Archive for the tag “ping pong”

Coquette Cafe – Flirting with Disaster (Milwaukee, WI)

I was not initially going to write a post about my experience at Coquette Cafe in the Historic Third Ward area of Milwaukee – for a few reasons. 1) Our server didn’t really play along with my request to simply be surprised by her favorite choice, 2) I didn’t take pictures to document the adventure visually (I was on a date, and although he knows I write a blog, I wanted to focus on our night out and not capturing every image possible), and 3) it was a truly AWFUL meal.

But… readers have asked me in the past if I ever do have really bad experiences when dining out in the “She Ordered What?” way, so I felt compelled to share a brief overview of this latest meal.

This was a second date with a man whom I had met a couple of weeks prior. We had a really fun first date (flying kites in the park, followed by a very fancy “picnic” that he had packed), and I wanted to ensure a fun second date as well. The weather was about 20 degrees cooler on our second date, so I made the executive decision to make it an indoor adventure. I wanted to try out SPiN – the local ping-pong bar, so I scoured Yelp! for a restaurant nearby. This was going to be my treat, since my date had pulled out all the stops on our first date (including bringing me a beautiful bouquet of flowers).

The Coquette Cafe reviews were a bit mixed on Yelp!, but more negative reviews from a few years ago, and the recent reviews were much more positive. I asked him if this French restaurant was a good choice, and he replied that it was “solid”. I now know that’s code for “it’s okay”. 😉

We met at the restaurant, and since he is an expert on wine, he chose a very nice bottle of Pinot Noir. I know that it was good because I had a few sips prior to tasting my meal. After the meal, the wine was ruined.

I advised the server that I’d like her to choose, because frankly, everything on the menu looked really delicious! She said she would recommend a few things, but I would have to choose. Okay…not the way I like to play, but at least she narrowed the options down for me!

She offered up the Mac ‘n Cheese, the Meat Loaf, and the Trout as her three options.

I chose the Trout because it seemed like the lightest dish and I didn’t want a heavy stomach to hold me back from playing ping-pong! My date originally requested the Monkfish special, but the restaurant was sold out, so he opted for the Pork (along with a citrus salad special that was simple and well made).


I took the first bite of my fish, and I couldn’t help but to pucker. This was a plate of lemon juice with a disproportionate amount of Trout on it. In fact, when our server came back to ask if we were “both delighted with our meals”, I couldn’t even respond because I was hiding my puckered up face. My date responded kindly to her that we were, although we both did not enjoy our meals – at all. His dish was equally overpowered with the Stone Ground Mustard Sauce. The pork was second fiddle – at best.

He happened to like my dish better, so in fact, almost half of it was eaten, but not more than a handful of bites by me. It was *that* inedible in my opinion. And, as I mentioned, I didn’t really enjoy the wine either, because it was fighting with the overwhelming lemon flavor still lingering on my taste buds.

Luckily, my date isn’t one to make a scene, and I’m not either. And, our service was fine, so I tipped her 25% which brought the total bill to almost $160 – for a terrible meal! For the record, my date did offer to pay for dinner, and he did treat me to darts and ping-pong. He is a gentleman. Also, for the record, I wouldn’t normally publicize how much I spend, and I don’t mind spending money on quality things now and then, but this was not money well-spent in my book.

Based on this experience, I doubt I will ever go back to Coquette Cafe. There are so many restaurants in Milwaukee that I just don’t see the need to drop a decent chunk of change on a meal that was so poorly executed.

(But, note…I really did enjoy SPiN! A fun vibe, although too visually stimulating at times to really concentrate on playing ping-pong! I definitely plan to go back there!)

I’ve created the blog category “One and Done” for this type of dining experience. Let’s hope it’s not used too frequently!

Have you been to Coquette Cafe? Have you had better experiences?

What has been your worst dining experience? Please leave a comment.

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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