In Dining

Have you indulged in this briny popping delicacy? (PHOTO:

In Dining

Celebrate Escargot Day on May 24 at Le Reve in Wauwatosa. (PHOTO:

In Dining

You might have to travel down to Chicago to get a taste of this rare blowfish. (PHOTO:

In Dining

Durian, a Southeast Asian fruit is tasty, but its smell has been described as "sweaty socks," "road kill" and worse. (PHOTO:

In Dining

Zucchini blossoms can be found at the farmer's market in the summer, or fried up on restaurant menus. (PHOTO:

100 foods to eat before you die and where to find them in Milwaukee

For the ninth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, dining guides, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as voting for your "Best of Dining 2015."

Updated: Oct. 2015

The Facebook "100 Foods to Eat Before You Die" was all the buzz a few years ago.

The list, which is really a quiz to shame you into trying more foods or in some cases brag to friends about how culinarily adventurous you are, caught my attention when a friend sent it to me and asked me how many of the foods I had tried.

I looked the list over, checked off a few things, laughed at some of the items that were included, and kind of wondered how things like this ever end up being popular.

But, then I began to wonder how many of the items on the list I could find locally. In fact, I got a little bit obsessed with the idea of finding them all. So, I started an extensive internet and in-person city search. I discovered that most of the foods on the list can, indeed, be found here. Pretty impressive for a town we sometimes call "Smallwaukee."

So, read down the list and mark off what you've tried. Better yet, seek out something new that you haven't yet experienced. And, if you have any favorite spots to get items that I neglected to mention, let us know in the Talk Back Feature!

  1. Abalone – Abalone is a bit rare to find in Milwaukee. However, spots like Harbor House occasionally put it on the menu as a special (most recently, they served up Jade Tiger Abalone, poached in olive oil with five spice powder). If you'd prefer to get it and cook it yourself, the nice fellows at the St. Paul's Fish Market pointed me to a great online source where sashimi grade abalone can be found for $32.99 a pound. Check out Catalina Offshore for details.
  2. Absinthe – Fortunately, No. 2 was a lot easier. You don't have to travel very far to pick up a bottle of this legendary distilled spirit. Just head over to Great Lakes Distillery, 616 W Virginia St., where they not only sell the liquor, but also the proper gear to go with it.
  3. Alligator – Not something you see every day, but there's a restaurant where you could eat it just about every day if you wanted to. Just order up the fried alligator appetizer at The Brass Alley, 1023 N. Old World Third; it comes with Pepperoncini, cherry peppers and (yum) garlic butter.

  4. Baba Ghanoush – There are a few places to get good baba ghanoush in Milwaukee, but very few compare to Shahrazad, 2847 N. Oakland Ave. You'll be delighted by the texture of this smooth puree made from roasted eggplant and tahini. And, maybe best of all, you can wash it down with a delicious cup of Turkish coffee.

  5. Bagel and lox – Milwaukee isn't exactly New York, but you'll find a respectable bagel and lox plate if you stop over for breakfast at The Knick, 1030 E Juneau Ave.

  6. Baklava – Again, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of baklava in Milwaukee, but the Middle Eastern style baklava at Casablanca, 728 E. Brady St., seems to win frequent accolades from fans online.

  7. BBQ Ribs – This is one of the items on the list that gave me pause. Come on! Unless you're a vegetarian, I'm going to bet you've experienced barbequed ribs. But, hey, they're tasty. So, try them out again for good measure! Go for the classics by visiting Speed Queen, 1130 W. Walnut St., or Ashley's Que, 124 W. National Ave., where you can get classic ribs as well as a variety of pork cuts, including shoulder. Or pick up a rack at Smoke Shack, 332 N. Milwaukee St., where you can choose from a variety of sauces, including a house-made barbeque sauce made with chocolate. Soon you'll also be able to sample the unique Milwaukee Rib at Chef Aaron Patin's Iron Grate BBQ Co., 4177 S. Howell Ave.

  8. Bellini – Typically made with Prosecco and fruit puree (usually peach), this drink is an Italian classic. Head over to MOVIDA, 524 S. 2nd, for brunch where you can sample a seasonal rendition of this fruity cocktail. Their current version contains spiced black plum, Blackstrap Molasses and Bittercube Jamaican #1 bitters.

