Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
After the Domes, we went with some friends to Fourth Base. I love this place. It is one of the first places I checked out when I moved to Milwaukee. (My firsts: Water Street Brewery, Saz's and Fourth Base) Fourth Base is a great sports bar with fantastic food. They don't have a menu, basically the menu changes daily. You just look in the glass case to find out what's fresh and what you might want to order - shrimp, scallops, lobster, steak....yum! The bar became locally famous in the movie, Major League. The memorabilia throughout the bar is really interesting - lots of old football helmets, great old photos, newspapers, uniforms, etc. We found out that some people from Chicago tried to steal the big pig that used to be in the front window. Somehow they got it out on a crowded Brewer game day, however it broke. They haven't been able to find someone to fix it yet. Our waitress was very nice - she told us the story of the "hog heist" - still can't figure out how they got it out the door without anyone noticing. Good times.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
I added these pictures (taken by a neighbor) today because of a discovery we found this morning. We live in a major metropolitan area of 1.7 million people, yet the wildlife in our backyard is amazing. These pictures were taken in our backyard at the end of November. Now, of course, there is 5" of snow on the ground which brings me to today's unfortunate finding in our front yard - a severed rabbit head! Yuk - poor little bunny must have been the victim of either a fox or a coyote - as we have seen both in our yard. The rabbit must have been slowed down by the snow. I don't think it was a domestic animal attack.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
On Friday I went to check out the tour at Palermo's Pizza here in the valley. They built a new Italian Villa facility for their pizza making empire. I received a special tour as I was the only person touring and was just looking for information for further tours. It is pretty cool to see the assembly line making all kinds of pizza. Will be a good addition to some of my culinary based tours or Made in Milwaukee tours. Only drawback is the number of people who can tour at a time as they need to limit the tours to 20 people. I'll try to make it work.
After seeing all that pizza, I had a hankering for a Friday Fish Fry (???). So we went to an old favorite of ours, Water Street Brewery. They were swamped! Lots going on downtown with the Marquette vs UW-Milwaukee basketball game plus the usual theater and holiday theater crowd. Water Street Brewery was one of the first places I checked out when moving to Milwaukee. I love the decor with old photos of the big breweries in Milwaukee, a huge beer can collection and their own microbrewery. The food is always good and the beer isn't too bad either. They are celebrating 20 years in business. Good for them! Love to see businesses succeed in a difficult industry.
After dinner we decided to check out a few Water Street establishments. Some are old standbys like Rosie's, The Harp and McGillicuddy's and then there are the new "hotspots". We chose to have a few beers at a classic, Fitzgibbons Pub, a great old Irish bar with alot of character. Great old sports photos and old Milwaukee photos on the wall. We enjoyed good conversation with the bartender. We then moved on to a new bar, Sullivan's on Water, which recently took the place of Swig and at one time was home of Luke's Sports Spectacular, one of the bars that took Water Street to where it is now - a weekend night destination for people of all ages, but mostly the 21-30 year olds. Sullivan's was fairly dead when we arrived, but as the game (MU vs UWM) got to the point of a serious blow-out the college-age kids started to arrive in droves. We had a great spot for people watching. I guess I am too be considered old even though I still feel like I belong with the young crowd. However being the more mature ones (?), we left the "kids" to go on partying into the early hours.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
I was told recently that the difference between a Packer fan and a Bear fan is that the Bear fan will say "Who are the Bears playing this weekend?" whereas the Packer fan will say "Who are we playing this weekend?" - we take real ownership in our team. It's good to seem them back to winning ways, the rollercoaster of wins and losses is no fun.
Yesterday I had a meeting downtown - before and after the meeting we met at The Knick in The Knickerbocker Hotel. This is one of my favorite areas of the city. There is so much charm in the architecture and I love the lakefront. When I moved to Milwaukee in 1991, I lived on the corner of Kilbourn Ave and Prospect Ave right on the lakefront. (Now our "grassy knoll" is home to two huge condo skyscrapers.) At that time downtown was still pretty "lame" - not much going on, you hardly saw anyone downtown at night or on the weekends. Water Street had a few bars - Rosie's was the major hot spot. Brady Street was a bit scary. The Third Ward was dark and all Cathedral Square had Elsa's and some dark smoky bars. We used to go to Walker's Point for our kicks. It has come a LONG way since then. At that time though we used to like to go to The Knickerbocker Hotel for breakfast - they had a great little diner - I don't remember the name but it was your typical greasy spoon diner with lots of white and stainless steel. And then they kicked it up a notch with a huge renovation and turned The Knickerbocker into an awesome stylish metro restaurant. We took everyone who visited us there. And then as more and more cool places opened, our visits to The Knickerbocker were limited. Then they did another renovation and renamed the place The Knick. Still very stylish, very popular and a great place to bring people as it has really good food and is very comfortable.
