Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee

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buffetbuster
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2009/06/29 14:14:38 (permalink)

Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee

Mariton and I were flying on Midwest Airlines to Kansas City.  We arrived in Milwaukee on time at 7:30PM to make our connection, but our 8:45PM flight out had been pushed back to 11:30PM.  At first we were both unhappy, because we knew we had a very late night ahead.  Then it occurred to us that an opportunity had just arisen.
 
I explained the situation to Enterprise Car Rental, who was nice enough to waive their typical one day rental price and offer us something more affordable for just a few hours.  Kudos to them!  We got in our car and took off for dinner.
 
Because of its proximity to the airport, the first place I thought of was Nite Owl Drive-In.  But, they were not open.  More about that later.....  The next thing I thought of was Polonez, which was also nearby.  But just to make sure, I got out the GPS and looked under the Custom Points of Interest for the closest Roadfood spots.  And Three Brothers was listed as less than three miles away.  That is all I needed to know and we were immediately on our way.
 
For those who haven't been here before, Three Brothers is a Serbian restaurant, located in an old Schlitz beer factory in a residential neighborhood.

I love that globe on top of the building.  Here Mariton poses out front.

As you can see, this place has been here a long time.

 
When we walked in, the dining room was 80% full.  From across the room, the tall blonde waitress asked how many and if we had reservations.  Of course we didn't, so this made me a little nervous for a second, but she waved us over and sat us in the back corner.  I informed her of our situation and that we needed to eat quickly to get back to the airport and she smiled and said that would be no problem.
 
Unfortunately, our schedule meant that we would not be able to order their signature food, the burek.  Made of filo dough, bureks take 45 minutes to an hour to make.  Still, there are plenty of other great options on the menu.  We shared a couple of appetizers of a Serbian salad

and a bowl of chicken dumpling soup.

Mariton thought the soup was too salty (she thinks most American food is too salty), but loved the simple salad, so she stuck to that.  I thought the seasoned soup was perfect, especially the one huge cream of wheat dumpling, so I was happy with this exchange.
 
Our waitress also brought us a basket of rye bread.  Neither Mariton or I are bread eaters, so we more or less ignored it.  But an elderly gentleman, who had been sitting at the table next to us, walked over and told us we had to try the bread along with what was on the dish.  What I thought was just a pat of butter, was far more. 

The gentleman, who turned out be be the owner, informed us that it was made of goat's milk and was neither butter nor cheese.  I asked what it was called and he gave me the Serbian name, which begins with a k.  Sorry I can't remember more.  But this was ultra-creamy and was excellent on the chewy rye bread.  We ate the whole basket!
 
My dinner was the chicken paprikash. 

The plate looks surprisingly empty when it is delivered to you.  But those are still some nice sized pieces of chicken and the meat was incredibly tender and moist.  It easily tore away from the bone with the fork.  I assumed the dumplings on the plate would be the same as from the soup, but I was wrong.  These dumplings were thicker and spongier, but I don't mean that in a bad way. 
 
Mariton went for the roast lamb.  As soon as the waitress set it down, her eyes lit up! 


This was one fantastic looking meal and it tasted even better.  The lamb was also incredibly tender.  I wish I had taken a picture of her plate after she was done, because all that was left was the bare bone.  She stripped it clean.  She absolutely loved her meal and I would not hesistate to get it for myself next time I am in town.  She also ate the candied carrots and rice, but was ignoring the sauerkraut.  So this old German was happy to eat it.  Cut up into shorter lengths, it had a more subtle taste than typical sauerkraut.
 
Our waitress, who did an excellent job of getting us in and out quickly, had already dropped off the check and we paid while we were still eating.  When we finished, we ran to the car, since I had another stop in mind.  All together, we were at Three Brothers for less than an hour. 
 
In my previous visits to Milwaukee, I have never been able to make up my mind which I liked better, Kopp's or Leon's.  I love both of these frozen custard stands.  The GPS determined Leon's was closer, so we were on our way.  Secretly, I was hoping to go to Leon's,


since I wanted to be able to see how great it looks at night, with all the glowing neon.  The parking lot was so jammed, cars were backed up on the busy road trying to get in.  I ended up parking at the bagel shop next door and walking over.  Milwaukeeans really love Leon's!
 
In previous visits, I almost always get their flavor of the day.  But on this day, it was butter pecan.  Being a nut frowner, that meant I was getting the chocolate instead, which along with the vanilla, they have everyday.  Mariton did get the butter pecan.  Here she is with the two cones in front.

