Archive for the tag “UPAF”

Casablanca and Next Generation UPAF – May 6th – Mark Your Calendar!

A little over a month ago, on a Monday night, I agreed to meet the man I had been out with a few times for dinner – prior to my leaving for Florida on a business trip.  He suggested (and made a reservation at, as he always does!) Casablanca on Brady Street.  Although we really enjoyed the delicious Middle Eastern food, I was more intent on enjoying the evening with the guy I would find myself dating, and then walking away from (aka: the eventual ex-boyfriend), than on taking photos to share in a blog post.

However, a few weeks later, through my affiliation with Next Generation UPAF, I found myself being hosted to another dining experience at Casablanca by a fellow Next Genner, Nadia, whose family owns the restaurant.  It was the perfect opportunity to take pictures and write a post! Oh, and to enjoy more delicious Middle Eastern food and traditions!

Nadia and her family have generously offered to host a fund raiser for UPAF on Wednesday May 6th, and she wanted a few people to come by and check out the restaurant, the food, and the Hookah.

I met Nadia at the upper level bar (Casablanca is a huge restaurant!).  She greeted me warmly and started to explain the concept of Hookah to me.  The flavors (citrus, mint, etc), the technique (think Clinton), and the social aspect of Hookah. When Nadia gave me my own mouthpiece, I sampled from her bowl.  I can honestly say that smoking Hookah isn’t “my thing”, but when in Rome…

At the bar, trying Hookah with Nadia.

At the bar, trying Hookah with Nadia.

Shortly thereafter, two others joined us, Craig and Kristi. Both work at Apex Systems, and have worked with Nadia in the past.  And, both were lovely folks – it was very easy to feel comfortable with these two!

Nadia, having checked out my blog, already knew that I would trust her and the servers to choose good food for me that evening.  And, they did!

We started with Adas Majrous (lentil soup) – which was wonderfully flavorful and had great consistency.


Then, as we were enjoying casual conversation, we munched on some deliciously simple hummus and meat with warm, fresh pita bread.


Our entrees were served quickly thereafter.  I was served chicken and beef kabobs with basmati rice.  A great combination of proteins and vegetables – all perfectly flavored.

IMG_1600During our dinner conversation, we talked about the event Casablanca will host on May 6th. From 5:30-8:30PM that evening, Casablanca will have guest bartenders from local businesses (including Nadia’s employer, Rockwell Automation).  The tips and a percentage of the bar take will be donated to the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).  There will be delicious a Middle Eastern food buffet, a complimentary round of drinks, prizes (vouchers for the performing arts), belly dancers and other entertainment throughout the evening.

We took a brief break to enjoy a few bites of a surprise delivery of baklava (yum!).  I ended up taking a few pieces home to share with my house guest and to munch on later!  And then continued with our conversation.


With the space Casablanca offers, the FABULOUS food, and the generosity of the owners, this should be a fantastically fun evening out!  “Like” their Facebook page for more information about this event as well as “Classic Movie Night”, “wine and canvas”, and other special events.

I hope to see local folks on May 6th for a great night out in support of the performing arts!



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@watPhi 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, entrée, 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.  🙂

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:

photo 1 (1)
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:

photo 2

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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