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 July 29, 2014
You shouldn't have to drive half a day to play golf. You shouldn't have to take out a loan. You shouldn't have to lose an entire day of your life. With those thoughts in mind I've compiled a list of fun and challenging golf courses within a one hour drive from Milwaukee where you can play a course that demands some skill, provides some challenge and lets you walk away with enough money to take your wife out to lunch.
Published July 24, 2014
Let's not overreact to Dave & Carole's incendiary and absurd comments on the arts in Milwaukee on Wednesday. After all, by very definition radio hosts are interested in just one thing, ratings. Whatever it takes, get ratings.
Published July 22, 2014
The "Big Four" sports leagues in this country are increasingly expanding their brand and their reach, which draws interest and players from around the world. As a result, fewer Americans are finding roster spots (outside of football). Pro golf, tennis and soccer bypassed the U.S. long ago. So, are American athletes soft? Do they not have what it takes anymore to reach the top of their profession?
Published July 17, 2014
It might be possible for me to count on the fingers of one hand the times I've actually been proud of a politician. Once more I find I'm proud of a politician, in this case County Executive Chris Abele. Even though I don't agree with all his decisions, he provided a moment that will forever be burned in my memory.
Published July 15, 2014
In Wisconsin, we have the world class American Players Theatre, called by many the best in the country. The Illinois Shakespeare Festival is moving in that direction, and with a gorgeous space on gorgeous grounds, an easy three-hour drive for Milwaukee Shakespeare fans would be a worthy summer trip.
Published July 15, 2014
Nothing is more exciting than a division race in basball. It can last for weeks. Every single game is crucial. Every play seems crucial. It is the ultimate agony and ecstasy of sports. And there is a profound role for those of us who are fans to play in a pennant race.
Published July 11, 2014
There is something about watching people just like us begin to unravel and shrink into desperation and desolation that demands our attention. That's the attraction of "God of Carnage," the Yasmina Reza play serving as the first production of the new Umbrella Group.
Published July 10, 2014
Across nearly 70 years, the Agatha Christie play "And Then There Were None" has become one of those old chestnuts, performed by high school and college drama clubs throughout the world. To say that it's a tired play is a massive understatement. But a sparkling new production that opened at The Peninsula Players Wednesday night and runs through July 27 proves that even the oldest of chestnuts can be reborn if all the pieces fit.
Published July 10, 2014
It's the middle of the summer in Milwaukee and frivolity is on the minds of most people around here, with the exception of a small group of political operatives and the governor of our state.
Published July 8, 2014
The world of professional sports is crazy over big salaries. But I wondered where the craziest people lived? So I went to math class and discovered that the NBA and MLB were the two leagues that have lost its collective mind.