This article originally ran on March 14, 2018, but in honor of National Cheese Day – a holiday near and dear to any Wisconsinite's heart – we've rerun the article. Dig in!
In this series, we focus on one of Wisconsin’s claims to fame: cheese. You won’t be able to resist following along as we showcase some of the area’s ooey-est, gooey-est and cheesiest dishes, paired with spirited accompaniments.
434 S. 2nd St.
There are plenty of reasons to love Camino in Walker’s Point. It has an amazing burger, a delicious beet reuben and a memorable Brussels sprouts grinder. To top it all off, it has a pretty amazing (and ever-changing) list of craft beer to enjoy.
On the cheese side, it also has some of the city’s best fried cheese curds.
This ooey-gooey indulgence starts with fresh, squeaky Clock Shadow curds (made just a block away), which are delivered to the restaurant the same day that they’re made. Camino is a craft beer bar, so you might expect the curds to sport a stereotypical beer batter. But they don’t. Instead, the curds are hand-breaded in an Italian breadcrumb-based coating and fried to a deep golden brown. Don’t ask me why this is. I have no idea. I just know that they’re delicious.
The cheese itself has a nice healthy pull, and a rich buttery flavor. And, once fried, the breadcrumbs offer up an exceedingly light, crisp texture that clings nicely to the curds. They’re served with a side of Russian dressing, which is a nice sweet foil for the curds’ saltiness.
Of course, you’d be remiss if you didn’t pair them up with a beer. Owner Casey Ratzcak recommends the Sierra Nevada Kellerweis, a gentle almost fruity brew that’s high in carbonation and low in hoppy character. Incidentally, this particular beer is actually the only American Hefeweizens made using the traditional Bavarian style of open fermentation, giving it a deep complex flavor. Thanks to traditional German yeast, which hangs around after bottling, the beer has both a hazy, cloudy character and notes of clove, banana and nutmeg.
It’s a no-brainer for drinking alongside German fare, but it’s also great with buttery hot cheese. The salty, creamy character of the cheese seems to bring out both the spicy notes and yeasty character of the beer. Meanwhile, the light carbonation helps to cleanse palate-busting fat from the palate.
Camino is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m to 1 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.