6.3.11 Dinner. Comet Cafe (Lower East Side. Milwaukee, WI)

It was a Friday after work and I needed a drink after a busy busy day.   I made some calls to see if anyone would join me for a beverage.  Ben was riding down by the lake and Jamie was just leaving for a run and said she'd meet up.  Oh yeah... my friends are kind of a big deal.   Getting in shape and here I am tempting them to come out and be gluttons.  Of course, we ended up going to Comet Cafe.    Ben and I met at Comet and Jamie then joined us after her run. 

It was such a nice day out that we decided to sit outside and there wasn't any wait since it was still before the dinner rush, around 5ish.  The outside seats at Comet are along the sidewalk and provide great people watching of  the diverse East Side.  As we sat outside, it did get a little breezy and sitting under the table umbrella made it a tad chilly but doable.  Inside, there were many tables available when we first got there but people did flow in at a steady pace.  Friday at Comet can get oh so busy.  Typically serves the typical East Side crowd but brings in all types of people... families, married couples, college students, etc.

I thought it'd be smart to fill you in and provide you  my history with Comet.  You'll notice that I may be less detailed about the restaurant because I've been to this establishment many times since moving to my current residency.  It was love at first sight.  I knew that this would be my Cheers bar from Cheers, my Max from Saved by the Bell, my Peach Pit from 90210... shall I go on?  Didn't think so.   I frequent this place often ut not often enough for everyone to know my name.  Getting there though.  During one of the first few times I went to Comet, I came up with a mission that I would not get any of the menu items twice until I've tried everything once.  I chose the mission and have stuck to it since July 2010.  If I'm motivated enough, I may get really gung ho and do a review of all the foods that I've had from their menu.  I guess only time will tell.  But, you take a quick glance at the menu and you'll notice all comfort food with an attitude.   Anyway, lets move on with the review. 

Front: Bell's Oberon Ale, Rear:  Chatoe Rogue OREgasmic Ale
While waiting for Jamie, Ben and I ordered a drink.  Comet boasts a great beer list, frequently changing draft beers, wine and various classic and unique mixed drinks.  Ben and I took advantage of the Beermergency Happy Hour special of $1 off all taps (excluding those with an asterics).  They also have $1 bottles of old style.  This runs Monday through Friday, 3:30pm to 6:30pm.  Ben chose Chatoe Rogue First Growth OREgasmic Ale.  I picked the Bells Oberon Ale (one of my favorite brews for summer).  I thought mine was oh so fresh and so clean clean.  Ben liked his.  I thought has had a slightly bitter aftertaste.

The server was one that we often had.  Ben actually went to school with him.  He is always friendly and helpful.  Jamie, and her oh so motivated self, eventually met up with us.  She passed on food and a beverage and just chose to re-hydrate with water... she was jealous of us I'm sure.  Let's get on to the food. Shall we?

Vegan Chili with Noodles
Ben's up
Details: Friday Fish Fry Everyday which includes hand-battered cod, fries, coleslaw, rye toast and tartar sauce.  Ben chose the vegan chili with noodles as his starter.  (Entrees come with choice of soup or salad.) $10

Friday Fish Fry Everyday
Ben's thoughts: Chili is thicker than a typical chili.  Has a little spice to it.  Nice tomato flavor.  Noodles are both on the bottom and top so it's distributed nicely.  Ben added Sriracha since he likes the spice.  Chili itself has a little bite though (from my personal point of view as I have had it in the past).  Ben often gets this as he's "always liked their chili."  Chili is hearty.  Fish itself was crispy on the outside yet not dry or overcooked.  Not greasy at all.  Tartar tasted homemade and a thinner consistency.   Nice manageable sized pieces of fish. Coleslaw is mayo based.  Nobody tasted it because Ben "doesn't get down on coleslaw"and I wasn't in the mood for it.  Rye bread comes has a salted crust and comes toasted.  Jamie chimed in as Ben was providing me his thoughts and stated that she thinks it's one of the best fish frys in town...kind of a big deal. 

Small House Salad with side of ranch
My turn
Details: Buffalo Grilled Chicken Sandwich with small house salad with side of ranch instead of fries.  The sandwich came with tomato, lettuce and Hooks Creamery blue cheese sauce and served on a ciabatta bread.  $9 plus $1 for salad substitution.

