Spent three days in Milwaukee earlier this month, a place I've visited (and eaten in) many times, mostly on business, but not in at least ten years and never for more than a day at a time. Three days afforded me a much better chance to get to know it, a really gorgeous and well-preserved city. Went with a vegetarian friend and managed pretty easily to find meals satisfying to both of us.
Got into town about 8pm on a Wednesday night and headed straight to Zaffiro's Pizza.
Charming place, sort of a smaller version of the spots in Chicago's Heart of Italy neighborhood. Very good pizza as well -- although: I'm a big fan of super-thin crust but less so super-crispy crust and this crust is about as crisp as they come. Good taste (much better than anything I can get in Indianapolis) but I'd say I definitely prefer Vito and Nick's. From there we drove through a downpour to get extra heavies at Leon's, easily my Milwaukee custard of choice. Then downtown to our hotel.
Wonderful breakfast the next morning at Beans and Barley: pesto scrambled eggs, their famous scone, carrot-orange juice, and the best cup of coffee I've had in a long time!
Great way to start a beauitiful sunny day. The Brewers were playing a day game, so off we went, opting for the $7 seats -- which were really good: high up, yes, but not that bad and along the 3rd base line. For $7! Then more Leon's.
Dinner that night was Three Brothers, a place I've eaten at several times, though, again, not in quite a while. Nothing had changed. It was my friend Gary's first visit and we were both knocked out.
We split a spinach burek but the revelation of the trip for me was their chicken dumpling soup: Very simple, just herbed broth with a single dumpling, but perfection. The dumpling had a taste close to my mother's, my personal dumpling benchmark. Afterward we went for a drink (dessert) at At Random. I had their blueberry ice cream drink, which was really good and tasted just like blueberry pie.
Spent the next day, an overcast one, exploring various neighborhoods. Had lunch at Triskele's, a neat corner spot in an otherwise residential neighborhood.
I ordered chicken sausage with mustard gnocci in a saffron sauce. The gnocci and sauce were excellent, the sausage less so and unfortunately there was a lot more sausage than gnocci involved. Toured the Lakefront Brewery, which was very entertaining, a bargain at $6 (tour included four free beers!), and ended with a singalong of the theme to Laverne and Shirley
It being Friday, dinner meant a fish fry. We opted for Beer Belly's, a rather nondescript place near the airport, because I'd heard 1) that they pan-fry their fish and 2) that they offer bluegill (maybe my all-time favorite food).
Nine small filets were $10 or fourteen, which we opted for, were $12.50. I could have eaten twice that many. Great fish, simply coated in flour, the best meal of the trip. (Can't believe I forgot to photograph the bluegill.)
Downtown Milwaukee looked great that night in the fog.
More neighborhood hopping the next day, with lunch at Solly's. My veggie friend was not thrilled with this choice, but I'd never been and knew I had to try their butter burger.
I liked it, though probably not as much as I was hoping: a bit much, even for me.
After that, we headed back to Indy, stopping for kringles at Bendtsens' in Racine (raspberry cheese, my favorite). All in all, a GREAT roadtrip. I feel I know Milwaukee much better than I did before, love it, and will be heading back a lot sooner next time.
<message edited by Train on Tue, 05/26/09 5:24 PM>