By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Nov 09, 2014 at 3:31 PM

I celebrated a birthday with family and friends on Saturday, beginning with the desire to try the stuffed cinnamon French toast at BB’s Diner on Wisconsin Avenue. While I’ve become more adventurous with food since moving to Milwaukee, my breakfast is pretty standard – French toast and coffee and I’m good to go.

I had tried BB’s original French toast once before and saw the cinnamon option – and was determined I had to try it – if I could only get there.

As many know, the meters around Wisconsin Avenue are all quarter-only, and of course, I had just one.

I found a long-term meter around the corner on Lovell, but the one open space – of course – featured a meter that was busted.

Now, just a few weeks ago I fell victim to that area:

But I had to get that cinnamon French toast. I mean, look at it!

So I risked it …

And the birthday gods were with me my friends, as I was able to enjoy my food in peace, and come out to no ticket on the windshield.

After seeing what I call a "fun bad" movie in John Wick at the iPic in Bayshore (warning: if you do convince your wife or girlfriend to come along with you, the whole "they killed my dog" thing you saw in the trailer is definitely NOT tongue-in-cheek) some friends from Chicago surprised me by coming up and joining us for dinner at Umami Moto.

Now, I’m not a "sushi guy" by any means – but this place is home to the best appetizer in the city – the Wagyu beef sliders.

After dinner, we then headed way southwest for a guided "ghost tour" of sorts in the woods in Burlington, thanks to Brad and Mary Sutherland of the Sci’Fi Café. They typically close down their tours on Halloween, but made an exception in my case (yay birthday!). It was definitely fun, creepy, and some cool stuff happened too – I would recommend it next time they’re open.

I’m not a big "birthday" guy but any chance to experience some new things in the city, eat some tried and true favorites with good friends, it makes for a heck of a day, birthday or not. Even without any quarters.

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.