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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

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Where should a new arena go?
Where should a new arena go? (Photo: parkeastmke.com)

Where does the Downtown alderman think a new arena should go?

I saw fourth district Ald. Bob Bauman the other day.  I own a condo in his Downtown district, so he's my alderman.  But, as we said goodbye I wondered to myself what does Bob think is the best location for a new arena and entertainment facility?  He does represent Downtown, after all.  

Many civic leaders, via the various media in town, have offered opinions.  There are several good choices, and I'm certain due diligence will be done before a final selection is made.  Full disclosure, I serve on two boards of entities (Wisconsin Center District and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts) involved in these discussions. And, while I'd never write about specific board level discussions I did want to know what Bauman was thinking.  

The opportunity at hand in Downtown Milwaukee is enormous.  We're staring at a new entertainment area, and have hundreds of millions of dollars already committed.  No matter how a new arena and entertainment district come together, eventually -- of course -- an exact location will have to be determined.  

So what are the Downtown alderman's thoughts?  He told me this, via email:

"I have a lot of thoughts but have not yet settled on a location other than that the location needs to be Downtown."

"There are strengths and weaknesses to all currently identified locations. Clearly 4th and Wisconsin would have a huge catalytic impact provided the site is big enough, which it may not be. The Park East in the vicinity of 5th and Juneau is vacant and big enough, but this would move the arena further away from Wisconsin Avenue and the central area of Downtown. That would not be a good idea. Therefore, at this point, I favor a site on the West side of the river as close to Wisconsin Avenue as possible."

That's all he'd say, so that's all I have.  But, he did conclude with  saying there are "a lot of moving parts that will have to be sorted out."  

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Homemade Rosemary Cornmeal Waffle Cone filled with layers of creamy Bleu Cheese Coleslaw, Cajun Buttermilk marinated and battered Fried Chicken and Water Street
Homemade Rosemary Cornmeal Waffle Cone filled with layers of creamy Bleu Cheese Coleslaw, Cajun Buttermilk marinated and battered Fried Chicken and Water Street
1/3-pound Bison Patty topped with pit smoked bacon and creamy peanut butter, served on Texas Toast
1/3-pound Bison Patty topped with pit smoked bacon and creamy peanut butter, served on Texas Toast
Use #FairgoersFave during State Fair to place your vote.
Use #FairgoersFave during State Fair to place your vote.
This item, from La Coppa, was the big winner.
This item, from La Coppa, was the big winner.
Gilbert Brown, Kyle Cherek and Joe Bartolotta.
Gilbert Brown, Kyle Cherek and Joe Bartolotta.
Look for this flag at the Fair!
Look for this flag at the Fair!
Winners!
Winners!
Saz's Cherrywood Smoked Pork Belly wrapped in bacon and glazed with Maple BBQ Sauce.
Saz's Cherrywood Smoked Pork Belly wrapped in bacon and glazed with Maple BBQ Sauce.
Deep Fried Maple Bacon Cookie Dough - Emma's Cookie Kitchen
Deep Fried Maple Bacon Cookie Dough - Emma's Cookie Kitchen
Grannie Smith Caramel Apple Shake - Flavorburst Ice Cream
Grannie Smith Caramel Apple Shake - Flavorburst Ice Cream
Loaded Twister Dog - Water Street Brewery.  This is very, very good!
Loaded Twister Dog - Water Street Brewery. This is very, very good!
Light as a feather crepes rolled up and filled with a sweet cream cheese and tropical fruit filling.
Light as a feather crepes rolled up and filled with a sweet cream cheese and tropical fruit filling.

Sporkies help kick off Fair food season

Food, it's what's for dinner, lunch and breakfast at Wisconsin State Fair.  Food, and lots of it.  Food,  that's - yes, often fried and delicious - but increasingly more creative, unique and full of farm fresh flavors. 

Welcome, Wisconsin to The Sporkies or the longer form Golden Spork Awards.  New foods are no stranger at the Wisconsin State Fair, which begins Thursday, so today's Sporkies help provide the encouragement that vendors sometimes need to take their creativity to a new level.

I was honored to be asked to be a "celebrity" judge for today's event, which was open to the public.  With my fellow judges Joe Bartolotta, Theresa Nemetz, Gilbert Brown, April Aceto and host Kyle Cherek, we tasted, deliberated and selected winners in each of the following categories: "Best Tasting," "Most Creative" and "Grand Champion."

The food finalists on our list and our plates?

