Archive for the tag “sushi”

2 Tall Sushi

It was a week ago tonight that I drove into a nearby and charming neighborhood in an area of Milwaukee outside of my typical 3 mile radius to join some friends for a new dining experience. My friends Mike and Ericka purchased an in-home six-course sushi dinner for eight people at Next Act Theatre’s Bravo event last summer, and they were kind enough to invite me to join in on the fun.

Of course,  I had to have a little fun with the theme!

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The dinner would be prepared and served by “2 Tall Sushi” – a team of wonderful folks that offer up dining experiences to raise money for non-profit and charitable organizations.  They each have their day jobs, but enjoy giving back to the community by sharing their talents in the kitchen!

We started off with small talk, meeting new friends, and sipping on various pre-dinner drinks.

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Then, as we sat down at a beautifully dressed table, we were served edamame, both standard style and marinated (yum!). An exquisite asparagus dish followed. Such amazing flavor! And, then…Miso soup (which will become my new go-to for a healthy, yet filling dish).

I may not get the exact order of the evening correct – it’s been a full week, friends! 😉 But, I think the tempura came next. Absolutely delicious broccoli, shrimp and more – lightly battered to perfection!

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After that, the gluttony began (at least for me – I don’t turn down sushi or maki!).

First, please allow me to share this photo of my friend Mike (not the host Mike, but the fellow guest Mike)…

12593967_10207199226433019_6295581923090998342_oWithout exception, all of the diners’ tastebuds, sinuses, and tear ducts were surprised by the “hidden” wasabi in the sushi that was served up prior to the maki. As we would quickly discover, our chefs added wasabi between the seafood and the rice.

As I always do, unknowingly, I loaded up my sushi with wasabi (on top of the seafood), and took a big bite. And…WOW! I managed it, but not without serious clearing of my sinuses! (our li’l secret: I liked it!)

In my haste to exchange my dying phone for a new one, I think I accidentally lost the sushi pics. Sorry, folks! Aside from the hidden wasabi, they looked like traditional salmon and tuna sushi.

Following this sushi course, our servers allowed us to have a nice pause for lovely cup of tea.

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And, then came the maki…  Spicy tuna, rainbow roll, spider maki, and Unagi (with double servings of a few of these – because they were THAT GOOD!).

By this time, we were all feeling satisfied and full. The only dish left… You guessed it – dessert! Green tea ice cream!

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After dessert, we chatted, exchanged stories, laughed (there is likely a sitcom coming out within a few years that I will key y’all into – MUST SEE TV based on the stories told over this dinner), and just had a great time enjoying the company!

Y’all KNOW I had a good time when I didn’t even begin to head home until after 9:30PM on a Sunday night. I’m lame, and I don’t stay up that late!

Who could leave when the food was so excellent, the company was both lovely and hilarious, and the cause was such a good one?!?

Here’s to supporting the arts in Milwaukee (thank you, 2 Tall Sushi!), and to enjoying quality time (and really good food) with great folks!

Cheers!

Ker

 

 

 

Kofusion! Champaign, IL Serves Up Great Sushi!

Several weeks ago, I found myself going on a road trip with a colleague of mine. We were headed to the wonderfully sleepy town of Shelbyville, IL. Or, as I affectionately call it: the place where dreams go to die in a cornfield!  Seriously, there’s not a lot going on there. We weren’t able to book a hotel in Shelbyville, not even at the “hotel and bait shop”, so we ended up driving part way and staying overnight in Champaign.

We took the advice of our sweet desk clerk and headed downtown to a sushi joint. Thankfully, my colleague Mike enjoys good, local food as much as I do! He and I don’t choose chains or franchises when we travel together.

Downtown Champaign is small and cute, from what I saw. Kofusion is where we ended up dining. It was a pleasant enough evening that we were able to enjoy the outside patio, which makes any meal all the better in my opinion!