  9. Birds Nest Soup – This probably seems a little bit bizarre to the uninitiated. And, admittedly, it's one of the items on this list that I've never tried. Interestingly, it's an ancient dish made from the next of a bird called the swiftlet or cave swift. Rumor has it this Chinese delicacy first made the scene in Milwaukee in 1923 when Charles Toy opened his restaurant, the Oriental Room in "The Toy Building" on 2nd Street. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a source for the soup here in 2015, but Silver Seafood in Chicago appears to have it on the menu.

  10. Biscuits and gravy – This seems like a pretty ordinary item to end up on a "top 100" list, but who am I to judge? I love biscuits and gravy. You can get a whopping platter filled with them at the West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe Cafe, 6832 Becher St.

  11. Black Pudding – Pudding made with blood? Don't judge until you've tried it. Order it up as part of the Big Irish Breakfast at the County Clare, 1234 N. Astor St. It also comes with bangers, rashers, eggs, vegetables and your choice of potato.

  12. Black Truffle – Pay a visit to Glorioso's Italian Market, 1011 E.Brady St., where you can order the real thing direct from Italy when in season, or choose from a variety of truffle sauces, oils, or butter to embellish your next party dish. Bavette La Boucherie also carries fresh truffles when they're in season. If you'd prefer to eat your truffles at a restaurant, your best bet will probably take place during the month of February when spots like Sanford, Dream Dance Steak and Ristorante Bartolotta offer up truffles on their menus and as a part of featured seasonal dinners.

  13. Borscht – This soup is popular in many countries in Eastern and Central Europe, where it has countless variations. Fortunately, there is even a spot in Milwaukee where you can try more than one variety. Benji's Deli, 4156 N Oakland Ave., serves up both beet and cabbage borscht for between $3 and $6 a bowl.

  14. Calamari – Lots of restaurants serve up fried calamari as an appetizer, but it's not always the greatest. When I order calamari, I'm looking for a light, non-greasy texture with lots of flavor and usually a delicious dipping sauce. I love the calimari at Goodkind, 2475 S. Wentworth Ave., which comes with the most delicious fried lemons. You can also opt for something a little less predictable, like the squid bibimbop at Stone Bowl, 1958 N. Farwell Ave.? Or the sauteed calamari with spinach, chile flakes, olive oil and lemon at Bosley, 815 E. Brady St.?

  15. Carp – Although plentiful, carp isn't exactly a fish you'll typically find on restaurant menus. A while back, the Smoked Fish Sliders at RuYi in the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, were made from carp; but, we've since heard they discontinued the practice. I guess that means you've got to fish for your own; I hear the Milwaukee River is stocked.

  16. Caviar – One of the sure-fire places to find caviar is at your local sushi bar, where it's used frequently as an addition for sushi and maki. At Kanpai, 408 E Chicago St., you can sample flying fish, salmon, or smelt caviar a la carte for between $5 and $7.

  17. Cheese Fondue – The most obvious place to find fondue of all sorts would be at The Melting Pot, 19850 W Bluemound Rd. in Brookfield. But, there are other spots pulling out their fondue pots -- like Millioke, 323 E. Wisconsin Ave., which serves up a Wisconsin beer cheese fondue with pretzel bites. If you don't mind a short drive north, August Weber Haus, W63 N678 Washington Ave. in Cedarburg, also has a full menu of both appetizer and main dish fondues.

  18. Chicken and waffles – In Milwaukee, chicken and waffles are served most often as brunch fare. Head over to Palomino, 2491 S. Superior St., and you'll find some of the city's best fried chicken served atop a fluffy waffle with spicy maple syrup. At Wolf Peach, 1818 N. Hubbard St., your fried chicken and waffle is served with sausage gravy and maple syrup on the side.

  19. Chicken Tikka Masala – There are a variety of places to get this Indian classic here in Milwaukee, but a favorite spot is Royal India, 3400 S 27th St., which is also available with paneer (another ingredient on this list) for vegetarians.

