Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Good Eats

I know that there will be lots of family pouring in from all over with graduations fast approaching - and so I thought I'd better post some good restaurant ideas! One my family's favorite things to do while here is to EAT out....so here goes! (in no particular order, just as the cravings randomly come to me).

1. Le Reve cafe in Tosa village. I was just introduced to this cute little French place! It's crowded at lunch time, but not so much at dinner time. They have fab soups and quiche and crepes! Probably wouldn't go with all my kids in tow, but perfect for mom and daughter outing. :) The pastries are overwhelming!

2. Trocadero off of Water St. downtown has delicious brunch!!! The atmosphere is soo fun! Check out their menus online (get mapquest directions too) and treat yourself!

3. Louise's in Brookfield or downtown Milwaukee has the best Calzones around - it will fill you up! Great italian!

4. Mi Cocina in Brookfield is my favorite Mexican restaurant. The food is decently priced, chips are warm and salsa is fantastic! My favorite dish is the San Luis burrito covered in chile de arbol creamy sauce - GET THIS! It's big enough to share if you are like me and eat too many chips while waiting! :) I crave this burrito ALL the time!

5. Taste of India in Brookfield is my favorite Indian restaurant. Get Samosa for starters, a Mango Lassi to drink and any of the entrees (though my fave is Chicken Shahi Korma - see if you can handle it at "medium" spciy). Prices are reasonable and staff is great (yes, they know my hubby and I by name....)

6. Pizzeria Piccola in the Tosa Village has amazing thin crust, wood oven baked pizza - it takes me back to our Italy vacation! And the village is sooo fun! Go here for your pizza fix!

7. Gibson's Steakhouse in Chicago. OK, this isn't a fair lcoation as this place is located in Chicago, but it has become my family's favorite splurge when in town and headed south for some Chicago fun.

8. Jerry's Old Town in Germantown is a new find - but the perfect place for a huge rack of ribs. Go hungry! The atmosphere is fantastic and the point is to get messy!

9. Historic Turner Restaurant - is downtown, right across from the Bradley Center. They serve yummy American and German food and the historic building is part of the draw. Great food and perfect location before/after an event at the Bradley center! This is a new find and I can't wait to take my family here when they next visit.

10. Chancery Family Pub - lcoated in Tosa Village. This is a well known restaurant with several WI location. They serve just good basic food, with a fun, light atmosphere - a place to take the whole gang! Tuesday is kids day.

That's all I've got for now - but more will be forthcoming! Avoid the big chain restaurants and support some local spots! Below are 2 recommendations from friend Cat (she never got around to finishing this post, so thought I'd copy her ideas here!)

1. Favorite Italian--Mama Mia's (on Greenfield Ave). Don't be fooled by the other Mama Mia's resturaunts around town. The ONLY Mama Mia's in my book is the one on Greenfield, just West of the State Fair Grounds. My favorite item there is by far the PIZZA!! Pizza is one of my two all-time favorite foods (I'll get to my other fave in a minute...), and this pizza is the best I have found. It is a thin and slightly crispy crust pizza with a delicious red sauce and very generous and fresh toppings. I don't like places that skimp on the toppings, and Mama Mia's never disappoints me!

2. Favorite Steak House--Eddie Martini's. Okay, okay, as far as meals go, this is an expensive one. But, it is SO WORTH IT! The service is second to none. For example, I left to go to the restroom at some point before the main course, and when I came back, a fresh linen napkin was folded in my chair. The waiters will brush the bread crumbs from the table so that the eating area is always spotless. But more important than the irreproachable service is their heavenly food. As your first course, may I suggest the Seafood Bisque. It is this bowl of creamy soup with tender chunks of lobster, crab, and shrimp. My favorite steak there is the T-bone, followed closely by the New York strip.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Discovery World

While we had out of town visitors we finally made it to Discovery World. It's very expensive so find a discount coupon if you can! But the aquariam is very neat and my 3 year old loved touching some of the "sea life". She also loved exploring the boat - so it's definitely worthwhile!