There was a ten piece maki sampler available for $10, which both Mike and I ordered – and thoroughly enjoyed!  There may have been one piece that I wouldn’t necessarily order again, but it was great to sample so many flavors so as not to get bored.

Maki platter!

Maki platter!

We also ordered pork filled pot stickers, which were cooked perfectly and had really nice flavor.  Mike also ordered a house salad (greens, fuji apple and ginger dressing), which he mentioned was quite good as well. The dressing was a hit!

Finally, I ordered an additional roll – the Flaming Phoenix – tempura fried shrimp, mango, butterfly shrimp, avocado, spicy mayo and unagi sauce. So good! I love rolls that are fire-roasted (for lack of a better term) since they have a grilled flavor to them.

Flaming Phoenix roll

Flaming Phoenix roll

Not only did I finish my meal, sharing a few pieces with Mike, but he did as well. I KNOW a meal is good when Mike finishes it because he would rather walk away from a sub-par dish than to struggle to eat it.

We then returned to our hotel, preparing for an early morning drive over to Shelbyville where we would spend the day watching glue run. Fascinating stuff, I tell you! (actually, I LOVE going to manufacturing facilities to see how products are made, so it was fascinating)

If you ever find your way to Champaign, I’d recommend Kofusion. Are there other restaurants I should try if I find myself back in Champaign?

Ringing in the New Year – Out & About in Milwaukee with Good Friends!

Upon returning from Ohio in time to watch my Clemson Tigers beat Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl (yes, my priorities are a bit odd!), I found myself preparing for a visit from my dear friend Dana. Dana has been mentioned here (actually, she wrote that post!), here, and here.  She was driving in from Michigan the morning after I arrived back home, and planned to spend a few days in Milwaukee over the New Year’s week.

Dana is a wonderful and curious traveler, so she suggested several local things to try.  Before I get into how Dana and I ate our way through New Year’s week, I’ll share a few pictures of the other things we saw and did.

First, Dana needed her Bloody Mary from AJ Bombers!

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I’ve mentioned AJ’s before…

Then, on to the Pabst Brewing Company…Not a traditional brewing process tour, but rich in history and quite interesting, in my opinion.

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IMG_1127[1]Though the tour doesn’t focus on the process of brewing beer, you still get to enjoy beer during the tour.  Plus, this facility has a wonderful and intimate space in which to host weddings, parties and other celebrations.

Lakefront Brewery… My neighbor, and friend, Andrew also joined us for LFB and dinner later.

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(pro tip: The fried cheese curds are fantastic! The Beer Hall Wheat Ale batter is light and crispy…this is the only way I’ll eat cheese curds, and I’m not generally a big fan of fried foods!)

The Old German Beer Hall… Dana’s pick for dinner on the evening of her arrival.

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After all we had munched on at Lakefront Brewery, we were not as hungry as we thought we might be. Total bummer, because the German menu seemed to have real promise!

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We did polish off the Hofbräuhaus Brotzeitteller, which consisted of classic beer hall style bread, meat & cheese board, a 10oz pretzel, Rye bread & Obatzter with (local) Usinger deli meats, Swiss cheese, beer radish, and pickles. A great appetizer to pick at – a lot of variety, and very good food!

We may have polished off a few beers as well.  My choice… the Hofbräu Delikator – “Dopplebock” – actually, that was our server’s choice, and it was quite tasty!

Now…on to the main culinary events!

New Year’s Eve at Kanpai Izakaya… I made reservations for the five course dinner special.  $59 / person, for fresh sushi, sashimi, and wine/Saki pairing?  Yes, please!

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Courses one and two: Lobster Miso Soup and House Salad.  The addition of lobster meat to the soup…brilliant!

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Hamachi Ponzu appetizer (course three).

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Course 4: The “OMG” roll as it cooks. The roll has shrimp tempura, avocado, eel, shrimp, spicy and wasabi aiolis, and is served flaming under the fire of burning rum.  The resulting taste is of a delicious grilled sushi roll.

