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Lacey Muszynski

Lacey Muszynski

Milwaukee: Juicy Burgers and Bold Bloodies at the Wicked Hop

In reading many of the Wicked Hop's reviews on Yelp, a theme appeared: The Bloody Marys are great, but the food and service, bluntly, suck. So are they really just riding the wave of their one signature drink and hip location? Not so, I found. In fact, my experience was practically opposite of the predominant opinions on Yelp. I didn't like the bloody, and both the burgers and service were pretty good. More

Reality Check: Oktoberfest-inspired Fare at Red Robin

Judging from Red Robin's latest batch of limited time menu items, Oktoberfest seems to be a big event for them—but then again, they seem to tailor their burger toppings for every possible occasion. So why not go German? Not only do they add all things mustard to their special Oktoberfest burger, they make it a three-course event with a pretzel app and a beer milkshake. So in honor of Oktoberfest, I tried all their German-inspired specials. More

Big Brew Pub Burgers at Sprecher's Restaurant and Pub in Milwaukee

Erin: It does look like that, doesn't it?? It's actually a fried jalapeno slice and a cheese curd though. So really, it's better than a little burger, if you ask me!

Burger City Guides: Sara Johannes' Favorite Burgers in Milwaukee

I think Sara is my MKE burger soulmate

Kiltie is now on the short list for the next review. Thanks Sara!

Cereal Eats: The Raisin Bran Family Tree

Raisin Nut Bran is my favorite cereal! I love that the raisins stay soft in that weird coating, and the flakes stay crispy in milk for a relatively long period of time.

I still can't find a cereal of my childhood, however. I don't remember the brand name (I seem to recall a yellow box, however), but it was soft, mini shredded wheat pellets with a raisin filling. They make a few various flavors of filled Mini Wheats, but they're always frosted (yuck) and crunchier than the ones I remember. I want my raisin filling!

Where to Eat in Your College Town

Plenty of Madison, WI reviews on the site to feature!

Video: How the Sausage Pizza is Made at Maria's Pizza in Milwaukee

Oh man, now I really want to go back again. When I eat it, I'm always disappointed by the middle pieces, though, and then I'm kind of set for a while. But then I end up seeing something about Maria's and I'm craving it again.

Reality Check: The Wolverine-inspired Burgers at Red Robin

@jakoby: Good to know! I'll have to try that next time I'm up for another Reality Check.

@page7: Thanks for geeking out for me. I knew it all must have had something to do with the movie...but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what.

Best Burgers in Milwaukee from 'Milwaukee Magazine'

We always got the ham from Rupena's on 76th and Beloit since we lived down the street. Still my favorite! Never heard of hot ham on Saturdays, go figure.

Best Burgers in Milwaukee from 'Milwaukee Magazine'

Mmmm hot ham and rolls! Haven't had that in too long. Sunday is my sleeping in day.

Best Burgers in Milwaukee from 'Milwaukee Magazine'

Oh man that's a bunch of restrictions. In Brookfield, there's a place called Cafe Manna that's total vegetarian, and I assume vegan-friendly too. Bombay Sweets is a little vegetarian Indian restaurant (more like a counter/takeout place with lots of desserts and dosa!) on south 13th street that is worth checking out. Outpost, a grocery store with a lot of premade foods, is great for picnic type things, fresh juices, salads, etc. There's one on KK in Bayview. There's a few other places in Bayview/Third Ward that are veggie-friendly, and some might be vegan-friendly too: Odd Duck, Cafe Lulu, Hi-Fi Cafe, and I know Classic Slice does vegan pizza (though soy, obviously).

And all of this means you probably won't be getting Maria's! :( I finally went there (after growing up in that neighborhood) a couple years ago thanks to your Slice review!

Best Burgers in Milwaukee from 'Milwaukee Magazine'

Hey Adam! Lots of recs for you; it's so hard to narrow things down. And forgive me if you've been to some of these places before (I'm sure you have in some cases).

