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In the end I suppose our tour of Milwaukee was less "Best of Milwaukee" than "Things GWiv has to go back to Milwaukee for." My wife mentioned where we were going to a friend who lives there and she said hmm, we usually eat ethnic food, not cheeseburgers, I thought Mike was the real foodie....

But while I'm sure there are good Thai, or Greek, or whatever restaurants in Milwaukee, and indeed I saw a whole funky area (Brady Street) that looked worth exploring, for still having a leftover counterculture flavor that Chicago's Old Town hasn't had in 15+ years, there probably isn't a burning reason for a Chicagoan to hit the road to have those experiences. On the other hand, three of the four main stops I was along for wound up being highly distinctive and not-to-be-had-in-Chicago experiences (and I understand that others stayed longer and took in another excellent one, the pizza place Zaffiro's). Plus the fun, of course, of hanging out with fellow LTHers, though as usual when I had my kids along, I was only half part of any adult conversation and gave off, I'm sure, an air of permanent distraction. So anyway, here's Milwaukee for Chicagoans who definitely want experiences they can't have here:

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I have to admit to serious disappointment that my image of Solly's as a genuine diner experience was blown to bits by this brand new gingerbread house on a dully modern commercial strip. (Apparently the original location was abandoned when the neighborhood went south; then, bizarrely, this building was moved a couple of miles when a highway wiped out its spot.) It was only slightly improved by the fact that the country-cute interior maintained the impractical diner-style seating arrangement, which made it look like a diner in some lady's living room:

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But on to the food. GWiv was a bit apologetic about the butterburger after everyone had tried one and no one quite seemed transported by it. Yes, that's 3/16" of butter on the bun at right, not white cheese. I agree that it's the kind of thing you sort of need to grow up on to love-- which is by no means unusual in burgers, many towns seem to have an indigenous style which outsiders find weird. But I found the Solly's butterburger historically interesting-- basically an example of the kind of proto-burgers we talked about in the "30s style" thread which claim the title of "inventing" the hamburger, but use such different condiments from the classic mustard-pickle-onion that they don't really seem like hamburgers in the modern sense at all. Solly's I found to be a very German-American-tasting burger, between the hard roll-- "pillow" they call it-- the raw and grilled onions, and the brown mustard. (That is, according to GWiv, how to order one-- raw and grilled onion, extra butter, on a pillow.) I think I was the only one who would go back for this precise burger, but I would.

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From there on to Kopp's, further up the same suburban-commercial strip. Another building whose charm was described by Aaron in an old post as being like a 70s bank branch, or by someone there as being of the "Park District Restroom Facility" school. Too bad because if you can blot out the dull building, the view behind the counter is quintessential 50s foodservice:

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But are you there for the food, or to eat? This is 14% butterfat custard; as devotees of Scooter's (which was apparently modeled on Kopp's), my kids and I could taste both how close they came-- and why Scooter's stopped at 10% butterfat. I thought the vanilla was ever so slightly chemical tasting, but the chocolate I tried of someone else's was mousse-sublime. If I'm going back for a butterburger, I'll definitely pick up another 130 fat grams here.

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Next was a bit of a comedy of errors; first Zaffiro's turned out to be closed for lunch on Saturday, even despite Gary's efforts to bang on the door and then sweet-talk them into serving people who had driven all the way from Chicago just for their pizza (no mention of our 3 or 4 other lunches, of course). Then (with Bob S. my victim) I got lost heading to Speed Queen BBQ, at one point we were even stuck in the middle of a funeral. By the time we got there I was, frankly, a bit resistant to the possible charms of Speed Queen, what with scuzzy characters hanging out in the parking lot and all:

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Or the 70s orange-booth decor which qualified as anti-atmosphere:

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But you don't go to BBQ joints in blighted neighborhoods for atmosphere, right? Right, but having done a fair amount of BBQ-making myself lately, I have to say that even pretty good restaurant BBQ doesn't do that much for me any more. Between my fresh-off-the-smoker ribs or someone else's sitting-in-a-warmer ones, I'll pick mine; and while Speed Queen's Carolina-style mustard sauce was quite good, their gloppy regular sauce reminded me of bad sweet-and-sour sauce in a Chinese restaurant. Okay, I didn't give this place a fair shake, I admit it. But I'm just out of the mindset of eating restaurant BBQ that is roughly as good as I can make myself. If I eat restaurant BBQ, I want to be humbled by the hand of a master.

Did I say atmosphere? Let's talk atmosphere.

