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Habit Forming The best-kept Friday night secret in Bay View is Groppi’s Market (1441 E. Russell Ave., 747-9012). Andy Wilde is the wine guy at Groppi’s, and one of the first things he did after opening the vino addition to the building last year was to start a regular wine tasting every weekend. The approach […]

Habit Forming

The best-kept Friday night secret in Bay View is
Groppi’s Market (1441 E. Russell Ave., 747-9012). Andy Wilde is the wine
guy at Groppi’s, and one of the first things he did after opening the vino
addition to the building last year was to start a regular wine tasting every
weekend. The approach is pretty informal. He uncorks two reds and two whites.
People stand around tasting, munching on cheese and crackers and chatting about
wine, the neighborhood, life…because the tastings have built a following of
regulars. The corks start flying at 4:00 on Friday and Saturday and there’s no
charge (but the hope is that tasting is the first step to buying). Another thing
about Groppi’s on Fridays is the ritual cookout. On the east side of the
building, you’ll notice a patio. A lucky staffer is out there grilling brats,
burgers and corn (for sale). You can buy beer or soda to wash it all down. It’s
a serve-yourself setup out there – nothing fancy. Wilde says they’ll be doing
the cookout on Fridays until eating alfresco is about the last thing,
meteorologically speaking, that people want to do. Hopefully it won’t be anytime
soon.

Expanded Definition

Things are a little different at forty8
these days. Head chef Steven Holz left to return to his prior job – catering at
Saz’s. Adam Swatloski, late of North Shore Bistro, is now running the
forty8 kitchen. On Saturday nights, the bar-restaurant near Miller Park is doing
prime rib; Fridays belong to that Milwaukee institution, the fish fry –
all-you-can-eat beer-battered cod or cornmeal-crusted catfish for $9.99. Owner
Gregg Juleen says he’s added pizza and a few lighter entrées to the menu. The
atypical bar menu is what this place specializes in. You could order deep-fried
won tons filled with cream cheese and jalapeno pepper or shrimp and lobster
risotto. Or olive oil-poached ahi tuna over mixed greens. (4823 W. National
Ave., 389-9350)

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Tummy Time

Thursday is the first of 10 cream puff days. The
Wisconsin State Fair just started its run, and there are a few new
edibles if you’re doing as many other fairgoers plan to do: eat yourself into a
stupor. In no particular order, some newbies: Slim McGinn’s Irish Pub, Gramma
Honey’s Cinnamon House
(for cinnamon rolls) and Water Street Brewery/Brew
City.
Cooking demos happen every day for an hour at the Wisconsin Products
Pavilion stage. Since the stage is sponsored by Sprecher Brewery, chefs are
incorporating the local brewery’s beer and soda into the dishes they prepare on
stage. Some examples: Jason Gorman, Dream Dance’s executive chef, is
doing root beer-cured venison. Scott McGlinchey, the former Heaven City
owner who now operates two Q restaurants, has duck with Ravin’ Red barbecue
sauce in his repertoire. And Arturo Napoles, the chef from Cafe El Sol,
will make baked ham with Sprecher Ravin’ Red soda and a stir-fry with the
brewery’s ginger ale.

Eating With Alacrity

This is too weird not to mention. On Saturday
(August 5, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.), the East Town Farmer’s Market is hosting a
spaghetti-eating competition. How fast can you down a bowl of pasta?
There are four different age divisions to this contest. The winners in each will
get a $50 gift certificate to sponsoring restaurant Buca di Beppo. If this isn’t
entertaining enough for you, the Bonifas Quintet will offer more civilized
entertainment on the Cathedral Square Park stage at 10:30 a.m. Wait, isn’t this
a farmer’s market? It is, yes. Produce, organic meat, flowers are for sale,
alongside handmade stuff like soap and sweaters, jewelry and pottery.

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Can’t get enough dining? I chat about restaurants every Friday with Jane
Matenaer and Kidd O’Shea on “The Mix.” Listen between 8 and 9 a.m. on August 4.
That’s 99.1 WMYX-FM.


And check out our calendar editor Julie Sensat Waldren’s picks for the best
events in arts and entertainment on This
Weekend
.

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