On, Wisconsin!

Mom and Dad were visiting for two weeks and we decided to escape Chicago and all the crowds of Lollapalooza invading my neighborhood.   In their young 75 years, they had yet to visit the wondrous land to our “North”.  The Badger State. America’s Dairyland. Cheese. Beer. Cherries. Supper Clubs. What else would we find? Here we come Wisconsin!

 

Mars Cheese Castle

How do you drive to Milwaukee without showing Mom and Dad where we would be stopping for “must haves” on the way home? We had to make plans and strategize what we would be buying on the return trip. Quick run through for the “lay of the land”. 

 Mars Cheese Castle

Mars Cheese Castle

 Sobelman's Baconado

Sobelman's Baconado

Sobelman’s, Milwaukee

Second Stop. The original Sobelman’s on St. Paul Avenue. Cheese Curds, Bloody Marys and The Sobelman. In that order. I really wanted to order “The Beast”. Or have someone around me order it. (Look at the menu online. Trust me.). But I was a wimp. Only had the Baconado and it was delightful.

 

 

 The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse, MIlwaukee

Should have been ready for a nap. But there was a Blues band jamming in “The Yard” at the fabulous Iron Horse Hotel. Handed the valet our keys, ordered a couple of local craft drafts and listened to an hour of afternoon blues while the sun was shining. Stay here. 

 

 Fixture Pizza

Fixture Pizza

 

 

Fixture Pizza, Milwaukee, Walker’s Point

Cheese on the bottom. Sauce on the top. Thin Crust. Paso Robles Cabernet. Chopped Salad. 

Walking Distance from the Iron Horse. Go.

 

 

 

 Fuel Cafe

Fuel Cafe

 

Fuel Cafe, Milwaukee, Walker’s Point

Avocado Toast. Cappuccino. Went light. :)

 

 

 

 Harley-Davidson Museum

Harley-Davidson Museum

 

 

Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee

Took an afternoon stroll next door to the Iron Horse to the Harley Davidson Museum.  Beautiful walking paths and lots of metal!

 

 

 

 St Paul's Fish Company

St Paul's Fish Company

 

 

St Paul’s Fish Company, Oyster Bar, Third Ward, Milwaukee

My “Every Time I Go To Milwaukee” Stop. Oysters.  Fried Clam Strips. Steamed Shrimp in Old Bay Broth. Lobster Bisque. Ice Cold Beer.

 

 

 

 

 Colectivo Coffee

Colectivo Coffee

 

Colectivo Coffee, Third Ward, Milwaukee

Stopped at the Foundry Cafe for a cappuccino for the drive to Door County.

 

 

 

 

 

 Lambeau Field

Lambeau Field

 

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Grandpa (Mom’s Dad) was a College Football Coach, Scout for the NFL and friend of Vince Lombardi. Had to pay our respect to the Motherland.

 

 

 

 Chanticleer Guest House

Chanticleer Guest House

Chanticleer Guest House, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Fabulous B&B outside of Sturgeon Bay. A converted farmhouse and barn set amongst the orchards in Door County. Cherry-stuffed French toast. Bananas and strawberries with fresh Cream. Vegetable and cheesy-egg frittata delivered to my door in a sweet linen-lined basket with coffee and orange juice. Freshly baked cookies in the barn "lobby". Thank goodness for the bowl of apples and bananas. I felt like I was being "healthy". This B&B is a total gem.

 

 Wood Orchard Farm Market

Wood Orchard Farm Market

 

 

Wood Orchard Farm Market, Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Cherry Strudel. Cherry Donuts. Cherry Pie. Cherry Fudge. Cherry Salsa. Sweet Cherries. Sour Cherries.

 

 

 Sweetie Pies

Sweetie Pies

 

Sweetie Pies, Fish Creek, Wisconsin

The sweetest, most adorable pie shop ever. Peach Raspberry Pie. 

 

 

 

fulton_market_consulting_al_johnsons

 

 

Al Johnson’s, Sister Bay, Wisconsin

We didn’t eat here. But I had to see the goats on the roof. They were amazing. They just stared at Green Bay. We stared at the goats. My dad thought they were animatronic. We debated that for about a half hour until one started chewing his cud and gave us a nod.

