Thursday, June 18, 2009

My trip to Newburg, Wisconsin 2009

West Allis, Wisconsin is where I was born. I lived in a suburb of Milwaukee for the first 13 years of my life, then we relocated to hell, or what some refer to as Spokane, Washington. Regardless, I turned out just fine, sort of...

My dad still lives in Wisconsin, 30 some miles north of Milwaukee in a village called Newburg where he lives with my step mom in a very rural area. My dad is also a firefighter and the local fire department holds an annual fundraiser every year in June. This "picnic" is a 3 day beer drinking, cover band featuring, carnival ride having, greasy food serving insane party. This year, myself along with my brother and our significant others took the trip to visit and support my dad. Below are a few pictures and comments from the trip including some insane food sampled along the way.

first night at my dads and he wanted us to get in on the schlitz because apparently
its back and better than ever. Not bad.

after a few beers we drove to Cousins for some sandwiches. These sandwiches are so good and so simple.
Its gotta be the bread or oregano. I had the club sandwich.

the following day we drove to Port Washington (where Dustin Diamond lives, and yes, I did see him at the grocery store)
and we got down on Friday Fish Fry at Newport Shores.

I started with a dinner salad, it was pretty standard along with the honey mustard dressing

i also decided to go with the blatz in a bottle, my grandpa use to drink this by the case when we were kids.
it tastes pretty good ice cold, pretty malty...but when warm, its a bit much.

for lunch i had the baked potato with the fried lake perch. The fish was decent, a bit dry but nothing like a local favorite.

the restaurant is right on lake michigan with a pretty nice view of the water.
the decor is dated but it works. average age of other patrons about 85.

Later that evening...

later that night we went to the first night of the fireman's picnic on the park grounds in Newburg.
we drank at home and then took it to the streets. First stop, the carny food wagon for a walking taco.

basically you get taco fixings on top of a bag of smashed doritos.
apparently i ate a lot of this, i dont remember.

the next day...

the next day we went to another part of the area called Grafton and we hit up a spot called Vino 100 for a Saturday wine tasting.

with our australian wine's we shared some garlic jack. wisconsin sure makes some good cheese.

Saturday night was fun, b. and I worked in the beer tent and served hundreds of people pitchers of beer and mikes hard. It was a lot of fun, didnt take any pictures... but feel free to check out the fire department's photos here.

sunday is the finale of the picnic, they have a parade including all the firetrucks and a lot of other things
like tractors, dancing grannies, kids, classic cars and marching .bands

after the picnic we headed to the park grounds to hang out and drink a few beers.
we stopped by the carny food wagon and got a snack. they were out of deep fried pickles so i got the deep fried cheese.

i swear this is american cheese, my brother said it was cheddar...regardless it was a
bit much. the first bite was hot and tasty, after that it became thick , strange and solid. damn, what a healthy snack.


monday everyone wanted to go get some custard, naturally we went to Kopps.

you can read my other posts about the amazing custard at kopps. i ate mine so fast i didnt take a photo, it was hot and it was melting. I got the standard vanilla. the flavor of the day was mint chocolate chip or this other monday mystery special of chocoalte custard with chocolate covered peanuts. my brother and L. also got a burger. b, loves these burgers, they are huge and greasy.

that night we went to the firehouse to say goodbye to the locals and watched my dad cook steaks for the guys.

the last thing i remember about monday night is playing quarters with my family and a few brave locals. i fell on the floor.

Well that was it, 5 days of kicking it in the midwest.
Below is my favorite random photo from the trip:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

siam on broadway no more = rom mai thai to the rescue!

the other day i gave my girlfriend a ride to the airport (NJ-bound). since her plane was departing around 10:30, we decided to hit up siam on broadway for a tasty pre-flight meal. her fiance dislikes most asian food (though sushi is a new and surprising development!) and hates thai most of all. though recently engaged, dining is probably their one point of contention: thai, chinese, and japanese are M's absolute favorite cuisines.

M lives on first/cap hill, so siam on broadway is her spot, err, was her spot. we walked up to the joint, engrossed in gossip, and only realized that siam on broadway had gone out of business when i reached for the handle and the door didn't budge. the business hours sign was still on the door, but the interior was devoid of decoration, people, and any evidence of cookware. SHIT! what to do, what to do.

luckily we turned around, and the bright, shiny, newly renovated rom mai thai beckoned us from directly across the street.

since it was a tuesday and on the earlier side for dinner on the hill (7:00), the restaurant only had a few occupied tables (which quickly changed over the course of our meal). the interior is lushly decorated in shades of yellow, emerald screens, maroon tablecloths, and richly carved wood.

rom mai thai's menu is extensive, but M rarely deviates from her tried-and-true tom kha soup and phad thai. unfortunately my camera is kaput, so i asked M to snap some quick pictures, but only after we both destroyed the tom kha. i suppose i'll let you know that it was complex, tangy, spicy, lemongrass-y, and all around bomb. often tom kha is just meat, mushrooms, and green onions, but rom mai thai serves theirs with carrot rounds, broccoli, meat, mushrooms, and zucchini. mmm. refreshing.

