“For a moment … we’re all immortal. Time stretches out forever. There’s a moment like that in every meal. If you pay attention it’s there … where oblivion is replaced with infinity … and then, the check comes.” -Aaron Wolfe from “Ruthy’s Dinner” at The Moth.
It has been eight months since our ABCs of Milwaukee Dining quest ended. Eight months where I’ve tried to figure how to sum up a two-year quest with my best friends. This is the best I could do.
Looking back, it is astounding to see all the things that have changed in the two years of our ABCs of Milwaukee Dining quest. Adam, Cindi, Shannon, TJ, Michelle and I have experienced two marriages and two babies. New houses. A new dog. New jobs. New friends. Vacations. And other things too.
Life goes by so fast. Milestones like those I mentioned are reason to rejoice, but also the passing of something we won’t get back. Something we can only live again in our memories.
One thing didn’t change … we did this together. The six of us that started it enjoyed 26 meals together at awesome spots all over our great city of Milwaukee. As the meals went by, we grew in number … Marilyn, then Mike, then Jamie.
Right off the bat, I loved the process. Picking a date became easier once Shannon discovered doodle.com. Our photos improved after TJ decided he couldn’t abide by my crappy iPhone pics after our second dinner. He only forgot the camera a couple times and had to deal with my crummy photo editing. Everyone put up with my requests for reviews.
I enjoyed selecting my submission for the next restaurant and also seeing what everyone else would pick. Because of our different tastes and interests, we were able to enjoy an eclectic mix of restaurants. From delicious tapas at Beta by Sabor to an old world supper club, Union House. From gastropubs (Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub and Rumpus Room) to pizza joints (Pizza Shuttle and VIA Downer). Cuisine from around the world, from American (Comet Cafe) to Asian (Jow Nai Fouquet) to Mexican (Fajitas Grill) to Italian (Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant) to Jamaican (Irie Palace). And literally from A (AJ Bombers) to Z (Zaffiro’s Pizza).
Milwaukee is rich with great restaurants. I thought that before this quest, but I know it now. We enjoyed places all over, from the Eastside to Bay View; from Downtown to Tosa and locations in-between. We even had to go to Madison for our “Q” and did a special edition at State Fair.
Picking the wrong thing was the only painful aspect of the quest, since, following the first couple bites of our own entrees we would always pass plates, giving each other just a taste of the meals we hadn’t chosen. Nevertheless, we enjoyed too many great meals, too many delicious items to even begin to unpack it here.
In the time since this quest began, a number of places we went to closed or relocated. We’ll especially miss Beta by Sabor, my favorite dinner of the entire quest, and VIA Downer, which sent me a gift card after I posted my review.
I love quests, and for that, I’m sad the ABCs of Milwaukee Dining is over and I’ve struggled to come up with a worthy sequel.
And in the end, this quest was never really about food anyway.
It was about finding a reason to live those infinite nights. Those meals that last and last. The ones where the food tastes so good it practically begs to be shared. Where the laughs come quick and often. Where the beer and cocktails just keep coming and coming. Where every song is better than the last. Seated around a comfortable table, any table really, with friends who feel like family, people who know all my faults and, for some reason … thank God… still love me anyway.
And I wish those dinners for you, too. Because, no matter what we do, eventually, the check is coming.
Thanks for reading,