The winter is looking up. In the Third Ward, among other places. Chef Karen Bell will soon have the keys to 330 E. Menomonee St. (known previously as Kafevino), and work will begin to turn it into her butcher shop-and-then-some, called Bavette. Bell – who moved to Spain in 2003 and three years later opened her own restaurant, Memento, in Madrid – spent some well-received time at Milwaukee’s Café at the Plaza. After exiting the Plaza, her initial plan was to helm a restaurant. That was supplanted by Bavette, whose raison d’etre is to offer meat from animals pasture raised (without hormones, antibiotics, etc.) on small, local farms. (“Bavette,” translates to “flank steak” in French.) That would be beef, pork, poultry, lamb and some seasonal specialty meats. “Butcher shop” denotes the process of breaking down the animal carcasses. Customers will be able to see that work if they want to. Bell plans to offer demos and classes, and along with a half-dozen tables, the digs will have a bar, where people can buy a sandwich, some soup or a charcuterie/cheese plate and watch the butcher at work. You can see the work of a sommelier as well. Bell’s sister, My Wine School owner Jessica Bell, will help create a wine list for the clearly much more than a butcher shop-to-be. Roll-out date? Early spring.
You’re planning to go to Wolf Peach, but you don’t want to order a pizza, bone marrow, boeuf bourguignon, roasted squash salad, etc., etc. from the regular menu? It’s time for a weeknight special. And they build on the riff already established by Wolf Peach’s casual service style. Here’s the lineup: Mussels Monday (all-you-can-eat), Bare Bones Tuesday (wood-roasted spare ribs, grilled raddichio, creamy polenta), Piggy Wiggly Wednesday (suckling pig, celery root puree), Meat and Potatoes Thursday (hanger steak, roasted potatoes, carrots), and Not-a-Fish-Fry Friday (bouillabaisse with rouille). Available from 5 p.m. Mon-Fri. ($14-$24) (1818 N. Hubbard St., 414-374-8480)
Bowls of Fire
Hot diggity. This Sunday is the Milwaukee Chili Bowl, an experience for your stomach equivalent to sunbathing in Maui. Maybe? But instead of Coppertone, bring your Tums. How it works: Local restaurants prepare a tantalizing specialty or two, samples of which are offered in 3-ounce portions. Your ticket gives you eight chili samples. (Donate two items to the Hunger Task Force, and you’ll get two additional samples.) Believe me, these 40-some restaurants care what you think of their chili. Everybody votes! Mulligan’s Irish Pub & Grill will defend its Golden Ladle title from last year. As will 2012’s runner-up, Old German Beer Hall. Other 2013 participants: Trysting Place Pub, Water Street Brewery, The Eatery on Farwell, Mason Street Grill, Screaming Tuna and Melthouse Bistro. Jan. 27, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Cal 414-687-5365. Potawatomi Casino Expo Center (1721 W. Canal St.)
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