Wednesday was a "networking" day - I went to a small networking get together at Brew City Tea in the morning and then another larger networking get together at The Bavarian Inn. It's always interesting to meet new people at these types of events and you typically find out about businesses that you didn't know even existed. It's been a while since I was at The Bavarian Inn - it's a fun place. Good German flavor. I used to take senior groups there for good German food and music. It has a nice dining room and probably could get a little racuous if the beer was flowing. We were thinking that it had a better feel than the Hof Brau Haus in Las Vegas. I wish more people would revel in some of the German traditions. Was nice to run into an old friend that I worked with back in the '90s when I was at The Grand Milwaukee Hotel. He happened to be with a fella that Mike worked with one summer back in his high school days who also worked for his Uncle. Small world...Milwaukee is a big city, but you sure run into alot of people you know or have some connection to.
While I was "networking", Mike went to a couple of shops on Silver Spring in Whitefish Bay. He bought a couple of cute Christmas presents for Bailey's dog cousins at Hounds Around Town. I will have to go back and check it out for myself as he got some really funny dog toys.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Thanksgiving went well. My dinner turned out really delicious. Menu consisted of: Herbed Turkey with Roasted Shallot Gravy; Sage Dressing with 3 Sausages, Apples and Parsnips; Yukon Gold Potatoes with Black Truffle Oil; Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes; Carrot, Apple & Horseradish Salad; Mixed Greens with Orange Vinaigrette, Cranberries and Pecans; and Leek & Asparagus Tart. Dessert was provided by Mike's sisters and mom. They did a good job too on the pies. The Packers made everything sweeter with a nice win over Detroit!
Friday after Thanksgiving was fun. Mike and I did a bit of shopping (actually looking, no buying - no $ contributions for Black Friday unless you count liquor!) at Best Buy and Mayfair. It was mid-afternoon and wasn't crazy busy. I'll never understand the need to sleep outside a store for a day in order to get a good deal on a TV. I don't know if I would even do that for a free TV! We decided to relax and enjoy a couple of glasses of wine instead at Maggiano's and then planned to met Mike's mom & sis at La Merenda - but upon arrival we found it closed for a private party. We love that place and will try again some other time. So we headed to Cuvee, a great new Champagne bar in The Third Ward. They were fairly busy in the early evening - looks like they found a niche with groups of women enjoying some bubbly after a group spa treatment. I really like Cuvee and hope they do well. The adjoining room they have for special events and parties is really pretty - I want to create an event just so I can use that room. From Cuvee we went to the Milwaukee Public Market. Such a great addition to the city. I really enjoy walking through the market and picking out interesting things to try. We enjoyed sitting at the Oyster Bar at the St. Paul Fish market sampling Point Beer, Chowder, Gumbo and Smoked Salmon on a stick - mmm! It is fun to take people from outside of Milwaukee to the market. It is still a bit disappointing due to the size as I am more accustomed to Seattle and San Francisco's public markets - but I'll take it and be happy with it!
We had to check out the new sports bar in town, Fanatics. If you didn't know this place existed from seeing it on the web or being told to go there, I don't think you would ever find it on your own. It is nestled within some office buildings with a very unassuming entrance. But once you do find it - what a great place to watch sports. They have a sports pit just like Vegas. A good time was had by all. For a night cap we stopped at The Irish Pub for a Black & Tan and a bit of live Irish music. For Milwaukeeans who haven't been out in a while, this is the old M&M Club which sits on the corner of Erie and Water Street in what used to be a Pabst Tavern back in the days when the breweries paid owners of corner bars to pour only their beer. If the walls could talk in that building, we would be entertained for weeks...
