What Do You Do In Milwaukee? (Part I)

What Do You Do In Milwaukee? (Part I)

1. Go to Bay View‘s South Shore Farmers Market. Bay View is a thriving area of Milwaukee and its South Shore Park is home to a wonderful farmers market. The small stretch of vendors situated on Lake Michigan has a real communal feel and plenty of the yum factor, including purveyor of raw food, Eden’s Market. Vegan treats were also abound in the land of Dairy, Wok Man and I devoured apple tarts in between the dog socializing, ingredient hunting and scooter riding. The shore of Lake Michigan is also a great place to see the itty-bitty skyline of downtown Milwaukee. Aww.

2. Drink natural flowing mineral water. The Pryor Avenue Iron Well, also in Bay View, offers slightly sulphuric refreshment on a hot day. But don’t get over-zealous, take only two gallons per turn… and don’t contaminate the spigot. I just wanted to say spigot.
3. Look at this man’s strange outdoor decor. According to this little webpage, Milwaukee is thee place for “outsider art”. This man’s backyard has Bob (a la Big Boy) and old school McDonalds’ Hamburglar, among other important cultural icons. Neighbors are apparently fed up and want this Warholian display of consumerism banned.

4. Visit a Value Village that isn’t that chain Value Village. Cudahy’s Value Village is bad-ass, complete with a section of Harley wear. I forgot to mention that my visit to Milwaukee coincided with the 105th Anniversary celebration of the much loved motorcycle. Over 7,500 Hogs and Heffers from all over the world congregated in this small city, the birthplace of Harley Davidson.

5. Grab vegan brunch at the Comet Cafe. Comet Cafe had a super scrumptious vegan scramble that hit the spot. Unfortunately we did not return to try the regular menu’s vegan Salisbury steak, the vegan gyro or the vegan BBQ ribwich.

6. Cruise Milwaukee’s lake front/Bradford Beach. The shore of Lake Michigan seems to be all cleaned up and ready for development and was a buzz of activity during my visit. Great people-watching and smoothies are also available at Milwaukee’s own Alterra Coffee. (I’m impressed with the strength of Milwaukee’s local businesses. It seems chain stores certainly have less of a footing here.) I took no pictures of the area but here’s one from this blog, which caught a beached boat, sans mast, and its lonely demise on Bradford Beach.

7. Shop Outpost. Yet another solid Milwaukee business, this co-op has been around for 38 years! The stock was extensive, including a bulk foods section that puts Fairway to shame. Drunk on the granola vibe of the store, Wok Man bought me a beautiful bamboo cutting board that is truly a work of art. And I stole a few carob-covered almonds.

8. Drink 50 cent beers at Palomino Bar. Besides the 50 cent Opa Opa beers (which were quite good), set before me on the bar was a plate of absolutely fantastic vegan BBQ Buffalo wings (they call “Tough-alo” wings) and a heaping pile of tator tots. Upon further investigation (i.e. Myspace), their “hangover brunch menu” contains a variety of vegan fare! It wasn’t the cheap beer goggles; i heart Palomino.
9. Ride on the back of a Harley. This is the sound of me checking that off my list of things to do before I die. I found it difficult not to “whoo” adolescently with the roar of that trademarked crumble-rumble that, til then, existed for me only in the beginning of a Motley Crue song. Thanks to Dr. Talk.

10. More local produce in Bay View. Chad’s Bayview balcony garden offered fragrant basil and perfectly taunt cherry tomatoes for our tongues, numb from alcohol, as well as a place to polish off two bottles of local wine and take very bad pictures.
What a day and night!