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Rhythm and Ravioli I haven’t been to Jazz in the Park in years. It’s an aversion-to-crowds thing (but I think this year my skin will be thicker). The wildly popular outdoor music fest in Cathedral Square Park starts tonight (June 1, 6-9 p.m.) and runs on Thursdays through September 28. You can stand around and […]

Rhythm and Ravioli

I haven’t been to Jazz in the Park in
years. It’s an aversion-to-crowds thing (but I think this year my skin will be
thicker). The wildly popular outdoor music fest in Cathedral Square Park starts
tonight (June 1, 6-9 p.m.) and runs on Thursdays through September 28. You can
stand around and watch the entertainment on stage and, unofficially, in the
audience. But more importantly, you can stuff your face. Vendors of food and
drink are waiting in the wings to make this experience more pleasant. Here’s who
they are and what they’ve got: Sushi-a-Go-Go: Thai chicken satay, grilled
steak sandwich and various nori rolls; Ouzo Cafe: spanakopita, gyros,
beef and chicken souvlaki; Flannery’s: burgers, brats, grilled chicken
breast, veggie wrap; Louise’s Italian Cafe: meatball sandwich, cheese
ravioli, grilled chicken sandwich, goat cheese and pine nut salad, tiramisu.
Wine, beer and soda are available as well. Oh, you want to know which acts are
playing? Here’s enough to fill your calendar for the next month. June 1: Fell
Boyzs; June 8: Khalage; June 15: The Paul Spencer Band; June 22: Reverend Raven
& the Chain-Smokin’ Altar Boys; June 29: Brian Lynch.

Pearl of a Patio

I’ll try not to bore you every week with patio
talk, but you know, the weather is nice and we’re just on the cusp of
summer…Okay, so who wants to eat outside? La Perla’s rooftop patio has
opened for the season. What rooftop patio? The Walker’s Point Mexican restaurant
(734 S. Fifth St., 645-9888) is expanding into the neighboring building to the
north. The space – the sign says “La Perla Tequila Bar” – has a kitchen, dining
room (not yet open but close to it, says owner JoAnne Anton) and, apparently, a
stylish design that will include stainless-steel garage doors opening to the
street. Anton promises a few new menu items, including guacamole prepared
tableside.

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Friday Fire

I wish my office were closer to Larry’s Brown Deer
Market
. On Fridays in summer, the Northwest Side market (8737 N. Deerwood
Dr., 355-9650) is a haven for buns and condiments. The grills are fired up for
lunch only, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. They have Angus burgers, brats,
Italian herb tenderloin, sesame chicken breast, Cajun catfish and Thai ginger
chicken sausage ($3.25-$5.95). Of course, the shop’s also open if you’d care to
step inside to peruse the cheese case, grab something prepared from the deli or
pick up a “killer” brownie from the baked goods positioned near the cash
register.

Irritation of the Week

Do you think it’s gauche for the server to
tell you the prices of a restaurant’s nightly specials? Example: The server
says, “Tonight, I have coconut-crusted soft-shell crab for $24 and a stuffed
pork chop for $19.” It sounds perfectly acceptable to me. If the server doesn’t
mention prices, I have to ask. I don’t mind asking, but other people do.
Sometimes there’s the implication that a diner will sound too cost-conscious if
he or she asks the price. Some people just think the mention of dollars is
unseemly. I think it shouldn’t be a big deal. When specials are written on a
chalkboard, I can’t remember not seeing the prices listed. Is it just
verbalizing them that makes it seem harsh? The best solution is to give each
diner a list of the nightly specials, prices included, along with the regular
menu. That way, the diner doesn’t have to ask the server to repeat some
painfully long description for the catch of the day. It also takes the onus off
of servers, which is good when memorization – not to mention pronunciation –
isn’t their strong suit.

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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 June 2.
That’s 99.1 WMYX-FM.

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

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

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