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I almost bailed with the kids before Jake's Deli, and only decided to go there because they didn't eat much BBQ. Boy I'm glad we did, because Jake's alone justified the whole trip. An old Jewish deli with by now a mostly black staff and clientele, this place was a winner on every level, a total-package delight: great corned beef and very good pastrami, nice fresh crunchy pickles (a little low on garlic to me, but very respectable), great we-decorated-it-once-in-1920-why-change decor, customers known by name. A place whose atmosphere hits you like the wall of corned beef steam that assaults you-- no, envelopes you like a grandma's hug-- the moment you walk in. Here's a few more photos, first, my pastrami sandwich:

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The no-talking serious-corned-beef-eating society in session:

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Liam educates Gary on some finer points of pastrami making:

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And so ended my portion of the Road Trip; the others did finally get to Zaffiro's and who knows what else. But Milwaukee remains an underappreciated city for Chicagoans, full of wonders not yet claimed by urban renewal as so much of Chicago has been. For instance, who can resist thinking of another road trip when you see something like this?

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Last edited by Mike G on August 30th 2004, 5:56pm, edited 1 time in total.
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I hit some of these spots during a Milwaukee trip last autumn.

Though somewhat turned off by the celebrity photos in the entryway, I remember liking Solly's burger - especially in that it countered the dizzying effects of a Mukden dinner of Really Odd Bitter Things that I had not long before. Would I go again? Probably not, but I,m glad I went once.

The Wife, daughters and I liked Speed Queen, and the experience was greatly enhanced by actually encountering the namesake owner on premises. She responded well when I addressed her "Your Majesty," and though I felt the meat was good, I, too, believe my standards may have risen significantly after experimenting this summer with my own smoked meats under Multi-Ulti's tutelage.

Koop's was also worth a stop, though I felt the exceptionally limited daily menu of custard flavors (what is it, like three or four?) was frustrating. I understand that they can't have dozens of custards available for me whenever I stop by, but recognizing that reality didn't help.

Anyway, I was home on Saturday, working (and counting my manhood cheap), and although I couldn't go with you guys yesterday, I will be back in Milwaukee within the month, so I'll stop at Jake's (any one of you happy wanderers got an address for the place?).

Hammond
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Mike,

An exellent recap of your portion of the trip. You did indeed miss a few stops including:

Mini Donuts
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This is a small kiosk set up on a small triagle of land. It's like donuts...only smaller (I am not a giant, in case you are wondering about the perspective dissconnect in the above picture.) The donuts themselves were unevenly cooked (one or two seemed partially raw in the center), but they were a nice break and a much needed sugar rush...as well as the subject of a photo study by G Wiv, who charmed his way inside the mini-donut kiosk with the bravest 17 year-old girl I have ever seen! :lol:

Whil waiting for Zaffiro's to open, we stopped in an incredibly decorated German Style bar with an impressive beer-on-tap collection. I'll leave it to others to elaborate on this one since I didn't take any pictures and I'm not a beer afficianado.

Be the time we got done drinking beer and eating popcorn and pretzel twists, Zaffiro's was open. The place is a classic, serving some of the best thin crust I have ever had. I'd put it on a par with Nick & Vitos, although it is different. Zaffiro's had a very thin cracker-like crust that was crispy throughout (including center slices in the square cut pie).

Zaffiro's Pizza
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It was then time for a stop at the Usinger's Sausage Company for some retail shopping. Again, no pictures...this time caused by the sausage nirvana I experienced when I entered the temple of sausage which as been sellint to the public since 1906. If you ever wanted to buy your sausage over a marble counter surrounded by early 20th century Germanic murals, this place is for you. In fairness, I should point out that everything is pre-packaged and no longer made on the premises, but it's still cool.

Edited to correct the spellingof Zaffiro's and to fix picture links.
Last edited by stevez on July 28th 2007, 4:23pm, edited 2 times in total.
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I forgot about Mini-Donut-- was that the place with the white "sails" that I think are like a parody of the new lakefront art museum? I assume so, but I already forgot where it even was.

Otherwise, here's addresses:

Solly's
4629 N. Port Washington Rd.
Glendale, WI 53212
Phone: (414) 332-8808

Kopp's (two other locations as well)
5373 N. Port Washington Rd.
Glendale,
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In re Kopp's

I've always found their location at 76th & Layton (exit from I-894 at either 76th or 84th, and go south one block to Layton Avenue) to be much more convenient than the northside location that's in GWiv's old stomping grounds. But that depends if you're continuing north, or going around the west side on the bypass, which is my regular route to the family.

Contrary to the info in the Kopp's web site, I was assured just a few weeks ago by an ancient counter clerk that the Layton location is open until 11:30 PM every day during the summer.

