As my husband and I were sitting at one of our favorite bars eating some of our
favorite Mexican food at Margarita Paradise, he asked me when the first time my family brought him there... my guess was around 1994ish. I remember going there as long as I can remember eating good Mexican food!... many birthday celebrations or impromptu family
gatherings were here.
Right after this conversation the General Manager, Amil Alarcon, came up to us with a card and said "I have to tell you guys something..." those words always make me nervous... as he continued to say they are closing this location sometime this May. We were sad of course and told him of our recent discussion but he promised us it's a good thing. They will be moving into the new construction near the old CBS building on Hawley Road (813 S 60th St in West Allis). They will still make everything from scratch but are expanding beyond Mexican and into more varieties of Latin foods. The building was getting old I guess and the timing was right when this opportunity presented itself. It's a much bigger space, closer to the freeway but they will be missed in the charming building. The Margarita Paradise in the Milwaukee Public Market will not change. We are sad to see them go but looking forward to new celebrations in their new space!
Lobby of Milwaukee Art Museum
Art in Bloom, one of my favorite things at the Milwaukee Art Museum, is here again! It always creeps up on me in the beginning of spring when life seems so busy but it reminds me to take a well needed break to stop and smell the flowers!
Posted here are just a few of my favorites. The slideshow below has the entire collection.
The article that led us to Honi Honi... and a drink recipe!
Sitting in my hotel in Hong Kong one morning before work I was wondering why I request a newspaper as I was skimming through it. Before my eyes that question was answered. An article with a recipe from a new tiki lounge. One of my travel companions is a tiki aficionado so I was excited to pass this on. After my work group took a look at this we made our plan to get there that night!
The article warns us that a good tiki bar should be hard to find, so we told our business partner that lives in Hong Kong about this place. She took a look and wasn't sure where this was so she kindly gave them a call and wrote the address in Cantonese for us so the cab driver could find it!
We were glad she did that for us since the hotel staff that was getting the cab for us had no idea where this was (we were on Kowloon side and this is bar is in Central Hong Kong so cabs don't want to cross over anyway....). They ended up printing a map out using the Cantonese directions to help us find it! After 6 or so cab rejections, finally a younger cabbie was adventurous enough to get us there.
He dropped us in front of an unsuspecting office building in the middle of the bustling shopping district in Central. Great, we thought.. all this shopping, we could get some research in after having a drink. Vivienne Westwood is right across the street, my tiki friend's favorite!
The article did say it's on the 3rd floor so we go inside, head to the elevator and see the marker for floor 3 so we know it's a good sign and we're on the right track. Getting off the elevator we are transformed to a Polynesian paradise. Beautiful bar with brightly decorated seating areas. Half indoor lounge, half outdoor patio; it is beautiful. An oasis in the busy city of Hong Kong!... just what we needed after a week's work!
Now to the important part... drinks! We tried the following:
Zombie... my tiki friend stayed with the classics. Her first zombie, made by the French bartender was one of the best ever. The second zombie we all conferred was not nearly as good and was not made by the French bartender! Looks like he needs to have his staff study him a little better, so be patient I know he's busy but have him make your drink!
Pina Colada... this was very good, again made by French bartender.
Honi Honi Kiss... very fancy, pretty, elegant drink! Light and nice choice for getting started.
Lady Bird... refreshing, great choice! And it comes flaming!
Tropical Storm... a bit of a fancy tiki drink, was ok.
Hidden Treasure... not our favorite, too much going on in this cup.
Charmed in the Tropics...one of our least favorites, can't remember which bartender made this one though at this point! The lychee and blue curcao didn't work for us.
Tiki Meister... small shot sent courtesy of the French bartender, this was a highlight! Very good, could have had a few more of these little guys!
This was one of the most unique places I've ever visited, be sure to make time for a drink here by the French bartender. Feels like you're going back in time. Music is a great mix of American music, some remixed island-esque with a few French inspirations thrown in. One word of warning is the bathroom, you may want to locate it before beginning to drink. It blends in with the wallpaper and is quite difficult to find after a few!
I took a look at the website again after returning home and it looks like they are adding food, which is a great idea. Would have been nice to have some small plates to soak up our tiki drinks in our tummies! So check it out, let me know how the food is... looking forward to getting back here!