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Everyone at the table enjoyed this roll immensely, as do I!

The Chef’s Choice sashimi plate was the final delivery.  Please allow me to say that, OMG, this was amazing!!

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If I had a proper camera, this plate would have looked even better.  However, even with a phone camera, I hope you see just how beautiful all of the seafood looks!  This lovely plates hosts a party of Crab, White Tuna, Yellow Finned Tuna, Salmon, and Talapia (the chefs were advised that Scallops were off-limits for this gal).  I’m not even kidding when I say that the fish melted in my mouth – and, the Yellow Finned Tuna was my favorite, by far!

I’ve always enjoyed the food and service at Kanpai, but I think they managed to (somehow!) step up their game on NYE! And, Mary, thanks for wonderful service – always with a smile!

Kanpai was a great start to our NYE outing!  We then walked over to Cafe Benelux for a drink, and ultimately cabbed back to East Town to enjoy acoustic music (very good acoustic music!) at The County Clare.

The County Clare was busy, but not overly crowded.  Dana, Andrew and I had a great time just chatting, listening to the music, and watching folks (overly) enjoy their evenings.  We also thoroughly enjoyed the complimentary bottle of champagne The County Clare provided just prior to midnight! What a wonderful way to ring in 2015!

It was difficult to get a good photo with the lighting, but you see the "a hundred thousand welcomes" (céad míle fáilte)!

It was difficult to get a good photo with the lighting, but you see the “a hundred thousand welcomes” (céad míle fáilte)!

And…then came the After, After Party at GoodKind.

After having heard about GoodKind from a colleague, and reading about it being one of the top 21 new restaurants in the US, I decided we should make reservations for the After, After Party Brunch on New Year’s Day. We had a lazy morning and then headed over to GoodKind in Bay View with my friend Katie in tow as well.   We walked into an inviting atmosphere, busy with other brunchers!

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This was the inaugural brunch at GoodKind, so nobody, including the staff, knew exactly what to expect!

After reviewing the day’s menu, I knew I couldn’t decide (except to eliminate the Smoked Rotisserie Pork Belly served with a Maple Buttermilk Cake.  I LOVE pork belly, but there is no way anyone will get me to eat anything maple-flavored!)  Everything else was fair game.

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Our server, Caitlin, advised us that most tables had been ordering tapas style and sharing dishes, so we decided to do the same.  We took a few recommendations from Caitlin, and I asked her to choose an additional dish to surprise us.

We started by sharing a bottle of wine.  This Ramon Bilbao Rioja was rich in flavor and definitely improved as it sat.

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We then ordered:

Polenta Madame with hometown ham, goat cheese curds and fried egg.  What an extraordinary and savory delight!!

Polenta Madame

Polenta Madame

The Pork Cheek Donut – it’s just like it sounds…a sugary donut filled with tender pork cheek and served over a chocolate raspberry sauce.  I LOVED the concept here, but I think the sweet overpowered the savory a bit.  I would have loved to have a bit more pork in each bite.  However, if you have a sweet tooth, this dish may be the one for you!

IMG_1144[1]The aforementioned Smoked Rotisserie Pork Belly with Maple Buttermilk Cake was highly recommended by our server, so we did order that dish,  After being assured by my friends that the pork did not have a maple flavor, I gave it a try.  As it should be, the meat was very tender, if a bit high in fat content.

Smoked Rotisserie Pork Belly with Maple Buttermilk Cake

Smoked Rotisserie Pork Belly with Maple Buttermilk Cake

And, Caitlin’s choice for us was the Dungeoness Crab Bread Pudding with frisee, tarragon and lemon vinaigrette.  I thoroughly enjoyed this dish too!  The crab meat was not overpowering, but what a rich flavor!  I loved having a serving of savory bread pudding for brunch!  And, the frisee with lemon vinaigrette…so light and fresh!