This location was built to be a custard stand, and features such architectural wonders as a waterfall, and an amazing amount of cracked concrete. I've been looking, but I can't find a photo online. There still aren't any tables, but you can sit on a cracked concrete bench near the waterfall, and make out. Or just taste each other's custard.



Now, personally, I grew up with Gilles, on Blue Mound, where I remember many more people ignoring the flavor and ordering sundays. That seems to be the exception at Kopp's.

Other friends of mine prefer Leon's, on 27th, which may be the model for whatever custard stand it was that Arthur Fonserelli worked at. Or not. They're not flavor-of-the-day oriented at all. But the custard is still good.


Kopp's Frozen Custard
18880 W. Blue Mound Road
Brookfield
(414) 789-1393

7631 W. Layton Ave.
Greenfield
(414) 282-4080

5373 N. Port Washington Road
Glendale
(414) 961-2006

Gilles Frozen Custard
7515 W. Blue Mound Road
Milwaukee
(414) 453-4875

Leon's Frozen Custard
3131 S. 27th St.
Milwaukee
(414) 383-1784
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That's a good point, possibly either of the other two locations are more convenient to Chicago, as opposed to being convenient to Solly's. Though the Glendale location was quite similar to the way you describe the Layton one, ie, the concrete amphitheatre for custard consumption (a nice way to induce social interaction among teens on a Friday night, very canny marketing that).
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When you head to Kopp's on Blue Mound Road, you are real close to the Penzey's Factory Store. I don't have an address but it is on their website ...
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Great writeups and pictures. A few reactions of my own -- Solly's butter burger was a good one; I think I mentioned to Mike that the first one was worth the trip, though I'd have to be in the area to go back for another. (I have in the past buttered my own burgers -- the idea came naturally the first time there was no toaster nearby for a toasted roll that I'd then butter, but I didn't want to lose that flavor -- so I appreciate theirs.)

Kopp's was fine; overall, I like ice cream better than frozen custard, but their chocolate had a good, sharp taste to it.

Speed Queen seemed OK, although I promise, Gary, that I'll always explicitly specify "no sauce" in the future. Toward the end (chronologically, not physically) of my ribs, there was a very juicy, liquidy spot that made me think I shouldve stopped when I was ahead. This was in that rib with the visible smoke ring, Gary.

And Jake's was an amazing treat. I decided to save the corned beef for the next time, but the pastrami made me pretty happy -- equal to J&B's here in Andersonville and almost as good as Uncle Abe's.

Mini-Donuts was fun, and as stevez said, the sugar rush came at exactly the right time. The first couple had a nice crunch to them, but after that they were generic Fried Greasy Things. That's a valid food group, so I continued to enjoy.

The bar was wonderful. As was the coffee shop. I really, really like that Brady St. stretch that Mike noted. The coffee shop's co-op veered off a little too much into vegan la-la land for my interests, but I guess I'm glad they've got a place they can go.

Zaffiro's pizza was very, very good, perhaps the only pizza outside Boston's Route 128 that I'd eat again because I wanted to. I'll always prefer the pizza I grew up with, but this made me understand the point of trying to make them like this (though not of trying and failing, as every pizza shop I've tried down here does).

Special last-minute addition, after Peter, driver Cathy, and I played tag with Steve and Gary on the way back (good thing your windows were up, Steve, as the remaining mini-donuts were eyed as a 60-mph gift), was a stop at Mario's for their just-available peach ice. Very good -- maybe after work this week I'll take the Halsted bus down and see if riper peaches have come in yet.

And thanks again for the rides, Mike and Cathy.

[Edited once to correct a stupid brain fart]
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#9
Posted August 23rd 2004, 12:00am
Having lived in Milwaukee for 4 1/2 years, I've been looking forward to reading the recap of Saturday's excursion. The Brady St./Farwell/UWM area is great especially on a nice summer or fall Saturday afternoon. I'll be interested to know the name of the German themed bar you all wandered into near Zafiro's.

I was always a big Giles custard fan as well. Used to be you could even by pints of vanilla and chocolate in the grocery store.

Kim
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#10
Posted August 23rd 2004, 12:03am
Although I wasn't there, I understand it was called Von Trier's. (Named for the director of Dancer in the Dark and Dogville, I'm sure.)
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#11
Posted August 23rd 2004, 12:18am
Ah yes, I have the strange feeling I've been there. I'm sure they named it after Lars. Milwaukeeans love to name bars after film directors. Anyone who shoots a film with Bjork is a hero to them.

Kim
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Wonderful post and great pictures, I have a few pictures to post as well, including one of the deer antler chandelier in the back party room at Von Trier.

