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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

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Waffle dogs, purple fries and a shake from Eats & Treats.
Waffle dogs, purple fries and a shake from Eats & Treats.
Owner Chris Jourdan ...
Owner Chris Jourdan ...
... and his truck.
... and his truck.

Food Truck Week: Eats & Treats

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.

Ever since my colleague Nick Barth hipped me to the waffle dog, I've been chasing after the Eats & Treats Truck and, yesterday, I finally caught up.

According to its owner Chris Jourdan, the Eats & Treats Food Truck has a long history in Brew City. Jourdan is the fourth owner of a truck that's been working the Milwaukee streets since 1982.

Eats & Treats wraps a lot of stuff in waffles and pokes a stick through the middle: hot dogs, beer brats, spicy jalapeno cheddar brats, bacon. I tried the first two. For $4, you get two dogs but the beer brats cost more. Those are $6 a pair.

Think corn dogs but with waffles instead of cornbread, so, of course, the flavor is totally different even if the idea is the same. I loved them both but I had a dilemma. I'm a mustard on a sausage guy, but no way am I putting mustard on a waffle.

Luckily, Jourdan packs some syrup cups into the bag, too, and it's the perfect complement.

I also sampled Eats & Treats' recent menu addition: parmesan garlic fries made with purple potatoes from Treffinger Farms in Palmyra ($5). These are insanely addictive and there's an unexpected charm to noshing on purple French fries.

Perhaps ill-advisedly, from a caloric standpoint -- though definitely not from a flavor standpoint -- I washed it all down with a $6 salted caramel shake.

Check out the OnMilwaukee.com food truck finder to locate Eats & Treats to try one of the waffle dogs. The truck also does burgers, chicken and waffles and other stuff, so I'll be back to check those out.

The truck will be featured on the Travel Channel's "Food Paradise" in early 2015, so stay tuned for that, too.

Read more...
MPM Director Dennis Kois may have been the last to see the snake button.
MPM Director Dennis Kois may have been the last to see the snake button.

Snake button rattler is on the loose!

The Milwaukee Public Museum has just announced that the rattlesnake in its second floor bison hunt exhibition has fled the scene.

According to the release, the snake has gone on vacation, and has apparently been in contact with museum officials.

"I get more action than anyone here at MPM," the release quotes the snake as saying. "T-rex and the butterflies will try to tell you different, but visitors young and old are pushing my button all day long! With that much attention, it breaks down a lot. When it stopped working yesterday, I called my snake handler and said this had to stop. I can’t disappoint my public!"

Sounds like a mix of protest and vacation on the part of the snake, which clearly feels a responsibility to its fans. Apparently, the sooner the museum raises some funds to fix his button, the snake will return to the museum.

You can make a donation here to help fix the snake button and bring the snake back.

While he's away -- he's expected home on Friday, Aug. 29 -- you can follow the snake's adventures on Twitter.

I wonder if he took his downstairs colleague with him...

This was not my finest year for shopping for school supplies.
This was not my finest year for shopping for school supplies. (Photo: shutterstock.com)
Got one of these? Not me.
Got one of these? Not me. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Have standardized school supply lists simplified your shopping?

Three years ago, Milwaukee Public Schools decided -- for better or for worse -- to standardize its school supplies lists by grade level. 

It was a move made by many districts, hoping to rein in requests made to parents in high-poverty districts. After all, if nearly 90 percent of your kids are poor enough to qualify for free lunch, is it fair to ask their parents to drop $40, $50, $75 on school supplies and classroom donations?

The problem I found when I spoke to some teachers in the summer of 2011 and since is that the supply lists aren’t always appropriate, leaving teachers with stacks of a useless item and the complete absence of a necessary one (let the bartering begin!).

In those cases, parents have wasted cash and the burden of paying for some supplies has simply shifted to teachers, who typically already invest plenty in their classrooms.

All this was spinning in my brain yesterday as I stepped into an area big box store to try and tackle our school supply shopping.

I said I was "running in," naively thinking I could wrap up my two lists in 10-20 minutes. Instead, it ended up taking a fair bit of time, mostly because some items were near the front in a big, completely randomly organized display, others were toward the back with the office supplies, some were in health and beauty (we needed hand sanitizer and cotton balls), others with paper products in the opposite corner.

