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Flipping News I used to eat pancakes for dinner sometimes. In fact, pancakes are one of my most comforting of comfort foods. If you feel likewise, the imminent opening of the second Milwaukee-area Original Pancake House is a good thing. And according to the latest word, that opening is this Monday, May 29, Memorial Day. […]

Flipping News

I used to eat pancakes for dinner sometimes. In
fact, pancakes are one of my most comforting of comfort foods. If you feel
likewise, the imminent opening of the second Milwaukee-area Original Pancake
House
is a good thing. And according to the latest word, that opening is
this Monday, May 29, Memorial Day. The location is the long-shuttered Coffee
Trader space (2625 N. Downer Ave.). The hours will be the same as at the
restaurant’s sister in Brookfield (16460 W. Blue Mound Rd., 262-797-0800):
Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sat-Sun 7 a.m.-3 p.m. The menu will be familiar, too:
pancake varieties galore (baked ones as well, like the Dutch Baby), waffles,
crepes, French toast, omelets, corned beef hash. My friend Kevin says he’s never
met a carbohydrate he didn’t like. When I think of the type of chow here, I know
exactly what he means.

Latin Attraction

Sol Fire has the classic terrace for
outside dining – a few steps up from the sidewalk so it has height but still
open and close enough to the street to make it a nice spot to watch the world
cruise by on Farwell Avenue. The Latin restaurant inherited the alfresco
arrangement from former occupant La Casita. Co-owned by The Social’s Kevin
Sloan, Sol Fire has been chugging along for more than three years, and not
without changes along the way. The spring menu came out a few weeks ago. New
choices include a pan-fried tilapia sandwich with calabacitas (zucchini) slaw,
skirt steak with avocado-radish salad, roasted vegetable burrito and pan-seared
duck breast over fufu (a starch sometimes made with yams or plantains). Tuesday
is Latin Jazz Night, and Sundays are for flying. Order a “flight” (sample-size
servings) of tequila, rum or Latin wine, and you’ll find it accompanied by
complimentary ceviche and chips. Prices are $7.95-$20.95 for sandwiches and
entrées. 2014 N. Farwell Ave., 291-0232.

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Basking in Beans

Alterra Coffee has a crafty way of setting
you up with some of the world’s best (I don’t exaggerate) beans. Subscribers to
the local roaster’s e-mail-only list have the chance to buy small quantities of
top-rated, hard-to-find beans. For instance, in April, subscribers received an
e-mail about an Ethiopian coffee ranked an impressive fifth out of 200 coffees.
Among the coffee’s tantalizing descriptions: “A curiously sweet combination of
berry, floral and grapefruit aromas erupt from the cup, giving way to delightful
lemony acidity…” Mmm. This coffee was priced at $14.95/pound – a deal given its
quality. Quantities were limited, as will be the case with all of the coffees
offered. Interested? Get yourself on the subscriber
list
.

Irritation of the Week

In her book Garlic and Sapphires, former NY Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl wrote at
length about being seated at the worst tables in some of NYC’s best restaurants.
I, too, have experienced the dregs of restaurant seating. It’s a mode of insult
quite unlike any other. It happened to me last Saturday in Las Vegas. The
fine-dining restaurant had many lovely tables, some of them seemingly unspoken
for. But my party of three was escorted to a seat in a windowless corner of the
restaurant next to a storage/prepping area for the servers. I’m not sure if it
had to do with my asking questions, but our main server was cold and borderline
haughty. I pondered what it would take to get a better table in this place. Just
asking for one seemed unlikely at the time, so I did nothing. It might have been
worth it to say something, but instead, I suffered through a crummy table,
feeling foolish for not feeling like doing anything about it. It’s
amazing how fully a restaurant can make you feel like – using the pet phrase of
a friend – pond scum.

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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 May 26. That’s 99.1 WMYX-FM.

E-mail your worst restaurant gripes to me at ann.christenson@milwaukeemagazine.com

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