By Alissa Lawton Special to Published Feb 18, 2011 at 12:12 PM

"Bar Month" at is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs -- including guides, the latest trends, bartender profiles and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

It wasn’t an auspicious beginning to the weekend. I spent the first half of Saturday in bed with Kleenex shoved in my nose trying to recover from a wicked cold that I’m fairly sure everyone I work with has come down with in the last week. I should’ve been sleeping but one of my guilty pleasures is "Law & Order SVU" and of course there was a marathon on that day, as there almost always is. So no restorative sleep for me, but I was lazy enough to start feeling better anyway.

I managed to drag myself out of bed in just enough time to shower, purchase some DayQuil and head out to Wauwatosa for the Christ King School auction. I’d never been to an event like this, but anything that benefits kids’ education I’m all for.

First stop was the buffet and the food was a pleasant surprise. Honestly, after not eating anything all day until 8:30 p.m., I suppose cold oatmeal would’ve been an amazing meal but this was so much better than that. A nice, loaded salad bar, pasta station, carving station with turkey and beef options (in case you don’t regularly follow my blog, I don’t eat meat so I really cannot speak to this aspect), and a mashed potato bar.

Yes, you read that correctly, mashed potato bar. I love mashed potatoes, even the cheap flakes version, but this was nothing like that. Served like a scoop of ice cream in embassy champagne glasses, we had the option of regular or red skinned mashed taters. I always opt for red skinned potatoes when there’s a choice, and always with the skins mashed in. The only thing better is mashed sweet potatoes. Toppings included mushrooms, scallions, cheddar cheese, sour cream and bacon. It was truly awesome.

There was also a dessert table, but we were all so stuffed we could barely think about sweets, which is too bad because they were all homemade by families associated with the Christ King School.

The auction itself was extensive. The silent auction had table after table of items to bid on from a hand painted, custom window, to babysitting services by local kids. The live auction had trips and sports packages, any of which I would’ve gladly bid on if I had a little more stuffed in the piggy bank.

We won… nothing. We did however do a pretty good job of peer-pressuring those around us into bidding higher than they’d probably set out to. Nothing like one too many glasses of wine and a room full of people cheering to convince you to raise that little bidding number. It was all in good fun and for a good cause.

From Mount Mary College we headed over to Colonel Hearts, 7342 W. State St. in Tosa. I remember before the smoking ban had gone into effect I could barely walk into this place without hacking up a lung. Now, it’s a nice little hang out. I’ll admit, we sang along loudly to some songs we shouldn’t have, but it was a fun end to the night. Then back to the Kleenex-up-the-nose look.

Sunday was so beautiful out I had to keep pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I kept asking, "Where am I? What time of year is it?" We were still out in Tosa so we went over to Leff’s, 7208 W. State St., to watch the Marquette game. Leff’s has a Sunday build-your-own-bloody deal for $4.

If I order a Bloody Mary and it doesn’t come back spicy and full of olives, brussels sprouts, asparagus and a pickle, I’m deeply disappointed. So, for obvious reasons I’m all about the build-your-own-bloody. I could use a quarter shaker of black pepper and still not be happy with the spice level of my bloody. So with free range of the spice rack and the pickled goods, I was thrilled.

I decided to give the grilled cheese a whirl, adding grilled green peppers, tomato and pickles. I was hesitant about the pickles but the waiter assured me I wouldn’t regret it. And I didn’t. The only thing I regretted was not asking about the cheese before ordering.

This is Wisconsin so you would think our cheese selection is amazing enough that American cheese isn’t even a part of our vocabulary, yet I cannot even count the number of times I’ve ordered a grilled cheese expecting to bite into a mouthful of local, rich, real cheese, only to find a square of solidified Cheese Whiz.

Highly unsatisfactory to say the very least. The veggies on the sandwich made it worth it, but, call me a cheese snob, call me unpatriotic if you must, but I am not an American cheese fan. Never have been, never will be.

The weekend went too quickly as it always does, but it was a lot of fun and Sunday was just the beginning of the beautiful warm up weather. Just as the deep cabin fever was setting in. So did the blizzard reprieve us from another six weeks of winter? The groundhog couldn’t get out of his burrow, let alone get freaked by his own shadow. Which means spring starts next week, right?

Alissa Lawton Special to

Alissa grew up on the near west side of Madison and had childhood dreams of being a veterinarian. Instead she moved to Milwaukee to attend college and attained a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from UW-Milwaukee. Previously an advertising copywriter and a marketing specialist, Alissa always preferred the writing aspect of her career.

An animal lover, a shoe lover and a white wine lover, she now resides on the much beloved East Side of Milwaukee in what she describes as an ancient apartment building full of character, but lacking sufficient electrical outlets and the convenience of an elevator.

To some she comes across as a shy wall flower, to those that know her much better she is a social butterfly, usually overdressed and wearing inappropriately uncomfortable shoes for nearly every occasion. Either way you choose to see her, Alissa has a strong desire to bring awareness to the social issues in our city while maintaining a sense of humor about herself and surroundings.