It’s about 11 in the morning, and you are about to climb into your car and drive to Madison or Chicago or Green Bay. Suddenly, the first pangs of lunch hunger begin to rear their head, and you figure you’ll just get something to eat in the car on the way.
A spill on your shirt or tie. Your skirt gets an embarssing stain. Your car may become littered with some kind of formerly edible product. Or worse, a spill in the car can quickly escalate into a far more violent spill on the road.
Driving and eating is a perilous combination but one that can be accomplished with success with a little inside knowledge. And here it is.
I’ve done this countless times with varying degrees of success and mess. Along the way, I’ve learned a couple of things.
The biggest thing is you have to think "CHEESE." Not because we’re the dairy state but because cheese holds stuff together as long as it’s melted. Put it on almost any sandwich, and you increase your chances of clean eating by almost 37 percent. It’s a fact. You can look it up.
So, with this background, here are the top 10 things you can safely eat while driving. I went for taste, too. Health ... not always.
1. Hummus from Aladdin in the Milwaukee Public Market – It’s the best in the entire city and a dish that stays put when you dip one of their baked pita chips into it. You can’t glop it on, but a little bit is great. You can try to put small slices of cucumber on top, but that requires some right hand dexterity that only a few have.
2. Grilled cheese from George Webb – Gourmet? Not so much. But a solid sandwich, cut in half, with a kind of bread that leaves very few crumbs. I think it’s the globs of butter the cook puts on the outside of the bread. Adding bacon or ham is also an option, but be careful of ham; it can be a little oily and ooze out of the side.
3. Well done French fries from Solly’s – If you get them like that, you get that great crispy outside and that soft, smooth center. Of course, ketchup always goes along with fries, but beware: Ketchup runs. It’s just too thin and hard to control. Instead, ask for a cup of mayonnaise and dip your fries in that. The mayo stays where you put it, and it’s a new taste experience.
4. A burrito from the Taqueria Buenavista, which can be found on Chase Avenue in Bay View – Don’t go crazy here and load it up with all kinds of stuff. Stay away from sour cream, for example. But if you go al pastor with a little bit of refried beans and some queso, you’ve got an easy to eat meal. Make sure you ask the cook to double the tortilla so that you’ve got something solid to go after.
5. Spring rolls and crab rangoon from Jing’s in the Third Ward – The spring rolls are delicious, fresh and perhaps even slightly healthy. As for the crab, a little bit of creativity is needed. While driving, use your right hand to break off the crisp wonton edges of the dish until you are down to the crab center and just a little bit of fried wonton. Otherwise, you may drop crumbs. You may well be able to put the whole thing in your mouth.
6. The classic lox sandwich from Benji’s – This one is simple, but a couple of things should be considered. Don’t get any of those sesame or poppy seed bagels, or you’ll get crap on the lap. A plain bagel is best. Ask them to go easy on the cream cheese so it doesn’t squirt out. And make it plain cream cheese, none of that garden or raspberry favored by so many millennials. And finally, cut it in half so it’s like a sandwich.
7. Barbecue ribs from either Ashley’s or Speed Queen – On the surface, this looks like it’s impossible, but with some experience you can handle it. First of all, ask the cook to leave the sauce off the ribs. Put it about two inches of it in a large soda cup. Then ask for the rack to be cut into individual ribs. No white bread, either. Then you can eat these and if you want, dip a rib into just a little bit of sauce. Be careful if you dip.
8. A sandwich from the Pita Pit on Farwell – Here’s the problem with every pita sandwich served in every restaurant in the world: Since the ingredients are so inexpensive, restaurants figure they can charge more if they overload the sandwich. If you want to go the pita way, ask to fill it with whatever you want but only 75 percent of the way to the top. No oil or dressing; eat it naked. You can close the top of the pocket and feel safe as you munch. This is especially good for vegetarians, vegans and other crazy people.
9. Pizza from Ian’s – Pizza is a tough choice because no matter what you do, that tomato sauce is a problem. Ian’s has a great quattro formaggio (four cheese pizza), however, that doesn’t have the sauce. It’s wonderful, and if you ask them to bake it a little longer, it comes out without anything that will spill. You can’t add any meat because that’s where the grease comes from. But you can learn to fold a pizza slice in half lengthwise and eat it like that. Practice this at home first.
10. Go to Honeypie for a sweet treat to take along with you. The shop has two things on the menu that are good for drivers. One is its cannoli, which is sweet and creamy, and if you take small bites, you will be safe. The other is the caramel brownie. Caramel. Brownie. Nothing more needs to be said.
There you have it. The top 10, plus the overall hint that everyone should remember while dining: drive safely.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published March 26, 2015
Michael Isikoff is, perhaps, the best investigative reporter in the country and he has written a story about secret big money donations to Scott Walker. The story could well be the death knell for Walker's presidential aspirations.
Published March 24, 2015
Ron Roenicke had the team option through next season picked up, but that decision may well not be the best thing for the Brewers. Lame ducks have the freedom to take risks and be creative which is something the team could use.
Published March 17, 2015
Boxing has started to get national television exposure and early returns are that the sport still has a draw. At one point boxing was one of the most popular sports in the world.
Published March 15, 2015
"The Snow Dragon" at Skylight Music Theatre proves once again that brave choices make for enthralling nights of live entertainment. The English language opera deals with child abuse and the healing process for everyone.
Published March 14, 2015
"Five Presidents," at the Milwaukee Rep, takes a look at what it must have been like when four ex presidents and one sitting one gathered for the funeral for Richard Nixon. The play is full of humor but falls short when it comes to credibility.
Published March 12, 2015
Every candidate goes through the same steps when they think about running for president. Scott Walker has already taken six of the most obvious steps, so he must be serious about this whole thing.
Published March 10, 2015
Now that Bob Dandridge's jersey has been retired, attention moves to who should be next to climb into the ring of honor. There are lots of candidates, including some unusual ones.
Published March 5, 2015
Wisconsin law requires a 48-hour waiting period to purchase a handgun. Gov. Scott Walker has announced he would support a measure that will eliminate that waiting period. He made his pledge to the National Rifle Association.
Published March 3, 2015
Last year spring training was something we needed. As fans of the pro sports teams in Milwaukee and Green Bay, our spirits needed to be lifted out of the doldrums. But now we've got other stuff to be excited about so spring training doesn't have the urgency it once did.
Published March 2, 2015
"Come Back" is the work of local playwright Neal Haven, one getting its world premiere at In Tandem Theatre. It's a play about the grief of losing a loved one and tries to find humor in the situation.