  20. Chile Relleno – Again, this Mexican classic is fairly easy to find. But, my recommendation would be to head over to Riviera Maya, 2258 S Kinnickinnic Ave., in Bay View. Their version isn't nearly as heavy and greasy as it can be at other restaurants, plus the chiles come stuffed with the filling of your choice, including garlic shrimp, Xel-ha's combination (pork, steak, bacon and chorizo), steak, chicken, pulled pork, shredded beef, chorizo, papitas (potatoes, poblanos and corn), calabacitas (zucchini, corn, oregano and bell peppers).

  21. Chitlins (chitterlings)– Head over to Mr. Perkin's Restaurant, 2011 W. Atkinson Ave., for plates of soul food, including this southern classic made from pig intestines. Keep in mind, Mr. Perkins' is only open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nino's Southern Sides

  22. Churros – Treat yourself to churros – Mexico's solution to the doughnut -- in a variety of delicious flavors at Lopez Bakery, 1601 W Lincoln Ave. Or head over to Mr. Churro, 2333 W National Ave., where the cajeta-filled pastries are a caramel lover's dream.

  23. Clam Chowder – The Manhattan style chowder at The Soup Market, 2211 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., in Bay View gets accolades for its version of this East Coast classic. If you prefer bar food and New England style chowder, head over to Hooligan's, 2017 E. North Ave., on Fridays for a steaming bowl of their cream based version.

  24. Cognac – You can't beat the selection, or the expert advice you'll find, if you'd like to do tastings of more than one variety of this upscale brandy at The Palm Tavern, 2989 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., in Bay View.

  25. Crab Cakes – It shouldn't be a surprise that some of the best crab cakes in the city can be found at the fish market. St. Paul Fish Company, 400 N. Water St. in the Public Market. But, they simply do a great job with these shellfish delights.

  26. Crickets – Many claim that crickets taste similarly to popcorn or nuts; And Angelina Jolie has gone on record saying that her kids think they taste like Doritos. Fortunately, there's a local way for you to find out for sure. Allô! Chocolat, 234 W. Main St. in Waukesha carries a product called Cricket Lick-It Lollipops, suckers which contain the extra special treat of a real cricket inside. Crickets come encased in one of many fruity flavors, including blueberry, grape, orange or strawberry.

  27. Currywurst – Try Germany's popular spicy snack, sliced sausage served with a zesty tomato-curry sauce … where else? At The Old German Beer Hall, 1009 N. Old World 3rd St., of course!

  28. Dandelion Wine – The last time I tasted dandelion wine it was from a bottle in my aunt and uncle's cellar that they made themselves. Unfortunately, homemade seems to be the way to go with this humble brew. But, if you'd really like to get a taste, you can order a bottle from the Village Winery in Amana, Iowa, for just $11.95.

  29. Dulce De Leche – Get your dulce de leche at El Rey, 3524 W. Burnham St., and experience the creamy wonder of this caramelized milk-based confection.

  30. Durian – No other fruit appears to create such conflicting opinions. This Southeast Asian fruit is tasty, but its smell has been described as "sweaty bad onions" by local chef Daniel Jacobs. Nonetheless, you can find a great selection of hard-to-find fruits, including Durian, at Pacific Produce, 5455 S. 27th St.

  31. Eel – A nice introduction to this tasty sea creature would probably be in the form of sushi. I'd recommend the eel and avocado roll from Screaming Tuna, 106 W. Seeboth St., a creamy roll topped with sweet eel sauce. And no, eel isn't served raw.

  32. Eggs Benedict – This breakfast staple is everywhere. But it's not necessarily good everywhere. Hollandaise can be tricky, and you want a place that does it justice. My favorite spots to get the classic breakfast would include Blue's Egg, Buckley's Restaurant and Bar, 801 N. Cass St., and Café at the Plaza, 1007 N. Cass St.

  33. Fish Tacos – The salmon tacos at Cempazuchi Comida Bravo, 1205 E. Brady St., are worth a stop. As are the tilapia tacos at Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub, 222 E. Erie St., served as part of their Taco Tuesday special.

  34. Foie Gras – Two places come to mind when I think of foie gras – Sanford, 1547 N. Jackson St., where Chef Aprahamian's masterful treatment of the unctuous liver is always expert, and C. 1880, 1100 S. 1st St., which also deserves kudos for its inventive use of this sometimes controversial ingredient.

