Reflections on Ralphie’s First Year


“Animals should fit into your schedule,” I matter-of-factly told Michelle in the first week after we brought home Ralphie.

We were discussing whether she should walk him in the morning–if that would increase his comfort and tire him out for the 10 hours we’d be gone.

“When you love something, you make sacrifices,” Michelle retorted.

I’m not Michelle, so I had a lot to learn. Read More


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


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).



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

Bringing Home Ralphie: How We Found Our Dog


As we pulled into the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha (HAWS) last Sunday, I hid my nervousness from Michelle.

As if I could be nonchalant about bringing a 108-pound, former stray behemoth into our home after only a brief meeting the day before.

We told ourselves repeatedly that almost everyone we knew had dogs. We remembered the dogs we had growing up—hers, Chloe, was a sweet chocolate lab that lived until 16, mine was a little peekapoo, Harley (AKA Harvey), who managed to never exhibit the worst traits of tiny dogs—yipping and tripping.

But part of me was also inexplicably morose—fearing that our complex, dog-hating cat wouldn’t be able to adjust, and would change or disappear from the stress. Sad in advance, at the idea of loving this dog, knowing that—like the dogs we cherished before him—he’ll one day be gone, an uncomfortable reminder of the fragility of all life.

But the memories of Saturday’s meeting propelled us through the doors of HAWS, to the adoption table, to agree to care for him and assume responsibility for his life. Read More

P is for Pizza Shuttle



It never felt right to eat at George Webb during the day.

Webbs is among a handful of local restaurants that are busiest once Milwaukee bars make their last call–others include Ma Fischer’s, Oakland Gyros, Real Chili, Johnny V’s Classic Cafe and, I always thought, Pizza Shuttle, TJ’s winning selection for our ‘P’ dinner in this quest.

So it made sense to us that in order to get the full Pizza Shuttle experience, we had to imbibe in the amber liquid that made Milwaukee famous prior to our pizza. In early May, the seven of us (Mike joined us again) headed to the East Side to build up that late night hunger at Yield and The Hotel Foster. We arrived at Pizza Shuttle promptly at 2 a.m.

Pizza Shuttle was closed. Take-out only. We were baffled. Read More

We Made a Homebrew: A Pictorial


With a bottle opener grasped firmly in one hand and a cold, label-less bottle cradled in the other, I’d never been so nervous to open a beer.

The beer I was holding was technically about two months in the making, really though, it had been more than a year since Dad had bought the supplies we’d need to brew a batch of our own craft beer.

Surrounded by friends and family, I opened the bottle and poured the amber liquid into a pint glass. Once six glasses were poured, and the foam died down, we lifted them high, clinked them together, and I thought …

What if it was undrinkable? All that time, money and effort–would we just end up pouring it down the drain?

I brought the glass to my lips … Read More

I is for Irie Palace

Irie is a Jamaican word commonly used by Rastafarians that means “the state of feeling great–like paradise or nirvana.”

Often, I fear trying new things, but one of the points of this quest is to get out of my comfort zone. I think, for several of us, a Jamaican restaurant on the Northwest-side of Milwaukee, pushed us a bit. In fact, this was our first time out of the little downtown bubble we had established for ourselves.

So with that in mind, we traveled nearby 76th and Appleton and pulled up to Irie Palace, which is hard to miss. Large, bright blue and red panels span the front of the restaurant, located in a strip mall that also features an Asian grocery store, a Chinese carryout place and a nail salon. Read More

G is for Ginger

The worst part about the Ginger experience happens before you even get there. Settled on a busy section of 2nd Street in Walker’s Point, Ginger is hell to park at. Michelle and I drove in circles two or three times before I eventually pulled into a spot that someone was leaving from.

Once we sat down at the bar though, the experience improved drastically. Ginger’s decor is stylish; all earth tones and soft light, with floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto 2nd. We arrived before everyone and sat at the bar for a drink. The bartender was friendly. The beer selection is suitable.

The main room was mostly empty, although the outdoor seating behind Ginger was nearly full. We decided to stay inside to take in the atmosphere. As the others arrived, we began getting excited for our second tapas experience for ABCs of Milwaukee Dining. I was excited, after all, this one was my pick (though TJ and Michelle also submitted it) and, though it has been open for parts of three years, none of us had been there before. Read More