There’s no shortage of articles and television shows that showcase the dishes that chefs love to cook at their restaurants. But, what do they love to eat at the end of their exhausting 16 hour days? Or on their days off? In this series, we ask Milwaukee area chefs to share their favorite dishes – both from area restaurants and for eating at home. In this edition, we talked with Chef Josh Peterson of MOTOR.
As a Wisconsin native, Chef Josh Peterson says he gravitates toward heartier, stick-to-your-bones styles of food. It makes him a good fit for MOTOR, which specializes in down-home comfort-style fare, including hand-pattied burgers, housemade macaroni and cheese and homestyle smoked barbecue.
As far as what he prefers when he dines out, Peterson says he loves to "eat everything."
"I like to try it all," he says. "I spend so much time cooking and eating comfort food at work. So, when I dine out I like to eat something that’s different from what I’m doing every day.
"Inspiration comes from the strangest places. I could go out for seafood and bring something back that I can use at the restaurant, whether its a flavor profile or an idea for plating. We also do a lot of custom menus for weddings and events, so I’m always looking for new, interesting ideas.
"My girlfriend and I bought a Foodie Flight Passport this year, and we’re working our way through that right now. In the past, we’ve done City Tins. It works to get us out to places that we might never try."
Root vegetable has at Blue’s Egg
"Blue’s Egg is about six blocks from my house, so we walk there regularly. The dish is hearty, and it tastes really fresh. There’s a bed of hash with beets, parsnips ... there’s almost always has celery root, and that’s an ingredient you don’t always find. It’s topped with poached eggs, There’s also avocado and a hollandaise sauce. They also have really great coffee there, and that makes a big difference when you’re going out to breakfast."
Takeout from Ono Kine Grindz
"I get the same thing every time. It’s the combination of Kalua pork and char siu chicken and purple sticky rice. The flavors are just so in your face and bold, especially with the chicken. And it’s a huge portion, so there’s no way you’ll eat it all in one sitting. There’s always enough to eat the next day, and it tastes great."
Linguini and clams at Harbor House
"We went there for my birthday last year. I ordered it and it blew me away. It’s so simple, but really really good. The fresh Littleneck clams were amazing. And the dish was actually more noodles and broth than it was noodles and sauce. It was so flavorful, I couldn’t get enough. Easily my favorite meal in the last year."
"I love tacos. I love them in any way shape or form. I don’t know what it is about them. I grew up eating your typical ground beef tacos. Now it’s more about the fresh flavors. My personal favorites are made with meat, onion and cilantro. As long as the meat is prepared well, they’re great. You get the flavor from the meat and the crunch of the onion, and there’s freshness in the cilantro. I made tacos last night with marinated flank steak, onion, avocado and cilantro. It’s simple and easy to make, even after spending 12 hours at work."
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.