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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

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The double ice cream sundae at Ultimate Confections near the south end.
The double ice cream sundae at Ultimate Confections near the south end.
The best bet for the tastiest treats in the festival park ... Sciortino's.
The best bet for the tastiest treats in the festival park ... Sciortino's.
These candies are available at the roasted nuts booth near the World Sound Stage.
These candies are available at the roasted nuts booth near the World Sound Stage.
Sil's Mini Donuts are for sale at Summerfest. Near the North Gate.
Sil's Mini Donuts are for sale at Summerfest. Near the North Gate.

9 sure-fire sources for Summerfest sweet treats

You’ve had mozzarella sticks, topped them off with eggplant strips, maybe a brat and washed it all down with a beer. It’s dessert time at Summerfest and luckily, there are sweets all around – healthy and not so – to make your festival feast complete.

Here are nine great options:

If you enter at the North Gate you'll be greeted by the eye-catching booth erected for Sil's Mini Donuts. Yes, you heard right. Sil's is here at Summerfest. Though the alluring scent of mini donuts has disappeared from North Avenue, you can still experience it at the Big Gig.

Dippin’ Dots. You can get the ice cream of the future at a number of booths around the grounds. There’s one across from the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage near the north end and another on near the south end, too.

Just up from the north end Dippin’ Dots is a roasted nuts vendor selling cinnamon roasted almonds, cashews or pecans, cotton candy, sugary candies and salted cashews for ($5 and up).

Just south of the Mid-Gate is Catalano’s Fresh Fruit, selling fresh grapes, strawberries, melon and other healthy sweet treats. They also have fresh squeezed orange juice if you wake up some morning to find you spent the night sleeping in the splash pad after a rough night at the Big Gig.

Just a bit down the road apiece, south toward the Miller Lite Oasis, is Sciortino’s stand, selling cannoli, eclairs, tiramisu, Italian cookies, brownies and gelato. You might as well just stop here because it gets no better than this ... at Summerfest or anywhere else.

Kitty-corner to the southeast, facing the Miller Oasis is Cedar Crest, selling sundaes, malts, shakes, cones and dishes of Sconnie-made ‘scream. Prices range from $2.75 for a single scoop dish to $5 for sundaes.

Much further south, almost to the Marcus Amphitheater forecourt is Greek Village, where you can nosh delicious baklava for a mere $2.75, perhaps the bargain of the Big Gig.

Near the south end of the Sky Glider, Ultimate Confections has a boo…

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The Tritonics overcame some technical issues with a shrug and an upfull attitude.
The Tritonics overcame some technical issues with a shrug and an upfull attitude.
The Chickadees didn't let a bit of a delay and a thin crowd dampen their fun.
The Chickadees didn't let a bit of a delay and a thin crowd dampen their fun.

Local bands bring talent and spirit to the Big Gig

Tales of ego trips, prima donna performances and hissy fits are legendary among the rock and roll elite of the caliber that play major events like Summerfest.

But standing in stark counterpoint – and playing on the same stages, albeit earlier in the day – are the local musicians who are eager to share their skills for Summerfest patrons basking in the noonday sun or taking a lunch break at the festival.

Today, I was reminded of that twice when I hit the Big Gig at noon to check out two great local bands that include a number of area veterans. Both faced some obstacles and both leaped over them adeptly and with smiles.

First, at noon, The Chickadees, who specialize in intelligent, fun music for kids, were set to take the decidedly un-glitzy stage at the Northwestern Mutual Children’s Theater & Playzone. Another act was scheduled to start a mere 45 minutes later, which ensured a 30-minute set for guitarist and singer Mary Karlzen, singer Carmen Nickerson and fiddler Rachel "Chili Mac" Trapp. Or did it?

In fact, due to issues of some kind or another, the trio actually took the stage at about 12:20 and there were exactly four people there (including me and a photographer from another media outlet) when they started.

But roots rocker Karlzen and her colleagues hit the ground running, breaking into an uptempo tune about a frog, and their enthusiasm drew a few more faces. Realizing their time would be limited, the group played an audience participation tune, "The Hiking Song," and encouraged the small crowd there to get involved.

That led to one young fan leaping up on stage, attempting to grab the mic from Nickerson and rummaging through band members’ bags at the back of the stage. But The Chickadees didn’t miss a beat and never stopped smiling.

