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When's the last time you had your heart ripped out by a Yelp review?
When's the last time you had your heart ripped out by a Yelp review?

Have you been damaged by a Yelp review? Black Sheep wants to help

When’s the last time you had your heart ripped out by a Yelp review?

Think it might be therapeutic to read that review onstage in front of a supportive group of peers?

Black Sheep has an event built just for you. And it all started with a trip to Chicago.

"[On our trip]... my girlfriend went down the Yelp rabbit hole reading the greatest hits of a gentleman," says DJ Thompson, bartender at Black Sheep.  "After he blasted one of our favorite establishments, he went on to write a scathing review for a fertility clinic. It was like mining gold, the deeper she dug the more treasures poured."

The experience sparked an epiphany.

"We both looked at each other and felt like those of us in the business need to stop internalizing the pain of these reviews and start screaming them from the rooftops," Thompson says, and he returned to work inspired to create an event that was both fun, collegial and restorative.

On Tuesday, June 23, Black Sheep, 216 S. 2nd St., will be hosting a "Pity Party" for any and all establishments who’ve been harboring pent-up aggression towards reviews they’ve read on Yelp.

During the event, which will be MC’d by veteran bartender Jim Carney, members of the service industry can "perform" their establishment’s worst Yelp review on a soapbox stage from 9 p.m. to midnight. Anyone who signs up to read ahead of time will receive two free drink tickets and a swag bag. Sign up online.

And, lest you think the event is mean-spirited, Thompson says it’s all in good fun.

"In all seriousness, I use Yelp," he says. "It's a great tool and it can be helpful for businesses. This is just a great way for us to poke fun at ourselves."

 

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The Le Reve dinner on June 16 featured classic cocktails reimagined for the modern palate.
The Le Reve dinner on June 16 featured classic cocktails reimagined for the modern palate. (Photo: Paul Fredrich)

Le Reve dinner begets food porn and a lesson in classic cocktails

There's a lot to be said for getting an education along with dinner. Or at least that's what I thought to myself as I left the Le Reve Classic Cocktail Dinner yesterday evening.

The affair featured five courses prepared by Le Reve Chef Patrick Murphy along with cocktail pairings by local mixologist, Daniel Beres. But, these cocktails weren't just any pairings. They were riffs on classics -- cocktails reimagined for the modern palate while remaining true to their origins. As a result, the dinner became both a feast and a brief lesson in historic mixology.

We started off with a riff on the French 75, a cocktail named for the French field gun of the same name. The original cocktail was comprised of gin (or cognac) with lemon, sugar, ice/water and Champagne, and was once dubbed by Alec Waugh as "the most powerful drink in the world."

The modern take: a version made with gin, a slightly sweet blueberry lavender syrup standing in for the sugar, bitters to provide balance, and a sparkling rosé in lieu of Champagne. 

Paired with: Wellfleet oysters on the half-shell with golden beet mignonette seasoned with lavender and chamomile, a toasted pistachio pesto and micro arugula.

The second cocktail was an old fashioned. But, we're talking old fashioned old fashioned -- not the Wisconsin style cocktail to which most are accustomed. The traditional drink contained only sugar, water, spirits and bitters. No fruit. No muddling. No frills.

The modern take: a cognac-based cocktail with strawberry rhubarb turbinado syrup, bitters and orange oil.

Paired with: Turbinado cured beef tenderloin carpaccio, rhubarb gastrique, Parmesan panisse (chickpea flour cake) and sorrel espuma (foam).

Did you know the Manhattan, named for one of New York's most famous boroughs, is also a code for how to make the drink?  Sure is. Manhattan's area code is 212 -- the exact proportion of ingredients for the cocktail. Two ounces of spirit, one ounce vermouth, and two shakes of bitters.

The m…

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These are the doughnuts that received acclaim from celebrity chef Alton Brown.
These are the doughnuts that received acclaim from celebrity chef Alton Brown. (Photo: Alton Brown)

Cranky Al's makes Alton Brown's favorite doughnut list

There are a lot of doughnuts in the U.S., but when Alton Brown picked his favorites, he included one of Milwaukee's favorites -- the cruller at Cranky Al's in Wauwatosa.

In a blog post published on June 9, Brown declared that "The cruller is so good you’ll be dreaming of it long after it’s gone."

The "Iron Chef" host visited Milwaukee during Valentine's Day weekend, performing live at the Riverside Theater as part of his "Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour."

While he was here, he checked out a number of Milwaukee hotspots, including Valentine Coffee:

Good morning, Milwaukee! @valentinecoffee #ABRoadEatsMKE

A photo posted by Alton Brown (@altonbrown) on

He also stood in a pretty long line for a bloody mary at Sobelman's before eating custard at Kopp's.

While he was here, Brown declared on Twitter that he at some of "the best donuts on the road so far" at Cranky Al's in Wauwatosa.  

And – since he gave them a mention again on National Doughnut Day – I'm pretty sure he's dead serious.

In honor of National Doughnut Day, some of my favorites from around the country.

Posted by Alton Brown on Friday, June 5, 2015

Do you have a favorite Milwaukee doughnut?

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Fresh sushi and sashimi prepared to order? Yes please.
Fresh sushi and sashimi prepared to order? Yes please.
Relaxation awaits you in the Hilton's Monarch Lounge.
Relaxation awaits you in the Hilton's Monarch Lounge.

Maki this Monday great with happy hour sushi

Got the Monday blues? The Hilton might have an answer.

Beginning today, June 8, the Monarch Lounge, inside Hilton Milwaukee City Center, will offer "Maki Mondays," a sushi-filled event featuring chefs from Izumi's serving up fresh, made-to-order rolls for guests every Monday from 5 to 9 p.m. throughout the summer.

Guests can revel in the experience of relaxing in the beautiful art deco lounge while enjoying sashimi, sushi and more from the special menu, with prices ranging from $5 to $11 per roll.  There will also be happy hour drink specials, including $5 wines, $5 mixed rail drinks and $2.50 tap beers.