By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 27, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Even if you're paying close attention, it's sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest in food news here in Milwaukee. So, here's a taste of what's new and notable – including news about Milwaukee’s inclusion in the "Food & Wine" America’s Favorite Food Cities survey, a chocolate-filled weekend at the American Club, more news about the Miller Park AJ Bombers, the wild game cooking stages at Milwaukee’s Pheasant Fest, and some weekly specials at Black Sheep.

Milwaukee makes Food & Wine survey list
For the first time, "Food & Wine" magazine has invited the public to vote in the America’s Favorite Food Cities Survey. And Milwaukee is on the list.

40 restaurants will contend for top honors in categories like "best looking chefs," "most vibrant ethnic food scene," "most adventurous eaters" and "best and worst service," with the final results revealed in the September 2014 issue of "Food & Wine."

Voting ends April 30, 2014. To cast your ballot, visit You can also share your opinions on our fine city and the survey by using #FWMilwaukee.

AJ Bombers comes to Miller Park
Last week, Jeff Sherman broke the news that AJ Bombers is setting up a location in Miller Park on the western side of the stadium in the outside space formerly known as the Plaza Pavilion.

As the first independently owned vendor to take up residence in the space, AJ Bombers will expand typical game day offerings to include some of their Milwaukee offerings, as well expanding the menu to include player-designed burgers and ever-changing offerings to reflect the home cities of visiting teams. They’ll also be bringing their recently released house-made custard to the Park, offering popular flavors of their concrete custard concoctions, like Nutella brownie and gingerbread coffee stout, as well as brand new flavors customized for each game.

Other offerings are being planned, in part, based on suggestions from AJ Bombers and Brewers fans on social media.

Owner Joe Sorge says he couldn’t be happier.

"It’s a great match," he says. "Teddy Warner’s office is really focused on their customers and their experience. We’ve been working with the Brewers since October, and they reached out to us. That changes your whole perspective."

As renderings of the space show, the AJ Bombers vendor space will feature an open air space. But, it will also include a heated enclosure for cooler weather games (not hard to imagine, considering the recent Polar Vortex).

"To continue to be associated with these super iconic brands, it’s a really big deal for us," says Sorge. "It’s really surpassed our expectations."

The space should be ready for the home opener on March 31.

If you have suggestions for items you'd like to see on the Miller Park AJ Bombers menu, share them with @AJBombers on Twitter.

Celebrate chocolate at the American Club in Kohler
Love chocolate? Then you won’t want to miss the In Celebration of Chocolate weekend at the American Club in Kohler on February 7-9.

This weekend-long celebration kicks off with a wine dinner on Friday, February 7 at the American club from 6:30 – 10 p.m.  Saturday’s festivities include seminars and cooking classes featuring ways to incorporate chocolate in savory preparations, wine and chocolate and wine and beer pairings, making chocolate cocktails, and more.

The event culminates with The Signature Event, at which attendees can enjoy samples of Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates, a fondue station and specialty dishes from the various Kitchens of Kohler restaurants, accompanied by live entertainment and the stunning backdrop of the Kohler Design Center.

Spend the weekend and cap it off with a Chocolate Lovers’ Brunch at the Wisconsin Room from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.

View the full schedule of events at

Pheasant Fest to feature Wild Game Cooking Stage
The National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic is coming to Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Center on February 14-16.  While it may seem like a "hunter’s only" affair, the show will be featuring a nice selection of offerings for food lovers with a penchant for local, sustainable eating.

For instance, the Wild Game Cooking Stage has been an attraction growing in popularity at Pheasant Fest, a phenomenon which Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s vice president of marketing, attributes to the locavore movement.

"The proliferation of television shows, books and magazines focusing on the exquisite flavors of wild game has lifted the ‘gamey’ stigma from these meats. Add pop culture’s embrace to local restaurants sourcing local ingredients and a broader public is beginning to see the connection between food, animal and land."

This year’s cooking stage will feature presentations by authors Hank Shaw and Tovar Cerruli, vegan-turned-deer-hunter, as well as David Draper, food blogger for "Field and Stream" magazine. Session titles include "Wild game Sausage and other Curing Techniques," "Preparing Wild Game from the Tailgate," "From Tough to Tender, Making the Most of your Venison Cuts" and "The Mindful Carnivore - A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance."

Ticket prices for Pheasant Fest are $10/day for adults and $5/day for youth 6-16. Children under 5 get in free. Access the full seminar schedule at

Weekly specials at Black Sheep
There’s good news for wine lovers in Walker’s Point. Black Sheep, 216 S. Second St., has just launched a slew of weekly specials to whet your whistle. Promotions include:

Creative Industry Night on Mondays, featuring a "so cheap it’s borderline ridiculous" Happy Hour all night long for creative types. Whether you’re a stylist, fashionista, adworker or artist, you won’t want to miss unlimited $3 house wine pours, beer taps and domestic bottles. There are also $5 specialty cocktails and small plates.

Black Market Night on Tuesdays, including half price bottles of wine. Wine to-go bags make it easy to get your money’s worth.

Wednesday nights are Service Industry Night, with an all-night happy hour catering to the guys and gals who serve others all week long.

Black Sheep is open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.