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Alissa ventured out and discovered her love for Cempazuchi and rummy.
Alissa ventured out and discovered her love for Cempazuchi and rummy.

Alissa ventures out into a brave new delicious world

Having lived in Milwaukee for a decade, I’m well aware that we are very fortunate to have an abundance of amazing restaurants and bars and all within a small radius. One can enjoy any number of possibilities whether you’re a meat-and-potatoes person or an ethnic dining foodie. And of course if you like alcoholic beverages, from fine wine to $3 beer, we’ve got it.

Though I know I have the opportunity to indulge and enjoy in any food or beverage that strikes my fancy, I must admit, I often fall into location ruts. I have my handful of favorites that always pop into my mind, and I don’t bother to think about all the possibilities waiting to be discovered. It’s not a conscious or ill-willed judgment; I just have my usual spots. However, I’ve decided the saying is true; variety is the spice of life … especially in terms of food.

For instance, I went out to dinner with one of my favorite couples last Friday and concluded it was time to branch out a little. I’ve lived on the East Side the majority of the time I’ve been in Milwaukee and yet, I’ve never been to Cempazuchi, 1205 E. Brady Street.

I KNOW! For the longest time I thought it was an Indian restaurant. I knew I was in for something good when three seconds after I tweeted that I was a Cempazuchi dining virgin I had people messaging and "mentioning" back that it was a great place. Well, that, and the wait was an hour.

Once my dinner dates arrived we went up to the bar where I was immediately instructed by someone I thought could either be the manager or just an overly-friendly regular, to try the freshly made mango-pineapple margarita. It didn’t take much convincing and it was absolutely the right choice.

I love margaritas as much as the next person, but a pre-made mix margarita makes me feel like I’m at Chili’s. This was something else entirely. No syrupy sweetness or Kool-Aid artificial flavoring, just mashed up fruit and tequila … Mmm, I’ll have another, thanks!

As I said, the pl…

The author and her boyfriend on a Halloween pub crawl.
The author and her boyfriend on a Halloween pub crawl.

Halloween pub crawl: a recap

Ever since I was a kid, Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays. There's the scary element, the fun of getting to dress in costume and, of course, tons of candy. But there definitely is an age limit on trick or treating so I've curbed my desire to walk through the neighborhood asking for free candy and moved on from Kit Kats and Snickers to the timeless pub crawl.

My boyfriend is known far and wide for organizing some epic pub crawls. The destinations are always a surprise, and each year and each crawl is different than the last. However, a few traditions have surfaced over the years. Initially when we enter these establishments, all in costume and, of course, a bit rowdy, the patrons look at us like they either want to run or they might break a bottle and defend themselves. We can be quite the sight and, all at once, I'm sure we're a tad overwhelming. However, usually within a few minutes it's clear we're a fairly harmless bunch just out for fun.

We started out at one of our regular hang outs, The Village Pub, 4488 N. Oakland Ave. in Shorewood. This place has been smoke-free since Shorewood's ban went into effect, long before the whole state did, they have great food (you can smell the Friday fish fry days later), and, most weekends, live music.

After one round and making sure all that had RSVP'ed were in attendance, we hopped on the big yellow school bus and took off toward our first stop on the South Side.

As the bus pulled into Mavericks at 2030 W. Howard Ave., shouts of approval for the location choice echoed throughout the bus. We typically hit this place up for Packers games due to the shenanigans that go on. Owners Todd and Carroll make sure this is a crowd participation event each Sunday. Touchdown green and gold Jell-o shots, a third quarter bladder buster, and Todd adds his own commentary throughout the entire game. You want a quiet room with a computer to agonize and analyze your fantasy team? This is not the place. The regulars have their sp…