As for Brookfield area: Hands down, Jake's. Do it. The Jake's Burger was awesome (if pricey). Family friendly, though.
http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/07/jakes-burger-steakhouse-review-brookfield-milwaukee-wi.html?ref=title

For old school, I love Nite Owl across from the airport on Layton. Definitely kid- and takeout-friendly. The only problem is the hours...Go for lunch to make sure they still have burgers, and definitely before 5 to be safe.
http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/08/nite-owl-drive-in-jumbo-burger-review-milwaukee-wi.html?ref=title

Also old school is Solly's. I suspect you've probably been there already. I'm personally not a fan of the butter pool thing but plenty of people are.
http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/12/sollys-grille-butter-burger-review-milwaukee-wi.html?ref=title

Mazo's is also great and old school (bonus points for being across from Leon's).
http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/11/mazos-burger-review-milwaukee-wi.html?ref=title

I saw you commented on North Avenue Grill's review. Definitely stop there if you want a diner experience.

If you want a laid back bar that's also kid friendly and has a nice big patio, Oscar's is the way to go. The Big O is delicious.
http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/05/oscars-pub-and-grill-burger-review-milwaukee-wi.html?ref=title

OK, phew! I'd say Jake's and Nite Owl would be the top two I'd recommend for you (based on your location and old school requests). North Avenue Grill and Oscar's are my two normal recs for anyone looking for newer places. Hope that helps!

Chain Reaction: Famous Dave's

@thedharmabum: Oh dear, I love those little muffins. In the past I've gotten the apples as a side and then crumbled some of the muffin on top. Voila, instant apple crumble dessert! Amazing how they can pack that much fat into them.

Chain Reaction: Famous Dave's

@shermanhelms: Thanks! I do order plain-ish burgers sometimes, but we usually try and review a restaurant's specialty burgers, the ones they bring attention to. Plus sometimes all the crazy toppings sound pretty good. :) If I have a build-your-own burger option, you'll see that I normally go with fried onions, cheese, and pickles, which I consider pretty "standard" toppings. There's been instances plainer burgs, off the top of my head: Mazo's, Benno's, Wicked Hop, Kopp's, Elsa's... But you're right in that I haven't done one in a while now. I'll keep that in mind, thanks!

Chain Reaction: Famous Dave's

Yeah, the lettuce threw me too. Just added to the flavorless pile, really.

Milwaukee: Burke's Irish Castle Leaves Me Wondering, 'Where's the Beef?'

@Nezrite: I'm curious about that too. Carol Deptolla just wrote about their fish fry in a recent fish fry roundup for Lent. She had all good things to say. For their own sake, I hope their fish is amazing!

Milwaukee: Beautiful But Bland Burgers at Steny's Tavern and Grill

@ratbuddy: That's the Jamaican potato salad.

@Jadydangel: There's lots of good burgs in Milwaukee, but there are some sub-par trends, such as overcooking and underseasoning. But some of the best burgs around are places like Mazo's, Kopp's, Elsa's, B-1 in Theinsville, Nite Owl, Jake's in Brookfield. That's my short list I tell people, but it really depends on what type of burger someone is in the mood for.

Milwaukee: Beautiful But Bland Burgers at Steny's Tavern and Grill

Guys, it really doesn't take much effort to click on my name and glance at my article history. Let's go through my latest reviews.

1. Chain: Quaker Steak and Lube. Terrible, as Chain Reactions often are.
2. Bennos: Awesome.
3. Mason Street Grill: Even more awesome.
4. Wicked Hop: Surprisingly good burgers.
5. Reality Check, Red Robin: Not bad.
6. Chain, Capital Grille: Bad, like most of the chains.
7. Brat House: Great.
8. Reality Check, Culver's: Great.
9. Beer Belly's: Not bad, great fries.
10. O'Lydia's: Solid.
11. Jake's: Fantastic.
12. Reality Check, Red Robin: terrible.
13. Kopp's: Amazing.

That takes us back to the beginning of June, at which point you can keep going if you want.

