Memorial Day Weekend Camping

Every year Mr. Pea and I travel to Nelson Dewey State Park in Cassville, WI to go camping with our family and friends. It is always a great time, good for some rest and relaxation, good company and good food. This past Memorial Day Weekend camping was so much fun, minus the scary thunderstorms and sticky hot days, and the dreaded mosquitoes that came out after the rain. We still had a great time and did have some really good food this weekend, as we always do. I have never went camping like Mr. Pea’s family goes camping before, they go all out with the food. It’s like going to a fine dining restaurant in the middle of nature, candlesticks and all! I thought I would share with you all some of the food that we had this weekend.

First, I would like to start off talking about our tradition for Memorial Day Camping weekend, stopping in Madison, WI to go to Ella’s Deli. If you have never been to Ella’s Deli, you should visit this top notch kosher style deli, if only just once. This place has been around since 1976, and there is a reason why it is still around today, it is SOO good! They have good matzo ball soup but they also have sweet and sour cabbage soup and chili that are pretty amazing as well. If there is one thing you go to a deli for it is corned beef, and I think you all know my feelings on corned beef, since I declared it my favorite meal on St. Patty’s Day. But this corned beef sandwich piled high on rye bread is one of my favorite things to eat hands down. If you leave room for dessert, which I never can do, they have a twelve page dessert menu to fulfill your sweet tooth! It is not just the food that makes Ella’s one of my favorite places, it is also the atmosphere of all the animated displays, nostalgic trinkets and toys from years past, and the tabletop games to keep you entertained while you wait for food. Also, if you go there during the spring, summer and fall months, no trip to Ella’s is complete without a ride on the 1927 Parker Carousel! So much fun!

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Their burgers are pretty great also and I decided to change it up a bit and get a burger instead this time.

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Until next year Ella’s 🙂

Moving on to our camping trip….

Friday Night

Friday night meal is pretty easy peasy compared to the rest of the meals served the rest of the weekend. Friday night’s dinner used to be a fish fry, but without our fisherman there to prepare the fish fry, we have relied on a camp favorite, hot dogs and brats. Mr. Pea was the hero of the night with his brand new pitch forks, this made grilling up 2 packages of brats and 1 package of delicious Nathan’s hot dogs easy as pie. I have never been a huge fan of hot dogs, until I had a Nathan’s hot dog. Really, they are the only hot dogs I will ever eat, they are the hot dogs that are served on every corner in New York and I think that is why I make an exception for these delightful dogs.

Saturday

Saturday morning started off with a delicious hearty breakfast, but with the terrible thunderstorms the night before, we got a later start then we usually do for making breakfast. We made some eggs with mushrooms, onion and left over brats and cheese with some bacon, and of course a camping breakfast wouldn’t be complete without my homemade banana bread and O & H Kringle.

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Then for lunch, it is the highlight of the camping trip, a trip to the Potosi Brewery Company. This place is delicious, they have some really great brews, my personal favorite being the Heffeweizer, Mr. Pea, being a fan of the darker brews is a huge fan of the Cave Ale. If you aren’t sure what to get there is always the sampler that Mr. Pea’s mom got that lets you try 6 of their different brews. They also have really great food at the Potosi restaurant, my favorite thing they serve is their beer cheese soup, it is hands down the best beer cheese soup I have ever had. They also have some great fish (caught fresh locally), burger, barbeque and salads, anything I have had off their menu has been absolutely delicious! Also, a trip to Potosi wouldn’t be complete without checking out their National Beer Museum and Art gallery across the street. This great place located in the middle of nowhere, is one of my favorite places to visit.

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And if you weren’t full yet from breakfast and lunch, saving room for dinner is a must. Because dinner for Saturday night is grilled tenderloin, steamed asparagus, red potatoes with parsley and my contribution to the food a delicious Crunchy Romaine Toss Salad, of course. Dinners for camping are usually pretty fancy, candles and all, it is like you are fine dining in the middle of nature.

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Crunchy Romaine Toss

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Salad

1 1/2 Cups chopped broccoli

1 bunch of romaine, torn

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 Cup walnuts

1 pkg ramen noodles, broken

2 tablespoons of butter

Discard the seasoning packet for the ramen noodles. In a skillet, saute noodles in butter until golden. In a large bowl combine noodles, walnuts, broccoli, romaine and onions. Drizzle with the dressing before serving.

Dressing

1/2 Cup sugar

1/2 Cup vegetable oil

1/4 Cup cider vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

salt and pepper to taste

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the sugar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sal and pepper and shake well.

Sunday

Sunday’s breakfast was extra special this year, we made some blueberry pancakes, eggs bacon and had some fruit on the side. Blueberry pancakes are my favorite, and these were great!

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We had some left over salad from the night before and snacks for lunch, but for dinner we had Grilled Chicken, Spaghetti with a meat sauce and a tossed salad.

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To beat the rain in the morning we packed up really early and left to go home, but all in all I would say it was a successful camping trip, and I can’t wait to go back next year.

Poco Loco

Poco Loco  has been one of Mr. Pea’s favorite restaurants for quite some time, he has been talking about this place what seems like forever. This past week we were actually  in the area so we decided to stop there for dinner. Now I know why he raves abut this place so much, it is really, really good.

 Poco Loco is very unique on the inside, with two round bars  for  you to sit at the counter looking into  the kitchen area, it makes for an interesting dining experience.  I was impressed with the food the moment I walked through the door,  it smelled delicious, and that is usually a good sign  when a restaurant smells  delicious, chances are the food is delicious too! They have a smaller menu  but they have some really great options that you probably won’t find on very many Mexican restaurants menus, like Blue crab quesadilla and  various kinds of fish tacos.

I got  steak tacos, and was even more impressed  when they brought it to me and it was perfectly  cooked steak, usually when I go to a Mexican restaurant they have no clue  how to cook steak tacos and it is always tough and chewy.  They have a very good salsa to go with their chips and salsa they bring to the table,  it is on  the spicy side, so  be careful if spicy is not your thing.  My suggestion when eating Mexican food and you are not in the mood for a margarita of course, is to have a beer called Pacifico. It is light  and refreshing and goes really well with Mexican cuisine.

Poco Loco also has a patio for outdoor dining, I think we might have to go back there  on a nice summer afternoon!

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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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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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