Wandering Chicago: A Trip to The White City, Goose Island & The Squared Circle

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Michelle and I hopped the 6:05 Metra train from Kenosha pointed at Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago. She was headed to a conference and I was planned on wandering the city on a beautiful, warm spring day … one of the first of the year.

What followed was an adventure in miniature. I traversed Chicago on foot and via bus, train and subway … all between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Read More

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Touring Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery: A Pictorial

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The unmistakable, lime green label of Lakefront’s IPA is ubiquitous in Milwaukee’s finer bars and restaurants, but as a neophyte beer drinker, I still remember it as the first microbrew that really made an impression on me. IPA remains one of my favorite beers.

So, it is a huge hole in my hophead resume that I have never been to Lakefront Brewery for a tour. I’d only first gone there the year before for a fish fry charity event.

When I saw a case of Lakefront beer and a private tour were a silent auction item, I had to win, and, eventually, after several other bidders stepped in, I made the winning bid – Michelle was okay with it because Lakefront also makes one of her favorite beers, Riverwest Stein, which is their most popular offering.

A year later, prior to our ABCs of Milwaukee Dining brunch at Wolf Peach, Adam, Cindi, Michelle, Shannon, TJ and I made the trek to the brewery, which is, decidedly, not on the lake. Instead, it is tucked in the Milwaukee River basin, in the Riverwest district. Read More

An Arizona Getaway: Escaping Winter with Family

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My parents always knew any hotel they took my brother and I to stay in needed to have a pool. It is still one of the first things I look for when I am traveling for work or for pleasure.

As kids, Nate and I would arrive in the pool area and dive in as quickly as possible. We’d alternate swiftly between the warmth of the hot tub and the cool depth of the pool, not stopping to contemplate the slight discomfort of that drastic temperature change. We were kids.

Last month, I sat in another hot tub perched just above a pristine pool beneath an American Southwest-sky full of stars. That week, in Wisconsin, the first snowfall of the season arrived. Read More

A Sudsy Milwaukee Saturday: Visiting Sprecher and Big Bay Brewing Co.

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On a lazy October Saturday, Michelle and I joined our friends Ross and Bekaah to check out two nearby breweries–one old (Sprecher) and one new (Big Bay).

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Sprecher

Despite being the oldest operating microbrewery in Milwaukee, Sprecher is often forgotten when it comes to beers that aren’t preceded by the word “root.”

Sprecher is a skipped rock off I-43 in Glendale, Wis. The stately, Germanic brick brewery is bordered by a neighborhood of grand brick homes.

Visitors enter and exit through the gift shop, and as far as gift shops goes, this one is pretty impressive—housing apparel, beer and a plethora of odds and ends…Michelle purchased soda-flavored lip gloss.

Michelle and I had been on the tour several years ago and were eager to see if anything had changed, while Ross and Bekaah were there for their first time. 30 others joined us, including children; this is a soda tour, as well.

Read More

Q is for Quivey’s Grove

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Two moments of musical clairvoyance bookended our visit to Quivey’s Grove in Verona, Wis. (near Madison). This was fitting since our group of friends came together around our similar taste in music.

The first moment happened on the car ride to Quivey’s Grove. Since there were no restaurants in the Milwaukee-area that met our criteria, we expanded our range to include Madison and Chicago and all picked Quivey’s Grove (Shannon’s submission was selected).

I told my car-mates TJ, Shannon, Cindi and Michelle that I didn’t know the song “Blurred Lines.” No one believed me, but I was honest. TJ, who was driving, was incredulous, and said it was the song of the summer and it was probably playing on the radio at that moment.

A turn of the dial and there it was … Robin Thicke’s hit.

This was just before we pulled into the palatial plot of land that accommodates Quivey’s Grove–two century-and-a-half-old buildings housing two distinct dining options–the Stone House and the Stable Grill (both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places). Shannon chose the Stable Grill because it had a larger menu and was the more casual dining option. Read More

SPECIAL EDITION: Wisconsin State Fair Dining

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“In my opinion, the more indulgent the fair food, the better.” -Michelle

On an overcast Sunday, the last day of the Wisconsin State Fair, nine of us gathered to indulge in decadent fried goodness and other foodstuffs. It was Shannon’s idea to do a special edition of the ABCs of Milwaukee Dining at the Wisconsin State Fair. The usual crew was there–including Marilyn and Mike–and we were joined by Brendan and Clare, two friends who have relocated to Chicago and who’d come home to partake in this Wisconsin tradition.

All nine of us ordered an item and then, after the Fair, we ranked the items in the order we would eat them. Since there were nine of us (and Marilyn, who wouldn’t share her Cheerios for the contest), we were all full by the end of this quest. Read More

Touring Green Bay’s Hinterland Brewery: Where Water is Influenced

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“Beer is just water that’s been influenced.” -A brewer from Hinterland Brewery

On our way “Up North” for Memorial Day weekend, we decided to stop in Green Bay and see the Hinterland Brewery.

We were familiar with Hinterland from our ABCs of Milwaukee Dining dinner at their Milwaukee restaurant, Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub.

The website for the brewery suggests you call in advance to secure a tour. Tours run only on Saturdays at 3 and 4 p.m. They are $10 and include two free beer samples and a free 16 oz. glass–a pretty good deal considering they charge $4.75 for a beer, so essentially, the tour costs 50 cents. Read More