  35. Fresh Spring Rolls – If you're on the west side, grab an order of delicious spring rolls from Hue, 6519 W. North Ave. If you're on the east end of town, EE Sane, 1806 N. Farwell Ave., serves up some of the freshest rolls in the business. Get an order to counteract their deliciously spicy curries.

  36. Fried Catfish – Don't miss the fried catfish at Ashley's Que, 124 W. National Ave., where you can order the tender fish as part of a dinner entrée or on a sandwich. Or grab the two-piece fried catfish dinner at Nino's Southern Sides, 4470 N. Oakland Ave., where you can pair it up with authentic southern sides like stewed okra, black-eyed peas and collard greens.

  37. Fried Green Tomatoes – Get these tart, crisp summer favorites at Maxie's Southern Comfort, 6732 W. Fairview Ave. Or wait for them to appear as a seasonal special among the offerings at Odd Duck, 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. or Meritage, 5921 W. Vliet St. You won't be sorry.

  38. Fried Plantain – Some of the best plantain chips in the city can be found at Cubanitas, 728 N. Milwaukee St.; but, you shouldn't stop there. Try the tostones (fried green plantains) and the platanitos maduros (sweet plantains) and experience the full range of flavors from this banana-like fruit.

  39. Frito Pie – You're probably best off making this one up at home. Made from a mixture of chili, cheese, and corn chips, it's pretty foolproof. Shortcut the process and make a uniquely Milwaukee version by grabbing a cup of Real Chili chili and adding Wisconsin cheddar and a snack-sized bag of Fritos.

  40. Frogs' Legs – Grab a glass of wine at the bar and try these French delicacies in style. Pastiche, 3001 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., in Bay View serves these up right, deep-fried in a light batter, with remoulade sauce.

  41. Fugu – It used to be that, if you wanted to indulge in this potentially deadly Japanese delicacy, you needed to drive to Chicago to Ai, which was once the only Midwest restaurant serving this rare blowfish. Ai has since closed, but Zagat rated Toro Sushi in Lincoln Park appears to have fugu on their menu.

  42. Funnel Cake – These fried batter cakes coated with powdered sugar are a gut-bomb, but they're delicious. Get them at the Wisconsin State Fair, or from Tres Flores & Co. Funnel Cakes at a variety of festivals during the summer months.

  43. Gazpacho – Wait until late summer for this fresh, delicious delicacy made from peak season tomatoes. They always have a great version at Beans and Barley, 1901 E. North Ave. But, other spots that make up a kick-butt gazpacho include MOVIDA, which serves up an Andalusian version made with yellow tomatoes.

  44. Goat – Grab a delicious dish of spicy goat vindaloo at Bollywood Grill, 1038 N Jackson St.; or get it barbequed at Ashley's Bar-B-Que, 1501 E. Center St. Or, if you'd prefer to take some home and cook it yourself, Samah Middle East Ethnic Grocery at 851 W. Layton Ave. offers a full selection of Halal/Zabiha meat, including goat.

  45. Goat's Milk – Goat cheese doesn't count! Fortunately, you can find goat's milk at a variety of supermarkets in town, including Outpost Natural Foods Coop and Whole Foods Market.

  46. Goulash – Thank goodness for Milwaukee's European heritage. You'll find warm, comforting Hungarian beef goulash at Mader's, 1041 N. Old World 3rd St. and Karl Ratzsch's, 320 E. Mason St.

  47. Gumbo – Gumbo is nothing more than a southern stew. But, it takes skills to get it right. Order it up at Maxie's, 6732 W. Fairview Ave. or grab the shrimp and sausage gumbo at St. Paul's Fish Market in the Milwaukee Public Market.

  48. Haggis – Haggis is a love or hate proposition. A Scottish sausage made from sheep or calf offal, suet, oatmeal and seasoning, boiled in a bag, it's known as an acquired taste. One of the only places I know of to get a bit of haggis is McBob's, 4919 W. North Ave., where you can order the Trinity appetizer comprised of Scotch egg, Irish spring roll and Haggis.

  49. Head Cheese – European-style headcheese is made by cooking meaty bits of a pig's head with seasoning, then chopping or grinding it and pressing it into a cheese-like loaf, emulsified in its own fat. Malone's Fine Sausage of Milwaukee, 300 W. Walnut St., has been selling two styles of headcheese – hot and mild – for more than 30 years. Buy their product at a variety of supermarkets in Milwaukee, including Pick 'n Save and Piggly Wiggly stores.

