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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Nov. 24, 2014

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Seth McClung on the road in Des Moines in April.
Seth McClung on the road in Des Moines in April.

Brewers organization releases Seth McClung

Former Brewers pitcher Seth McClung just texted me to say that he's been released by the Nashville Sounds.

The right hander was 2-13 with a 6.36 ERA, but his record didn't tell the whole story. This season was up and down for McClung, and while he pitched several very good games, he also was hit hard in his final start last night, giving up two grand slams.

In 103.1 innings with the Sounds, he struck out 80 and walked 60. We profiled McClung and his hopes on returning to the Brewers back in May.

"I pitched as a starter all year," said McClung. "I probably should've been in the pen, but I am very grateful for the opportunity the Brewers organization gave me."

Said McClung, 31, "I will continue to get stronger and keep fighting. I hope and have faith that I will continue to play baseball again at the professional and Major League level. I trust God has a path for me."

McClung pitched for the Brewers from 2007 to 2009, and while he was out of baseball, blogged occasionally for OnMilwaukee.com.

Live music added to Chop's ambience.
Live music added to Chop's ambience. (Photo: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography)
Chop is reasonably priced, especially for Door County.
Chop is reasonably priced, especially for Door County. (Photo: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography)
The dining room is tiny and intimate.
The dining room is tiny and intimate. (Photo: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography)
Bananas Foster, made by the owner's mother.
Bananas Foster, made by the owner's mother. (Photo: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography)
Jody Wuollett opened Chop this spring.
Jody Wuollett opened Chop this spring. (Photo: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography)
Chop strikes that perfect balance between fine dining, reasonable prices and lovely, unpretentious, summer ambience.
Chop strikes that perfect balance between fine dining, reasonable prices and lovely, unpretentious, summer ambience. (Photo: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography)

Door County's new Chop is intimate, accessible

SISTER BAY – In my many years of wonderful trips to Door County, one area I've never put much stock in is dinner. For all the delicious breakfasts around the peninsula, lunch and dinner have usually turned into pizza or bar food.

This weekend, as I ambled around Door County for next Saturday's OnMilwaukee.com travel story, I enjoyed one of the better dinners on the peninsula at the new Chop Restaurant, 10571 Country Walk Lane #13, in Sister Bay.

Invited to visit by owner Jody Wuollett, we were pleased to see such an intimate and accessible fine dining restaurant in Sister Bay. Chop is tiny, with an an open kitchen layout behind just a handful of tables and a small bar nestled in the corner.

Because it was so nice out – hot, even – we chose to dine outside, where a local guitarist played for a few more tables overlooking this common area. It's the kind of place where you can feel comfortable in shorts while drinking your wine. Nothing about this great new hideaway feels pretentious or forced.

Door County is not an inexpensive place to eat, but Chop is far from overpriced, even by Milwaukee standards (and especially by Chicago standards).

My nine-ounce Angus beef filet mignon cost a mere $28 – and that included salad and potato. Our $6 cremini mushrooms sautéed butter started the meal, as did some very special homemade pop-over rolls. My fantastic bananas Foster cheesecake (baked by Wuollett's mother) ended dinner; we left full, but not too full.

As I continue to taste better and better steaks from around Wisconsin, it's hard to rank them – so I won't. But certainly, Chop joins Summertime in Fish Creek as the two best dinners I've had in Door County.

The overall experience was just so nice, too. For a new restaurant that admittedly is still finding its sea legs – the young servers were polite and attentive, even though the service doesn't quite match up yet to the quality of the food – Chop is off to a great start.

If you find yourself in Door …

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Do not underestimate the size of this sausage. It's huge.
Do not underestimate the size of this sausage. It's huge.
OnMilwaukee.com staff looks on as Chef Grant Newhouse prepares the Giant Slugger.
OnMilwaukee.com staff looks on as Chef Grant Newhouse prepares the Giant Slugger.

A winning wiener

Our friends at the Brewers brought us lunch today. It was only two items, but being a total of four feet of hot dog, it left us pretty full.

The "Giant Slugger" is a two-foot hot dog that weighs two pounds, nine ounces. It's made of Klement's meat, an amazingly dense pretzel bun from Miller Bakery, plus chili, cheese, caramelized onions and optional jalapeños. Our team just about finished two.

At $26, it's actually a heck of a value, since you'll want to split the long dog among friends. Consider that a regular jumbo hot dog costs $5.50, and this should easily feed four. It should be noted, however, that patrons in both St. Louis and Texas have finished the hot dog, solo, in as little at 9 minutes, 15 seconds. But they didn't have the awesome pretzel bun.

Sales started out a little slowly, says chef Grant Newhouse, who prepared the hot dogs on location today. But after the Brewers' media blitz, they sold about 50 on Saturday and 40 on Sunday. Technically only available during July (Hot Dog Appreciation Month), Newhouse says if sales keep up, the Brewers might make the Giant Slugger available all season long.

Personally, I ate three big chunks of the hot dog (two more than necessary, really), and even though I don't consider myself a "hot dog guy," it was pretty good. The delicate dance of the flavors – the caramelized onions, especially – made it really good, and obviously, really filling.

Before I slip into a food coma, I'll tell you that the hot dog is available on the Loge Level at Miller Park at a portable stand outside section 215 and on the Field Level at the Plaza Grill outside of section 110.

You just might want to grab a "briefcase" of hot dog today.

OK, I joined. Now what?
OK, I joined. Now what?

Why I caved in and joined Facebook

I've been making fun of Facebook and the army of status-updating, lurking zombies it's produced for a long time now. In fact, I've joked that I'm the last human on Earth who doesn't have an account, myself.

But Monday, I caved in and joined up.

Here's why.

In two weeks, I'm heading to Warwick, R.I., where I lived from 1987 to 1992, for my 20th high school reunion. The invitation, of course, was on Facebook, and even without an account, I was able to see the profiles of many of the people attending.

I had seen some of these classmates five years ago at my 15th reunion, and others, 10 years ago at my 10th. But some I hadn't seen or talked to in 20 years. A wave of fear washed over me as I realized that everyone on Facebook "knew" each other, but here I'd be, flying in from 1,048 miles away and attempting to introduce my wife to people who I just didn't recognize anymore. The anxiety grew and grew, and I realized it was time to drop the 'tude and open an account.

Understand that I had held off on joining Facebook for this long for a few reasons:

First, jealousy. I already have my own Web site (which you're reading right now), but unlike Zuckerberg, I wasn't thinking globally when starting it. He's a billionaire, and I'm still toiling away 14 years later with several fewer zeros in my net worth than that hoodie-wearing geek. I hated him even more after watching "The Social Network."

Second, I believe that sometimes the past is best left in the past. Not that I'm hiding from anything, but I've always thought that people I wanted to reconnect with (and vice versa) could find me easily enough. I didn't need a "friend finder," and I still don't.

Third, it was fun to smugly pretend like I didn't need another social media distraction. I spend enough time on Twitter, and really, I think 140 characters is my perfect creative wheelhouse. The open-ended oversharing possibilities of Facebook seemed like they might be too excessive.

Three days in, I think they are.

I can'…

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