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Wine on the Water
Riverside dining is a perk of summer. Find out a new spot to indulge.

Riverside dining is one of the many perks of summer. Wine Maniacs On the River opened the Thursday before Memorial Day on a sweet spot along the Milwaukee River, at 106 W. Seeboth St., in Walker’s Point, next to Screaming Tuna Sushi and Asian Bistro and inside the former 106 Seeboth. (If the name is sounding familiar, there’s a reason: Wine Maniacs’ first location is in Oconomowoc.) Fifty wines are by the glass and if that’s not hip enough for ya, there’s a “Cool Kids” loft for private events. Lunch is served on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the doors thrown open at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. (It’s closed on Monday.) The patio is massive and features views of yachts, sailboats and the slow current of a river. What’s not to love?

Pizza and wine go together like peanut-butter and jelly, and in this town there are, fortunately, a lot of options to enjoy both at the same time. Centro Café in Riverwest is one such option. Drop in from 5- 7 p.m. Monday through Friday where, at the bar, you get two glasses of wine, half a pizza and a salad for $16. The café’s wine list this summer features 14 pizza-friendly, by-the-glass options, including Charles Smith’s “The Original” (Washington) and many Italian varietals, including Barbera, Chianti and Verdicchio.

Eating and drinking in France sounds romantic, oui, but it’s a tangle of a language even for those who can speak it. While in Burgundy, Paris and Bordeaux, I’ve been puzzled about dining customs that are more advanced than vocabulary – for one, people bring their dogs with them, mon dieu! Alliance Francaise of Milwaukee has organized two faux French dining experiences to help all France-bound travelers out. Held at Lake Park Bistro, the dinner ($75, members; $80, non-members) is hosted by Michael Dillon, author of Eating and Drinking in Paris. Dates for this event are Monday June 10 and Monday July 29, with the class from 6-7:30 p.m. and dinner served at 7:30 p.m. To sign up, either call 414-431-0943 or email nadaj@afmilwaukee.org.

I’ve always viewed Syrah as a good BBQ wine, mostly for its smoky, dark-fruit flavors. The 2011 6th Sense Syrah (Lodi, California, $17) was a hit at a recent gathering of friends. Plum, cherry and cigar-box notes lead into a silky finish with a little bit of spice. (www.michaeldavidwinery.com)

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