I'm fully aware that Solly's might be the type of burger, as you said, one has to grow up with to truly appreciate. To quote Calvin Trillin "Anyone who doesn't think his hometown burger is the best in the world is a sissy"

I didn't intend to come off as apologetic about the amount of butter on Solly's Butter Burger. We were in Wisconsin, which is known as the Dairy State, in Milwaukee, where fried cheese curds abound, and the name of the restaurant is Solly's, Home of the Butter Burger.

One should expect a bit of butter on their burger at Solly's.

Thanks again for arranging the outing. More complete post to follow.

Enjoy,
Gary
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#13
Posted August 23rd 2004, 11:11am
RheS wrote:Leon's, on 27th, which may be the model for whatever custard stand it was that Arthur Fonserelli worked at.

Dick,

Kopp's first location opened in 1950 and was located at 60th and Appleton in Milwaukee.

The Glendale (where we were on Sat) Kopp's opened in '78, before that it was The Milky Way drive-in which, according to Milwaukee legend, was, along with the Pig-n-Whistle on Capitol Drive, the model for Arnold's drive-in on happy days.

This is not discounting the fact that Leon's, which I agree has quite good custard, may have had some influence on Arnold's. Though I'd venture to guess 99% of the custard stands in the area would make similar claims.

Enjoy,
Gary
Last edited by G Wiv on August 24th 2004, 11:23pm, edited 1 time in total.
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G Wiv wrote:Kopp's first location opened in 1950 and was located at 60th and Appleton in Milwaukee.

Yes, I know. I used to go there sometimes, after shopping with my parents at Capital Court (now demolished, I'd hope). But we went to Gilles more often... and that's the custard I usually ate when I lived in Wauwatosa (a few blocks from "the Village"... so for those with a Zagats, a few blocks from Bartolotta's...) when I worked out of DEC's office in Brookfield.

G Wiv wrote:The Glendale (where we were on Sat) Kopp's opened in '78, before that it was The Milky Way drive-in which, according to Milwaukee legend, was, along with the Pig-n-Whistle on Capitol Drive, the model for Arnold's drive-in on happy days.

No waterfall, then? I'm usually hurrying on further north when I'm on the northeast side... so I've never been to that location.

Altho I think I remember the Pig-n-Whistle... but can't actually remember eating there.

G Wiv wrote:
RheS wrote:Leon's, on 27th, which may be the model for whatever custard stand it was that Arthur Fonserelli worked at.


This is not discounting the fact that Leon's, which I agree has quite good custard, may have had some influence on Arnold's. Though I'd venture to guess 99% of the custard stands in the area would make similar claims.


Not Gilles... there are a dozen Tosa East football players and cheerleaders in line at Gilles right now (well, maybe Gilles is closed right now. but they were in line on Friday night, and they'll be there next Friday night, too) who would deny any connection with Arthur's. And so would every counter worker at Gilles, or they'd be beaten up by said jocks. "That's some southside thing," they'd say, and they'd be right. They couldn't manage to properly mangle their speech in that way that only someone who grew up south of Nach-a-nul Avenue can. But they sent those poor TV actors down dere by the sout side to learn how to tawk, and some of em did.

I had a good friend (now dead, unfortunately) who grew up at 19th and National. I can't talk with that amazing accent anymore than I can sound like somebody from Bridgeport, but I recognize it when I hear it. Don't tell me that Arthur's is supposed to be in those whitebread north suburbs... I don't believe it. Although I think somebody told me that The Fonz was supposed to have a cousin from Waukesha... that may be the only thing good about Waukesha except for the garlic toast. I never actually did see those television shows, for all of this.

As opposed to my uncle, who would explain that the large digital numbers on the Milwaukee skyline not far from the Allen Bradley clock were the price of Polish sausage on National Avenue. I might have believed him, if they didn't indicate that they'd pay you to take it some winter days. But those cousins lived at about 30th and Oklahoma until they moved to Shorewood, and they did talk Soutside. And they still do, even the ones who moved away.
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#15
Posted August 24th 2004, 10:05am
LTH,

Once again thanks to Mike G for arranging the day, it's always a treat to spend time in the company of LTHers. Also thanks to Steve Z who was the wheel man for the first, of hopefully many, LTH Road Trips. Steve's pleasant informed company enhanced the day.

Our first stop Solly's, Home of the Butter Burger, burger has been discussed at length though I don't think anyone mentioned the perfect fries. Crisp on the outside, hot and delicious inside. I didn't get a good picture of Solly's fries, but here's one of ReneG from the viewpoint of a Butter Burger.
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Kopp's flavor of the day was Mint Chip.
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Mint Chip is not a favorite, but the chocolate was absolutely the best custard I have ever had. Yes, I say that about 80% of the time I have Kopp's custard, but Saturday the chocolate was simply dead-on.