As the weather gets cold and festivals are long gone, one of Milwaukee's most unusual structures comes alive on Thursday nights through winter. I love all things plants and to see the domes at night is a great change of pace.
The Floral Show Dome features a band and the inside walls of the dome light up. There's seats so you can enjoy the show or walk around and view the displays while being entertained. Food is available (sandwiches and some desserts, not a huge selection but something to grab while watching the show!) along with a few cocktails and wine.
The Tropical and Desert domes remain dark with some spotlights and a giant globe. Beautiful decorations were up for the Day of the Dead among marigolds, an important flower for the holiday.
Last season, my husband and I went opening night to see a friend that works with Streetlife and we look forward to returning this year. The 2012 lineup is listed on the Milwaukee County Park's web page.
Small Mixed Bag $2
I love going to Harvest Fair at Wisconsin State Fair park at the end of September. Fall is my favorite season and seeing all the pumpkins, scare crows and fall colors in one place alongside fried food is such a good thing. To my suprise looking through the rows of food deciding what to get the first stand I spot is Sil's and immediately head towards it.
My husband and I loved a stop in on our way home after our early morning grocery shopping at Whole Foods on North Ave on Sundays (hey, we'll make it up later with all that healthy food we just bought!). Or for a late night snack after bar hopping, or after a Rocky Horror Picture Show showing! Sil's was a Milwaukee landmark in that quirky little drive through and I miss it every time I drive by.
But, they are not done... you can still get these mini donuts at 7 Mile Fair in Racine and the woman working the stand promised at several other local events, including WI State Fair next year. So I'll look forward to getting my sugar & powdered sugar mixed mini dohnuts then!
Deconstructed leather jacket art piece.
"Worn to be Wild' is the Harley-Davidson Museum's latest special exhibit and in my humble opinion, the best one yet! I eagrly awaited the opening after seeing it highlighted in the June 2012 Elle Magazines's column in the front where they cronicle upcoming fashion events. This is the first time I've seen anything from MKE in there so it's a great shout out for the city!
After I checking it out, I could see why it made that list of events! It's got to be one of the best representations on the subject of leather jackets. Yes, it's a bit biased to the motorcyle angle but those two things belong together and are shown perfectly together in this exhibit!
As you enter you learn about how motorcycles and leather jackets have been paired together since the invention of motorcyles. There's vintage motorcyles paired with outfits that the rider would have worn. There's a look back at an important part of the leather jacket's history with aviation. It's an interesting look back at the early 1900's along with the beginning of Harley-Davidson's history.
Even back in these early days of motorcycle history you see examples of mass market leather jackets catching on. My favorites being one you could purchase from the Sear's catalog, and the baby leather is obviously adorable!
The Antihero's Antisportcoat
Continue on to learn how the leather jeacket became the ultimate symbol of rebellion in the section titled "The Ant-Hero's Anti-Sportcoat". Examples of early lawbreakers and motorcycle gangs are shown alongside with the contrasting Police force's own versions of leather jackets.
Around the corner the exhibit takes a turn into the world of pop culture. There's a huge wall of album covers featuring the artists in leather jackets, of course. And early B-Movie posters with actors sporting leather jackets. Examples from many movies and many rock stars are displayed along with framed photos of the celebrity wearing the ensamble. Lots of fun to look back and remember these pop culture moments!
The exhibit continues with fashion's intrepretation of the leather jacket. An incredible catwalk display of Jean Paul Gaultier's leathers spanning several collections was shown along with photos from the runway. Many other high end designer's takes on the classic are also displayed. My favorite in this area being the legendary 1980's artist, Keith Haring and a white leather jacket with his signature graffiti print in black.
The end of the exhibit is the coolest part in my opinion. There's an artistic display of leather jackets embellished by people in Seattle in the 1980s-1990s shown on giant spikes. I could stare at them for hours! The amount of detail that went into each piece was impressive. Then to realize these were traded in for a new jacket at a vintage clothing store makes you wonder what else these people created.
Rockerbox 2012 sign in front of Fuel Cafe
I've been fortunate enough to visit many motorcycle rallies but my favorite happens to be right in my hometown of Milwaukee. Rockerbox was created by two local business owners (Fuel Cafe & The Shop) in the Riverwest neighborhood. It's fun to see every year it get bigger and better. It's a combo bike show, street party, motorcycle flea market, and fundraiser for The Steel Shoe Foundation for injured flat track racers.