Here is a close up of the cones, already dripping and having been licked.

 
What is great about taking someone to a place like Leon's is seeing their face after the first bite.  Because I know Mariton thought to herself, "Oh, I've had frozen custard before".  After the first taste, she had the "I can't believe how good this is look".  The custard is so smooth, not overly sweet and impossible to stop eating.  Not really sure why the frozen custard in Milwaukee is so much better, but it is.
 
I gave a moments thought to trying to hit the Kopp's on W. Layton, but decided not to push our luck.  We got back to the airport, dropped off the car and still managed to make an earlier flight to Kansas City.  There is something special about an unexpected great meal (and dessert) that made this a particularly special Roadfood experience. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/07/21 15:50:30
#1

36 Replies Related Threads

    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/29 14:43:35 (permalink)
    You and your chicken paprikash--I'm still trying to get the stains out of that shirt that got sloshed on at Belgrade Gardens in Barberton!  We're in total agreement on that Serbian salad, absoultely delicious.

    The most amazing part of your report was that you got into Three Brothers without a reservation!  I am glad it all worked out for you, looks like a fine evening.

    As for Kopp's vs. Leon's, MilwFoodlovers says, for mix-ins and original flavors, it's Kopp's all the way.  For basic chocolate and vanilla, Leon's has the edge.  If it's good enough for MFL, it's good enough for me!

    Buddy
    #2
    Foodosaurus
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/29 14:47:24 (permalink)

    One can only hope to be as unlucky as you.
    #3
    MilwFoodlovers
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/29 15:26:21 (permalink)
    Your goat's milk, feta cheese, dairy butter and sour cream mixture is called kajmak, pronounced ki (rhymes with high) mack. Most Eastern European and some Greek grocers carry it but it is pretty easy make. A smear of that followed with a smear of Ajvar, a spread of roasted red peppers and sometimes eggplant and some chile pepper is pure ambrosia.
    #4
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/29 15:37:13 (permalink)
    So the Nibbler and the Nut Frowner, huh?  I don't think that's a very good superhero identity for you Cliff.  You'll have to come up with something as cute as the Nibbler.

    How creative were you when faced with adverse circumstances!  I'd have never thought to try sweet talking the car rental people.  That's an awesome idea and it looks like it really paid off. 
    #5
    ann peeples
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/29 15:44:29 (permalink)
    I am thrilled you were able to get into 3 Brothers.The owner is a real charmer, and the food is very good.I was surprised my husband Bob liked that salad so much-he still talks about it to this day.And Leons is a fun place-glad Mariton got to enjoy a bit of Milwaukee.
    #6
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/29 19:58:56 (permalink)
    Bravo....a true roadfood manuver!  Congratulations on an extra 2 stops!
    #7
    ann peeples
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/29 20:07:12 (permalink)
    There you are, Gregg!!!! Good to see you again!! All is well, i hope.
    #8
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/29 20:18:02 (permalink)
    Cliff - Something is missing from this report.  What college shirt were you wearing?
    #9
    stricken_detective
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/29 23:55:30 (permalink)
    I'm glad the owner talked you into the bread! That's one of the best parts. I've never had a bad meal there. Congrats on 2 stops & still catching that earlier flight!
    #10
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 00:04:31 (permalink)
    Foodosaurus aka braunsteinm

    One can only hope to be as unlucky as you.


    A-freakin'-MEN. 

    You see what happens with my bad luck - and you see what happens with his bad luck.

    I would have sweet-talked the same rental car person, and ended up eating at an Olive Garden when the four places I would have tried were all closed.

    I then would have missed my flight back at the airport.

    Because THAT is how I roll.
    #11
    brittneal
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 00:12:59 (permalink)

    That lamb looks like it would melt in your mouth.  Did you say what cut it was?  It almost looks like a piece of the leg that was cut into sections almost like an ausso-bucco. Yumm
    #12
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 08:21:00 (permalink)
    The Travelin Man

    Foodosaurus aka braunsteinm

    One can only hope to be as unlucky as you.


    A-freakin'-MEN. 

    You see what happens with my bad luck - and you see what happens with his bad luck.

    I would have sweet-talked the same rental car person, and ended up eating at an Olive Garden when the four places I would have tried were all closed.

    I then would have missed my flight back at the airport.

    Because THAT is how I roll.