From Kopp's we made an aborted attempt to go to Zaffiro's, it never occurred to me, or apparently anyone else, Zaffiro's wouldn't be open for lunch on a Saturday. From there we headed to Speed Queen for Outside Shoulder, Hot (South Carolina mustard based) sauce on the side please.
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Speed Queen, like all BBQ places, even the good ones, is highly variable. Saturday the outside shoulder was good, but not great, while the chicken, in combination with the mustard based sauce, was wonderful.
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Ribs were good as well, but the winner of the day, to my mind, was Speed Queen's smoked chicken.
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From Speed Queen we went to Jakes.
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Where we split a Ruben
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Corned beef
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and a pastrami. The corned beef, as always the case at Jake's, was the clear winner. It's funny how Deli's never seem to be able to get both pastrami and corned beef just-right. Jake's pastrami is good, their corned beef great.

Jakes corned beef perfection may have something to do with the way it's held/heated in a interesting, and I am sure 50-year-old, at least, steamer/cutting board set-up. The cutting board slides to reveal the steamer, then back in place for slicing.
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After Jakes we had a bit of time to kill, we still planned on Zaffiro's which did not open until 5, so we decided to walk around the Farwell/North Ave area. First stop was Mini Donuts, which is located in a mini building. :)
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where they have a cool-as-hell mini donut machine.
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Then on to Beans and Barley (1901 E North) which has a distinct Birkenstock/tofu/hemp-shirt feel. The coffee, double espresso if you will, was good and the staff pleasant in the extreme.

In complete contrast to Beans and Barley's 60's feel our next stop, Von Trier, was a archetypical Milwaukee German style tavern, complete with murals,
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mugs, a deer antler chandler in the back party room and an interesting, informed bartender/owner, Mark Eckert.
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Von Trier also had a very cool espresso machine. Mark said it was operational, but used only as decoration. I quite enjoyed our all too brief stop at Von Trier (2235 N Farwell).
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Our next stop Usingers is a Milwaukee original, since 1880. The factory retail outlet is located in their production facility and sausage purchesed there seems to have an added zing.
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Last stop of the day was Zaffiro's for thin crust pizza perfection. Matzo crisp crust, flavorful sausage, great bar, when it's not so crowded, and great pizza. Oh, did I already mention great pizza? :)
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That's about all, fun day, good company, I'm looking forward to the next LTH Road Trip.

So, as our friendly, efficient and patient waitress at Jake's said, bye bye, see you soon.
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Enjoy,
Gary
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#16
Posted August 24th 2004, 10:55am
Gary,

That was a pretty good report and some fine pictures. The only thing missing is a picture of a Jake's Pastrami Sandwich, although I think everyone agrees that the corned beef was the best thing there.

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Edited to fix the link to the picture
Last edited by stevez on February 7th 2008, 11:14pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#17
Posted August 24th 2004, 11:28am
I like this new food's-eye-view that you guys are pioneering. Really makes me empathize with the sandwich. (That said, I had a pastrami shot way up at the top, that's probably why Gary devoted his efforts to memorializing the corned beef.)

It's very interesting to see pictures of an event before and after you leave it, like having an alternative-universe take on your own life. Great pictures of Von Trier's, what decor. I can hear the oompahs now...
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#18
Posted August 24th 2004, 12:04pm
Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I went to school at UW-Milwaukee in the early '80s and was a waitress at Palermo Villa on N. Farwell, which must be right next to Zaffiros. After the restaurant closed, we often went to Von Triers to unwind. Its good see from the photos that it hasn't changed and that Mark is owner.
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#19
Posted August 24th 2004, 11:20pm
Mike G wrote:great corned beef

Mike,

I just noticed the sliced American cheese on the corned beef sandwiches in your CB slice picture. And I thought Revrend Andy was bad with his unnatural love of Swiss with CB. :)

Enjoy,
Gary
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#20
Posted August 24th 2004, 11:27pm
Yes, the one knock I'd have against Jake's is the use of that weird orange stuff where it doesn't belong, and for that matter from my one bite of a Reuben the Swiss on that was a little gooey and fakey seeming. None of which was an issue with pastrami eaten with no more adornment than mustard, the way it was meant to be.
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Sorry I missed this trip. Thought I'd add an old post from about a year ago describing my first trip to Kopp's.

