Welcome to EatWisconsin, the blog formerly known as Undelicious. This blog will focus on the food, the people, the history, and restaurants in the State of Wisconsin. Though we will focus primarily on the State of Wisconsin, there will be occasional forays into other Cities.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Moving Day

Eat Wisconsin is moving today. The new direct link is but will soon forward to that address as well. Some posts from this blog will be transferred, most likely any restaurant reviews and beer reviews and thats about it. The content on the blogger site will remain if for some reason someone wants to read it.

I lied

Last week I posted that I was killing this blog. After a moment of clarity I have decided to keep EatWisconsin going. I wasn't sure what direction to take the site but I thought of some ideas and I think it might make the site more interesting.

I am going to transfer the blog over to WordPress, because it is superior to Blogger. I may merge Wisconsin related posts over there as well.

I also intend on keeping open as well. Thats the site that I was going to replace Eat Wisconsin with.

Sorry for all of the confusion.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tyler Florence Sellout?

Tyler Florence has always been an intriguing celebrity chef to me. On one hand he seems like he is a genuinely nice guy who would be a lot of fun to hang around. On the other hand he has always had this sort of cheesy persona and it seemed as if he was on TV for his looks and down-to-earth persona and not his culinary resume, but we all know that is how the Food Network works. Oh, and he talks way to fucking fast. Last week I noticed he was on an Applebee’s commercial touting the new menu items he created for the chain. I am not so sure how I feel about this. My gut reaction was “what a fucking sell-out!” but then I thought about it more and I guess it is kind of cool that he is coming up with new menu items for a place that everyone has access to. My biggest issue is these celebrity chefs, like Tyler who go on and on about sustainable agriculture, buying seasonal and local ingredients, and how independent restaurants are superior to chains and then you see him shilling for Applebee’s (or Burger King like Rick Bayless did).

The menu items seem interesting enough and if I was at Applebee’s (a place I visit maybe 1 or 2 times a year) I would probably give one of them a try. And I must say that if Applebee’s backed up to my house with a truck full of money, I’d probably do the same thing.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Podcast Review - The Good Beer Show

I have found another Podcast to get excited about. Its called the Good Beer Show (GBS)and it is absolutely genius. Based in Muncie, Indiana and hosted by Jeffrey T Meyer along with his professional beer drinking buddies (as he lovingly refers to them as), the GBS is about 30 minutes of beer tastings and discussions, great local and independent music, and sometimes interviews with brewmasters and band members. The show is light-hearted and doesn't take itself seriously, much like another favorite podcasts, Gastrologica. Jeffrey T is a hop head, as are some of his friends, which is anothe reason I like the show. Plus I am a huge fan of indie and punk music, which is what is usually featured in between beer discussions.

I fell in love with the show upon hearing the show into...which features Jeffrey T Meyer saying "Hey buddy, what did you just put in your cart? I see you're drinking football beer (referring to the bland Miller/Budweiser style beers). I knew this show and I would get along just fine. The show is usually recorded at the Heorot, a beer hall in Muncie. There is a lot of background noise from chatter among bar patrons to the occasional breaking glass. You really feel as if you are there clinkin' and drinkin’ with Jeffrey T and his friends.

From one Jeffrey T to another, keep up the good work GBS!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Two Brew Review - Lakefront Pumpkin Lager * Sprecher Oktoberfest

Aaahhh Fall. The weather gets colder, days get shorter, and the trees start turning colors. Fotball takes up weekends and seasonal brews fill my refrigerator. Fall is probably the best time for seasonal beers with Octoberfest style lagers being the most prominent, though my favorite fall beer has always been Lakefront's Pumpkin Lager. Today I will discuss two of the beers currently taking up space in my fridge, the aforementioned Pumpkin Lager and Sprecher Octoberfest.