    Neither would happen to me. My flight would have arrived late, making me miss out on my first roadfood stop, causing me me " to cut my nose to spite my face" and spend needless $$  and book another trip the following year just because I missed out on that ONE RESTAURANT because if I didn't return, it would be unlikely I would ever return for at  least another decade and by that time either the place is out of business or the quality took a nose dive.
    #13
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 08:42:07 (permalink)
    BuddyRoadhouse-
    With everything else going on, it didn't even occur to me that not having a reservation would be an issue.  Glad it didn't, because I may have considered going somewhere else. 

     
    brittneal-
    Sorry, I don't know which part of the lamb Mariton was served.  I was too busy with my own dinner.  I will ask her and maybe she knows.
     
    JRPfeff-
    You are right!  How could I leave that out?  I had to think for a minute but it was a new one to the rotation, New Mexico State Aggies.
    #14
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 08:52:32 (permalink)
    MilwFoodlovers

    Your goat's milk, feta cheese, dairy butter and sour cream mixture is called kajmak, pronounced ki (rhymes with high) mack. Most Eastern European and some Greek grocers carry it but it is pretty easy make. A smear of that followed with a smear of Ajvar, a spread of roasted red peppers and sometimes eggplant and some chile pepper is pure ambrosia.
    Thanks so much for the reply and the info.  It tasted so good and was unlike anything I have had before.  And I loved the way the owner pronounced it.
     
    CTD-
    Coming from you, there is no higher praise!
     
    annpeeples-
    Mariton has done some traveling in the US, but it has only been to the big tourist destinations (Las Vegas, LA, San Fran, NYC, Miami, etc.)  She is really happy that she is getting to see places she wouldn't think to go on her own, like Kansas City and Milwaukee.  Cities I have a lot of enthusiasm for.  
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/06/30 08:58:09
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    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 09:20:15 (permalink)
    Three Brothers is a tremendous place ... I've been there once or twice ... Congrats on making a great RF experience.

    #16
    mar52
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 09:49:12 (permalink)
    How smart and brave you are!

    I sat for four hours in an airport because I was afraid I'd miss my plane if I left.

    That lamb dish looks incredible.  It shows the care and thought that goes in to their cooking.

    Terrific misfortune!
    #17
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 10:03:00 (permalink)
    mar52-
    I wouldn't have done this at just any airport.  For cities like Denver or Kansas City, the airport is just too far out of town.  But Milwaukee's is right in the middle of everything.

    post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/08/25 14:29:20
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    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 10:07:43 (permalink)
    annpeeples

    There you are, Gregg!!!! Good to see you again!! All is well, i hope.


    Thanks Ann - I'm back!!!!
    #19
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 10:10:59 (permalink)
    Okay people, it is time to come clean.  It took a while, but I am on to you.  There really is no restaurant called Nite Owl Drive-In is there?  Oh sure, there is a building with a sign and everything.  But, I have been there during Summer and I have been there during Winter.  I have been there during the day and I have been there at night.  I have been there on weekends and I have been there on weekdays.  And they have never been open.  Never!

    On this trip, I pulled up a few minutes after 8:00 on a Friday night in June.  And they were still closed.  Don't tell me they closed for the night already.  Their name is the Nite Owl.  How could you be closed at 8:00 at night?

    So, obviously this is one big prank being pulled on me, by the Sterns and the good people of Milwaukee.  My goodness, I even remember my buddy ChiTownDiner posting photos of his burger when he ate there.  Now you even have Chicagoans in on the ruse.  Have you no shame?  Isn't it time to come clean and fess up?
    #20
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 10:17:27 (permalink)
    ChiTownDiner

    annpeeples

    There you are, Gregg!!!! Good to see you again!! All is well, i hope.


    Thanks Ann - I'm back!!!!



    #21
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 10:18:05 (permalink)
    I have eaten therew with Mayor Al....great burger and shake!

    How soon ya coming!
    #22
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 12:22:36 (permalink)
    The Travelin Man

    Foodosaurus aka braunsteinm

    One can only hope to be as unlucky as you.


    A-freakin'-MEN. 

    You see what happens with my bad luck - and you see what happens with his bad luck.

    I would have sweet-talked the same rental car person, and ended up eating at an Olive Garden when the four places I would have tried were all closed.

    I then would have missed my flight back at the airport.

    Because THAT is how I roll.

