Sil’s Drive-Thru

Sil’s Drive-Thru  was one of my favorite places in Milwaukee, and I am sad to say that today was its last day open. It is a sad day to know that there will be no more delicious doughnuts, bagels or wasted weiners in my life.  It it located on  the corner of North Avenue and Oakland, just a few steps away from our last apartment, two houses in from what used to be the block where the Pizza Man, Cush and Grecian Delight once were  until a terrible fire took out the whole block.  I feel like this intersection in particular has been hit with some crazy disasters lately,  shortly after  the block burnt down in that terrible fire, Wisconsin was hit hard with some flooding and a massive sinkhole collapsed in the middle of that intersection and with it swallowed up an SUV, luckily everyone got out. I am not saying that Sil’s Drive Thru closing is a disaster, it just is another reason that this intersection is cursed (I am glad we moved when we did).  I am sad that Sil’d Drive Thru will  not be open anymore, it will be missed.

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RIP Sil’s Drive Thru 🙁

The Old German Beer Hall

The Old German Beer Hall  is a popular bar in Downtown Milwaukee, located on Old 3rd Street. Mr. Pea and I have been there  multiple times and every time we go we have a blast.  We often take our friends and  out of town guests to this bar, because well it is a good time and it is not like other bars in Milwaukee.  This bar represents the spirit and tradition of Munich’s legendary Hofbräuhaus, the most famous beer hall in the world. Milwaukee’s Old German Beer Hall offers a glimpse of Bavarian social life, and 400 years of tradition and history. With replica tables and benches from the “Schwemme”, you will feel the connection to the original Munich beer hall. This bar has great beer, but you better put your drinking pants  on because these liters of beer will surely do the trick.

My favorite brew they have is a Hofbräu Hefe Weizen with Rasberry syrup, kind of girly I know but delicious. In my defense  though, when it comes  to drinking  a  liter of beer, I think that qualifies me to be able to hang with the guys.  This was the first wheat beer ever brewed, the standard by which all others judged.  Mr. Pea likes their darker brews though, which I am not particularly fond of, he usually goes with the Hofbräu Dunkel. The Hofbräu Dunkel is a rich walnut Brown color, dark roasted malts and subtle
hops. This beer  is by far one the easiest drinking dark beers in the world. This is historical  standard of  Bavarian beer, the  light lagers came much later.

I usually don’t eat their food  their  but  they do have great food. The Old German Beer Hall serves up traditional Bavarian festival food and specialties. Their menu showcases the world famous Usingers sausage, made daily just across the street. Their giant pretzels are made in Munich with flour from the Royal Bavarian Mill,  if you try one make sure to try it  with Obatzter, the traditional beer hall cheese spread. German food isn’t my favorite, but I have to at least try  to like it. Mr. Pea’s family is  German and they love German food, we go to Germanfest every year  and slowly but surly I am finding things that I can enjoy when we go there.

They also have a dish called Currywurst, which I tried for the first time the last time I went, thanks to a friend of mine  who has traveled to Germany on business a couple of times  and  and he told me I had to try it.  Currywurst is Germany’s popular spicy snack, it is  a sliced sausage  served with a zesty tomato-curry sauce. I was a little weary on trying it though I am not big on spicy foods. This Currywurst turned out to be delicious though,  and a little kick to it  but it had good flavor  to it, it wasn’t just spicy.

The  other reason we like going to the Old German Ber Hall is that  it  is fun,  they usually have a polka band playing and  every so often a guy will blow his horn which stretches as long ad one of the tables.   Also,  there is a really fun game that they have there called ‘Nails’. This  game is where  there is a tree stump  and everyone has a nail,  you pound the nail in just enough to make it stand up on its own. Then everyone takes a turn at hammering their nail in the stump one hit at a time. The person that is the last to get their nail into the stump has to buy a round of beers or shots. If you are buying shots they have this thing called  the ‘Shot-ski’ there, it is basically a ski that has holes drilled in it  to hold shot glasses, and 5 or 6 people line up and  take the shot all at the same time.

So next time you are going out and looking to have a good time, try the Old German Beer Hall  you are guaranteed to have a good time!