Motorcyles of all kinds are found here... scooters, sport bikes, choppers, Harleys, homemade from bicycles, tractors, beer kegs, and many other random spare parts! It's always fun to see the great mix of bikes and creativity in customization. And the people watching is the best here. Crowd is a mix of all people that love motorcycles and curious neighborhood residents. Great style and tatoo inspiration can definately be found here.
Food reflects the neighborhood with a mix of vegan sloppy joes, burritos, burgers and of course PBR a plenty. It's held in front of Fuel cafe on Center Street so there's many great restaurants and bars in this area if you don't want the street food.
The show is one day only on a Saturday in August from 11-6 with a couple rides scheduled throughout the city to drive into the event (Harley-Davidson Museum & Southeast Sales put together rides this year). Follow them on Facebook, to get the dates for next year.
Hot Pop is one of the coolest places ever...
besides having one of the most fun bathrooms in the city and the coolest toys / housewares / clothes / random gadgets to buy they have an art gallery in back.
Some friends and I checked out the latest showing about a robot named Jimbot. Very funny to read Jimbot's "Little Clues" about what he is thinking.
I believe it's in it's final days so get there quick...
This last Sunday one of my favorite restaurants, Braise, hosted a Garlic Fest in Walker's Point. Garlic food, garlic drinks, garlic games, garlic drawing... you get the idea.
It was super hot that day, but was lots of fun. I got to talk to a garlic farmer and eat lots of great garlic food, including hummus, puff pastry, open faced sandwich, garlic cotton candy... not your regular festival food! That great food was provided by Braise (of course), Ball & Biscuit Catering (love their vegan friendly stuff!), Chez Jacques (love that French guy!), and even some garlic Rx from Outpost Co-op (mints, ginger, brownies!).
Loved that there were composting bins next to the recycling and garbage cans! And the beautiful floral displays are from my favorite greenhouse, Plantland! Wine came in these funky plastic glasses they ask you to keep and reuse all summer. And music from WMSE's was perfect!
Great fun celebraing all things garlic, looking forward to seeing the fest expand in years to come!
Braise has got to be one of MKE's finest... it's the city's first Community Supported Restaurant with several levels of membership. You can always just drop in; reservations are recommended unless you want to take your chances like my husband and I prefer at the bar or in the back at the food bar where you can see all the kitchen action. The building is a beautiful brick ex-bowling alley just North of the Allen Bradley clock tower. Look closely inside and you'll find elements from the bowling alley days. My favorite being the tables up front that were created from the actual lanes.
Starting with the drinks, all is very well thought out and executed. Mixed drinks are great classics using liquor that's been distilled by small crafters in Wisconsin. Several liquors are infused in house. I'm a big fan of the wine dispenser which serves up wine from the casks. Sometimes I stop in just for the Rishi Masala chai with milk steamed in their espresso machine.
Menu changes daily so it's always an adventure. We prefer to stick with small plates so we can try a variety. Some of my favorites were raviolo, veggie verions of lasagna, and the tarts (anything from nettles to potatoes and onions!). My husband loves the Crispy Pig, Pork Buns and any of the soups. And don't forget he buckets of bread and butter blend to start... they are incredible! Several varieties of bread in there and a seasoned butter on the side.
Desserts are not to be missed. Sweet little cakes that melt in your mouth with a sauce (the fruit ones are my favorite) and a scoop of fresh whipped cream or ice cream. My husband loves the chocolate pots de creme or the coffee based ones. Tarts are also winners; anything from lemon to salted caramel.
True Milwaukee girl, lived in a multiple areas in the state of Wisconsin and has traveled around the world but always remembers "where ever you go, there you are".
All Art Art In Bloom Asia Bar Beading Braise Bridge Coffee Colorado Discovery World Domes Donuts Doors Fair Flowers Forest Gallery Glassblowing Growing Power Harley-Davidson Museum Hong Kong Indian Food Menomonie Mexican Milwaukee Milwaukee Art Museum Motorcycles Music North Carolina Peeps Restaurant Rishi Tea Shopping Tapas Tea Tiki Vietnam Virginia West Allis Winston Salem Winston-Salem