First, every year since before I could even legally drink beer I have eagerly anticipated the arrival of Lakefront Brewery's Pumpkin Lager. I have tried all kinds of different pumpkin ales and lagers and none comes even close to this one, which has just the right amount of Pumpkin and Spice. The beer is medium-bodied and easy drinkin’. Though many people often say “this is good but I couldn’t have more than 1 or 2, I could easily down a sixer of this stuff. It goes down as smooth as Guinness. There is even a hint of creaminess like you find in an Anderson Valley Cerveza Crema, though not as pronounced…almost adding the whipped cream finish to the pumpkin pie flavor. Of all Lakefront's Seasonal Brews, the Pumpkin Lager is definitely the best.

Next up is Milwaukee's other microbrewer, Sprecher with their Oktoberfest offering. Sprecher Oktoberfest is a good example of an American version of a German Oktoberfest beer, not a lot of carbonation or hop notes, but a medium-bodied malty, almost sweet flavor. The bottle touts its long finish, which I did notice. Though I think its a decent version of an Oktoberfest, but Capital Brewing's Oktoberfest has a more aggressive malt taste, which I prefer.

It should also be noted that two Wisconsin Breweries have beers that ranked in Men's Journal's top 25 beers in America. At number 17, Sprecher's Hefe Weiss, which I must admit is my absolute favorite Weiss beer. It is far more flavorful and complex then most of its German counterparts and is the first beer I reach for on hot Summerfest Days. Ranking at 25 is New Glarus Yokel, which is an unfiltered lager. I must admit that my exposure to this beer is very limited. I bought a six pack once, and it is really good, but when I look at New Glarus, I am usually buying their Hearty Hop Pale Ale, Fat Squirrel or the easy drinkin' Spotted Cow

The complete list can be found here.

The New Emeril

Rachel Ray launched another TV show, though this time its on network TV. Its called "Rachel Ray," and it highlights everything that is wrong with cooking shows. Ok, I haven't seen it but I have seen enough of the overly-caffeinated Ray to know exactly what this show is about. Over the past few years it seems that Rachel has eclipsed Emeril Lagasse as the darling of the Food Network. And like Emeril, she has her own catch phrases. Instead of Emeril's macho "BAM" Rachel uses "Yum-O" and while Emeril thinks that "pork fat rules" Rachel likes the healthier taste of "EVOO," which stands for extra virgin olive oil. In case you don't know she always follows the phrase "EVOO" with the description of her acronym by adding "that's extra virgin olive oil." I always thought that acronyms were created so you don't have to read out the lengthy description. Then again I am not raking in millions of dollars telling suburban housewives how many different applications there are for McCormick's Grill-mates seasonings.

I am not denying the supreme power that Ray hold over her legions of fans. She has about six 30-Minute Meal books and many stories have been told about how people are going into grocery stores looking for the products Ray uses on her show, even though the labels are fake and are thrown on the various cans, jars, and bottles to hide the true manufacturer. Food Network has indicated that they receive hundreds of calls asking where they can find these made-up products.

I guess my problem is not necessarily with her, but with what the Food Network has done to food television. She just happens to embody all that is wrong with the network. There are not too many shows worth watching and the network really doesn't bring in much new material, just recycles network stalwarts like Alton Brown (who I like), Rachel Ray, Emeril, Bobby Flay, Paula Deen (shit, her fucking kids even got a show, which sucks balls), Giada DeLaurentis, and Mario Batali (who I also like) into new show formats. They added George Duran, who is really entertaining and probably gets my vote for funniest guy on the Food Network but over the past 2 years they have lost some of the better personalities, Anthony Bourdain and Sara Moulton, because I assume Boiurdain was too scary for their target audience and Moulton was actually teaching people about different styles of cooking and not out shilling for her own line of pots and pans or coming up with some catch phrase. She probably wouldn't put her breasts on display as Giada so proudly does either, which probably didn't help her cause.. So essentially the food network is not really that concerned with developing new talent or new ideas, they just want to keep promoting their own. How many fucking shows does that jerk-off Bobby Flay have anyhow? Iron Chef, Boy Meets Grill, Throwdown, Food Nation, BBQ With Bobby Flay plus the numerous specials he is involved with. Like there is nobody else on earth that can grill except Mr. Flay? Come on. And the new shows they have like Guy's Big Bite, and Party Line with the Hearty Boys (both of which feature reality show winners) really suck. And am I not the only one who wants to punch Dave Liberman in the face? What a tool.