 

 

 

 Door 44 Winery

Door 44 Winery

 

Door 44 Winery, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Tasted bubbles, whites and reds all from Door County — situated on 44° North Latitude.  This latitude includes the great wine regions of Bordeaux, France and Tuscany.   Our favorite was the “Sparkler”.

 

 

 

Nightingale Supper Club, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

We had to try at least one supper club. Why did we not go to more?  Prime Rib, Baked Potato. Side Salad with Crumbled Blue Cheese. Mom and Dad had the Wednesday Night Special — Half Slab of Ribs with Broasted Chicken.  And of course we saved room for dessert.  Cherry Pie :)

 Nightingale Supper Club

Nightingale Supper Club

Mars Cheese Castle - Part Deux

Applejack Cheese. Port Wine Cheese. Various Mustards. Cheese Curds. Kringle. Kolacky. We drove across the border back into the Prairie State and the Land of Lincoln.

I have shared this trip with lots of friends and I know, I missed a lot of "must sees". I need to stay and brunch at the White Gull Inn. How could I miss Donny's Glidden Lodge for their Prime Rib? I need to take the ferry over to Washington Island. And we didn't even head over to New Glarus for a Spotted Cow. Madison for a game, an Old-Fashioned and the Saturday's Farmer's Market. Mount Horeb to see the Trolls. The new "tech" scene in Beloit.  We are already planning our next road trip when Mom and Dad visit next summer.  We know we only scratched the surface of the great edible and liquid finds of the great state to our North. On, Wisconsin!

 

The “Very Early” Years

I am honored to be writing for Jennifer’s inaugural guest blog.  I am the “big sis” and could not be prouder of how Jennifer has paved her own pathway to success in the hospitality world.

 Keany age 6

Keany age 6


First, though—I do not call her Jennifer, Jen, Perna—anything even related to her birth certificate.  She’s “Keany” to me.  She would prance around in little colorful bikinis as a young girl and “Keany-bikini” stuck.  I dropped the bikini part, but she is still Keany.

Second—her hospitality career.  It started way before what you can read on this great website.  Let’s go back to the mid-70’s, when she was about 6 years old.  Many weekends throughout the year, she would be the first one awake, and she would head to the kitchen.  We would be upstairs hearing cupboards, drawers, the refrigerator opening, and she would be busy.  She would call us down to dine at “Jennifer’s Place”.  She had a menu all written up.  Just one—so we would have to pass it around.  She even had a logo under the “Jennifer’s Place” part—it was a steaming hot bowl of something—probably oatmeal—with a spoon in the bowl and four puffs of steam.  Listed were the items available for breakfast.  Cereal 50₡, toast 25₡, butter or jam was an extra 5₡, juice 25₡, etc.  We would sit at the table and place our order—yes, she worked as server too—then she would go back to the kitchen.  Orders were prepared, one at a time, until everyone was served.


We ate and that was it.  Her service was over—guests were responsible for clearing their own dishes and cleaning up!  She was six—she was not doing everything.

So in summary—food, presentation and serving her guests has been her passion since well before her formal education and career began.  My best to Keany and to all those she serves—Jill McPhee

Mexico City. Wow.

Mexico City

“Are you going to Mexico AGAIN? Yes I am …but not the beach this time." I had this conversation four different times while scheduling appointments, consultations and dinners prior to traveling for a long weekend last month. 

With no plans for an upcoming weekend, a fabulous, spontaneous friend who explores a new city like the best of ‘em and four free days and nights with nothing on the calendar… fabulous friend and I got on a Monday night call with MacBooks on our laps to pick our destination for that coming Friday departure. 

The rules were:

  • City that neither of us have been before
  • Direct flight (me Chicago; she SLC)
  • Something culturally significant
  • Good weather
  • Great food and wine
  • Nice hotel
  • No rental car allowed

And the winner was? Mexico City.

