By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 25, 2011 at 10:10 AM

In my ongoing fish fry quest, I took the kids out again on Friday and we landed at Maxie's, where we hadn't dined for a few months and where I've never before had a fish fry.

Because we were up on the far northwest side, I called Riverlane Inn first, but when they said the restaurant didn't have kids menus, I took that to mean it wasn't necessarily the best place for dad to dine with the little ones on a Friday.

Maxie's let us call ahead and get on the list, so that when we arrived, we were seated immediately. We sat upstairs for the first time and that seemed to be where they put all the families, being that there were tables with kids on either side of us.

The music was to my liking, the service was attentive and friendly and the kids devoured the cornbread, and then a second -- and larger -- portion brought to the table, too. A mountain of crumbs on the floor left me embarrassed, though I know it comes with the territory. They ate so much cornbread that they barely touched their grilled cheeses.

I loved the fried green tomatoes, which says something, since I generally am only a fan of tomatoes cooked in sauce. But I've had these deep fried slices before and never fail to order them at Maxie's. The fish fry was also very tasty -- cod -- even though it shared a plate with fries instead of potato pancakes.

I got my potato pancakes the following morning for breakfast instead when I finally stopped in at Nora B's cafe in the Village Court, 830 Elm Grove Rd., in Elm Grove. In the Grove for a dental appointment, we had planned on eating at Penelope's, across the parking lot, but when I saw Nora's, I remembered how inviting it looks when, in season, the tables allow outdoor dining on the plaza.

We sat inside, of course, and the food was delicious and cheap and the service came with a smile. I had the potato pancake platter, heavy on the green onions, but the banana pancakes my kids ordered looked amazing, with crisp ridges along the edges that made me wish I'd followed their lead. Next time.

In unrelated news, every time I find myself in the Southridge area, I see the unfinished El Beso Mexican restaurant -- how can you miss it?! -- slowly, slowly, slowly taking shape in the old Champps and I wonder, "Is this place EVER going to open?"

I asked around while shopping and the buzz in the Greenfield Fashion Center is that the place, after a few missed opening dates, is now slated to open in time for Valentine's Day.

According to El Beso  owned by Paul Bouraxias, who also runs El Fuego on 9th and Layton and the Omega Burger in Franklin.

That seems perfect for a place whose name means "The Kiss" in Spanish.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.