So who do I like? Well 10 food shows on TV (not limited to Food Network) that I enjoy:

1. Boy Meets Grill – Yes I am a hypocrite. I just ripped Flay but I must confess he really makes some kick ass food and his food features my favorite types of ingredients, cilantro, chilies, chipotle, avocado, citrus and other southwest ingredients.
2. Pretty much anything with Alton Brown is entertaining. I liked Feasting on Asphalt because I am also a motorcyclist.
3. Cookin' In Brooklyn with Allan Harding.
4. License to Grill with Rob Rainford
5. The Kitchens of Biro
6. BBQ University with Steven Raichlen
7. Napa Style or Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello
8. Molto Mario
9. Ham on the Street with George Duran
10. Iron Chef and Iron Chef America.

The common theme in most of these? You learn something. Almost every episode of Iron Chef includes some ingredient or technique that I have never heard of. Mario Batali is one part historian one part chef. Each ingredient or recipe has a specific reason that it was used and what region it comes from. Alton Brown is a great teacher as well. Rob Rainford has some of the easiest recipes with great results, same with Flay (on that show only). I guess I want my food television to teach me something like PBS or the Discovery Channel does, where the Food Network wants to entertain first, teach second and that is the root of the problem.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Brew Review: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head brewery consistently puts out some of the most flavorful and interesting microbrews. From the apricot and hop flavors of the Aprihop to the coffee and chicory boldness of the Chicory Stout, they are always pushing the envelope. Some are hits and others are misses, but if there is one thing this brewery knows, its how to please the hop-heads, which I am. Their pale ales are some of the best in the country and their offerings of 60, 90, and even 120 minute ales are all very good. The 60 minute is a great easy-drinking IPA, unlike the 120 which should be enjoyed like a fine wine. It still has a fairly aggressive hop bite with Warrior, Amarillo and a mystery hop and it has decent balance of hop bitterness and caramel notes from the malt. It is not the best IPA I have had, but is certainly is a top 10 contender.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Quick Review - Rochester Deli

Last Friday I grabbed lunch at one of my favorite Waukesha establishments, The Rochester Deli. The have more than quadrupled their dining area with the addition of a large dining room. Despite the fact that it was almost 2 pm on a weekday, the place was packed. I was busy on some home projects so I grabbed a pastrami sandwich to go. After my experience with that shithole Mr. Pastrami’s I wanted some decent juicy pastrami. Rochester Deli delivered! The pastrami, while not piled high like Katz’s was flavorful and well marbled with just the right amount of mustard added. There wasn’t a hint of dryness. It was served on great rye bread with a pickle and a potato salad (you can choose from one of their salads or chips) If you want some awesome pastrami that isn’t over-salted and dry, you must try the Rochester Deli. They also have great Rubens, breakfast omelets, and a unique Friday fish fry. I cannot recommend this place enough.

Rochester Deli
143 W. Broadway,
Waukesha, Wisconsin 53186

Introducing Mini-Reviews

When I go somewhere and eat something good I try to write up a nice long winded review. Since writing reviews takes some time, I am now going to do mini-reviews for places where I eat for lunch, breakfast and dinner but don't feel inspired to write a full review.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Chain Restaurant Eats

Everyone eats at chain restaurants once in a while, even the most pretentious Riverwest or Bayview Hipster has probably eaten at a chain in the last month. They are inevitable. With that being said there are some chains that I really like. Number one on the list is Buffalo Wild Wings (the chain formerly known as BW3). I love this place. I love their wings, the great tasting selection of sauces, and the awesome beer selection. I love meeting friends there for happy hour and sporting events. Call it a guilty pleasure, but it is probably my favorite chain and one of the best places for wings around.

Second on the list is Qdoba, though 90 percent of the time I order the same exact thing: a chicken mole burrito, black beans, and habenero salsa with sour cream and cheese. Its awesome and has been one of my favorite chain meals for at least 5 years.

