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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Not only does Solly's Grille have great burgers, but the fries are the perfect compliment to a great lunch.
Not only does Solly's Grille have great burgers, but the fries are the perfect compliment to a great lunch.

All fries are not created equal

Everybody knows that you shouldn't make a steady diet of french fries. No matter how you cut them, they aren't all that good for you.

But, every now and then, a good order of fries is just the thing you need, as a side with a great burger or grilled cheese, or a snack all by themselves.

The search for great fries seems never-ending and there are a lot of candidates in the Milwaukee area.

Two of them are drive-thru places, Culver's and Church's Fried Chicken. Both have fries that are crisp on the outside and soft potato on the inside, my recipe for a perfect fry. If you want them extra crispy, Culver's will respond.

Another thing I've noticed is that places with great burgers also seem to feature great fries, with a couple of exceptions. Kopp's, for example, as a great burger but wilted and limp fries.

Mazo's on 27th street has outstanding fries as does Replay on North Avenue which is my candidate for unknown great burger of the year. The original Sobelman's also makes the list.

But for my money, the best fries in town are from Solly's Grille on Port Washington Road. Long famous beyond our borders as the best burger in town Solly's understands that greatness can be had with a combination. By far, the most common order at Solly's is a cheeseburger with slice of raw onion, fries and a chocolate malt.

Solly's will make your fries however you want and while you may have a wait a bit, it's well worth the extra time to get fries this good.

COA proclaims to be the"Heart of Mexican Street Food." What street exactly do they mean?
COA proclaims to be the"Heart of Mexican Street Food." What street exactly do they mean?

COA misses the mark

I've eaten in some very expensive restaurants before, and I have rarely left feeling that I got less than I paid for.

Expensive restaurants generally charge a lot of money because you get something very special. Sanford comes to mind and Lake Park Bistro. You have a very special evening when you go to those places.

I was shocked, however, when I stopped for lunch at COA while shopping in Bayshore Town Center on Friday.

I had heard about COA, operated by Marc and Marta Bianchini, who ran the outstanding Osteria Del Mondo for years. COA is billed as "The Heart of Mexican Street Food."

I just didn't know that the street they were talking about was Rodeo Drive.

I was stunned when I looked a the menu for lunch. A beef taco, it said, cost "5.1" which is a fancy way of writing $5.10. Ah, well, I figured that it was probably one of those big tortillas.

But no. It was your basic tiny taco shell, the kind you usually buy three of if you are buying from a real street vendor. And street vendors double up on the tortillas. That means if I wanted three little tacos for lunch, it would have cost $15.30. For three tiny tacos. For lunch.

I was scared, so I went for a Cobb Salad with shrimp. It came and there were a few tiny shrimp, the kind you get at those All You Can Eat places. And there was No bacon. I mean who ever heard of a Cobb Salad with no bacon?

The cost of the Cobb Salad was $14.50.

Nobody has ever called me a cheapskate. To the contrary, I've been faulted as being a spendthrift. But this place just seemed way, way out of line.

Fifteen bucks for a Cobb Salad with no bacon? Whew. Maybe I am a cheapskate.

Do you donate?
Do you donate?

Salvation Army kettles stir up thoughts

There are lots of issues around holiday time but one of the biggest is developing your strategy for the Salvation Army kettles.

God bless 'em, those kettles are everywhere. And the Salvation Army does a fantastic job fulfilling its mission.

But those kettles can prove to be a real problem. I mean I've got a lot of Jewish blood in me and guilt comes pretty easy to my shoulders. Those kettles are guilt served on a silver platter.

There are a few different alternatives and you've got to have a strategy unless you plan to enter zero stores between now and New Year's.

One, you can drop whatever change you just got from your purchase in the kettle. That will earn you a "Merry Christmas" from the bell ringer.

Two, you can put a few bucks into one of the kettles and then you can tell every other bell ringer "I already contributed." My guess is that the bell ringers only believe about 20 percent of those claims. And who can blame them?

Third, you can write a check and send it to the Salvation Army. Then you can tell the ringers "I contributed with a check."

Fourth, you can brush by them and mumble something that sounds "Humbug" and keep on walking. No happy wishes and you better watch out for a wild reindeer attack.

My strategy is number one. Who needs change anyhow.

I wonder how other people handle this one.

Hoop it up for the MACC Fund.
Hoop it up for the MACC Fund.

Annual Bucks MACC Fund game is Dec. 21

I was there 35 years ago when the MACC Fund was created.

Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer was created when Jon McGlocklin retired as the all time favorite Milwaukee Buck. No Buck, before or since, has become such a part of the community in which he played.

The creation of the MACC Fund was an idea born with no real idea of what it would become. Through thousands of local events from fashion shows to dinner parties to golf tournaments to tavern fundraisers. the MACC Fund is the go-to charity in Milwaukee. It's all local and is a source of community pride.

The 35th annual MACC Fund game is scheduled for December 21st at the Bradley Center. The Bucks play the Minnesota Wolves, led by magic point guard Rickey Rubio and new, veteran coach Rick Adelman. The game tips off at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the 35th Annual MACC Fund game at the Bradley Center are on sale now at the Bradley Center Box Office (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday), by calling TicketMaster (1-800-4NBA-TIX) or by visiting Bucks.com.

The MACC Fund is a very special organization that has shown incredible growth. Executive Director John Carey has presided over a spectacular success for a local charity, and Bucks vice president John Steinmiller has been a guiding force for the charity since the the idea was born.

There is a lot of curiosity about this year's edition of the Bucks. They stand a chance to be a very surprising team if the moves they have made fall into place, much like the kind of thing that happened with the Milwaukee Brewers last season.

The MACC Fund game is a great opportunity to get a first look at the Bucks and to contribute to a very worthy cause.