Did you know that despite closing its bricks and mortar place in Brookfield, The Venice Club is still rockin' at Summerfest? And this year, it celebrates 40 years on the grounds. Eggplant strips, we salute you.
But, today, when the gates when up I vowed to try some new-to-me and new to the Big Gig foods for lunch on the first day of Summerfest, a day when the air hung with fog and the Johnson Controls weather station read a balmy 62 degrees.
I went first to Burke's Lakeside, which has opened this year in the Ethnic Village, just west of the U.S. Cellular Connection and Johnson Controls World Sound Stages. At 12:10 p.m., it had the most activity of the numerous eateries in that area.
Folks could choose from a mac and cheese-topped burger ($8), a wild mushroom flatbread (also $8), bacon cheddar "frachos" -- cheese fries and nachos -- ($6) and a number of other enticing looking items.
I'd heard about and was eager to try the lobster and shrimp BLT ($9), so I ordered one. What I got was half a lobster and shrimp BLT.
Don't get me wrong, it was a delicious half a sandwich. The bread was perfectly toasted, with a nice crunch. The seafood salad was delicious. But this is Summerfest. In Milwaukee. You gotta tell folks it's a half a sandwich. Then they can enjoy it properly.
On the far south side of the grounds, I stopped in a Trinity Three Irish Pubs, where I was determined to sample either the Loaded Twister Dog -- a spiral cut potato wrapped around a hot dog and doused with jalapeno pale ale cheese "whiz," Sriracha ketchup, mayonnaise and beer-candied bacon -- OR a chicken 'n' waffle cone with a rosemary waffle cone, bleu cheese cole slaw, battered chicken, beer candied bacon and on and on ($6 each)
But NOT both, for obvious reasons.
I went with the dog, figuring I'll come back for the chicken waffle during a future Summerfest 2014 visit.
Trust me on this, if you get the sinful thing that is the twister dog, grab a plastic fork and knife and don't try to eat it off the skewer that runs through this colossal item. It's perhaps the messiest thing I've eaten since that ill-advised deep-fried butter at State Fair.
The all-beef dog is delicious, but, overall, it's a bit much -- maybe you should share it with someone. Full disclosure, I ate it all. By myself. And I'd probably do it again. And I'll still come back to try the waffle.
Then, I walked all the way to the north end again to find Classy Girl Cupcakes, only to realize that -- luckily -- I'd misread the brochure and it's near the BMO Harris Pavilion. No way I could walk the length of Summerfest a fourth time with that lunch weighing me down. Next time.
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