The Best Things to Do This Week, According to Our Editors: Nov. 15

Urban foraging, outdoor patios and more make our list this week.

1. Rustle your Neighbors’ Gutter Pumpkins


Listen, I know this sounds a little weird, but if you’re an avid composter like me, this is a very exciting time. The streets are brimming with orange gold right now in the form of discarded jack-o’-lanterns and other remnants of decorative gourd season. That stuff is rich, fertile black soil that just doesn’t know its full potential yet. So I don gloves, take a wheelbarrow around my ‘hood and load ’em up. Just a few pumpkins provide a ton of nitrogen for your compost pile, a perfect complement to the carbon-heavy leaves that tend to make their way into your bin this time of year. As a bonus, if the street pumpkins are uncarved and show no signs of rot, you can salvage and roast the seeds inside. Now that’s urban foraging at its finest.

Photo by Chris Drosner

2. Make Some Soup


So last week, I made a pot of chili – my first since the seasons changed. I loved having something warm and nourishing for weekday lunches. And now I’m craving those easy one-pot dishes all week. I’ve been scouring websites for soup recipes because I always want to try something new. There’s a few I’ve bookmarked on the Washington Post site. Yep, my soup pot is going to get a good workout these next several months.

3. Check Out the Patio at Vennture Brew Co. 


If you’re not ready to hibernate indoors, layer your long underwear, wool sweater and puffer coat for a sit on the patio at Vennture Brew Co. where you can sip your beer (or coffee) by the warmth of your own outdoor firepit. On weekend evenings $10 gets you a bundle of wood and they light and tend to the fire for you. While you’re there, do your future self a favor and preorder a Hatched Thanksgiving pie.

4. Check Out the Holiday Lights Festival


I just learned that Downtown Milwaukee’s Holiday Lights Festival kicks off on Thursday and I can’t wait! I know it’s a little early – personally, I don’t start celebrating the holidays until after Thanksgiving – but I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend it here. Wisconsin Avenue is at its prettiest during this season, and the Wisconsin BID #21 really puts the work in to make the parks a worthy winter attraction. 

Photo by Visit Milwaukee

5. Read Based on a True Story by Norm Macdonald


Norm Macdonald, the greatest standup comic we had, died in September. He left us with hours on hours of great material to watch, but less well known is his memoir/comic novel. So much of Norm’s comedic power was in his delivery, and yet he finds a way to translate that humor onto the page. The book traces his life with multiple asides, strange divergences, joke roundups, and a semi-fictional story that feels like a novel by Gogol or Bulgakov. It’s a heck of a thing, and anyone who’s a fan of Norm (or a fan of things that are funny) should give it a read.