Saturday, August 1, 2015

Exploring Milwaukee and Uber Surprise

It was day two in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with my friend Lisa and the day would definitely end much differently than it started. It just goes to show you that you never know what’s going to happen next.

Lisa and I were up early to head to the Milwaukee ArtMuseum. This museum had become as famous for its design as its exhibits. 

The main feature was a set of “wings” that would open at 10:00 am when the museum opened, “flap” at noon, and close when the museum did at 5:00 pm.

While we obviously couldn’t stay all day and watch the wings go, it was quite interesting to watch them open. 

We then went inside and saw the phenomenal exhibits, which included art from Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Dali, and even Andy Warhol. It was fascinating and I hadn’t seen so many of my favorite artists since I was in Vienna.

When we left the Art Museum, Lisa and I decided to take a long walk back downtown to the Milwaukee Public Market

We admired a few buildings along the way, but we had worked up quite an appetite and were anxious to see what the Milwaukee market had.

I think it would be easier to say what the market didn’t have.

There seemed to be every food imaginable, though, ironically, the lobster that had been recommended for Lisa to try was the only place that was not open.

We finally decided on a sandwich at Green Kitchen. We asked what their most popular item was and were told it was the #Thirteen, turkey with avocado, sprouts, tomato, Swiss cheese and mayo. It was a good choice.

We figured we’d share it and then look around for something else, but the sandwich was huge.  

We were more than satisfied when we finished it and figured we would come back for some cheeses before heading home from Milwaukee on Monday.

It was at this point that the weekend and the schedule came to a dramatic change. Lisa had an emergency at home and had to leave me, so I put the rest of the day’s activities on hold.

Instead of the original plan of the Harley-Davidson Museum and a brewery, I did some exploring of downtown, finishing up on Old World Third Street, known for its German heritage.

Mader’s Restaurant caught my eye and I decided to go inside. It was very quiet when I got there and the bartender recommended an excellent Gewurztraminer (PJ Valkenberg Rhein).

I decided I should try a few German specialties. Although I wasn’t thrilled with the Pretzel Crostini, I loved the Potato Pancakes. 

Also, a nice couple came in and ordered the Giant Pretzel and gave me a piece to try. It was perfectly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

I took the long way back to the Hilton Milwaukee and took a rest for a bit before I showered and got ready for the evening. 

I was excited about going to the Smyth Restaurant at the Iron Horse Hotel, but disappointed Lisa wasn’t coming with me.

I called for an Uber car and within a few minutes Roberta appeared in front of my hotel. She greeted me with a big smile and we immediately started chatting. 

She told me how she had always wanted to go to the restaurant she was taking me to and I told her that my friend was supposed to come with me and had to leave last minute.

By the time we arrived at the Iron Horse Hotel, Roberta was more like an old friend than a driver. I invited her to join me for dinner. She signed out of her Uber duties and was thrilled to accept!

We took a tour of The Iron Horse Hotel before dinner. I was quite impressed. 

It had a very casual rustic feel, yet it also had a bit of elegance in the presentation and clientele. I definitely could see staying in this transformed warehouse at some point in the future.

The menu at the Smyth looked fantastic and we couldn’t decide what to order. 

I started with a Fleur De Violette Cocktail, made with local Rehorst Gin, Creme de Violette, simple syrup, and topped with rosewater and absinthe. It was very refreshing.

The Mushroom Chevre Cheese Soup was quite refreshing and Roberta, who loves grits, loved them combined with the Pork Belly.

In addition to what we ordered, the chef also sent Cheese Curds (amazing), Rabbit Meatballs, Bison Tartare, and Halibut, so we pretty much sampled everything on the menu! It was a great meal.

Then came dessert. Roberta and I had just took tastes. 

We were so full, but I can say the Blackberry Crumble with vanilla goat crème and the S’Mores were both scrumptious treats.

Roberta drove me back to the hotel after dinner. We had such a great time I asked her if she wanted to join me the next day for brunch and museums. She agreed and we made plans.

You never know where or when you’ll make a new friend. For me, it was in Milwaukee

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