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Jambalaya

Jambalaya is one of New Orleans most celebrated dishes.  Mr. Pea loves spicy food and loves when it is jambalaya night in our house.  I myself,  am not  too fond of spicy food,  but I do love the delicious flavors  of a jambalaya, and can tolerate the heat in this dish.  Well, with all the cooking we do in our household, we like to have a few meals a week  that we call “budget friendly meals”. They are just that, meals on a budget, the goal is to spend around $5 for the both of us to eat. I guess I should say  meal and/or meals, because there are usually leftovers when you make Jambalaya.  So  I wanted to share  with you an easy way to make a delicious jambalaya on a budget, thanks to the help of Zatarains  and a couple of extra ingredients  that really help kick it up a notch.

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Jambalaya

Ingredients:

1 Family Size of Zatarain’s Jambalaya Mix

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 14oz can of diced tomatoes (liquid drained and reserved)

1 lb. of a smoked sausage, sliced

(1/2 Ib. of shrimp, cooked separately and mixed in at the end-optional)

3 3/4 cups liquid made up of tomato juice from drained can of diced tomatoes combined with chicken stock or water

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon cajun seasoning ( we use homemade, but you can use Emril’s Bayou Blast seasoning, Zatarains has their own cajun seasoning and  even Penzeys has a good cajun seasoning as well)

Instructions:

ImageStart with a pan and heat up oil and sausage, this will help render out some of the fat  to coat the vegetables with.

ImageAfter sausage is browned  add in the chopped onions until thy are translucent

ImageMix in the green pepper and then add the garlic until it is fragrant.

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ImageAdd the liquid mixture and cajun seasoning

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ImageAdd in Zatarain’s jambalaya rice and mix from package, bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Let stand for 5 minutes, stir and serve.

Peter Sciortinos Bakery

Peter Sciortinos Bakery is one of  Mr. Pea and my favorite Saturday morning stops.  Brady street in Milwaukee is one of my favorite places for food. It is ever changing, yet it has some really great places that have been there for years, and have been there for years with good reason. Peter Sciortinos Bakery is a America’s Finest Italian Bakery, at least in my eyes.  At Peter Sciortino’s Bakery, they make all of their products from scratch on a daily basis, this  ensures that everything is fresh.

Some of the great things to get at this bakery is their bread, their Italian hard bread and hard rolls is easily a family favorite.  They even distribute their bread to a few local restaurants,  and when you taste it, you will know why,  it is amazing. They also  have really great doughnuts and pastries, in my opinion  they have the best cheese danish and cruller doughnut I have ever had. They also make fantastic Italian pastries and cookies that I heard are delicious. I have only had the holiday Italian Christmas cookies they make every year, people will wait in line  for these cookies and buy them  by the dozens.  

They don’t just have great bakery items at Sciortinos, they also have really great deli items, like turkey and Swiss cheese.  They also have Mr. Pea’s personal favorite item, the pizza doughs.  These pizza doughs are great, they are $1.50 each and are bagged individually and  you can throw them in the freezer for up to three months, so when you want to make a pizza  you just pop it in the fridge  while  you are at work and by the time you get  home  you are all set to make a delicious homemade pizza.  My homemade pizzas are one of Mr. Pea’s favorite things  that I make,  so I will make one soon and let you all in  on my secrets to both my homemade pizza and calzones, stay tuned.

From their amazingly fresh breads to their delicious Italian pastries, I assure you that you will not find a fresher or better tasting bakery in the Greater Milwaukee area!

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Go to Peter Sciortino’s bakery, help support little places like these that need to be here for generations to come 🙂

Beans and Barley

Beans and Barley is a local Milwaukee deli, market and cafe. This East Side specialty market has fresh produce, specialty food items, greeting cards, vitamins and supplements and bath and body care items. This specialty market also has a small sit down cafe inside, with a great menu of good, healthy, homemade food that includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items.Beans and Barley is a great place to take vegetarians, vegans, or people who eat gluten-free. Their menu has options for everyone, with plenty of filling choices. All menu options can be ordered through their deli counter in the market as well.

What Beans and Barley is really known  for is their burritos. The burritos have been a clear favorite since they first rolled out in 1979.The burrito I like the best is the  Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito, it has oven roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, Mexican rice, and guacamole and is served with a lime sour cream, mild salsa and tortilla chips. This burrito is better then any burrito I have had at any Chipolte or Qdoba, hands down. We have even tried to make them homemade, but these burritos are just so good it can not be replicated at home.

