"Bar Month" at
OnMilwaukee.com is back for another round! The whole month of February,
we're serving up intoxicatingly fun bars and club articles -- including
guides, bartender profiles, drink recipes and even a little Brew City
bar history. Cheers!
I hate to admit I’m a part of this annoying group -- disliked by most smokers and non-smokers alike -- but it’s true. I only smoke when I drink. I don’t even jones for a smoke every time I drink, usually only when I have a few drinks and decide subconsciously to “open the floodgates.”
Since my group of social smokers rarely buy cigarettes of our own -- because we’re not “real” smokers or willing to admit that we are -- we usually bum them off of friends or strangers and then proceed to puff away like the world’s ending which in turn irritates the non-smokers.
Hence, we’re a detested group.
Personally, I don’t have much to say in defense of our behavior, other than at least I usually offer to buy the cig rather than assume it’s free for the taking. Plus, I’m not particularly picky about the brand or flavor. Once I’m in mode, I’ll choke down anything from a Kool to a hand-rolled number.
Also, I fully admit I’m a hypocrite. Despite my “social smoker” status, I am completely in favor of the smoking ban in bars and restaurants. For one thing, I usually don’t think about smoking if others around me aren’t inhaling, so the ban would actually curb my indulgent behavior. Also, if I’m not in party mode, I despise the smell of cigarettes. Lastly, the cigarette hangover is a drag, and getting worse as I get older.
So, why do I smoke at all if I’m not addicted to it? It’s pleasurable. It’s fun to blow smoke rings. And as a friend pointed out, it “layers” the buzz and gives you a little extra kick.
So, consider this blog to be a shout-out to the other social smokers out there and a “so sorry” to all of you who have to put up with us.
I really want to like Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha. It has such a great name and a great sign that’s visible from 1-94, making it seem like heaven for lovers of kitsch and cheese.
Unfortunately, every time I go into the place, which is about once a year -- including yesterday afternoon -- I’m disappointed.
I want to like this place so much that I feel slightly sacrilegious writing this. I would love to categorize the Mars Cheese Castle with all the other awesome, quirky establishments that make this state so great, like Koz’s Mini Bowl and Dr. Evermore’s Scrap Metal Park, but I can’t. Here’s why:
1. Too much crap, not enough cheese. The place has such an odd mix of things, from bad knickknacks to way too much candy to overpriced, super-fruity wines, but not enough cheese to honor its name. In my opinion, any place that’s dubbed a “cheese castle” should be one big, churning cheese emporium with voluptuous women in braids and checkered frocks handing out hunks, curds, slices, shreds, slabs and wheels in every hue of yellow and orange. OK, that sounds a little scary, like a Swiss Colony on steroids, but only a small portion of the space is actually filled with cheese and that seems wrong.
2. Sub-par food. I don’t understand the restaurant. The café is basically a corridor squished between the other departments with bad lighting and four tables pushed too closely together. And why is the menu so cheese challenged, with the sole cheese item -- the cheese sandwich -- listed fifth or sixth on the menu? Why isn’t the menu loaded with mozzarella marinara, cheese subs, cheese dogs, mac ‘n’ cheese, etc? For the love of Gouda, why isn’t anything on that menu cheesy and deep-fried? I ordered a turkey and cheese sandwich that had a fat stack of meat, a massive slather of mayo and one measly slice of cheese. I ask you: cheese castle or cheese hovel?
3. Not kid-friendly. We stopped at the Cheese Castle after touring the…Read more...
A friend told me that Mercury’s in retrograde until Monday. Basically, that’s New Age for “expect communication breakdowns until early next week.” Supposedly, it’s also a bad time for travel.
Say what you will about astrological stuff, but these days I’m so out of the communication loop that I’d call the TV psychic Miss Cleo if she were still around, just to find out what the hell’s going on.
For one thing, my cell phone keeps powering down. I’ve had two experiences this week where I’m yammering on about something and didn’t realize the other person was disconnected. Talk about feeling like a dumb ass. Luckily this didn’t happen during my radio segment with Kramp & Adler this week.
Also, I ordered a book for my son for Valentine’s Day and paid $9 in shipping to guarantee it would be here by Feb. 13. I never received it. Amazon.com refunded my money, but still, where the hell is “Dragons, Dragons” by Eric Carle?
Add the facts someone didn’t receive an important e-mail from me, I got in a stupid argument with my husband because he misunderstood what I was saying and I generally feel disconnected from the human race this week, and suddenly I’m wishing that damn tiny planet would start spinning in the right direction again.
Strangely enough, seasonal candy is one of my biggest weaknesses. I love candy corn for Halloween, mini candy canes at Christmas, even Peeps (especially if they’re stale) for Easter. But most of all, I like candy hearts or “conversation hearts” for Valentine’s Day.
Right now, I’m eating my fifth handful of the day, and although my tongue is starting to feel grainy and raw, I can’t stop. I’m particularly enjoying this bag -- Brach’s large conversation candy hearts -- because it has the classic sayings like “Honey pie” and “Guess who?” mixed in with the newer ones like “E-mail me” and “Whatever.”
I read that this year, Necco, another maker of candy hearts, included a bunch of nature-inspired sayings like “Chill out” and “In a fog” because of America’s focus on “saving” the environment. In the early ‘90s, an ex-sweetheart gave me a bag of X-rated candy hearts, clearly made by people whose first language wasn’t English. I remember a little pink one stamped with, “Lick hims.”
Six or seven years ago, I was at an art opening at Adambomb Gallerie -- when it was still in Walker’s Point -- and I saw a painting that I will never forget. It was a very realistic painting of a tiny candy heart by a local artist -- I think it was Amy O’Neill -- and if you got close enough, you could read the saying on the heart, “F--- you.” It was one of the few times I felt like I had to own a piece of art, but it was already sold. ("No way" says the candy heart.)
At this point, I’m just thinking about making Milwaukee candy hearts, and if I did, what they would say. Sentiments like “Go Pack” and “Beer here” are probably unavoidable, but I would like to see “The Fonz” (sorry, Mike Brenner), “Kiss my brat,” “Add it up,” “Cream puff,” “Snake button” and “Shag.”