Next up, PF Changs. I have never eaten anything bad here and to tell you the truth, most Chinese places in town wish they could be this good. There are exceptions, but we are served such crappy Chinese food at 75 percent of the places in town, it’s a refreshing change. You can actually taste the ingredients and identify the meat in your entree. The King Pau chicken is excellent and the Beef ala Sichuan is very very tasty (and hot as hell). The availability of brown rice is an added bonus.

Houlihan’s is another chain that shed its cookie-cutter Applebee’s style décor and menu for a more contemporary twist on the sit-down chain restaurant. I read in a recent Food Arts magazine that they hired an up and coming chef and gave him free reign to update the tired image of this chain. The results are pretty good. The menu is very impressive and most everything I have tried is awesome. The salads make awesome entrees with my favorites being Ahi Tuna, Calamari, and BBQ Salmon. What I enjoy most is that I can get a good, somewhat healthy lunch near by place of employment, which is essentially a culinary wasteland. Watch for a review on EatWisconsin in the coming weeks.

NYC Day 3

Ok, ok, my trip was a month ago and I haven't posted day 3. Day 3 we woke up pretty hungover from our late night. It was almost 11 by the time we got moving. We wanted something different, not typical hangover food so being in the heart of Chinatown (which is actually a misnomer - it should be Asia-town because of all the different ethnic groups represented here) we decided to try Nha Hang Pho Viet Huong, a Vietnamese restaurant near our hotel. The menu was huge, like s Greek restaurant with page after page of interesting stuff. Deciding on one or two items was going to be quite a chore. We all had some Vietnamese iced coffee which was presented in its own little brewing vessel. It was so think it looked like syrup...and it took a while for the water to filter through the grounds but when it was done, you mixed it with this condensed milk and were rewarded with one of the strongest and best tasting coffees you will ever experience.

I opted for the Mi Vit Riem Dong Co, which is essentially Pho with duck and mushrooms and an order of Bo Nuong Lui, which are charcoal grilled beef skewers with sesame seeds. My friends ordered some spring rolls, a traditional Pho, and some frog leg curry. Of all of the items, I enjoyed the beef skewers best. They were full of flavor and were served with a sweet dipping sauce. We devoured them. The spring rolls were also excellent. My pho was satisfying and I loved the duck leg and the mushrooms, but honestly the broth was a little weak. I tried to make up for it by adding some sirhacha, hoisin, and the basil, which helped but couldn't hide its lack of depth. Pho Tru Trinh in Milwaukee's broth was much better. My friend's traditional Pho (with tripe, flank steak, meatballs, tendon, etc) was good, but the broth was also lacking. The frog curry was a pain in the ass to eat, but there were a ton of frog legs and the flavor was great with a decent amount of heat. Probabaly the best of the 3 entrees. It was a good hangover cure (I credit the coffee and the broth).

My friends then wanted to tour the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Having been there twice, I ventured off on my own and visited record stores and other sites all afternoon, essentially riding the subway and getting off at places that sparked my interest. I did a ton of walking and found some really cool neighborhoods and stores. While walking through the Village, I spotted a Gray's Papaya and decided a snack was in order. I couldn't believe the prices, I spent under 3 bucks in Manhattan and got 2 dogs and a papaya drink. The drink smelled kind of strange, but it tasted refreshing given the blistering heat. The dogs were pretty decent with this sort of sweet onion concoction on them. It was a perfect mid-afternoon snack and I can see why so many people love these dogs. I could have easily chowed down about 4 more.

I wandered around a nearby store called Gourmet Garage, where I sampled cheeses, dips and other assorted goodies then headed down to Battery Park to meet my friends. We ate some mediocre pizza near ground zero and grabbed a cab back to the hotel, then on to the airport. Three days is not enough to really enjoy New York City and though I have been there two other times I regret not going to Central Park on this trip. I also wanted to check out Brooklyn, but there simply was no time.

At the airport we joked about all of the animals we consumed on the trip. Here is what we came up with:

Fish (salmon, tuna, snapper, yellowtail)