Buffalo Grilled Chicken Sandwich
My thoughts: First bite, oh so juicy.  So juicy that it's probably not a first date type of food.  Gets a tad messy.  Especially if you try to cut it.  I recommend that you keep it in one piece or ask for a sharper knife prior to tackling that challenge.  I failed at that. Thank God I took a picture before going all Machete on it.  Runny blue cheese sauce.  Strong blue cheese flavor.  Flavor warning... if you don't dig blue cheese, I wouldn't recommend this sandwich or ask to get it on the side.  Although, the delicious buffalo spice balances the blue cheese out.  The spice isn't too hot but definitely hits you in the back of the throat to the point that it makes you clear your throat after a few bites.  The ciabatta is where it's at.  Nice and soft and chewy and great flavor just like a ciabatta should be. Salad is a salad but will note that it is very fresh.  Ranch is to die for.  Cucumber'ish ranch.  Thinner consistency.   Always a good dipping sauce. 

Other factors to keep in mind:
-Slow food: don't anticipate fast service or a short wait during prime meal times.  This place prides itself in good quality food that sometimes takes time to prepare. They don't mess...  Most definitely worth the wait.
-Various daily specials for both food and drink
-Fish fry is everyday... not just Friday.
-Breakfast is served everyday until 3pm.  (does not include all the Brunch items though)
-Homemade cupcakes and pies.
-Great people watching!
-Friendly service.
-Bar side and diner side available.  Outside seating can only accommodate 3 to a table.

Do keep in mind that Comet is one of my all time favorite places in Milwaukee to go.  So, I'm sure this is somewhat biased... I'll definitely admit that.  But, it's pretty darn amazing.  They've even been visited by the awesome Guy Fieri from Triple D (Diners, Drive Ins and Dives) from the food network.  So, obviously it's worth your time then.  Well, I know I would go anywhere Guy has been.  Loves.  Catch the Triple D clip on YouTube!

Comet Cafe
1947 N Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202 
(414) 273-7677
Monday - Thursday 10:30am-2am
Friday 10:30am - 2:30am
Saturday 9am - 230am
Sunday 9am - 2am
Food service ends at 10pm nightly
Happy Hour M-F 3:30 - 6:30pm
Daily Drink Specials start at 6:30pm


6.1.11 Dinner. Lulu - Cafe and Cocktails (Bay View. Milwaukee, WI)

 Both the cafe (left) and the bar (right) side.

It was a gorgeous day so Jamie and I planned a long bike ride.  First long bike ride of the summer while being clipped in.  Of course, when we plan a long bike ride, eating is usually involved.  I always say, "I work out so I can eat what I want."  Too bad I'm eating more than working out lately.  Anyway, we chose Lulu because we had a coaster to use from our City Tin (which we didn't end up using because didn't meet the $25 dollar minimum to use it... more reason to go back!).  After cycling about 15 miles, we decide to eat.

View from our table (front to back of restaurant.
It was around 8pm and we come trotting into the restaurant in our cycling gear.  Hard core for sure.  Their larger front windows were open so definitely requested a seat by the window to get some air after our ride.  Wasn't super busy and we were able to get a table right away.  We both ordered waters because we were just parched.  The atmosphere was real chill.  Earthy tones on the walls and the bar.  Various pieces of abstract art by local artists decorated the walls.   Different types of music were played while we were there.  All were pretty chill but got my toes tapping.  It was a good volume when we first got there.  Jamie made a lovely observation that as we were there longer, it became more crowded and the music got a little louder.  So, keep that in mind if you are in the mood for some meaningful conversation.

First look at the menu I thought, "Oh no, lots of options.  Not good for captain indecisive."  Seemed like Middle Eastern flare was a common theme in all the categories.  I was pretty chatty at dinner for some reason... endorphins from the ride maybe? Who knows.  Very interactive with the server during this trip.  She was super nice.  Asked her for her thoughts on the pitas.  She gave us her run down on the pitas.  In a nutshell, she pretty much liked every one and by the time she was done talking except for the falafel and the East Indian chicken pita.  She did mention that if there was something we liked the sound of but wanted it in pita form or sand which form, we could get it.  Very flexible with the menu which is nice. But, adds even more options!  Overwhelming.  So, after hearing her opinions, I narrowed it down to two things.  The Smokehouse Burger or the K.K. Philly.  (Make note, neither of them are a pita.)  Maybe it's because I was in a good mood or, just really indecisive, I let the server choose one of the two options for me and make it a surprise.  It's like Christmas all over again.   I did give her details regarding temp for the burger and the sides I'd want (the homemade chips with a side of their bleu sauce AND the Asian slaw.  Yes, you can get both.  Loves it.).

