Oh Milwaukee, How I love Thee – Part Three


As week one of vacation heads towards the weekend, more beer, more food, more shopping and more fun was on tap.  Friday began with a late morning snack at Swig located in the Third Ward.

Grilled watermelon salad with spinach, goat cheese and toasted almonds served with honey basil dressing was off the charts good.  Simple summer taste with the freshest ingredients.

And a cup of he Cajun Crab soup (special of the day) … nicely  spiced.

After the meal, Connie and I hooked up with Chetan and headed down to the village of Wauwatosa (aka Tosa to most locals).  We step into Oro di Oliva, a purveyor of specialty olive oils and vinegars.

Anything that the store carries, you can sample! These balsamic vinegars tasted as good as they sound!

Next up was a real lunch … we head next door into Le Reve, a french bistro in Tosa.  How cool is that?

Really nice decor … check out the bar area.

Filet de Boeuf  was our sandwich choice … Beef Tenderloin with Cambozola Cheese, Caramelized Onion,
and a Black Pepper Aioli on a Baguette.  Good hearty stuff.

Accompanied by … Salade de Bettrave: Roasted Beets with Warm Chevre, Toasted Pecans, Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Hazelnut cream pastry with dark chocolate for dessert.

We spent the next few hours in Tosa hitting familiar haunts of the past …

Coffee at Alterra for the creamiest, pow in the mouth espressos …

A stop over at John’s Ultra Fidelis store, an audiophile’s wet dream!

And this beautiful vintage Porsche parked in the lot …

Dinner that night was at Hinterland Gastropub.  I have been to a lot of so called Gastropubs around the country but mostly in So Cal.  None match up to this gem.  This was my second visit to Milwaukee’s best kept secret.  We didn’t get to sit at the chef’s table which I’m told is a treat.  Nonetheless, Connie and I had a fabulous time with our friends Chetan and Shari.

Food at Hinterland was outstanding as usual. Salad of watermelon, olive, tomatoes and mixed greens.

Artisanal cheese plate smoky blue, mahon, asiago, roasted nuts, pickles, crostini

Ledgeview gardens tomato and watermelon salad goat cheese, arugula, olives, hemp seeds, saba

Pan seared alaskan sockeye salmon with black beluga lentils, lumb crab and radish salad, baby bok choy, english pea emulsion

Andouille crusted alaskan halibut with fingerling potato, sweet corn and pepper hash, chive aioli, red hot butter sauce

Chocolate hazelnut mousse tart raspberries, caramel sauce, chocolate chunk ice cream

1753 Château de Campuget Syrah France 2007

Saturday afternoon was a good time to conduct my own taste test of the “Food Wars” TV show.  I wanted to see for my self who had the tastier burger in Milwaukee – Sobleman’s or AJ Bombers?  First up was a trip to Sobleman’s a favorite of Marquette University students.

On Food Wars … the Sobleman burger came up short.  The loser burger is on the chalkboard as follows …

So we tried that burger along with Wisconsin cheese curds and of course local beer!  For readers outside of Wisconsin and around the world … In the Midwest US, deep-fried cheese curds are often found at carnivals and fairs, and often local non-chain fast food restaurants and bars, as well as a few chain restaurants of local origin, such as Culver’s. Deep-fried cheese curds are covered with a batter, like that used for onion rings, or are breaded and placed in a deep fryer!

Have no doubt a few Brewers ball players have sampled Sobleman’s grub.

So are they Milwaukee’s best burgers?

Not so sure.  My take on the Sobleman burger?  The bun to meat ratio was off.  The buttery bread is voluminous and the meat felt a little more than a condiment.  May be I should have ordered a double patty?  Overall … not so impressed.

I am excited to try AJ Bombers on Water Street hoping for a better burger after being disappointed at Sobleman’s.

The much anticipated burger dubbed the “Thee Milwaukee Burger” is topped with Wisconsin Colby/Jack cheese, Nueske’s Applewood smoked bacon, and Schlitz onions.  This burger had killer taste.  Perfect and balanced meat to bun ratio, smoky bacon and perfectly melted cheese.  Beats Sobleman’s burger hands down … Not even close!

Watch the clip from the Food Wars show …

Yes AJ Bombers … you deserved the win.  Congratulations!

Harley Davidson’s are omnipresent on Milwaukee streets in the summer.  A few parked on Water Street.

To sustain the energy through the afternoon, a trip to Alterra Coffee was a must.  I had a Cortado.  A Cortado is a mini-cappuchino. Typically it’s a 2 ounce espresso and 2 ounces of frothed milk served in a four ounce demi-tasse cup.  I don’t typically see this in a lot of coffee shops.  It’s a great jolt.

A few more sights from the lakefront …

The Watertower

The beach volleyball at Bradford Beach.

The ever present icons of Wisconsin’s love affair with their sports teams – The Packers and Badgers.

Sil’s mini donuts shop

The Y-Not tavern.

A newer street art piece by Brady Bridge.

Dinner that night was at Maxie’s, comfort soul food in Milwaukee. Great little New Orleans style restaurant with a dark, rich decor to indulge in favorites like Jambalaya, Po Boys, Oysters and Fried Green Tomatoes!

Another great, satisfying pig out!  On my next and final post on Milwaukee, look for our stay at the fabulous Iron Horse hotel and a visit to the Harley Davidson Museum.  Stay tuned.

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