    Traveling Man,
    I think that's the way my luck would be on a trip.  I would come back to find out that the late flight has been merged with an early flight and has already gone ("and we had a first class set waiting for you").  Of course I have never been brave enough to leave the airport between when waiting for a delayed flight, except for one occasion years ago when Shuttle America flew between Buffalo and Trenton, NJ, and the Trenton airport was small enough to leave. and come back to without any issues.
     
    Buffetbuster,
     
    All props to you for making the best of a tough break and being an inspiration to us (even when I stay in the airport and choke down the mystery food they serve).
     
    #23
    billyboy
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 13:08:22 (permalink)
    Sir Buffetbuster,

    You are indeed the man to turn lemons into lemonade!  Your ability to find good food and a good time anywhere continually inspires me.  Was that dumpling really made of cream of wheat?  I love the texture, but have never imagined it as a savory dish (as opposed to the hot breakfast cereal I love!).
    #24
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 13:11:36 (permalink)
    billyboy-
    I can't say for 100% sure that it was a cream of wheat dumpling.  But it had the same texture and taste of the cream of wheat dumplings my dad made for all of his German cooking while I was growing up.
    #25
    myterry2
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 13:30:21 (permalink)
    Super report...THANX.
    #26
    mayor al
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 14:49:21 (permalink)
    OK Please allow me to fill in some of the blanks in the various menus for BB.  Congratulations in turning a problem-layover into a steller dining experience !!
     
    Here is a link to our trip report for the visit to Milwaukee (and Cicero IL from Nov 2007 (not to far back). We had a great time and THREE BROTHERS proved to be a great place to eat and enjoy the company of RF folks. Ditto for KOPPS and NITE OWL
     
    If the whole report shows up Please skip to Page 6 to begin the section that is part of this discussion !  We are going to repeat this stop later this summer...Janet wants to go to  THREE BROTHERS very much !!
     
    http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/tm.aspx?m=335300&mpage=6
     
    BTW  I am glad Marleton enjoyed her Lamb. I ordered the Lamb Shank, but was a bit disappointed in mine, as the gristle outweighed the meat on my particular cut.
     
    When we go back I will get a Burek- or the Roast Suckling Pig
    post edited by mayor al - 2009/06/30 14:57:00
    #27
    abe_froeman
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 20:45:48 (permalink)
    Sounds like a great impromptu trip, buffetbuster!  I'm going to have to get up to Three Brothers again; I was there last fall with a big group of us and it was wonderful.  I wasn't such a fan of the Serbian salad, but I'm not a goat cheese fan.  I think it's a great fall restaurant, when you want really hearty food that will keep you warm and full for hours. 

    And Leon's- yum!  I think Kopp's and Leon's are different, but neither is better than the other.  Just depends what you're in the mood for.

    ChiTown!  Glad to see you around!
    #28
    mar52
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/06/30 21:35:04 (permalink)
    Thanks, Buffetbuster.  It was Denver where I sat for hours.

    Next time I'll have a netbook!
    #29
    stricken_detective
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    Re:Making the best of a bad situation/Milwaukee 2009/07/05 03:28:53 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    Okay people, it is time to come clean.  It took a while, but I am on to you.  There really is no restaurant called Nite Owl Drive-In is there?  Oh sure, there is a building with a sign and everything.  But, I have been there during Summer and I have been there during Winter.  I have been there during the day and I have been there at night.  I have been there on weekends and I have been there on weekdays.  And they have never been open.  Never!

    On this trip, I pulled up a few minutes after 8:00 on a Friday night in June.  And they were still closed.  Don't tell me they closed for the night already.  Their name is the Nite Owl.  How could you be closed at 8:00 at night?

    So, obviously this is one big prank being pulled on me, by the Sterns and the good people of Milwaukee.  My goodness, I even remember my buddy ChiTownDiner posting photos of his burger when he ate there.  Now you even have Chicagoans in on the ruse.  Have you no shame?  Isn't it time to come clean and fess up?


    You caught us. " />

    They have been there since God was a boy. My boss' parents met there. Her dad worked the grill & her mom was a carhop. They've been married 40+ years. If the original owner is still in charge, he might be getting ready to retire? I am only surmising, guess I could do some...detective work & see what I can see.

    They are open funky hours, I will give you that. One Saturday, I went to a wedding on the south side & had to travel east of the airport to get to the reception hall. Since I'd spent all morning at the salon & hadn't had time to eat, the natural choice for something to eat on the way to the reception was the Nite Owl. I still congratulate myself on that one.
    #30
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