Dungeoness Crab Bread Pudding

Dungeoness Crab Bread Pudding

As if my friends and I hadn’t tasted enough goodness at GoodKind, Dana made the executive decision to order each of the two desserts that were being offered that day!  I don’t recall what GoodKind named these desserts, but one was Door County cherry tart with whipped cream and anise sprinkles, and the other was chocolate cake, topped with chocolate mousse and brittle bites.

Door County cherry tart

Door County cherry tart

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Chocolate mousse cake

We enjoyed both desserts, although the chocolate cake was deemed a bit too rich for my rookie friends!  (I, on the other hand, thought it was super tasty!).

I think the menu at GoodKind, being so unique, may seem a bit intimidating to some people.  I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to take the leap of faith and to dine at GoodKind, knowing you’ll have great flavors served up!

GoodKind will begin regular Sunday brunches this month, and I hope locals and visitors give it a try!  If you’re into sushi, sashimi and the like, I really suggest Kanpai in the Third Ward.  Neither my guests nor I have ever been disappointed there.  And, for  local fare that is not fancy, but is just good, AJ Bombers, the Old German Beer Hall, and Lakefront Brewery are great local options.

I hope you enjoyed our tour of Milwaukee over the past few days!

Happy new year!

Cheers!

Ker

Happy New Year from “She Ordered What?”!!

Happy New Year to everyone!  I’m very excited to be taking some friends to my favorite local sushi spot, Kanpai Izakaya, tonight before heading over to the County Clare for some Irish music and new year’s celebration!  It’s going to be wonderful to ring in a new year with good friends, and I think 2015 is going to be another great year!

Kanpai

I’d like to say thank you all for your readership and your comments on “She Ordered What?”.

2014 was a busy year, and I didn’t post as much as I would have liked, but I’m hoping 2015 will offer more opportunities for adventuresome dining!

There were ~20 new posts, 8,600 views, and readers from 93 countries!  The give-away posts were the most popular, followed by Melt Bar & Grilled, Mussels in Brussels, and Karu’s Indian food in Singapore.  I’d say that’s a pretty good variety of posts, locations, and types of food!

Here’s to more adventures in 2015 and possibly more guest posts (hint, hint!).

May everyone stay safe, be healthy, and be happy!  Enjoy the New Year’s celebrations!

Cheers!

Ker

My Favorite Dining Experiences of 2013…

I wrote about my favorite experiences of 2012 last year, and it has been fun to go back and revisit some of them periodically.  So…I thought I’d make another list for 2013 – the first full year of “She Ordered What?”.

First, let me say that 2013 has been a fantastic year!  I left a job that, to put it nicely, was un-fulfilling, moved to Milwaukee (a city that I am LOVING!), am working for a supervisor I respect – and like, and have coworkers I enjoy (so much so that we opted to spend time together after the holiday party this year).  I am living in downtown Milwaukee, and am thoroughly enjoying metropolitan living (as are my (now 13-year-old) dogs!). I am also traveling a bit more again, allowing for some interesting dining experiences.  For me, change has been very good!

So…I started compiling my top 5 choices of 2013, but the list quickly grew beyond five.  I’ll list my “top 5” and a few honorable mentions – which provided great memories with a bunch of friends and colleagues.

5) Melt Bar and Grilled: This is a bit of a cheat, as I actually posted this on December 28, 2012.  However, I think Melt deserves a mention since the sandwich was so very good!  Full of carbs and comfort, the “Mom’s Meatloaf” grilled cheese was excellent, and very filling!  I did end up having the second half of the sandwich for lunch the next day – and I ate it cold.  It was really delicious as a cold leftover!  I’d also like to thank Melt Bar and Grilled for posting a link to my blog on their website.  I really appreciate the additional traffic!  I’m looking forward to hitting up Melt when I make it back to Ohio next year.

