Maybe I’m giving myself too much credit, but I like to think of myself as a typically fun person. Sure, there’s a part of me that will rarely say no to a night of reading at home and going to bed at a reasonable hour.
But the other part of me defines "fun" as treating Milwaukee, the city I was born and raised in, as if I was a tourist rather than a life-long resident. It has always been my firm belief that it doesn’t matter how long you live somewhere, there’s always something new to discover – some restaurant you’ve never been to, some activity you’ve never tried, some site you’ve never seen.
To be honest, I initially took on this viewpoint reluctantly. After college, I was that person who immediately wanted to move to Manhattan, to scrimp and save and struggle until I found success and "made it" in the Big Apple. I moved back to Milwaukee after graduation kicking and screaming (OK, not literally), thinking that Brew City was just a pause button on my bigger adventure. Instead, it was the best thing that could have happened to me, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
So what caused my change of heart? I woke up one morning, and I decided to make Milwaukee "fun." Since then, I have tried to get out, to do more and to explore new things. Do you want to give Milwaukee’s latest cocktail bar a try? I’m your gal. But sometimes, as much fun as getting a gin and tonic at a Milwaukee hotspot is, you need a break from doing adult things. Sometimes, especially when life gets stressful (or if you’re like me, and you just celebrated a milestone birthday), you want to feel like a kid again.
Luckily, someone up there likes me and heard my wish for a playful and lively evening. This night out in the Brew City will be both literally and figurate filled with fun and games from start to finish.
Eat: The Safe House
The Safe House is the perfect example of a place where, despite my lifelong Milwaukee residency, I am truly a hometown tourist. Although it has long been on my places to eat at, I have never been there and always have some excuse to dine somewhere else. Maybe it’s because I’m scared that I won’t know the password and what the consequences will be.
Before my upcoming visit to this Milwaukee staple, I’m doing what any good spy would do: I’m going to search for clues and find out everything I can about this restaurant (and if part of that research means I solve the mystery of what their famous password is, all the better).
My initial reaction just to seeing the interior of the restaurant is that I’m going to feel like I’m starring in the James Bond movie I never knew I wanted to be in. From the Carmen Sandiego-like world map behind the bar to the throne reserved for members of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, pop culture references and spy paraphernalia – both authentic and artificial – are certainly not in short supply.
Now that I had a sense of the atmosphere, the detective in me now wanted to investigate The Safe House’s many menu offerings. After all, a good spy is always prepared for anything, right? But if watching every Jason Bourne movie has taught me anything, it’s that an expert spy is no stranger to improvising. And after looking at the amazing menu, that’s exactly what I’m going to have to do. Choosing in advance will be truly be my personal "Mission: Impossible." Everything from the Provocateur Burger to the Nachos Camp Stanley is infiltrated with flavor – my mouth truly watered just from reading the menu descriptions online.
It doesn’t take a skilled detective to understand why this has been a Brew City favorite for more than 50 years, and I’m so looking forward to my first visit before I "come on down" to the Riverside Theater Friday night.
Play: "The Price is Right Live"
(PHOTO: Daniel Ojeda)
Ah, yes … "The Price is Right." How can you not have memories of this show? If you didn’t watch "The Price is Right" when you were home sick as a kid, you’re lying. If you watch "The Price is Right" when you’re home sick as an adult, let’s be friends.
For those of you unfamiliar with the rules (who even are these people?) contestants, randomly chosen from the audience, must guess the prices of every-day items as closely as possible without overestimating. After nearly an hour’s worth of price estimating and ridiculous yet awesome games, two contestants are chosen to compete for the ultimate prize in the Showcase Showdown. Participants can win everything from new cars, washing machines, bedroom and living room decor and, of course, bragging rights for the rest of their life.
Fans of the beloved game show can expect many of the elements they know and love from TV at the Riverside Theater (unfortunately with the exception of Bob Barker and Drew Carey). You’ll see everything from the Plinko Board (thank God) to the Big Wheel. Although I’m doubtful that I’ll actually make it onstage for a chance to play in the showcase showdown (I can dream, can’t I?) I know that "The Price is Right Live" will be an exciting evening that will make everyone in the audience feel like a winner.
This upcoming Friday night excursion will remind me that no one knows how to have fun quite like the people of Milwaukee. While it’s my personal goal to always seek an exciting time out in this city I know so well, these lively stops certainly made my personal quest a whole lot easier.