moving on...M's phad thai was actually damn good. i'm generally not a fan of phad thai because it's often too sweet or just lacking excitement for me. RMT's had me going back for seconds. the noodles were perfectly al dente so it's not just a blob of soft rice noodles that give too easily. the flavor was just right for me, too...the only thing i would have changed was the chili level, but it was M's dish, not mine :).

since there were so (too?) many items on the menu, i just went with the phad kee mao with tofu. interestingly the server said that the heat system was 1-5 stars (i went conservatively with **** since i'd never been there before), but online it says 1-4!! hmm, indeed.

anyhow, the wide rice noodles are my favorite because they trap pockets of singed sauce in their folds. the tofu had a nice, crispy skin and soft interior. M noted that she's often had tofu that's over-fried and dry on the inside. sounds gross. the tomatoes were a bright contrast to the deep, umami savoriness of the dark soy sauce. there was a nice balance of spice, salt, sweet, and acid. success!

thanks rom mai thai for saving us when we had been craving thai food all day just to find that our planned location had mysteriously gone out of business. looks like M and i will have our thai dinner dates with you from now on. kisses!

Rom Mai Thai on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Captain Blacks

For a brief moment in time I was really having a hard time figuring out where to go eat on captiol hill...because I burned through all the places up here and most of them were not worth going back to again. I am excited to have so many new places popping up in my neighborhood this summer, so why not check one out and get back to this really awesome blog.

Captain Blacks just opened on belmont ave just down the street from half priced books on an otherwise worthless block. Before Captain Blacks took over the space I did take advantage of the restaurant that occupied the space for a short time prior to the current deck funfari. I wont go into it but the Healthy Hedon was an overpriced veggie spot that had good sunday brunch buffet with bomb ass oatmeal. Now onto Captain Blacks...

My first thought when I heard this place was opening was how rad it was going to be to have a pirate themed bar down the street. (I love Pirates of the Carribean.) But, I was quickly informed it was not going down like that. The decor does touch on what could have been a sweet ode to Goonies. I love you One Eyed Willie.

crazy wall paper, totally 3-D

I made my way to the deck to test drive this spot with a few friends. The back deck is pretty good sized and sits above the local businesses below so you get a spacious view of all the tall apartments surrounding the block. The sun tries to shine down onto your face but is quickly blocked by the cluster of umbrellas on just about every table. Nothing fancy here, just some metal tables, chairs and the sweet Seattle air.

The first request from everyone at the table was a drink. Because the menu suggests their specialty cocktail we all ordered it. Ladies and you have the "Captains Tea" which stars a sweet tea infused vodka. I really liked this, pretty much the best thing I had that night. For $6 its a pretty decent choice. Happy Hour from 5-7pm also gives you the option of $3 wells. Not bad, not bad at all...

A few people were curious about the food so they ordered. In the back is the oyster po' boy and upfront is the shrimp po' boy. Both came out with some french fries and were served with the sauce of your choice (cajun mustard, tartar, spicy aioli, mustard vinaigrette, ranch or blue cheese). I tasted L.'s shrimp po' boy...not bad pretty traditional with the lettuce, tomato and pickle but the lack of shrimp on the sandwich gives this dish a boo. The fries were tasty, but not why you ordered the sandwich. Other sandwich options are cod, portobello or chicken cutlet. These sandwiches will set you back $10 or $11 for the oyster. The spicy ailoi was a good taste.

L. also ordered the White Cheddar mac and cheese because I kept talking about how I wanted to try it. I was impressed that it came out steaming hot and for $6 this looked like it was going to be a sure bet. The crusted cheese on top ended up being the best part. The rest of the mac was a bit bland. More cheese please. Everytime I have mac and cheese at a restaurant, I end up thinking about how rich I would be if I just opened a mac and cheese restaurant. What do people have against american cheese as a binder?

Just when I thought it was over, M. rolled in and ordered the signature dish. The highly anticipated Chicken and Waffles. For $11 the menu claimed you would get chicken breast and a waffle with pure maple syrup. And here it is...

The waffle was small and a cut up chicken cutlet was sent out as replacement for the typical sold out chicken breast on the menu. Dont get me wrong it all tasted pretty good, but having had chicken and waffles at other spots including roscos see picture below...

...I was just expecting something amazing to come out that secret hidden kitchen in the back. I am not going to write this spot off because just like most restaurants time should help them work out the kinks. In the mean time get your meal in a can and taste something new... grab a can of Old Chub, a Colorado born strong ass scotish ale. We couldnt stop laughing at the can...I couldnt get down on the taste but for 5 bucks and 8% alcohol by volume it was a sure fire winner for a few of the crew.

I will go back and try the food again in a month or so to see how things pan out. Check out the whole menu here. The multiple decks and friendly staff are also a reason to return. Welcome to the neigborhood Captain, I get your concept now fix your galley.

I cant figure out the hours but the address is here:

129 Belmont Avenue E.

Seattle, WA 98102

The website is also saved but the page contains nothing as of today.

Captain Blacks on Urbanspoon