  50. Heirloom Tomatoes – The best time for heirloom tomatoes is late summer or early fall, plucked fresh from vendors at the farmer's market. Do yourself a favor and wait for them. When they're in season, look for great heirloom tomato salads at restaurants like Wolf Peach, 1818 W. Hubbard St., where the tomato is king.

  51. Honeycomb – The sweet crunch of honeycomb really is the bees knees. Lay a bit of it out on a plate with some quality cheeses and serve it to guests. Or nibble it yourself, spread on toast or eaten straight up. Buy the honeycomb fresh from Kallas Honey, 5500 W. Douglas Ave. Or get it as part of the Soft Side Cheese Flight at Blu at the Pfister Hotel.

  52. Hostess Fruit Pie – You can find these in a good many gas stations and convenience stores around town. But, I'd probably give you a pass on this one, as I'm not altogether sure they're worth seeking out. As this quote from a Serious Eats blog summarizes: "And then we unleashed the partially hydrogenated horror within the paper wrapper."

  53. Huevos Rancheros – You can't really beat the huevos rancheros served up at Café Corazon, 3129 N. Bremen St. You'll get two eggs sunny side up on a corn tortilla with house red sauce, sautéed onion and peppers served with rice, beans and tortillas.

  54. Jerk Chicken – For some of the most authentic Jamaican jerk chicken in the city, you'll have to travel west to Irie Palace Jamaican Restaurant, 7506 W. Appleton Ave., where you'll find perfectly seasoned island chicken with the perfect amount of kick. Soon, you'll also be able to find the Jamaican dish at Irie Zulu, 7237 W. North Ave. once they open in Nov. of 2015.

  55. Kangaroo – Milwaukee's Kangaroo Brands sells pita chips and pita pockets, but I had a more difficult time finding a spot to eat kangaroo meat in the city. But, a quick search online showed me that you can order a nice package of the meat without going out of the state. Specialty Meats and Gourmet in Hudson, carries a wide range of exotic meats including kangaroo, python, ostrich, and yak. Order online.

  56. Key Lime Pie – Some of the best key lime pie I've had came from Maxie's, 6732 W. Fairview Ave. But, Harbor House, 550 N. Harbor Dr., also has pretty tasty version, and a lakefront patio view to go right along with it.

  57. Kobe Beef (also called Wagyu)– You can indulge in this spendy beef at Carnevor, 724 N. Milwaukee St., where a filet mignon will run you a steep $75. But, according to the afficianados, it's well worth the cost.

  58. Lassi – This yogurt drink is popular in the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan. For a treat, get the mango lassi at Bombay Sweets, 3401 S. 13th St.

  59. Lobster – Lobster might not be indigenous to Wisconsin, but there's no better place to grab yourself a lobster than at St. Paul's Fish Market, where lobster dinners are $13.95 every day.

  60. Mimosa – This mix of juice and sparkling wine is a favorite among the brunch-lovers set. And there are plenty of places to get a great mimosa. But, why not build your own. Balzac, 1716 N. Arlington Pl., offers a champagne bar all day on Sundays where you can pick and choose half-price bottles of champagne and mix them with juices of your choice.

  61. Moon Pie – If you haven't tried one of these iconic sweet treats, it's high time. Born in 1917, the moonpie was created by Chattanooga Bakery. It's graham cracker cookies, filled with marshmallow cream and covered in chocolate. You might be able to find them somewhere around town, but it's much more fun to visit and order fresh from the factory.

  62. Morel Mushrooms – Funny looking, yes. But, they're also pretty tasty. You can find dried mushrooms all year round at the supermarket. But, it's more fun when you can eat them fresh. So, keep your eyes open in May when restaurants all over the city will take advantage of locally sourced mushrooms, most foraged from right here in Wisconsin. You'll most assuredly find them each spring at Morel, the mushroom's namesake restaurant at 430 S. 2nd St.

  63. Nettle Tea – Stinging nettles are a weed that grow here in Wisconsin, as well as across the country. The tea, which tastes very green and herbal, is known for its use in holistic nutrition for lowering blood pressure, alleviating prostate issues, and more. Inquire about nettles and nettle tea at Outpost Natural Foods or Whole Foods Market.

