The logo painted on the front window at Millioke, the restaurant on East Wisconsin Avenue connected to the lobby of the Milwaukee Marriott Downtown, contains a depiction of a fat pig and the restaurant’s slogan: “Meat. Cheese. Beer.” Perhaps I should have known better than to order falafel.
A spicy falafel, served with a quinoa salad and a cucumber yogurt sauce, pita and avocado, was one of three choices offered to lunchtime customers as part of Downtown Dining Week’s special $12.50 menu. I chose it because I wasn’t in the mood for a burger (though the bacon jam and cheese fondue that came with the DDW menu’s burger looked pretty interesting), and because I’m hoping to lose some weight. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an option involving sausages, which the restaurant’s website features.
DDW luncheons generally offer two or three choices for starters/appetizers, two or three for entrees and a two or three for dessert. To start, I chose a Little Gem Lettuce Salad, iceberg lettuce wedges with grilled beets and bacon, and green goddess dressing. Not bad.
The falafel was spicy but not too, and the pita was a little dry and not too fresh. I liked the yogurt sauce. The quinoa? I’m not really a fan.
I did like the dessert, though – piña colada panna cotta, a tasty custard served with a couple hunks of grilled pineapple and a couple of “Wisconsin cherries,” as the menu advertised (they were maraschino cherries).
One other thing: The service I got was pretty slow on Monday noon – I think partly because I was sitting at the end of the bar, and nobody else was seated near me. After the first two courses I thought I’d have a beer, to relax a bit about that. The bartender served me a Happy Place Midwest Pale Ale from Third Space Brewing in the Menomonee Valley, and it did put me in a happy place. I became even happier when the bartender didn’t charge me for the beer because the service had been so slow.
I have to say, I am not really a food guy. I like to eat, and I do it every day, but I don’t care too much what it is I’m ingesting, as long as it doesn’t damage me in some way. There’s a Zen chant that’s like a before-meal prayer, and it starts, “Innumerable labors have brought us this food.”
Later on, there are these lines:
“We regard this food as good medicine to sustain our life.
For the sake of enlightenment we now receive this food.”
So, bottom line, the lunch at Millioke sustained my life, and I salute the restaurant for the innumerable (though sometimes slow) labors that brought it to me.