Bacon Wrapped Cherrywood Smoked Pork Belly On-a-Stick – Saz’s Ribs
Chicken-n-Waffle Cone – Water Street Brewery
Deep Fried Maple Bacon Cookie Dough – Emma’s Cookie Kitchen
Dolce Panino (Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Gelato) – La Coppa Artisan Gelato
Grannie Smith Caramel Apple Shake – Flavorburst Ice Cream
Loaded Twister Dog – Water Street Brewery
Lulu’s Caribbean Crepes – Tropics at the Fair
Peanut Butter Bacon Bison Burger (PB3) – Exotic Meat Grill

These eight, by the way, were selected by State Fair staff from an original pool of more than 30 entries.  To be considered for the competition, vendors were required to submit a new food item as well as a detailed description, ingredient list and photos.

My grandfather was, among other things, a buffalo farmer.  So, when I find bison on a menu I order it.  Thus, Exotic Meat Grill's Peanut Butter Bacon Bison Burger (PB3) was right up my alley.  The sweat meat blended nicely with the crispy bacon and smooth peanut butter.  Cooked just right, the burger was darn good.  I took off the top of the Texas toast and it ate well. …

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Milwaukee's on the map and its secret is out.
Milwaukee's on the map and its secret is out.

Bill (on the road) can't keep Milwaukee a secret

I've always said that a city is only as good as the stories it tells. And, I believe we all have a responsibility to tell good stories about greater Milwaukee. We're the caretakers of our community and the messages and vision we project matters. Of course, it also matters what others say about Milwaukee too. 

It's always interesting to read an outsider's opinion of Milwaukee. Live in a place long enough and some of the extraordinary can become ordinary. We all do it. 

Hats off to Visit Milwaukee, our tourism and convention entity that regularly brings in travel writers to see all that's happening in Milwaukee. One such writer, Bill Cleven, was here during Summerfest.  

The St. Louis native Clevlen writes "Bill on the Road," and in his latest post he tells everyone that Milwaukee's secret is out.  He starts his feature like this, "Nobody ever brought up Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a "must see" destination when I started traveling around the country.  Maybe that’s because Milwaukee has been keeping a secret from the rest of America – it’s a really cool place to live and visit."  

You can read it all here, and take note of this first time Summerfest-goer's impressions of the Big Gig.  "I was completely blown away and downright stunned as I walked the grounds and passed stage after stage of concerts.  And I don’t mean like four or five," writes Clevlen.  Yep, "World's Largest Musical Festival" holds true.

Travel writers seldom rail on their selected destinations. I get that. But, Cleven's impressions and observations of Milwaukee seem genuine and should make us all a bit more proud of our state's largest city. 

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Learn to brew at home with UBrew.
Learn to brew at home with UBrew. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Talking beer with UBrew

Since Milwaukee still is Brew City chances are that you or someone that you know wants to learn how to brew beer in the comfort of our your home.  There are classes around town and a start up called UBrew that offers hands-on homebrewing classes.

There are two upcoming UBrew classes: Saturday, July 19 at Braise and Thursday, Aug. 21 at a location to be announced.  But, before you go, take some some time to read my interview with UBrew co-founder Drew Stauffacher. 

OnMilwaukee.com:  What is UBrew?

Drew Stauffacher:  Our vision for UBrew is to grow the homebrewing market in "Brew City" through developing a space that allows for homebrewers to overcome the limitations and obstacles they face brewing at home and focus on the best part -- the beer. Down the road, we hope to create a facility that provides the space, equipment, and expertise for homebrewers, from beginners to experts alike. People new to brewing would be able to sign up for an initial homebrewing class that would walk them through the process while making their own first batch of beer to take home. Home brewers with more experience would be able to come in for advanced homebrewing assistance. Expert home brewers would be able to rent equipment and space to overcome the limitations they may face with their current process. The best part of all is the opportunity for developing connections with the many other home brewers in Milwaukee that would also be using the facility.

OMC:  What's the cost and commitment for the program?

DS:  We are currently offering beginner’s home brewing classes and are working on creating an all-grain homebrewing class. Prices ranges from $50 to $75 and commitment consists of a 3-4 hour period on the day of the class. Classes are currently held on Saturdays, but we are trying out weekdays as well. Check out our classes scheduled on July 19 and Aug. 21. 

OMC:  What's the biggest mistake home brewers make?

DS:  Sanitation. Sanitation. Sanitation. It’s definitely po…

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