  64. Octopus – If you've never tried this eight legged creature, you want to trust your first experience to the experts. It's a regular item on the menu at Wolf Peach, 1818 N. Hubbard St., where they grill baby octopus and serve it with farro, blistered tomato, garlic emulsion, bread tuille and spinach puree. Buckley's, 801 N. Cass St., also serves grilled octopus with polenta, frisee, paprika-pancetta vinaigrette, and fig vincotto.

  65. Oxtail Soup – They've got you covered at Mader's, 1041 N. Old World 3rd St., where you'll find a soup made from braised oxtail meat with tomato, sherry, and beef broth. But, you can also find this soup at Ono Kine Grindz, the Hawaiian take-out restaurant at 7215 W. North Ave.

  66. Paella – They've got paella at MOVIDA, Milwaukee's Spanish tapas restaurant where they offer up three types -- chicken, seafood and vegetable -- along with a daily special.

  67. Paneer – Sample this mild Indian cheese at just about any Indian restaurant in the city by ordering the Saag Paneer, a spiced dish with greens, spices and deliciously salty squares of fried cheese.

  68. Pastrami on Rye – The best in the city can be found at Jake's Deli, 1634 W. North Ave., where they have some of the best corned beef and pastrami in the Midwest. You'll get it piled high on rye bread or a pretzel roll for just over $10.

  69. Pavlova – Also known as Schaum torte, you can find this meringue dessert on the menu at Joey Gerard's in both Greendale and Mequon, where it is served the old school way with strawberry sauce and whipped cream.

  70. Phaal – Phaal (also spelled Phall) is a super spicy English Indian curry. It got some press when Adam Richman of "Man Vs. Food" took it on in 2008 at Brick Lane Curry House in Manhattan. Unfortunately for chile heads, we don't seem to have an equivalent in Milwaukee. Brick House curry is notable for containing ten of the hottest chiles on the planet, including Bhut Jolokia, or Ghost Chile, recognized as one of the hottest in the world.

  71. Philly Cheese Steak – If you can't make it to Philidelphia, head over to at Chubby's Cheesesteaks (multiple locations), for the cheesiest, messiest sandwich on the block. Or, if you prefer, get your Philly on at Philly Way in Walker's Point, 405 S. 2nd St.

  72. Pho – Head over to Hue in Bay View, 2691 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., for a delicious introduction to this Vietnamese soup. While you're there, order some spicy crab Rangoon and check out the excellent craft cocktail specials at the bar. For a slightly less polished experience, head over to the Asian food court at Phonsavan, 6300 N. 76th St., and order the "special" pho with beef, chicken, pork, sausage, tendon, tripe, crab and shrimp. Or head out to my favorite, Pho Hai Tuyet, 204 W. Layton Ave.

  73. Pineapple and cottage cheese – This is a time when the old Heineman's restaurant would have come in handy; I'm sure they served up bowls and bowls of this homey combo. Not sure if any places regularly serve this combo anymore. But, that's OK. It's easy to make yourself.

  74. Pistachio Ice Cream – Wait for it… wait for it… it'll appear on the Kopp's flavor of the day menu sooner or later. At the very least, they put Spumoni on the menu relatively often, which includes a mix of pistachio nut, burgundy cherry & chocolate almond custards. And yeah, that's technically custard and not ice cream. But, you'll love it nonetheless, maybe even more. Not in the mood for custard? Try the pistachio gelato at Cold Spoons, 5924 W. Vliet St.

  75. Po' Boy – Choose from fried shrimp, scallop, andouille or buffalo chicken Po' Boys at The Brass Alley, 1023 N. Old World Third. Or head to Maxie's, 6732 W. Fairview Ave., where you can choose from catfish or chicken.

  76. Pocky – I'll admit it. I'd not heard of this one before and didn't really know what to expect when I started researching it. Turns out it's Japanese snack food, and you can find it at Pacific Produce, 5455 S. 27th St.

  77. Polenta – There's no doubt in my mind. If you love polenta, or need a great first experience with this Italian dish, you need to head over to Blue's Egg, 317 N. 76th St., and order the Creamy Polenta with lacinato kale, roast mushrooms, poached eggs, and sauce fonduta.

