Did you know that despite closing its bricks and mortar place in Brookfield, The Venice Club is still rockin' at Summerfest? And this year, it celebrates 40 years on the grounds. Eggplant strips, we salute you.
But, today, when the gates when up I vowed to try some new-to-me and new to the Big Gig foods for lunch on the first day of Summerfest, a day when the air hung with fog and the Johnson Controls weather station read a balmy 62 degrees.
I went first to Burke's Lakeside, which has opened this year in the Ethnic Village, just west of the U.S. Cellular Connection and Johnson Controls World Sound Stages. At 12:10 p.m., it had the most activity of the numerous eateries in that area.
Folks could choose from a mac and cheese-topped burger ($8), a wild mushroom flatbread (also $8), bacon cheddar "frachos" -- cheese fries and nachos -- ($6) and a number of other enticing looking items.
I'd heard about and was eager to try the lobster and shrimp BLT ($9), so I ordered one. What I got was half a lobster and shrimp BLT.
Don't get me wrong, it was a delicious half a sandwich. The bread was perfectly toasted, with a nice crunch. The seafood salad was delicious. But this is Summerfest. In Milwaukee. You gotta tell folks it's a half a sandwich. Then they can enjoy it properly.
On the far south side of the grounds, I stopped in a Trinity Three Irish Pubs, where I was determined to sample either the Loaded Twister Dog -- a spiral cut potato wrapped around a hot dog and doused with jalapeno pale ale cheese "whiz," Sriracha ketchup, mayonnaise and beer-candied bacon -- OR a chicken 'n' waffle cone with a rosemary waffle cone, bleu cheese cole slaw, battered chicken, beer candied bacon and on and on ($6 each)
But NOT both, for obvious reasons.
I went with the dog, figuring I'll come back for the chicken waffle during a future Summerfest 2014 visit.
Trust me on this, if you get the sinful thing that is the twister dog, grab a plastic fork and knife and don't try to eat it off the skewer that runs through this colossal item. It's perhaps the messiest thing I've eaten since that ill-advised deep-fried butter at State Fair.
The all-beef dog is delicious, but, overall, it's a bit much -- maybe you should share it with someone. Full disclosure, I ate it all. By myself. And I'd probably do it again. And I'll still come back to try the waffle.
Then, I walked all the way to the north end again to find Classy Girl Cupcakes, only to realize that -- luckily -- I'd misread the brochure and it's near the BMO Harris Pavilion. No way I could walk the length of Summerfest a fourth time with that lunch weighing me down. Next time.
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 an episode of TV's "Party of Five," 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 OnMilwaukee.com 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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.