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4) AJ Bombers:  As I mentioned, I had been following AJ Bombers on Twitter ever since I read about their social media program a couple of years ago.  So…when I moved to Milwaukee, I was really excited to walk over and check the place out in person.  After all, the place promises “Happiness, with a side of burgers”.  Not only is the food far better than your average bar food (let’s face it, it’s NOT healthy!), but the Bloody Mary drinks are the best in town – I don’t care what WISN readers say!  Finally, the service is always outstanding – though I tend to favor being a customer of this girl.  😉

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3) Braise: I was introduced to Braise through a local food blogger, Phi, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole dining experience with her and another food blogger, Shanon.  The atmosphere is so cool.  This used to be a bowling alley, and the owners repurposed a lot of the old elements to create a unique and inviting space.  But, the food…is SO good!  The menu is changed up regularly to incorporate the best ingredients, and it’s not an overwhelmingly large menu so one doesn’t have to feel pressure to sift through pages of options, hoping to make the right decision.  I’ve been to Braise several times now, and in my opinion, any decision is a good one!  Also, Braise just opened a second floor bar/lounge area.  I’ll need to check that out!

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2) Bacon Bros. Public House: Another locally sourced restaurant makes the list!  I have Yelp! to thank for introducing my friends and me to this hidden gem.   While visiting South Carolina to see my Clemson Tigers beat Boston College, we stumbled upon Bacon BrosThe food:  the meat is locally sourced, and spectacular, and the side dishes have a definite southern flair to them, but with a new twist.  The service was fantastic.  And, their motto is “Powered by Bacon”!  What’s not to love about this place?

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and…the top “She Ordered What?” dining experience of 2013 was…

1) The Publican:  The fact that I drove ~90 miles each way to and from Chicago on a Tuesday night (in traffic and weather) could not even put a damper on this meal!  Our server, whom I mentioned a few times in the post, was very good – and he was totally on board to surprise us that evening.  The food was expertly prepared.  Again, The Publican is a restaurant that sources its ingredients locally – must love that!  All in all, the atmosphere, the service, the food, and the company (Chanda!) were top-notch.  I loved this place that is off the beaten path, so to speak, but may be home to the best meal I’ve had in Chicago (and I’ve had some REALLY good meals there!).  I highly recommend The Publican if you’re looking for an excellent dining experience.  The menu changes up frequently here as well, but here is the selection from which we had to choose.

Publican

Honorable mentions:

I kicked the year off by celebrating a dear friend’s birthday in Detroit.  I was able to meet some of her other wonderful friends, and we just had a fantastic time enjoying a city that tends to be “off-limits” after work or late at night. Detroit does indeed have some safe and fun spots to enjoy “after hours”.

I also enjoyed celebrating my own birthday with friends – in Massachusetts.  My friends gave me a perfectly balanced weekend.  We had fun “out on the town”, enjoyed chilling at home, oh, and we ran a 10K in the middle of it all!  I’m looking forward to seeing this crazy crew when we meet up for our other friends’ wedding in Memphis this February.

Finally, categorize this under the “last, but not least” header… I had some fun times traveling with my new coworkers this year.  We had some really fruitful business trips, but always seemed to sneak in a good meal or two! There was the “first meal in Nola”, the “marathon trip”,  the “French food in Montreal”, the “mussels in Brussels”, and the “pork in Paris”.  We’ve had other dining adventures, but not all warrant a “She Ordered What?” post.

I will say this, I’m grateful for the way my colleagues have embraced me, and I find it refreshing to enjoy having a meal and/or a drink (or two!) with my coworkers. It certainly makes work more enjoyable!

“She Ordered What?”: 2013 by the numbers:

I wrote 22 posts to contribute to the overall number of 83 posts. The readers and I have posted 221 comments to the blog.  There are over 1,800 “She Ordered What?” followers who viewed the blog almost 17,000 times.  And, from all over the world…83 countries, actually (led by the US, Canada and Singapore)!

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Thank you again for your support and readership.  As I mentioned last year, if you would like to write a guest post, please let me know.  I enjoy sharing others’ experiences as well!

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling 2014!

Cheers!

Ker

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