"I finally made the pilgrimage to Kopp's in Milwaukee for butterburgers and custard. The experience was intense. This post covers more of the mood of the place than the quality of the food, which has been accurately and abundantly described by those before me. My initial impression of this place--I visited the Greenfield location--is that it's what I imagine a fast food place created by a partnership of Heaven's Gate cult members and German automotive engineers might be like. A previous Kopp's poster correctly remarked that the building appeared to be the former home of a bank branch. Not the strip mall and modest stand-alone bank branches of today, but the 70's-era stone aggregate-veneered shrines to groovy capitalism, where Zsa Zsa Gabor would make appearances and smiling stuffed lions would be dispensed with cheerful enthusiasm. It's an enormous space completely devoid of the usual trappings of burger joints. The vast area behind the counter is occupied overwhelmingly with food-making machinery and clean-scrubbed teenagers. The former is gleaming, soulless and organized. The latter are gleaming, soulless and clad in clean white shirts, black bow ties and perfectly creased white paper hats. Rather than conjuring images of 1940's-era soda jerks, the ensemble has more in common with the attire favored by followers of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. After an unsmiling yet efficient female employee guided us toward the right side of the 200 foot long counter to order our burgers first, the organization began to make more sense. With custard of such pristine quality, planners had smartly separated the hot food preparation function from the custard-making function to keep from tainting it with the smell of grilled onions and fried beef patties.

I ordered a double with everything plus grilled onions, fries, onion rings and a single vanilla scoop and proceeded to wait alongside one of the stone pedestal stand-up tables, a small collection of which passed for the only interior dining area. Wishing to freshen up while waiting, I was directed by another pod person--er--employee OUTSIDE the building and around the back to the service station-style single-serving bathrooms. At the front door on my way back in, I looked down into the front courtyard dotted with stone benches and trees where I imagined a previous generation of bank tellers might have once gathered at break times to smoke Newports and share stories of Knack concerts attended. The early spring chill left no clue as to whether the space would, on warmer days and nights, be peopled with Kopp's customers happily hardening their arteries one spoonful at a time. That image did little to dispel the bizzarro-world feel of it all, particularly when peering up into the imposing black Kopp's sign with its stark white military stenciled lettering.

With number called, I grabbed my hot food, shuffled down to the custard sector for my scoop and headed for the safety of my car. Preparing to eat, I noticed at least seven other separate diners eating in their cars. I suspect that when one is eating butterburgers and 16% butterfat frozen custard with any regularity, the privacy and anonymity that a parking lot affords might be of paramount councern.

The burger was fine, but not my ideal. The patties were too big--soft and heavy, but redolent of fresh beef. The overmelted cheese, ketchup, mustard and pickles had intermingled to become a single, though not unpleasant condiment, especially with the addition of perfect sweet grilled onions with just the right amount of caramelized edges. The bun was up to the task of supporting the considerable payload within, but was otherwise unremarkable. I prefer thin and crisped beef patties, cheese slices with some visible structural integrity and the cool-crunch counterpart of fresher condiments like lettuce and tomato, a burger type at which places like Culver's excels.

The fries are fresh cut, with the attendant sogginess and mealiness that the style invites, but with superior potato flavor. I believe an earlier poster had also advised to order the fries crisp--something I wish I had kept in mind. The O-rings were glorious sweet onions with a sturdy and crunchy golden shell.

The custard was the best I've ever had. Better than Leon's, better than Drewes, better than anything.

Those were the takeaways--the perfect custard and the otherworldy and vaguely unsettling vibe of the place. The people who opened this location in particular are either aesthetic design geniuses or completely insane. Whatever the case, I'll be back. See you in the courtyard this summer."
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David Hammond wrote:I hit some of these spots during a Milwaukee trip last autumn.

Hammond


Me too - missed this thread until now. Have hit Solly's, Kopp's etc - but not
Zaffiro's or Mini-Donuts yet (they sound interesting, must try them the
next time around later this summer).

However, the main reason for this post ... if one is ever making the drive
from the North bubs to Milwaukee (ie along the 94, not the 294 from
the westerb burbs)... I think one must pretty much always try and make
a little 10-minute detour off the highway at Racine and visit Bendtsen's
Bakery for an Authentic Danish Kringle. I dont even think anyplace in
Chicago makes em.

Basically you hang a right on the 20 (towards Racine), and keep going
on it for about 10 minutes. The 20 turns into Washington Avenue, and
at 3200 Washtington is the little bakery with 3/4 tables attached. The
kringles are terrific, made fresh every morning at 5:00 am IIRC (or so
the girl behind the counter told me). The only real drawback is that its
a bakery, with Abundance/Old-Fashioned like bakery hours - that is,
closed on Sundays, and only from about 6-6 on Saturdays IIRC. The above
trip was on a Saturday, wasnt it? So Bendtsen's *would* actually have
been possible.