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Yesterday was my Mother in Law's birthday. She's in town to visit the new grandbaby as well as celebrate Thanksgiving with the family. I took her to Brew City Tea yesterday afternoon. Very nice little place in the Third Ward. She had a Blue Mango Tea and Caramel Apple Cheesecake and I opted for a Nine Blend, Black Dragon Tea and a Cucumber/Tomato Sandwich. Everything was really good and it was a nice relaxing place to enjoy a cup of tea and some conversation. Much different atmosphere than our dinner choice - we took her to Buca's for some good family style Italian food. I love the chopped Di Beppo 1893 salad and the Chicken Marsala. A little disappointed in the Tiramisu this time, (ladyfinger layer seemed more like a dry pancake) but I am sure they will rebound... Nice touch on the birthday celebration with the candelabra at the table. Buca's is always a fun place.
After dinner, Mike and I stopped for a couple of beers at Karma Bar & Grill - very cool place. This was once the location of Milwaukee's oldest restaurant, John Ernst. I was so angry when they sold the restaurant and the new developers turned it into three restaurants, of which two are chain somewhat fast food - I think there is a Chipotle and a Panera. Unbelieveable that they would ruin the architectural integrity and all the history of the once very popular German restaurant. It could have been an awesome "oompah" beer hall that I believe would have been really popular. So anyhow Karma takes the place of the original main room of the restaurant. They managed to save the fireplace and the wood beams and have incorporated them into a new funky design. Karma is nice - very comfortable, great bar, lots of TVs and the lounge in the lower level is awesome. I can't wait to have a reason to use that lounge for a private party of some sort.
So now I am off to shop....the bird is already thawing in the fridge.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Yesterday afternoon I was at The Pfister - one of the best lobby bars you'll find. We are very lucky to have such a nice hotel in the city. People are always impressed. The lobby bar is always active and is great for people watching. Thursday night (I was also at The Pfister) I saw Andrew Bogut, our NBA Milwaukee Buck (yeah, he's tall!) and also Mark Attanasio, the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers (he's kind of short!) I didn't see anyone "famous" on Friday night - it was early though. I met Mike at Zim's Bar for a beer and then headed to Ouzo for a quick dinner. Although we were the only people at Ouzo for a bit, the food was awesome. I am sure they do well for lunch and late night dining - maybe we just hit a slow night. Mike's Athenian Chicken was faboo and I opted for the Ouzo Cafe Platter on the Appetizer Menu for my entree'. Everything was really good and alot of food.
Badgers won today! Beat Minnesota 41-34. We keep possession of Paul Bunyan's axe!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
On Saturday, we were awoken with the news of Mosley's arrival. Our little nephew was born at 6:39am. The labor was long, so we held off to the afternoon to give mom and dad some time to rest. In the meantime, I watched the Badgers beat Michigan! Gotta love anytime we beat the bad boys from Ann Arbor as they dominated Wisconsin for so many years. We then went to Columbia/St Mary's Hospital to visit our new little buddy and his parents. Cute kid! And I don't normally think babies are all that attractive when they are newborns - he's an exception. Had to celebrate just a bit at Hooligan's and then walked around Whole Foods for a bit - that place is actually mindblowing for a grocery store. The selection of prepared foods, the meat and seafood case, wines, beer, etc. is fabulous. I think everytime I am in there I walk out empty handed just because I am not sure what it is that I want.
Sunday was a day of work for me. I toured some people from Bermuda and Canada attending a convention here in Milwaukee. It was kind of a gray day, but the temperature was nice. I think they enjoyed it - I know they really had a nice brunch at Coast and liked the tour of The Pabst Mansion. I also showed a couple of girls from Holland a couple of the neighborhoods in Milwaukee for shopping, dining and cocktails. Today would have been a nicer day to see the city as the weather is so nice, but we can't win them all. Tomorrow I have another group from the convention, so I hoping this sunshine stays with us.
And best of all, the Packers beat the Vikings!!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Tuesday night I was at the MMAC Business After Hours and got into a conversation about some classic Milwaukee things and Reynold's Pasty Shop came up. So, of course, I got the hankering for a pasty. Growing up in northern Wisconsin we used to get our pasties from "across the bridge" in Menomonee, Michigan - the U.P. - I think pasties are the signature food of the yoopers. Reynold's has been making pasties on 35th and Burleigh since 1959. The neighborhood has changed remarkably, however they are busy as ever. I took home three par-baked pasties - there is only one flavor. You gotta love the ingredients as it is about as simple as you can get. Pastry: Flour, Vegetable Shortening, Water, Non-Fat Dry Milk and Salt Filling: Potatoes, Beef, Beef Fat, Onions, Carrots, Corn Starch, Salt and Pepper. No long listing of four syllable "what the heck is that" ingredients.
