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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014

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A bird's eye view of KeyLime Cove.
A bird's eye view of KeyLime Cove.

KeyLime Cove never disappoints

We always love a trip to KeyLime Cove and last weekend was no exception.

I’ve said it before, but it’s just so easy. Located in Gurnee, Ill., KeyLime Cove is only 45 minutes from Milwaukee and the facility is contained in one building so I don’t have to travel too far nor make too many choices.

This makes a mom very happy. Probably has made a dad or two happy, too.

But even though it’s a simple set-up there really is a slide for everyone from the wimp to the wild child. There’s a nice-sized whirlpool and now a spa, too, where I got a really relaxing massage and a few moments free from "watch this, mom!"

The bar at the edge of the water park is nice, too. And even though it’s Illinois, and therefor there is no such thing as a Bloody Mary chaser, it served me well. (But not too well because, well, that would be sad.)

My favorite part of KeyLime Cove is that it uses ozone sanitation technology – and therefore less chlorine – to keep the water clean and clear. Ozone is 200 times stronger than chlorine but has no effect on skin or hair. 

Which, in short, means no burning baby eyes. 

Recently, KeyLime Cove installed a new, non-slip floor and it seems to be effective. I did not witness one "banana peel moment" during my visit. Hooray for upright.

President Dale McFarland told me there’s a lot in store for Key Lime Cove, including mini golf, an outdoor pool and a freestanding pavilion that will be rentable for weddings, reunions and corporate events.

"We’re trying to think of everything," he says.

Sounds great, Dale, just keep the bar at the edge of the water park, OK?

Mmmmm ... Frosty.
Mmmmm ... Frosty.

Reunited with Wendy's Frosty

For the seventh straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2013."

It had been years since I had a Wendy’s Frosty. Years. My guilty fast-food pleasure is Taco Bell – the seven-layer burrito would actually be a contender for my Last Supper – so I rarely-to-never go to any of the burger-and-fry places.

But it’s Dining Month on OnMilwaukee and Steve Palec wrote this article about McDonald’s and that got me thinking about how much I once loved the Frosty.

And so I went and bought one.

I did not realize there were so many options. Chocolate or vanilla? Classic, shake or waffle cone? Three different sizes?

Quick Internet research informed me that the vanilla was introduced in 2006 after many customer requests. Over the years, Wendy’s has also offered the twisted Frosty, Frosty float, Frosty tea, Frosty-forster (an extra large Frosty made with chunks of chocolate and cherries), the Frosty-cino (a frosty made with coffee) and a Frosty parfait.

I ordered the classic chocolate Frosty. And, I realized after one lumpy spoon full, it is still delicious. But I really don’t understand why.

The frozen dairy dessert doesn’t really taste like much of anything. The chocolate flavor is mild. It lacks the richness of custard. And yet, there is something completely satisfying about the whipped iciness. 

It’s also lighter than most frozen desserts so after eating it I didn’t feel bloated or gross.

I guess the secret to the Frosty’s appeal is the same as those delicious fries: it’s obviously laced with crack.

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Sprecher's patio will probably have to debut in 2014.
Sprecher's patio will probably have to debut in 2014.
Black Bavarian: a Sprecher classic.
Black Bavarian: a Sprecher classic.
Sprecher's is very kid friendly.
Sprecher's is very kid friendly.
The tilapia sandwich pairs well with Sprecher beer.
The tilapia sandwich pairs well with Sprecher beer.
The dining area is large and warm.
The dining area is large and warm.
So many Sprecher beers to choose from.
So many Sprecher beers to choose from.
This guy welcomes you.
This guy welcomes you.
The wrap is excellent.
The wrap is excellent.
Belly up to Sprecher's bar.
Belly up to Sprecher's bar.

First look: Sprecher's Pub

For the seventh straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2013."

I always found it odd that Milwaukee’s Sprecher Brewery, 701 W. Glendale Ave., has restaurants in Wisconsin Dells, Madison and Lake Geneva, but not one locally. 

However, as of yesterday, Milwaukee – well, Glendale anyway – has a Sprecher’s Pub all of its own. (And yes, unlike the singular name on the beer and soda, it’s Sprecher’s with an apostrophe ‘s’.)

We stopped by a few hours after Sprecher’s opened yesterday to get a first look at the new bar and restaurant located at Bayshore Town Center in the former Bravo! space. 

It was fun to be on site just a few hours after it opened to the public for the first time. There was definitely a buzz of excitement in the air and the employees were eager to serve their first customers after weeks of training. 

Licensed by Sprecher, Sprecher’s serves a large selection of Sprecher beer including year ‘round, seasonal and limited edition brews by the glass or the growler-to-go. Miller and Bud Light are also available, along with a few cocktails and martinis. 

All of the Sprecher gourmet sodas are available including the cream soda, orange dream, grape and, of course, the classic root beer. 

The food menu goes beyond burgers and fries – although there’s plenty of those, too, including a tantalizing-looking "curd burger" topped with yellow and white cheese curds. There’s also mac ‘n’ cheese, jambalaya, schnitzel, lasagna, pot roast, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads and starters from nachos to mussels.

The prices are fair – $9-$11 for sandwiches and burgers and most entrees around $13-$15.

We ordered the grilled tilapia sandwich and the quinoa and spinach wrap with chicken. The tilapia was fair…

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The Waterboys' Mike Scott did not disappoint Wednesday night.
The Waterboys' Mike Scott did not disappoint Wednesday night.

The Waterboys make a splash on the Turner Ballroom stage

The Waterboys opened for U2 in the ‘80s in Chicago, and frontman Mike Scott made a solo appearance almost a decade ago in Milwaukee, but tonight’s performance at Turner Hall offered a rare Midwest-based opportunity to see a beloved band from across the pond.

In many ways, frontman Scott is The Waterboys.

He started the band in 1983, and the rest of the group has been a revolving door of talented musicians – primarily from Scotland, England and Ireland. In fact, more than 60 different musicians have been in the band at one point or another.

Tonight’s formation, which included the talented Steve Wickham on electric fiddle, continued the tradition of staying true to the band’s Irish-rock-folk vibe and brought an incredible amount of energy to the stage. 

At times, the interaction between Scott and Wickham excluded the other players – it was just that intense.

Despite more than three decades of performing, Scott hasn’t slowed down in the least. He was passionate and engaged and offered up a show that was clearly a tribute to his past 33 years of music making, drawing from the first album to the last.

Along with five other musicians, Scott produced an energetic, 100-minute marathon of old favorites and songs off his latest project, which is a collection of adapted W.B. Yeats poems called "An Appointment With Mr. Yeats."

The band opened with "Strange Boat," and went on to rip through "Fisherman’s Blues," "A Girl Called Johnny," the heartbreaking "We Will Not Be Lovers," "I Will Cry When You Go Away," "Glastonbury Song," the rare cut "Spirit," the band’s biggest hit "Whole Of The Moon" and more. 

The encore, which featured "Don’t Bang The Drum," ended the evening on a high-energy note.

Scott, who often brings literary references and spirituality into his lyrics, has described his music as "a metaphor for seeing God’s signature in the world." This sounds lofty, and yet the band’s music has deeply affected many notable artists and musicians inc…

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