Meanwhile, nearby at the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage, The Tritonics – one of the rarest of creatures: a Milwaukee reggae band (and a good one, at that) – was creating the perfect soundtrack to a beautiful, …

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Kahler Slater designed the Marriott Dowtown on Milwaukee Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
Kahler Slater designed the Marriott Dowtown on Milwaukee Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
The hotel and its restaurant and a Starbucks are also in a row of historic buildings on Wisconsin Avenue.
The hotel and its restaurant and a Starbucks are also in a row of historic buildings on Wisconsin Avenue.
Guests are greeted by this chandelier upon entering the lobby.
Guests are greeted by this chandelier upon entering the lobby.
Off to the left is a library with books available to guests.
Off to the left is a library with books available to guests.
A full-service Starbucks is connected to the hotel on Wisconsin Avenue.
A full-service Starbucks is connected to the hotel on Wisconsin Avenue.
There is a banquet hall/ballroom and meeting rooms.
There is a banquet hall/ballroom and meeting rooms.
The corridors on the guest room floors are bright and colorful.
The corridors on the guest room floors are bright and colorful.
The rooms are tastefully decorated.
The rooms are tastefully decorated.
The Concierge Lounge has views out over Wisconsin Avenue.
The Concierge Lounge has views out over Wisconsin Avenue.
The lounge also has a business center, televisions and comfortable seating.
The lounge also has a business center, televisions and comfortable seating.
The pool isn't large, but it's family friendly at little more than three feet deep.
The pool isn't large, but it's family friendly at little more than three feet deep.
Millioke is the restaurant, led by Chef Patrick Taylor.
Millioke is the restaurant, led by Chef Patrick Taylor.
Taylor and his crew have been at work for a few weeks learning the menu and the kitchen layout.
Taylor and his crew have been at work for a few weeks learning the menu and the kitchen layout.
Millioke focuses on Wisconsin-made meat, cheese and beer.
Millioke focuses on Wisconsin-made meat, cheese and beer.

First look: Marriott Downtown and Millioke restaurant

Today we got a peek into the new Marriott Downtown and its Millioke restaurant, which open tomorrow, a couple weeks earlier than expected.

The new hotel, on the corner of Milwaukee Street and Wisconsin Avenue, has 205 tastefully decorated guest rooms and a top floor Lakeview Suite with views out toward Lake Michigan, making it prime real estate during summer fireworks displays.

Though some of the rooms are occupied by Marriott staff in town to help launch the new property, which occupies new construction and parts of historic buildings along Wisconsin Avenue, the hotel is completely booked for its first night.

The first guest is due to arrive to a bit of fanfare at 10:30 a.m. and will be presented with a cream city brick from the 1864 building on the corner that is also home to Johnson Bank.

The hotel – designed by Kahler Slater – includes a ballroom/banquet space, some meeting rooms, a fitness center, a small but welcoming pool, a Starbucks (fronting Wisconsin Avenue), a Schwanke-Kasten jeweler (fronting Milwaukee Street) and the Millioke restaurant.

In the lobby is a library lined with books guests can read and upstairs is the Marriott Concierge Lounge with a business center, breakfast and views out over Wisconsin Avenue.

Millioke, which focuses on meat, cheese and beer, boasts a menu loaded with Wisconsin-made products, including charcuterie and sausage from Usinger's, Nueske's and Bolzano Meats and cheeses from Carr Valley, Widmer in Theresa, Crave Brothers, Sartori, Purple Door ice cream and pretzel rolls from Miller Bakery, among others.

The staff there – led by Chef Patrick Taylor and his Sous Brian Atkinson – has been busy at work over the last six months creating the menu and in the past few weeks, learning the dishes and getting comfortable in the kitchen.

The hotel more than doubles Marriott's capacity Downtown where there is also a Courtyard Marriott on 3rd and Michigan Streets. That hotel has 154 rooms and 15 suites.

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While we are quick to recognize the artistry of the architects of Milwaukee's vintage landmarks, let's not forget the folks who brought to life these drawings.
While we are quick to recognize the artistry of the architects of Milwaukee's vintage landmarks, let's not forget the folks who brought to life these drawings.

Urban spelunking: In praise of carpenters

Last winter, on a visit to a couple closed school buildings, I was in the attic at 37th Street School and I saw the pencil markings left by a carpenter while framing out the roof of that school, built in 1903.

While I’d often thought of the architects of these stately buildings, hard at work at their drafting tables, I hadn’t spent much time thinking about the hard working folks who dug the foundations, set the limestone blocks in place, laid the bricks, framed the elaborate roofs.

A couple simple lines executed with pencil and a straight edge of some kind immediately transported me back more than a century and I could smell the scent of freshly cut wood, could hear the sound of rip saws and hammers at work.

Nearby, I saw a bird’s mouth cut into a joist to support a diagonal beam and I realized the pencil lines appeared to be a carpenter working out the proper angle for the cuts for the bird’s mouth.

An hour later, I stood in the much more spacious walk-in attic at Fifth Street School, where the effect is more soaring than cramped (like it is at 37th Street), and I paid extra attention to the carpentry. The framing in a school like that one (built in 1888), with a much steeper, complex roofline, looks almost like a spiderweb of wood.

Still, I was unprepared for what I saw when I switched on the light in a small, dark space I’d never seen before in the attic of the oldest part of Maryland Avenue School recently.

Ducking through a three-quarters size door – the top corner of which is traversed by a joist so watch your head – I could tell the space was cramped and I could see there was a light switch. When I flipped it, I saw what you can see in the image above: a sort of burnt siena-hued ligneous fan.

I was in the attic of the turret that is on the west facade of the original portion of the building, erected in 1887 and I was transfixed by the fan of joists. What struck me most was the heterogeneous spacing of them and the way they were trimmed to…

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