  78. Prickly Pear – These spiky-but-sweet fruits turn everything in their wake a beautiful fuschia color. For a nice introduction, try out the prickly pear margaritas at Cempazuchi on Brady Street.

  79. Rabbit Stew – Milwaukee should be all over this dish, considering we have claim to the iconic chant made popular by Laverne and Shirley: "Schlemeel, Schlemazel, Hassenfeffer Incorporated!" But, I've only found it at a few spots. One is Kegel's Inn, 5901 W. National Ave., where they serve marinated rabbit and vegetables over noodles. And the other is Meritage, 5921 W. Vliet St., where you'll occasionally find a sumptuous stew made with rabbit that's cooked to fall-off-the-bone tenderness.

  80. Raw Oysters – Take a seat at the oyster bar at Harbor House and sample any number of delicious oysters. Eat them raw on the half-shell with a few drops of lemon juice and a dab of horseradish. (Pro tip: Don't just shoot them back. Give them a little chew. They'll seem less slimy and you'll get more of the flavor out of the oyster itself).

  81. Root Beer Float – If you want the classic, you've got to find yourself a good old fashioned A&W rootbeer stand. Fortunately, there's an A&W at 5133 S. 108th St., in Hales Corners. Worth the drive on a beautiful day to have your fill of this sweet treat.

  82. S'mores – First, you need a campfire. Then you need graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. Go gourmet at Indulgence Chocolatiers, 4525 N. Oakland Ave., and pick up a S'mores kit, which includes sea salt dark chocolate and vanilla bean marshmallows. Or cheat a bit and head over to Engine Company No. 3, 217 W. National Ave., and order the s'mores pancakes with graham cracker batter, topped with marshmallow fluff and drizzled with chocolate ganache. Or, after you get your kobe beef from Carnevor, order their S'mores dessert with milk chocolate mousse, graham sponge and marshmallow ice cream.

  83. Sauerkraut – Milwaukee's German population is significant enough that finding a bit of sauerkraut to eat shouldn't be a problem. Grab it on a hot dog at Miller Park, or get the full cultural experience by ordering the German Sampler at Mader's, 1041 N. Old World 3rd St.

  84. Sea UrchinKanpai is one spot that offers Uni (sea urchin) as part of their sushi and sashimi menu. You may also run into the delicacy at Ardent, 1751 N. Farwell Ave., where it's been known to pop up on the chef's tasting menu.

  85. Shark – Let's not wander into this unsustainable seafood territory, OK? Instead, head over to Shark's Fish and Chicken, 5834 W. Villard Ave. or 5653 N. 76th St., and grab a pile of fried food to drown your sorrows.

  86. Snail – Celebrate the snail on National Escargot Day, which is observed each year on May 24 at Le Reve Patisserie and Café, 7610 Harwood Ave. But, if you don't want to wait for a holiday, you can get classic Pizza Man escargot just about any day of the week at both the Tosa or Downer locations. Or order it up at Joey Gerard's Greendale, 5601 Broad St., where it's served in the shell, swimming in copious amounts of garlic butter. Perfect eaten with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

  87. Snake – Well, I've heard rattlesnake tastes like chicken, but rattlesnake meat is not exactly easy to find in Milwaukee. So, my advice is to head over to the Milwaukee Public Museum and search for the hidden "snake button," that when pressed will shake the tail of a rattlesnake strategically placed inside the bison hunt diorama.

  88. Soft Shell Crab – Summer is high season for soft shell crabs. Watch for them on special at great spots like Harbor House, 550 N. Harbor Dr., Bosley's on Brady, 815 E. Brady St. and St. Paul's Fish in the Milwaukee Public Market.

  89. Som Tam – Try this papaya salad at Mekong Café, 5930 W. North Ave., where you can choose from Laotian style with crab paste or Thai style with ground peanuts.

  90. Spaetzle – Order this German classic at Karl Ratzsch's, 320 E. Mason St. Or head over to Cafe at the Plaza, where you can order it for breakfast with pork schnitzel, caramelized onions and bacon.

  91. Spam – For spam in true Hawaiian style, visit Ono Kine Grindz, 7215 W. North Ave., in Wauwatosa, or sample it on a burger with caramelized onions, grilled pineapple and provolone at the Sail Loft, 649 E. Erie St.