@Seipel: I love Milwaukee and the food scene here. But I'm not reviewing the food scene, I'm reviewing burgers. Many of the most talked about new places don't serve burgers, so unfortunely I don't get a chance to review them. Places like c. 1880, Wolf Peach, Braise, Odd Duck, etc. Keep that in mind when you think that I'm not representing the whole of Milwaukee's food scene. That's not what I'm doing here. If you don't agree with a review of mine (or two, I see you had a huge comment on Harry's, but that's it), then start food writing and blogging yourself. That's the beauty of the internet!

Chicken Marsala

I started using the Cook's Illustrated recipe and tips for chicken marsala and have never looked back. First, I use sweet marsala. Some brands may be too sweet, but the one I use (sorry, I don't know the name off hand!) reduces down to a nice syrupy sauce with just the right sweetness. Second, I don't use chicken stock. The sauce is just marsala and butter mounted at the end. Heaven. I do caramelize a tablespoon or two of tomato paste to add depth and body to the sauce as well.

I prefer pancetta to bacon, and omit the shallots or onions since I use sweet marsala. Finish the sauce with a good squeeze of lemon juice and parsley and that's all you need. Sage is an interesting option I might have to try, though.

Behind the Scenes at New Glarus Brewery in Wisconsin

@ChazL: I talked to a rep of the company that was conducting a tasting at a liquor store in MKE and for this year, the Belgian Red has been replaced with another fruited ale made with apples, cranberries and cherries called Serendipity. It's in the same type of bottle, just with a purple wax. I believe the Belgian cherry will be back next year!

Milwaukee: Juicy Burgers and Bold Bloodies at the Wicked Hop

@ccooper: Sorry, I should have included that info, but I already had too many words about a bloody in a burger review :)

Garnishes were: Midget dill pickle, chunk of beef stick, marinated (not pickled) mushroom, shrimp (those unfortuante precooked, frozen ones), lemon, green olive, and those things on top are mozzarella whips.

Chain Reaction: The Capital Grille

@SouthernChef: I addressed the burger temperature two posts above yours. Doesn't change the fact that the burger was not very good, for all the reasons you apparently glossed over in my review.

Thanks for "giving me" the truffle fries. If you noticed, I called the truffle oil fake-tasting, which means I'm well aware that it's the fake stuff. And also why I didn't like it at all. So thanks but I'll pass on the bridge.

Crab should Not taste fishy, and don't quote things that I did not say. I also mentioned that it didn't taste very fresh, perhaps you missed that part? Or maybe you skipped that since it was just me being whiney again.

There's also no buyer's remorse here, that's actually not really possible. You do realize that I write for a website, and said website reimburses me for the meals I review, correct? That's how it works in 99% of restaurant reviews.

And what makes you think I didn't leave a tip? I did not mention anything about our server or service. Perhaps you shouldn't be reading food or restaurant criticism if you can't get past the "whining".

Chain Reaction: The Capital Grille

@monopod: That's exactly what I was thinking when I was editing the photos. But at the table, everyone was in agreement that it was cooked med-well. I guess my color correcting must be off! Or the lighting in the restaurant.

The Food Lab: How To Make Traditional Vietnamese Pho

Love me some pho. I've made it a couple times before (similar recipe to this with the charring etc.), and while it's good, it's just not as good as the local pho places. Add to that the fact that it's also not as cost effective, considering the relatively small price in a restaurant for a relatively giant bowl, and I stopped making it myself. Sure, it's fun to make and I'll probably make it again, but when I'm really craving it I'll stick to take out.

Either way, good recipe. I've never used fennel seeds before, I'll have to try that next time.

Wild Tomato's Cheese Curd Pizza in Door County, Wisconsin

I sure hope you're also coming to Milwaukee for more cheese curd (and burger) love!

Best Burgers in Milwaukee from 'Milwaukee Magazine'

A notable snub: AJ Bombers. I'm sure the Twitterati don't appreciate that. Also Elsa's, which in recent years has been overlooked as more and more new burgers places open up and get press. And some on the list definitely do not belong there... Did anyone say advertisers? The noose of print.

Milwaukee: Get Your Clock Stopped at Off the Clock Bar and Grill

@timberbarrack: I LOLed! Perhaps you just wrote my next overcooked burg headline...