Ive only tried a couple different types of kringles - the "turtle", which is
very very rich and excellent, and the pecan (which is the most popular
and also very good, but not quite as overwhelmingly rich due to the
lack of chocolate). Have never bothered to try anything else there,
though Ive been told that their other products are excellent too (from
the elephant ears, to the muffins etc - but those are, after all, found
in Chicago too, and Kringles are not, so thats the only thing I concentrate
on during any visit). The next time I think I'll try one of the fruit ones - the
Kringle itself is too big, but they do occasionally have a few pieces on the
side for individual sale.

c8w
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#23
Posted September 1st 2004, 2:57pm
Hey fellas...thanks for the outstanding photos of Jakes! I stuck my neck out drawing a loose comparison of this place to Katz's in Manhattan on another board before this one existed. (Reminder -- I was not saying it was ON PAR, or even close. Just reminiscent, which is saying a LOT in itself). I love Jakes.

Someone stole my thunder about one of the photos though. What the HELL is that disgusting yellow square of crap doing on those beautiful sandwiches?!?!?

Thanks again.
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#24
Posted September 8th 2004, 10:33am
We were in Milwaukee on the same day as the LTH road trip to see a Brewers game.

Our daughters wanted pizza and I'm glad I checked Zaffiro's hours prior to leaving home. Since the game started at 6pm, we wanted to get to the restaurant about 4, but Zaffiro's wasn't open yet.

We went to Pizza Man instead. Just OK cheese pizza, pretty bland, especially the crust which had no flavor at all. We also had a salad with the great housemade parmesean dressing and wild boar ravioli. The wild boar meat was very good (shredded, not ground), but the marsala/mushroom sauce was a little to sweet (especially since the wild boar meat had some sweetness already). The interior of Pizza Man was pretty cool. Outfitted with a lot of old bricks and hand-hewned timbers. We had beer, but there seemed to be some decent values (if you know prices) on the good, mainly California, wine list.

Best,
Al
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#25
Posted September 9th 2004, 10:24am
"I think one must pretty much always try and make
a little 10-minute detour off the highway at Racine and visit Bendtsen's
Bakery for an Authentic Danish Kringle."

c8w, you are so right about this. A woman who works down the hall from me is from Racine and produces these things at the office on occasion. Best version of a coffee cake I've ever had. I think it has something to do with the fact that the pastry appears to be about 85% fat.
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#26
Posted December 20th 2004, 11:43pm
Mike G wrote: Jake's alone justified the whole trip. An old Jewish deli with by now a mostly black staff and clientele, this place was a winner on every level, a total-package delight: great corned beef and very good pastrami, nice fresh crunchy pickles (a little low on garlic to me, but very respectable), great we-decorated-it-once-in-1920-why-change decor, customers known by name. A place whose atmosphere hits you like the wall of corned beef steam that assaults you-- no, envelopes you like a grandma's hug-- the moment you walk in.


We made a quick trip to the U.P this weekend to surprise my mother on her 80th birthday. We skipped breakfast and got to Milwaukee about 10:30 Saturday morning I called Ed and had him give us directions to Jakes (turns out to be very easy--there's a North Ave exit off of I-43).

We need to come up with a standard LTH cheer here. "Holy Beef!" "Grandiose Goodness!" "Giant Many Happinesses!" That is one fine place. Bill said the pastrami was the best he'd had since he was a child in Detroit. sharing a sandwich with his father at the Lekofsky (sp) deli in the Gratiot Central Market. I was blown away by the corned beef. I don't think Manny's is even in the same league. I love the thickness of the slices, the proportion of bread to meat, the brown mustard (Uncle Phil's Dusseldorf) the great waitress (the same one in Mike's photo) and the perfect pickle. I had the matzoh ball soup too. Light and delicious as well. Sorry Benji's. I loved you once, but I've found someone else and we won't be able to see each other any more.

We chatted a little with the owner's son, who was astonished to hear that there were multiple photos of the deli on-line. I gave him the address and trust he'll be pleased with what he finds.
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#27
Posted December 21st 2004, 8:32pm
I'm truly surprised nobody could find Kopp's website, it's http://kopps.com/main.htm.

They list their daily flavors, maps, grill menu, etc.
I took a weekend trip to Milwaukee a few years back, and the hotel was directly next to Kopps in Glendale -- what luck!

I'm intrigued about the "Funky Brady St. area" though -- what's up there? I'm headed to Brady St. tomorrow night to hear Pat MacDonald (formerly of Timbuk3) at Nomad World pub up there, 1401 E Brady. The show's at 9:30 or 10, so what's eats over there?[/url]
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#28
Posted December 23rd 2004, 12:32pm
Well, I can report back that the "funky Brady St. area" isn't all that funky, and if it's a chow heaven, I couldn't see it.

