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Janeane Garofalo crouched down and got real with the audience earlier tonight.
Janeane Garofalo crouched down and got real with the audience earlier tonight. (Photo: Melissa Miller)

Quirky Garofalo delivers smart and funny commentary

There are a lot of things Janeane Garofalo does not do – drink alcohol, strengthen her core, shave her eyebrows (once was enough) – but there are even more things that she will do like put an entire baby foot in her mouth, geek out about "The Puppy Bowl" and call out Olive Garden.

"I’m sorry, but there is no culinary institute in Tuscany, Olive Garden," she reported tonight while delivering 90-minutes of comedy and conversation at the Turner Hall Ballroom.

Garofalo, 51, appeared small and fit, wearing leggings (which she later disclosed at Spanx) with combats boots, a flowy top that exposed her tattooed shoulders and black-rimmed glasses.

"When you get older, wear glasses," she said. "And remember that your eyebrows are sisters, not twins."

Not that it matters, but Garofalo would have passed for 38; however, she continuously brought up her age. But luckily for the audience the way she did so was funny.

"People ask me why I dress like this, and I agree with you, but I’m not ready for Eileen Fisher," she said.

Garofalo went on to reference old school memories like "The Match Game," storing balled-up tissues in the sleeve of her shirt and proclaimed herself to be a Luddite, a non-believer in gluten or peanut allergies and a shameless smoker.

"A lot of you are smokers, too, but you just don’t buy cigarettes," she said. "And when you ask me to buy a cigarette, you have no intention to pay for one, and I am not going to charge you, but there will be a lighting fee."

At one point Garofalo called herself "a grandma" even though she also made it clear she does not have children nor did she want any – except when she was shoving an entire baby foot in her mouth.

"Kids offer diminishing returns after the age of 7," she said.

But it was also strikingly clear that Garofalo was no fuddy-duddy. Instead, she was extremely mobile – sitting criss-cross on the stage, walking back and forth, journeying out into the audience and hilariously feigning a need for hel…

New restaurant coming to Brady Street.
New restaurant coming to Brady Street.

Brady Street welcomes La Masa Empanada Bar

La Masa Empanada Bar will soon open on Brady Street in the former World of Beer location, 1300 E. Brady St. 

The four partners behind the venture are Brad Todd, owner of Stubby's Gastropub, his sister Megan Todd, and Scott and Becky Berger, founders of Yo Mama frozen yogurt shops.

La Masa – which means "dough" in Spanish – will specialize in made-from-scratch, oven-baked empanadas using Latin American-inspired dough. Dishes will feature primarily Wisconsin-sourced ingredients.

"The menu is inspired by several traditional international recipes, and will also
offer a rotating selection of empanadas using contemporary ingredients," says Brad Todd.

The menu will also offer an assortment of artisan sandwiches and salads, as well as hot and cold a la carte Items. Craft beer, cocktails, wine, soft drinks and espresso will also be available.

La Masa is scheduled to open in July. Food will be available for dine in, take out or delivery.

"The atmosphere will be inviting yet energetic," says Todd.

Big eats at Biggie Subs.
Big eats at Biggie Subs.
Rita Hill and helpers.
Rita Hill and helpers.

The cheapest brats and subs in town?

Husband-and-wife team Rita and Al Hill opened Biggie Subs & Deli Shop, 6602 W. Lisbon Ave., on April 1. The sandwich shop is their first restaurant.

"I always did catering for parties and cooked for family," says Rita. "I finally looked into having a place of our own and here we are."

Biggie’s specializes in Johnsonville brats and sausages and has different types available daily. The cost is $1. The shop also offers "build-you-own colossal subs" featuring up to fours types of meat, four cheeses and unlimited condiments for $2.50.

Other sandwich offerings will fluctuate including sloppy joes, all-beef hotdogs, chili dogs, chicken and tuna salad and more.

The Hills grew up on the Northwest Side of Milwaukee, have been together for 15 years – married for 13 – and have two grown sons. Currently, they live in the Washington Park neighborhood.

For now, Biggie’s sandwiches are available for carry-out only, but eventually the business will offer online ordering and delivery service.

"My husband is a big guy – which is where the name comes from – and he wanted our sandwiches to be big," says Rita. "Our customers see more meat than bread."

John and Jamie Vassallo will open a new venture - but without the good "Mo's" name this time.
John and Jamie Vassallo will open a new venture - but without the good "Mo's" name this time.

Mo's owners plan for Pomodoro Pizzeria

Milwaukee restaurateur John Vassallo – aka "Johnny V" – will co-open Pomodoro Pizzeria and Pub at 717 N. Planktinton Ave. in the former Mo’s Cocina space.

Vassallo, along with his brother Jamie Vassallo, plans to open the new venture in August or September of 2015. The bar and restaurant will focus on Wisconsin products, including pizzas made from locally-sourced cheese and 18 or more Wisconsin beers on tap.

Vassallo is the owner of Mo's Irish Pub as well as other eateries with the "Mo" name. This will be Vassallo's eighth restaurant.

"Looking forward to working on this with my brother, Jamie. He’s going to do an amazing job," says Vassallo, just one day after National Sibling Day.

Stay tuned to for more information when it becomes available.