  92. Squirrel – Watching squirrels is great. Not sure about eating them. And I'm pretty sure you'll have a difficult time finding them at a restaurant in town. But, for the very determined, I recommend befriending a skilled hunter who is willing to share a few of his spoils.

  93. Steak Tartare – You can't lose with the delicious classically prepared tartare at Lake Park Bistro, 3133 E. Newberry Blvd., where the dish is comprised of slices of raw filet mignon, onion, salt and pepper and a raw egg, mixed table side. But, you can also get an equally delicious version for lunch (or dinner) at Bavette, where it's prepared more playfully, sometimes served up with tonnato, a mayonnaise based sauce with tuna.

  94. Sweet Potato Fries – If you're gonna go out of your way, go for the best. And those might just be at Oscar's Pub & Grill, 1712 W Pierce St., which serves theirs up with chipotle cinnamon seasoning and chipotle aioli.

  95. Sweetbreads – I sampled my first tender sweetbreads at Ilija's Place in Cudahy, where they were prepared simply, pan fried and served with a wedge of lemon. Ilija's has since closed, but, you can find them relatively regularly at Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub, 222 E. Erie St., along with other offal delicacies like veal brains, rabbit kidneys, and duck heart.

  96. Tom Yum – This coconut milk based, lemongrass infused soup is a popular choice at Thai-namite, 932 E. Brady St., where it can be ordered with chicken or shrimp.

  97. Umeboshi – You needn't go further than the Asian foods section at Outpost Natural Foods to find these salty pickled Japanese plums. They are an acquired taste, but they can be eaten plain or used as an addition to sushi, rice dishes, or make into a tea by steeping mashed umeboshi in hot water.

  98. Venison – Quite a few restaurants have taken a shine to this deliciously lean game. However, my recommendation is to check the ever-changing menu at Lazy Susan, 2378 S. Howell Ave., where Chef AJ Dixon frequently cooks up succulent dishes, like venison stew (perfect with a pumpkin old fashioned, if the bar is serving them up).

  99. Wasabi Peas – Crunchy, spicy, sweet. This addictive snack is great for anyone who likes a bit of kick. You can find them at Trader Joe's as well as in the snack aisle at most grocery stores.

  100. Zucchini Flowers – You'll have to wait for the summer months to nab a few of these from one of the area farmer's markets. Head to West Allis or South Shore for the best selection. Also look for seasonal stuffed squash blossom dishes on restaurant menus.


twannakush | Oct. 22, 2015 at 4:35 a.m. (report)

never had KANGAROO, SQUIRREL, CRICKETS, or CHICKEN AND WAFFLES... have had everything else

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mushroommike | Oct. 21, 2015 at 12:28 p.m. (report)

Mushroom Mike LLC carries over 20 varieties of wild foraged mushrooms including fresh morels, white, and black truffles. Please look for us next spring at local farmer's markets and Bumstead Provisions or try our product at nearly every restaurant in Milwaukee. Plenty still on this list to try personally Lori!

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marmaladepie | May 11, 2013 at 7:21 a.m. (report)

I'd add V for Vegan Bakery! Today is the Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale! The Milwaukee vegan bake sale is a bi-annual event that raises funds for local and national charities, animal rescues, shelters, and more! All proceeds raised from this sale will be split 50/50 between Urban Ecology Center and the Safe Haven program, a partnership between Wisconsin Humane Society and Sojourner Family Peace Center that ensures safe shelter and temporary foster homes for the companion animals of domestic violence victims. Saturday May 11, 2013 10am 4pm Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park Branch 1500 E. Park Place Milwaukee, WI 53211

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gloriosos | May 2, 2013 at 11:23 a.m. (report)

Glorioso's Italian Market also carries fresh morels (as well as a variety of other fresh shrooms and truffles), pistachio (gelato, not ice cream), polenta, and wasabi peas, in addition to the black truffles already mentioned in the article. Thanks, Lori, for the shout out!

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Milly | May 1, 2013 at 10:22 p.m. (report)

Great list. I'd like to add #101: Mussels. Triskele's on Tuesday nights. $8; all you can eat. Always delicious.

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