Admittedly, we were less adventurous than we would have been with wind chills above -20, but the funk seems confined to a few boutiques and a couple of tattoo and piercing shops, plus a bunch of bars that have music.

Chow-wise, there's a gelateria (in this weather???), a couple of Italian places, a couple of gyros places, a burger and malt shop, and a Chinese restaurant called "Oriental Coast" whose exterior decor looked greek (blue and white).

We were looking for something a little nicer, so we ended up at Mimma's Cafe, which can best be described as Italian with an Asian touch. Pretty good, but I doubt I'd make it a destination.

Rule #1: Train your wait staff on what you're serving. There's no excuse for a waiter to call those things "Tuscon beans" (I nearly busted a gut trying to keep a straight face through his presentation). He also struggled through a number of the Italian words. :oops:

Rule #2: If you're going to dress your wait staff identically (French blue shirts with Mona Lisa ties), at least get a few with different genders, hairstyles or heights so we can tell them apart. :wink:

Mrs. F had a fantastic spinach salad with chicken and marinated mushrooms and a ginger-based dressing. Textures and flavors were perfect, and served in a nice 'tilted' (higher on one side than the other) white bowl.

I had "Arrogosto" (I think), one of the nightly specials (which accompany their 52 pastas) which was basically a risotto (he had to explain that it didn't come with a vegetable or potato on the side), with saffron, cayenne, lobster, langostino and shrimp. Pretty good, but the pomegranite(sp?) seeds were an unadvertised distraction. Maybe I'm just wrong, but a big bowl of starchy rice always seems to need some greens on the side to break up the texture. I shoulda asked for a side of rapini or something.

Oh yeah, soup was a split pea with ham (my all time least fave) or squash with corn, which I ordered. This had a bit of a curry/cumin flavor, and reminded me of the southwestern soup at California Pizza Kitchen. Several dishes on their menu included curry flavors, ginger, chinese or japanese inspired sauces.

The deserts were more typical of Italian and of resto's in general: molten cake, creme brulee, tiramisu, gelato, and a couple of sponge cake/mousse constructions. We had the molten chocolate cake, which isn't my favorite, but Mrs. F enjoys raw cookie and cake dough, so she's pulled to things like this.

Prices were a little higher than I'd have expected for that neighborhood (entrees mostly $13-25), but overall pretty enjoyable.
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#29
Posted December 22nd 2005, 1:27pm
i've started giving packed Kopp's daily flavors to customers in the MKE area... but yesterday lunch was the first time i've actually tasted the scoops of butterfat masked as 'custard'.

yesterday's dailies were: butterfinger candy bar and chocolate chip cookie dough. i wish i could've been there TODAY because, according to the menu i brought home,

"Pettermint Stick - Starting with a creamy white chocolate custard, we add luscious white chocolate morsels and festive red and green peppermint flakes to create this holiday delight. A great "stocking stuffer."


and
Peanut Butter Kiss - Peanut butter custard made with Hershey's chocolate chips and swirls of peanut butter


sounds SO much better than what i had... as far as their burger, while eating the frozen butter, i smelled the neighbor's "jumbo burger". the cheap mustard/grilled patty smell distinctly reminded me of $.49 MCD cheeseburgers and instantly evoked my gag reflex...


Speed Queen - had the shoulder + rib tips. after i finished the combo with a gent who moved out of SQ's neighborhood almost 20 yrs ago, i actually dialed their number by accident and heard "best ribs in the midwest". talk about "LOL". the shoulder was tender and juicy, ditto the rib tips... but... i wanted more smokiness/rub... and heck maybe even just salt?

7 hrs after the encouter w/ the Queen, i felt the NEED for Honey1... but DARNIT, they were closed at 10:30pm!! the sign always said 11pm!#$@%!$# argh..
Last edited by TonyC on February 3rd 2006, 2:04pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#30
Posted December 22nd 2005, 4:58pm
Tony,

Don't bother with Kopp's burgers, they are ok, but Solly's, right down the street, is a much (much) better version of the Milwaukee Butter Burger.

Speed Queen is outside shoulder and hot BBQ sauce, which is South Carolina mustard based, on the side. Ribs are good, chicken is better, outside shoulder is terrific.

There's a Barbara Ann's links/BA BBQ sauce thing going on with Speed Queen's smoked chicken and the hot (mustard base) BBQ sauce. Individually they are good, together better.

Kopp's custard rules.

Enjoy,
Gary
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

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