot cake, Ghirardelli chocoloate, Red velvet and Vanilla (a personal favorite of mine!).

A gorgeous array of 250 cupcakes to celebrate UPAF and the hostess's birthday!

A gorgeous array of 250 cupcakes to celebrate UPAF and the hostess’s birthday!

So, back to the contest…  Every Friday, CGC takes one of their cupcakes on-location in Milwaukee for a photo shoot. The photo then gets posted on both their @cgcupcakesmke Twitter account and their @classygirlcupcakes Instagram account.

Followers should “repost” the photo to their own accounts. The hashtags to use are #CGCinMKE and #classygirlcupcakes. Followers should also leave a comment on the Classy Girls Photo with where they suspect the cupcake was photographed.

Photos are generally up by 8AM Friday mornings. And a winner is chosen by 6PM that evening. Here are a few photos (including the “Tequila-themed” photo which made me a winner!)

The deets...

The deets…


Festa Italia!

Festa Italia!


Tequila! (National Tequila Day) at Bradford Beach.

Tequila! (National Tequila Day) at Bradford Beach.

All I had to do to claim my prize was to stop by the shop (on my way home from a morning at the salon) and show the confirmation email Christine sent me the evening that I won (last night).  I had the lovely lady behind the counter pick her favorite jumbo filled cupcake and surprise me.

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I came home to a beautiful, and huge gooey pretzel chunk jumbo filled cupcake ($5.00 value, and who knows how many calories!).

Gooey pretzel crunch...

Gooey pretzel crunch…

IMG_2429aI’m not sure how long it will take me to finish this package of pretzel filled gooey goodness.  Every time I’ve strayed from my meal plan, my body gets a little upset with me, so I may have to take things slowly here!

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I will say this… it was love at first bite!

If you’re in the Milwaukee area, please remember to follow Classy Girl Cupcakes on Twitter (@cgcupcakesmke) and Instagram (@classygirlcupcakes), and pay special attention on Fridays!  The rewards are real!

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

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!

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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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