 Four Seasons Mexico City

Four Seasons Mexico City

What a trip. It was beyond a winner. It blew us both away. As a lifelong lover and appreciator of travel, design, cultural wonders, arts, outdoor markets and craftsmanship, stylized, creative cuisine as well as simple, good food, warm and welcoming service, great regional wine and beers and most importantly meeting wonderful people, I don’t think we could have found a more perfect city. Mexico City. Wow.

After arriving, dropping our bags at the Four Seasons Mexico City, D.F. and grabbing our walking map, we set off for the most famous restaurant of all, Pujol. We knew we wouldn’t get in but hey, maybe we could try to see if there was a chance to snag a spot sometime over the weekend (there’s a two month advance reservation and the hotel concierge tried although he knew it was a hopeless cause). Well, you don’t know if you don’t try in person and within three hours of landing we unexpectedly scored two available seats for the omakase taco and beverage menu tasting. Wow. Upon our first course,  we both decided that this was only our first visit to Mexico City. This was going to be a trip to explore it’s neighborhoods and eat, eat and eat. Next time we would visit the pyramids, museums and do all the stuff we were supposed to do. 

Everything we saw, heard, touched and tasted was just one awe-inspiring experience after another.   We logged over seven miles a day on our phone trackers from just walking and exploring the neighborhoods. Thank goodness because we ate, ate and ate in all of them. Condesa. Polanco. Juarez. El Centro. Roma. Zone Rosa. Only one uber to San Angel for the Saturday Market.  And that was worth the ride!

These are some of the culinary and liquid highlights:

 Corn dog from Pujol

Corn dog from Pujol

Pujol

From the 12-course omakase taco tasting paired with custom "local" drinks. incredible.

Three I loved:

Corn dog with chipotle aioli flecked with ant ash paired with tamarind mezcal margarita

Tortilla with pressed green leaf, amberjack, jicama, greens from their garden, lime paired with Bocanegra Pilsner 

Blue corn tortilla with roasted lamb, squash blossom, avocado purée, watercress paired with Grapho Cabernet Sauvignon/Barbera/Nebbiolo, Baja California


San Angel Market and Saks

Mezcal tasting bar

Guacamole topped with grilled cebola, grilled Oaxacan cheese and grilled cactus with homemade tortilla chips (of course)

 San Angel Market

San Angel Market


 Gelatoscopio

Gelatoscopio

Il Becco (yes, I always crave Italian)

Lobster, burrata and white asparagus salad

Seafood risotto atop shrimp and whitefish carpaccio, topped with clams, shrimp and mussels

 

Gelatoscopio

Green tea gelato with caramel popcorn

Green apple sorbet with apple gelee

 

 


 Fonda Fina

Fonda Fina

Fonda Fina

This is the “bistro” of the chef from Quintonil. We didn’t get in Quintonil- saving that for next time.  But Fonda Fina …. Wow.

"Drowned Taco" of pork carnitas & black beans

Arrachera with fried pot beans


 Adios!

Adios!

Book a flight and go. And email me if you want recommendations.  Here is my first one- make a reservation at Pujol two months before you leave.  Who knows. I may be there again right alongside you at the omakase bar.  Adios!

Inspiration is easy ...

It was so easy developing my company name Fulton Market Consulting. I have lived on "Fulton Market Street" for nearly 20 years in Chicago. So when it came time to think about naming my company, it truly was a no-brainer. My daily life is set within a hospitality wonderland in Chicago’s hottest neighborhood. To actually work, breathe and exist in this environment inspires me when I step out on my porch each morning … and how fortunate am I that I can share this inspiration when it comes to encouraging growth and change as a consultant in the hospitality industry.

Every day I smell freshly baked breads coming out of the ovens across the street, homemade chocolate and cocoa being manufactured a block away and strong coffee roasted and brewed around the corner.  I am watching one hundred-year-old brick buildings being converted into restaurants, bakeries, hotels and boutiques by creative designers, artisans, chefs, architects and builders.  All of this is happening while the "el" zips by and this magnificent skyline continues to grow with gorgeous new buildings and the Chicago River flows just a short block away.


So ... as you can see, I love my street, I love my neighborhood and I love my city.  Here’s hoping I can share this growth and inspiration that surrounds me when I come to visit you.