Advertise on OnMilwaukee.com
Me and Fonzie having a deep, meaningful conversation.
Me and Fonzie having a deep, meaningful conversation.

Pose with the Bronze Fonz, get a free beer

I have mixed feelings about the Bronze Fonz, but for the most part, I find the statue kitschy, fun and very Milwaukee. Last spring, OnMilwaukee.com posted its traditional April Fools’ Day edition featuring dozens of satirical articles, and for one of them, I conducted an interview with the Bronze Fonz. (He was rather quiet that day.)

So, when I heard that Palomino is hosting a "Franz & Fonz" promotion through the end of the month, I knew I had to write about it.

Here’s the deal: Anytime this month, bring in a photo of yourself with the Bronze Fonz (the statue is on the Riverwalk, just south of Wells Street) and you’ll receive a free Franziskaner, which is a Bavarian beer.

The photos will be on display at the bar and the Palomino staff will pick the best one. The winner will recieve a $75 gift card to Best Buy and, of course, life-long bragging rights.

We added a new word every day, for about a week.
We added a new word every day, for about a week. (Photo: Karen Parr)
The sunflower sprouts, inside their protective PVC containers, after about a month.
The sunflower sprouts, inside their protective PVC containers, after about a month. (Photo: Karen Parr)
The sign that invited friends and neighbors to join us for a gathering to celebrate the project. We served wine and sunflower seeds.
The sign that invited friends and neighbors to join us for a gathering to celebrate the project. We served wine and sunflower seeds. (Photo: Karen Parr)
Paper cups served as our medium to construct the words.
Paper cups served as our medium to construct the words. (Photo: Karen Parr)

The Sunflower Project

Nobody said we could plant sunflowers around the toxic brown space, but no one said couldn't either. So, last May, six Riverwest families, all of whom were responding to an e-mail, showed up with shovels, ready to guerrilla garden.

My friend and I planned this for a long time. The idea was to covertly plant sunflowers in the bleakest areas of our neighborhood. With our kids, spouses, neighbors and friends, we planted seeds in dirt on boulevards, next to bus stops and in alley gardens, but the majority of our efforts were focused on 2.8 acres of fenced-in, toxic grassland that looked harmless, but is unusable space where a battery factory once stood.

Our plan was to plant sunflowers outside of the fence, which is topped with barbed wire. However, we were concerned that the city would mow down the plants because workers cut the grass about every three weeks.

It was a plumber friend's idea to slice PVC tubes into three-inch chunks and plant the seeds inside the plastic circles to protect the future sprouts from the power mowers. Turns out, this was the million-dollar idea. The one that made everything possible. The final "she loves me" petal of the whole plan.

After planting hundreds of sunflower seeds around the large, vacant grass patch, we went home to eat dinner and for the next few weeks, waited to find out if anything sprouted. And sprout they did.

We typed "guerrilla gardener" updates on Facebook that got lots of little thumbs-up icons, but we knew the real hurdle to clear was the mowers. A friend weed-wacked around the containers to, hopefully, stop the mowers from mowing too close to the containers with sprouts, and it worked.

A few days later, the landscape crew came, gave the grass a fresh cut and left the white plastic containers unharmed.

We tried to imagine why the city workers took the time to mow around the containers. Maybe they thought they were planted by the city. Maybe they didn’t think about it at all, and j…

Read more...
"It's a combination of three delicious snacks: the cheeseburger, the brat and the soft pretzel," says 102.1's Brian Kramp about the new Kramp and Adler Burger.
"It's a combination of three delicious snacks: the cheeseburger, the brat and the soft pretzel," says 102.1's Brian Kramp about the new Kramp and Adler Burger.

Kramp and Adler Burger is A-OK

I just said no to my Lean Pocket for lunch today and cruised over to Bella’s Fat Cat, 2974 N. Oakland Ave., to try The Kramp and Adler Burger. As a weekly guest on the FM 102.1 Kramp & Adler Morning Show, I wanted to show my support of their sandwich, but also, I was grossly curious what a hamburger topped with a bratwurst would taste like.

It definitely doesn’t taste like chicken.

Kramp told me that when he and Adler kicked around ideas for their namesake burger, they wanted something with "a nice distribution of tastes." Mission accomplished.

The "Kradler" burger features a 100 percent sirloin patty topped with cheese, raw onions, yellow mustard and, yes, a grilled bratwurst, on a soft pretzel bun.

The Kramp and Adler Burger is $3.99 and a portion of the proceeds will go towards brain cancer research. The burger is available at both Bella's locations through September.

The ingredients completely work together, but after eating one, be prepared for slug mode because there's a whole lotta meat to process.

Best of all, although the burger is massive, it’s not sloppy because of the limited condiments. Turns out, Kramp’s not much of a condiment guy, so they compromised with just a dab of mustard.

Truth be told, I am crazy for ketchup and added a wee bit to my sandwich. Sorry, Kramp, hope you don’t find that too sacrilegious.

My upside down tomato garden was a bust.
My upside down tomato garden was a bust.

Topsy Turvy tomato planters: fresh or rotten?

There are two Topsy Turvy tomato planters in our yard, and although for a while it really seemed like they were on the verge of abundance, we ended up with only one large tomato in one of the upside down planters and two smaller ones in the other.

In general, we have good luck with vegetables. We share a garden with our neighbors that -- year after year -- produces carrots, radishes, lettuce, peppers, herbs, chard, onions and yes, even tomatoes. But these Topsy Turvys have us wondering if we suffered a momentary amputation of our green thumbs or if the contraptions just don’t really work.

On the Web site, they cost $19.99, but at most garden stores, they were $9.99. Still, for 10 bucks each -- plus the cost of soil and water -- three fruits is a pathetic yield. Especially when the Web site boasts they give "up to 30 pounds of deliciously ripe tomatoes per plant."

We might give them a whirl again next year if we can figure out what went wrong. They got plenty of sun, which is key to the process because it’s supposed to work like a small greenhouse, and they got plenty of water. (Could they have gotten too much water?)

It’s perplexing, and I would love to hear how your Topsy Turvys did this summer. Were they tomato challenged like mine or is it Bruschetta City at your place?