Clearly this store wanted to make sure parents augmented their total bill by forcing them to pass, with children, through toy aisles, big bins of DVDs and video games, etc. So much for any savings that a uniform supply list might bring.

The other challenging part is that my kids go to a specialty school that does not use the standardized supply list, which would result in many items going unused and teachers ponying up for lots of things, from those cotton balls and hand sanitizer to paper plates and napkins and more.

I’m fine with our teachers’ "wish list" -- that’s what they ha…

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The 18-story hotel is due to open Monday, Aug. 18.
The 18-story hotel is due to open Monday, Aug. 18.
Much of the landscaping has been done.
Much of the landscaping has been done.
But some work is still ongoing.
But some work is still ongoing.
Staff throughout the hotel is taking part in training and rehearsals.
Staff throughout the hotel is taking part in training and rehearsals.
There are bright colors throughout the hotel. These lobby LED lights can change color.
There are bright colors throughout the hotel. These lobby LED lights can change color.
Locavore restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Locavore restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A wall of windows ensures a bright space during the day.
A wall of windows ensures a bright space during the day.
Christian Damiano shows off Locavore's high-tech drinks list.
Christian Damiano shows off Locavore's high-tech drinks list.
The kitchen was built larger than necessary to accommodate potential growth.
The kitchen was built larger than necessary to accommodate potential growth.
Even the pots and pans get a jacuzzi.
Even the pots and pans get a jacuzzi.
Follow the glow to the elevators.
Follow the glow to the elevators.
The corridors on the lower floors have more muted colors, but on the top four floors, they're red.
The corridors on the lower floors have more muted colors, but on the top four floors, they're red.
There are banquet and meeting rooms in a variety of sizes on the third floor.
There are banquet and meeting rooms in a variety of sizes on the third floor.
There's even a deck with a view attached to one banquet space.
There's even a deck with a view attached to one banquet space.
The fitness center is on four.
The fitness center is on four.
Many features, like these lily pads, mimic nature.
Many features, like these lily pads, mimic nature.
A standard, double-queen room.
A standard, double-queen room.
The presidential suite is the most expensive hotel room in town.
The presidential suite is the most expensive hotel room in town.
It's got a sprawling deck...
It's got a sprawling deck...
...and a tub with a view.
...and a tub with a view.

Potawatomi Hotel nears completion

The new 18-story, nearly 400-room Potawatomi Hotel, 1721 W. Canal St., is slated to open on Monday, Aug. 18. We stopped in to get a peek at the nearly complete hotel.

Last time I got a look, in February, we saw life-sized room mockups. The first time, in early 2013, there weren't even walls.

Today, things look much different. Other than some detail work, some staff training, some rehearsal runs and a few finishing touches, the Potawatomi Hotel is complete. The hotel has hired more than 200 people.

And it's a nice place. The finishes are modern and the spaces bright. There are nature motifs throughout -- from reflecting pools of water captured in corridor carpet designs to lily pad lighting.

The rooms are well-appointed and all of them with windows facing east or north have views of Downtown. The west-facing windows look out over the Domes, Miller Park and beyond.

The 19th-floor (there is no 13th floor in the 18-story hotel) presidential suite -- with a rack rate of $4,000, making it by far the most expensive hotel room in town -- is sprawling and airy, with a long patio, two gas fireplaces and a has the tub with the best view in Milwaukee -- that I know of.

The Locavore restaurant in the lobby is especially fetching, with potted herbs on each table and an east facing glass wall ensuring plenty of light.

Potawatomi beverage operations manager Christian Damiano showed me the beer, wine and cocktails list. When you flip open the cover of this weighty menu you realize you're holding an iPad.

There's a plethora of banquet and meeting space, including one that's got an attached deck that offers views of the city skyline.

Designers have considered countless details, including the music on the elevators, which grows more soothing as the car ascends to the guest rooms and more exciting as it descends toward the lobby and attached casino.

Check out the slide show above to see a range of images from throughout the hotel.

Read more...