Beans and Barley has a really good guacamole.  I am very particular with guacamole and I usually don’t like any guacamole except for the kind I make at home, but this guacamole has a creaminess to it  that  makes it taste so good. So if  you are visiting this cafe with a group of people , it is a good appetizer to share with everyone.

One more great thing about beans and Barley is that they serve Anodyne Coffee Roasting Company coffee, one of my favorite locally owned independent roaster of fine coffee. Anodyne Coffee Roasting makes the best Chai tea, that I have ever had, and I consider myself a aficionado of chai tea.

Also, if you save room for dessert they have a great dessert list with delicious  treats, my personal favorite is the carrot cake. So if you are looking for a place to take out-of town guests, this is a great place to take them. If you live in Milwaukee and haven’t been here, you are surely missing out!

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Roasted Mushroom Tortas

So I know I went on a rant a couple of posts ago about how  you should make Mexican night in your house more exciting, well Mr. Pea made these for us last week and let me tell you  it turned our Mexican night into a fiesta!  We are still on this healthy  kick and during the week are not indulging in meat, it’s not a crazy diet or anything, it’s just a personal choice. Good thing I got Mr. Pea to like veggies as much as I do, otherwise I think we would not be speaking at this point.  A good compromise for us, is to let him try out a new Mexican dish.  I am a big fan of the sandwich, and that is basically what a torta is, a Mexican sandwich, and it  is a delicious Mexican sandwich at that.

So next time  you head to the store to grab ingredients for your American style tacos, try making tortas instead! They can be made with meat also, we have made them with roasted pork, chicken, steak and chorizo, but I have to say I didn’t miss the meat at all in these roasted mushroom tortas we made.  I think  that  is a good rule of thumb, if you don’t miss the meat when you are eating the dish, does it really need it? Just something to think about.Don’t get me wrong I eat meat, just not as much as I used to and I think I am much healthier for it!

Roasted Mushroom Tortas

(serves 4 people)

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Ingredients:

For Roasted Mushrooms:

•    8 ounces crimini mushroom, stems removed, thinly sliced
•    7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
•    8 ounces oyster mushrooms, thick stems removed, thinly sliced
•    3 tablespoons olive oil
•    6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
•    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from about 2 limes
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

 For the Refried Beans
•    2 tablespoons olive oil
•    2 garlic cloves, minced
•    one 15-ounce can black beans

For the Torta
•    4 bolillo rolls (El Rey Supermercado, has the best bolillo rolls I have ever had!)
•    4 ounces goat cheese or Queso Chihuahua cheese ( I am not a fan of goat cheese, but Mr. Pea is)
•    1 ½ cups arugula (can substitute  with shredded lettuce)
•    Chipolte mayo (Just mix 1/4 cup of mayo with teaspoon of Frontera Chipolte sauce)
•    Avacado, sliced
•    Sliced tomatoes (optional)
•    Sliced red onion (optional)
•    Roasted mushrooms
•    Refried black beans

Directions:
For the Roasted Mushrooms: Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Toss mushrooms with olive oil, garlic, lime juice, and salt in medium-sized bowl. Dump into 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes. Carefully remove foil, and continue roasting until mushrooms are browned, and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 40 minutes. Remove baking dish from oven. Add cilantro to dish and toss well. Set aside.

For the Refried Beans: While mushrooms are roasting, pour two tablespoons of oil in 12-inch stainless steel skillet set over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until it just begins to brown, about one minute. Dump in beans and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, and then mash beans with potato masher or back of a large spoon. Keep mashing until they look like mashed potatoes, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat, and cover skillet.

For the Tortas: Slice rolls in half lengthwise, and remove some of the soft insides. Spread one ounce of cheese on cut side of each top half. Spread two tablespoons of refried beans on cut side of each bottom half.
Divide mushrooms between each bottom half. Place bottom halves on baking sheet and place in oven. Warm them for five minutes. Remove from oven, top each with a handful of arugula, a couple slices of avacado and tomato, and  a drizzle of chiplote mayo, and top half of roll. Return to baking sheet, and again transfer to oven. Warm for just two minutes. Serve immediately.

Delicioso!