While there we also saw their live show "Tesla Lives" - which is HIGHLY recommended for all - and especially science geeks. Just don't take young kids as they electricity might scare them and Discovery World asks that 6 and under be left at home. So, this would be a very fun date night (or afternoon, showtimes are limited)! You can pay JUST to see the Tesla Show - no pricey Discovery World admission needed. As of now the website only gives showtimes through Feb 1st - not sure if that means this is a limited engagement - so do it soon if you can!

Cedarburg Winter Festival

A trip to Cedarburg is ALWAYS a favorite of mine and in February they open up their streets and shops for the annual Winter Festival. We've lucked out with amazingly warm weather in the past... not so sure we'll be as lucky this year. But the ice sculptures are so darn cool! And this year's theme is "A Winter's Knight" - so the ice carvings are sure to amaze! Check out the link above for more details but events include: pancake breakfast, kiddie treasure hunt, wagon rides, and a parade among other things.

Holiday Cheer...

I know this post comes to way too late... but there's always next year! So, in preparation for next Christmas take a few notes and keep these fun things in mind:

1. Jingle Bus - this big bus meets at the Downtown Grand Avenue Mall and takes you around town for $1 a person! Killer deal! It highlights several of the downtown parks/light displays and gives some fun facts about Milwaukee and the buildings - do this next year! It's a nice warm way to enjoy Milwaukee history and the holiday cheer of downtown.

2. Cathedral Square - while on the Jingle Bus I learned that Cathedral Square and 99.1 WMYX host Santa's Mailbox - where you can drop off letters to Santa AND get a response! I will be doing this next year! But go early as the deadline is mid-December (around the 14th). (There are also summer concerts here as well as other surrounding parks - click here for concert news.)

3. Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival - again, I enjoyed these lights from the Jingle Bus - but there is lots to do during the Lights Festival - so check out their website.

4. Candy Cane Lane - a West Allis neighborhood teamed up with the MACCFUND and puts on a basic light display each year. Free admission, but donations are appreciated. It's a fun thing to do with the kids as you get to stay warm and dry in your own car. Check the 2009 calendar to see what "characters" - including Santa- will be making appearances.

5. Pabst Mansion - I myself have never done this tour during the Holiday Season, but it's a must-do for next year! I've been to the mansion during summer and it's a beautiful place to see. I can't wait to see how they deck it out for Christmas as I've heard it is truly amazing!!!

6. Holiday Night Lights at the zoo - again, something I have yet to go to, but it is on my must-do list for 2009! Starts in early December with an animal theme and visits from Santa and the Missus.

7. Outdoor Ice Skating - something I'm no good at, but kids always love it! A good way to get some physical activity during long winter months!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Volo Museum - Worth the Drive (and great for DADS!)

Have any of you had your dads or father-in-laws in town to visit and wondered what on earth to do?

Or, in my case after living here several years, I felt I'd done everything in the immediate area that my dad would enjoy - until my co-worker suggested the Volo Auto Museum!!! It is a bit of a drive down to Illinois - but sooooo worth it! And as a bonus, they have a huge antique mall as well.

We've been back a couple of times since our first visit and have always had a good time. Check out their website for directions, maps, hours, prices, attractions, etc - but here is why I love the place:
  1. A big display of Military cars - cool for dads, brothers, husbands, ten year old kids and even me!
  2. Classic cars galore - and most are for sale - it's always fun to dream!
  3. Hollywood Cars from famous TV shows and movies! Check out the BatMobile, Back to the Future Time Machine, "Eleanor" from Gone in 60 Seconds - and lots more!
  4. Kid's section of Hollywood Cars - climb into the Flintstone's Car for a photo-op!
  5. Antique Mall - it's HUGE and was a hit with my mom and even younger sisters who are into "vintage" stuff.
  6. Food court - a bit pricey, but decent basics: pizza, fries, ice cream and sandwiches.

So, surprise your Dad (or car-obsessed hubby) and take a day trip down to Volo!

Fruit Farms

Here is a list of Fruit Farms that I generated last June (07) when I was looking for Strawberry Picking. I think the numbers, hours, etc have remained the same - but double check before heading out! All the info was pulled directly from the Farms' websites, so can't personally vouch for the drive times given.

Now, I realize we have months to go before we can enjoy the sun-ripened fruit, but we need something to get us through these last weeks of winter. :) So, get those tastebuds salivating now - I've never had better strawberries!

