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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

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Behold the "Baconmeister."
Behold the "Baconmeister."
The perfect burger? You'll have decide.
The perfect burger? You'll have decide.
In the truck, it's a family affair.
In the truck, it's a family affair.

Food Truck Week: The "Baconmeister" from Burgermeister

Wait up, summer's not over yet. You can tell because the streets are still lined with the ever-growing food truck culture in Milwaukee. It's Food Truck Week here at OnMilwaukee.com and all week long we're stopping at some of Brew City's best restaurants on wheels in search of the most interesting dishes on offer.

I’m a sucker for a great burger, and now I’ve had two very good ones in two weeks from the Burgermeister food truck.

I quite enjoyed the "Garlicmeister" last time, but I’m pretty sure I’m now partial to their $9 "Baconmeister" meal. With 1/3 pound of Angus beef, topped with bourbon bacon, onion, lettuce, tomato and cheese (I opted for cheddar), it’s the brioche bun that makes the difference to me. It comes with homemade chips or fries and a drink.

I found both burgers could’ve been a little saltier, but much to my detriment, I really like salt, so maybe I’m not the best person to judge on that. Still, for fast street food, this was a really good burger. I’ll be back.

Inside the truck, it’s a fun story, too. The owner, his ex-wife, his current girlfriend and his son all work in concert. They recently started taking orders on paper to speed things up a little, and it’s a good system. They told me that Burgermeister’s "Frankenburger" appeared on Spike TV’s Chicago episode of "Frankenfood" – and won.

I guess I’ll have to try that beast of a burger/hot dog mash up next time.

The perfect street food.
The perfect street food.
The truck is Brewers-colored!
The truck is Brewers-colored!

Food Truck Week: Falafel Guys

Wait up, summer's not over yet. You can tell because the streets are still lined with the ever-growing food truck culture in Milwaukee. It's Food Truck Week here at OnMilwaukee.com and all week long we're stopping at some of Brew City's best restaurants on wheels in search of the most interesting dishes on offer.

I could pretty much eat falafel every day of my life and never get tired of it. The fried chickpea dish is close to the perfect vegetarian dish, and whether you claim it’s Israeli or Arabic, it’s one meal that everyone in the Middle East can agree is great.

I visited the blue and yellow Falafel Guys food truck twice last week when it was parked outside the Chase Building – partly to see if it was consistent, and partly just because I was craving falafel. Both visits were equally cheap and delicious.

For $5.95, you can a fresh falafel sandwich in a pita, with hummus, tahini sauce, pickles and lettuce (I ordered mine without tomato). Seasoned with parsley, it’s a simple, street food staple. And I love it.

Only two guys work the truck, and each sandwich is made to order, but even at high noon, it was speedy. The menu is pretty small, and also includes shawarma and eggplant sandwiches, plus fries and soda/bottled water.

The shawarma sandwich is $8.95 and cooked on a rotisserie in the truck. The $6.95 eggplant sandwich comes with a hardboiled egg.

But why mess with perfection? I’ll have the falafel sandwich every time.

Spacehog at Kenosha's Route 20 Roadhouse last winter.
Spacehog at Kenosha's Route 20 Roadhouse last winter.

Older, wiser Spacehog blasts into State Fair

Until last winter, Spacehog – the glam rock band from Leeds, England, with lots of airplay for 1994’s "In The Meantime" – hadn’t set foot in Wisconsin in a long, long time.

Then there was that show on a snowy December night at a tiny club in Kenosha. Unless you looked into the crowd of about 50, you wouldn’t know that the band with its huge sound was playing to an empty room. In a spot where other bands could mail it in – one of the acts on the bill even cancelled – Spacehog brought all the energy it had during those Summerfest and Shank Hall shows way back when.

You could tell that 20 years in, these guys still loved their jobs. The smattering of fans who came to Kenosha to see them play appreciated Spacehog now more than ever.

This time around, Spacehog returns to Milwaukee in a larger venue, joining Everclear, Soul Asylum and Eve 6 in the Summerland Tour at State Fair Thursday night night. It's easy to call it a ‘90s band reunion – and it may be – but listen to Spacehog play, and then ask yourself if this is a band just cashing a paycheck. Pretty sure you’ll come to the same conclusion I did.

We caught up with Spacehog drummer Jonny Cragg from Denver, as his tour moves to the Midwest. He talked about life on the road and what’s next for a band that did so much more in its four albums that just what you heard on the radio and saw on MTV.

OnMilwaukee.com: How’s the tour going?

Jonny Cragg: It's going great. It's been a bit of a revelation. We had a slightly tense relationship with the Everclear guys on our first time around.

OMC: Really?

JC: We were in very different places. (Everclear's) Art (Alexakis) was sober and we weren't. We were just young, silly English boys on our first major jaunt around North America. This time around it's very different. Art has been very gracious and benevolent. Not that he wasn't before, but I just think we're more aligned, because of our respective trajectories, with our respective fans. We've real…

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We don't have to like detours, but well-planned ones aren't necessarily a disaster.
We don't have to like detours, but well-planned ones aren't necessarily a disaster.
Is your blood pressure rising?
Is your blood pressure rising?

Construction done right

It’s easy to complain about highway construction in Milwaukee. After all, it’s pretty much a constant. When one project finishes, another begins … if we’re lucky. More often, it seems like every interchange or stretch of freeway is being worked on all at once.

While Milwaukee is an incredibly easy are to traverse, these projects slow us down with endless and confusing detours. They’re a necessity, maybe, but they usually feel like a boondoggle.

Take this weekend’s full closure of I-94. Smart that the DOT timed it when there wasn’t a Brewers game or State Fair, but we went to the drive-in movie on Saturday in Jefferson, so we had to use the long detour on Bluemound Road. Basically, our trip time was doubled, and even though communication about the project was good, there was no getting around the major inconveniences from the closure. It wasn’t pretty.

But one highway project has left me impressed. The Hoan Bridge reconstruction has been incredibly smooth for me, and I travel this stretch from home to work and back every day. Given the magnitude of what’s going on, the DOT has done this right.

A few parts of this construction stand out to me as model for how to do a major job. I’d never before seen a temporary barrier mover that lifts up and shifts the east side of the Hoan from one to two lanes and back, depending on day part. Because the road is literally wider during rush hour, what could be a challenging commute hasn’t been so bad.

And by reversing an on ramp and moving another, there aren’t many obstacles to get onto I-794, either. I dare say that the Hoan Bridge reconstruction is moving along so smoothly that I’ve barely hit a major traffic jam – no matter what time I use it.

While I don’t think I’ve ever said this about the DOT before, I’m impressed. I don’t always understand the politics or timing of road construction, but I appreciate a civic plan that’s so well thought out. For the many snarls of the Zoo Interchange, the Ho…

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