Oh right, this is a food blog...

Jamie's first. Just keep in mind... Jamie did make the comment, "I'm not going to talk food much."  I think she was tired?  (You'll see how much she kept to her word when we get to her thoughts on the meal. Hint. Hint.)
Mediterranean Steak Pita, Bleu Lulu and Asian Slaw
Details:  Mediterranean Steak Pita. Side of both the asian slaw and the bleu Lulu (homemade chips and bleu cheese sauce). Pita had sliced grilled flank steak and a tomato and kalamata olive relish.  $9.25

Jamie's Thoughts:  Enjoyed that that tomato and olives were marinated.  The pita overall was full of flavor.  But, big con... no sauce.  No sauce is pretty much a sin when it comes to food with Jamie.  And, I would have to agree with her on that one.  Nobody wants dry food.  But, by no means was this a dry pita, just needed something more.  Steak was a good temp.  Medium to medium well.  Eventually added some cucumber sauce that they had available and it "took it up a notch."  If she didn't get the sauce, may have had a hard time really enjoying it.  Nice even distribution of the toppings.  A little bit in every bite.  Feta ALERT.  Per Jamie, if you don't like feta, don't get this sandwich because there was a good amount of it.  Or, maybe get it on the side?  Chips are crisp but not burnt, as some restaurants do with their own chips.

My turn...my turn
The Smokehouse Burger, Bleu Lulu, Asian Slaw
Details: Smokehouse Burger which is seasoned with smoky blend of spices, topped with sharp cheddar, bacon and onion.  Side of both the asian slaw and the bleu Lulu.  The server brought it over and said "I'm a burger gal" about herself.  I was excited.  $10.75

My Thoughts:  No sauce on the burger.  So, of course, I asked for bbq sauce.  cheddar plus bacon equals bbq sauce for sure.  First bite into the burger and it was MIND BLOWING.   Totally a kick in the mouth of great flavor.  Perfect temp.  Asked for medium and it was actually a medium.  I find that rare.  Usually overcooked.  Bun to meat ratio was up to par for me.  I don't want all bun and no meat yet on the other hand, want little tiny soggy pieces of bread on my burger either.  This softer egg wash bun was delish!   The burger was very juicy.  I think I let out a little groan of happiness with every bite.  Really enjoyed the asian slaw.  Oil based like most asian slawsBleu sauce with the chips is a nice addition.  Not to blue cheesy. 

Other factors to keep in mind:
- Jamie's head was darting back and forth like it was her job looking for our server to try to get her attention to get the sauce for her pita.  Slight lag in quality check.
- Get there at a later time, let's say around 9pm, may be a little louder like a bar type scene.  So, keep that in mind.
- Wednesday night observation... $10 off bottles of wine.  But, we didn't get it.  Don't drink and ride.  (Or, eat and ride.  Had a slight side cramp on the ride home.  No good... No good.)
-Side notes on the food: they serve brunch (my favorite pastime), gluten free options available (yeah Jen!  get it!) , vegetarian friendly, don't get the slaw if you're allergic to peanuts.  They make their own pies daily... mmm love pie.
- Do note the bottom of the menu under "Here's how it works..."  There is a $2 split charge.

I really really like this place.  Almost wish it were closer to where I lived.  Really though, it's not that far.  The food was so delicious.  I really don't have a complaint about my meal.  But, Jamie did mention that she wonders if the reason I liked it so much was because I was just famished after the 15 miles we just rode.  Could be, but, being the second time I've ever been there, I has been consistent.

Lulu Cafe and Cocktails
2261 and 2265 South Howell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207

Kitchen and Cafe
Mon-Thur: 11am - 10pm
Fri and Sat: 11am - 11pm
Sunday: 11am - 9pm
Daily: opens at 11am


Road Block... Blogs in Queue

So, my computer is at the computer doctor.  Poor computer.  It has been there for the past week and will most likely be there through this week.  Three blogs are currently in queue to be posted.  Here is what you have to look forward to:  Lulu in Bayview, Comet Cafe in the lower East side and Apollo in the East side.  Get excited because I know I am!