Barthel Fruit Farm - 12246 N Farmdale Rd, Mequon
9 am to 6 pm Mon through Sat. 10 to 5 pm Sun. June and July pick your own strawberries. Open mid August through New Year or depending on crop. Pick your own as available. Cider, baked goods, pears, plums etc.Call 262-242-2737.

Frenz Orchard and Garden Center - 505 N Main, Thiensville
Mon to Fri 8 am to 7 pm. Saturday and Sun 8 to 5 pm. All year. Bedding plants, perennials, fruits and vegetables. Apples, apple cider, baked goods, Christmas trees and wreaths, gift baskets, honey, jams and jellies, maple syrup, pumpkins.Call 262-242-1060.

Hazeltines Strawberries - Six miles west of Janesville on Hwy 11. 8212 W State Rd 11, Janesville
Fifteen acres of pick-your-own and pre-picked strawberries. Call 608-876-6161.

Kallas Honey Farm - 5500 West Douglas Ave, Milwaukee
Open year-round, 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Pure honey and various products made with our honey. Pure maple syrup, horseradish and garlic.Call 414-462-3530.

Kirschbaum's Strawberry Acres - 20 minutes North of Madison, N5802 Hwy 151, Beaver Dam
Pick-your-own and pre-picked strawberries available during season, mid-June to mid-July. Call 920-887-7530.

Squire's Strawberry and Pumpkin Farm - Church Rd, Burlington
Call 262-534-6547.

Stauss Farms - Two miles N of Northridge Shopping Center
Hours variable depending on weather, etc, so please call immediately before coming. Freshly picked super sweet sweet corn available August and September. Also pick your own fall raspberries available August and September.Call 262-242-0815.

The Elegant Farmer - At Cty ES and J between Mukwonago and East Troy.
Visit The Elegant Farmer for Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag and Ciderbaked Boneless Ham. Farm kitchen culinary delights, prize winning cheeses, deli and specialty foods. May: hothouse tomatoes and Jersey Giant hybrid asparagus. June: strawberries and green arrow peas. July: jumbo red raspberries and fresh picked blueberries. August: tree-ripened freestone Michigan peaches and fresh Door county cherries. Sept and Oct hayrides to pick apples, pumpkins and squash. Open everyday year-round. Summer 8 am to 8 pm. Fall/ winter/ spring 9 am to 6 pm.Call 262-363-6770.

Thompson's Strawberry Farm (35 minutes) - Two miles W of I-94 on Hwy 50.
Mon-Fri 7 am to 7 pm, Sat 7 am to 5 pm, Sun 8 am to 5 pm. Pick your own strawberries, raspberries and pumpkins.Call 262-857-2353 or 262-857-2351.

Valley View Berry Farm (1 hour drive) - Hwy NN and Springfield Rd, Lake Geneva
2-1/2 miles W of intersection of Hwys 120 and 36 on Springfield Rd. 7:30 am to 5 pm Mon-Sat, 9 am to 5 pm Sun.Call 262-248-1398.

Walvoord's Berry Farm - W2160 Smies Rd, Cedar Grove
1 mile N of Cedar Grove on Smies Rd. 7 am to 7 pm Mon-Sat. Open some Sundays.Call 920-668-6481.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Preschool Open Gyms

Thanks to Leslie and Amy for this list!

Swiss Turners– 2214S. 116th St. West Allis. 414-321-4340 Mon: 12-1:30p; Wed: 10:15-11:45 am Thursday: 10a-11:30p.

La Fleurs-W189 N10991 Germantown. 262-255-9700. Sept-May Thurs 10-12; Fri 12-2pm $5 over 2; $3 under 2.

M&M Gym– 16760 W. Victor Rd. New Berlin. 262-789-6885 M-F 12-1pm. $3.

Wild Card Gym- 2028 N. 60th St. Wauwatosa (At the back entrance of a church bldg). 414-303-5195 Mondays 9a-11a $4.

Tykes– 915 Adelmann Ave, Brookfield. (262) 617-8698 Mon: 11-12:30; Tues: 10:30-12; Wed: 11:15-12:30; Fri: 11-12:30 Sat: 9:30-11:30 $4