I couldn't eat the whole thing - however it was delicious as always. We found this sauce a while back - Toivo and Eino's Really Secret Pasty Sauce - made in the UP - and it makes a nice complement. Spicy ketchup to kick it up a bit.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I have been reading 'Built in Milwaukee -
An Architectural View of the City' and it has made me very curious to check out some of the neighborhoods and buildings around Milwaukee. Bailey and I took a drive through Brewer's Hill and checked out some of the old Schlitz Brewing Co buildings. They are very impressive -huge, cream city brick buildings with alot of detail and ornamentation. It is nice to see them being used for other businesses, restaurants, etc. but at the same time it is sad that "The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous" is no longer here. I wish I could go back in time and see what it looked like when this brewing giant was in full force.
My favorite building is the stables. Again, the detail on the building is awesome. Gotta love the horse heads. It is very sad that one of the most impressive buildings has recently been been hidden behind a big ugly parking structure. I am happy to see new development and the corporate headquarters of Manpower moving downtown was huge for the city, but dang! - that parking ramp sucks.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
The weather has taken a change and the cold air is on its way. It has dropped down into the forties and there is a chance of flurries for tonight. The wind really kicked up starting mid-morning and looking at the lawn, it seems like a mini tornado hit the big maple tree next door - lots of branches, sticks, etc. A car downtown was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time and a big decorative light pole was blown over on to it. I think it was a Saturn so perhaps it will just bounce back into shape. (Photo courtesy of www.jsonline.com) With this type of weather it is just better to hang in and try to stay warm. Just worked on my website today - had a physical therapy appointment for my finger - and now am watching Prison Break. Oh the drama that show contains....
Still riding high from the Packers win yesterday!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
We went to see the movie 'Dan in Real Life' - really enjoyed it. Love the soundtrack - Sondre Lerche is really an interesting composer and I like his music. The movie was light and funny and was perfect for the afternoon. Friday night we went out to dinner at Tulip - a Turkish restaurant in the Third Ward. Very impressed! The atmosphere was fantastic - they did a great job on the decor in the large space that they occupy. The food was really good as well - enjoyed the stuffed grape leaves and meatball appetizers. Mike had lamb chops and I ordered Iskender, a lamb and beef dish with tomato and butter sauce served over pita bread served with a side of yogurt - both were really tasty - mine was incredibly rich but I wouldn't hestitate to order it again and perhaps share it. We shared a dessert that I can't remember the name of - sweet cheese with shredded wheat and crushed pistachios - very interesting and again, very rich. Mike didn't think too much of the Turkish coffee (should have had better warning on the grounds) but we both liked the Turkish beer! We stopped at Moct prior to going home. Much different atmosphere then normal as some company was having a party there and the real music and pretty people hadn't arrived yet.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
We had trick or treating in our neighborhood last night. Lots of cute kids in great costumes. I have way too much extra candy which is not good for the waistline and teeth! Bailey donned her princess costume which she despises, but everyone thinks she is absolutely adorable. The price of fashion!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Interesting that Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, is in the background and to the left of that (not pictured) is Miller Brewing Co.
This is my first blog. I have wanted to do it for a while and now I am ready to get it going. I have started my own business - KBC Tour Company - and this will give me an opportunity to record my daily discoveries. My company specializes in inbound tours to the Milwaukee area with tour planning services, sightseeing and step-on guide service. I am very excited about my new venture and look forward to showing off the Milwaukee area.
Everyday is a learning experience for me. This morning I walked to the new Alterra Coffee in my neighborhood. It's an absolutely beautiful fall day - 60+ degrees, sunshine and pretty fall colors. I was reading the MKE paper while enjoying a cup of coffee and found that the priest who inspired 'The Exorcist' - William Halloran - is buried in Calvary Cemetery. This is good trivia info for my tours. Alot of people are intrigued by cemetaries. My parents used to take us to cemetaries when we were kids just to look at the different tombstones and wonder who the people were who were buried there and what their stories were. I might take a quick trip over to Calvary Cemetery today.
Bailey is enjoying the warm weather. I just took her picture.