6.18.11 Brunch. Trocadero Gastrobar (Lower East Side. Milwaukee, WI)

Entrance of the building.  from ztrocadero.com
It was a great summer weekend and the sun was shining.   Since he missed my birthday dinner and drinks, Jordan thought it would be a good idea to go to brunch.  So, Jordan, Phil, Laura and I decided to go to Trocadero since it’s one of our favorite brunch spots.  I biked over there to meet them around 11.  As I rode my bike over, I saw various different groups of people running in matching shirts.  Some sort of challenge was going on and later we found out it was the Great Milwaukee Race.  One of their challenges was to play a life sized game of jacks.  Pretty entertaining to watch.  People were intensely competitive.  My kind of people!  I decided that I will start training for it that day for the next one.  It looked like a lot of fun.

Since it was a nice day out, we decided to sit outside.  Just like any other  weekend morning, it was pretty packed.  But, we didn’t have a wait.  Trocadero has a great set up both inside and out.  On the inside, you will see that it has a nice European style charm to it, just like the other Diablo restaurants (Cafe Benelux, Cafe Centraal and Cafe Hollander).  There is a bar in the front entrance that you can immediately order on of their delicious bloody mary's or  a mimosa if there does happen to be a wait.  Between the inside dining area there is a, what I would call a “four seasons room type area.”  It’s as if it was part outdoor seating with heaters and four season type walls with large windows to them.  Then, it leads to the outside patio that’s fenced in from the sidewalk and has a nice little fountain to it.   The crowd tends to be quite mixed.  Groups in their 20s, parent’s with their adult children and sometimes the church crowd that come for some good eats after their church service.  Who doesn’t like to grub down after hearing about God?  I know I do.  

We weaved our way through all the tight knit tables on the patio and was sat at a cute little table close to one of the walls and just a table away from the fence.  It was nice and shaded so that we didn’t burn to a crisp in the sun.  Felt just right.   When the server came, she informed us of both food and drink specials for the day.  

Traditional Lime Mojito.
Glorioso's Bloody Mary Special and High Speed Wit Chaser.
Laura, Jordan and I ordered the special bloody Mary of the day which was the Glorioso’s bloody Mary.  For those of you that don’t know, Glorioso’s is a local Italian grocery store located on Brady which serves prepared meals, makes hot sandwiches to order,  serves desserts and provides a complete grocery for all your Italian needs.   The bloody Mary included garlic and basil infused vodka and Glorioso’s fixin’s.  The fixin’s included fresh mozzarella, lemon and lime, pepperoni and a sport pepper.  The bloody Mary’s, as they should in Milwaukee, come with a high speed wit chaser.  Jordan enjoyed the pepperoni, Laura liked the mozzarella ball.  I thought the pepperoni was a tad on the greasy side.  As I do with bloodies that come with bacon, I would probably remove it from the drink to minimize the congeal factor. Gross.   The bloody Mary wasn’t overpowered by garlic as we had anticipated it might be.   I thought it had a great tomato to vodka balance and not all that spicy.  Because of the lack of spice factor, I squeezed and submersed the pepper into the beverage to give it that extra kick.   Phil ordered a mojito.  He’s not a bloody kind of guy.  It included three limes along the rim and per Phil, it had a pretty smooth and neutral flavor.  Great summer drink. 

We looked at the menus for a bit before decided.  The menu tends to lean toward the southwest feel with items that come with black beans and pico de gallo.  Of course, they have standard brunch items like an all American type plate, omelets and pancakes.  But, all with a little troc flare to it.  Let’s get down to the real deal… the food. 

Mamacita Burger with frites.

We’ll go in order of the person to my left and then around the table.  Of course, we all know I like to be organized and structured that way.  So, here we go!

Details:   Mamacita Burger.  Burger cooked to order (medium well is what Phil chose), pico de gallo, queso fresco, avocado and garlic aioli.  Served with frites.  $13.00

His Thoughts:   The temperature looked to be perfect to me.  Nice and Pink.  Phil enjoyed the burger and said it was pretty tasty and juicy.  The fries, looked delicious and from past experience, I remember them to be pretty darn good.  They’re the cut that I usually enjoy… not too meaty. 

Details: Spicy Black Bean Cakes. Hand-crafted bean cakes, poached eggs, queso fresco, salsa verde, pico de gallo.  $10.00

Spicy Black Bean Cakes
His Thoughts:  Jordan is a foodie like me.  We often talk about food a minimum of twice when we hang out.  No complaints here about that.  I can talk about food for hours.  But, on this day, Jordan had little to say about this dish.  He said he had no complaints but would probably put a spicier salsa on if he were to prepare it.  So, the spicy in the name is more so regarding spices that are used versus a heat factor.  Good thing to know for SPICE wimps. 

Quiche Lorraine with side of fruit.

Details:  Quiche Lorraine. Bacon, onion, and Gruyere cheese.  Served with a side of seasonal fruit. $9.00

Her Thoughts:  She thought it was good.  She really digs quiche in general and was in the mood for one that day. The quiche crust was the same as mine so you will see details regarding it in my thoughts below.  Never go wrong with the rosemary potatoes.  Are a nice addition to the quiche but creates a pretty hearty platter.  

My Food
Details: Veggie quiche of the day.  Veggie quiche that consisted of onion, artichoke, white cheddar and a sundried tomato pesto. Served with a side of rosemary potatoes. $9.00

Veggie Quiche of the Day with rosemary potatoes.
My Thoughts:  Amazing.  So flavorful at the first bite.  Definitely a kick of flavor in the mouth.  Nice blend of fillers for the quiche and the crust was nice and flaky but not dry. I do like when the crust is a flakier consistency and doesn't just crumble when you bring your knife or fork to it.  Nobody wants a crumbs with their egg goodness.  At least, I know I don't.  The top of the filler had a nice baked crusted finish to it and the pesto was primarily just placed on top and did not appear to be mixed into the quiche itself.  It was just the right amount of pesto.  This is especially important because pesto, in my opinion, can be a little overpowering in large amounts.   It was a hearty meal with the quiche and the potatoes so I was only able to eat half of both.  But, then again it could have been partially due to the bloody Mary and its fixin’s. 

Other things to consider:
-Street parking only.  Plan accordingly.  Bike!  Save the ozone.
-Large servings.  So, if you eat like a bird, find some kind person to split with you unless you are a leftover eater.
-Typically a wait for a table during the brunch time rush.
-Vegetarian and gluten intolerance options.
-Daily specials for both drink and food during brunch. 
-Outside seating not the most wheelchair friendly due to proximity of tables and the steps.  (I know, somewhat random but it is a tight squeeze and I’m a physical therapist by trade.)

Overall, this was another enjoyable experience at Troc.  Great weather added to the experience for sure.  The quiche is always a delight and filling so be ready to share of take home left overs.  The bloody Mary options are out of this world.  Try it out!

Trocadero Gastrobar
1758 N Water St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 272-0205
Monday - Friday 8am-close
Saturday/Sunday 9am - close

6.16.11 Dinner. Comet (Lower East Side. Milwaukee, WI)

It was my birthday!  So, guess where I wanted to go?  That's right folks... Comet Cafe.   This will be a quick because I was too lazy too get everyone's foods pictured and blog about it.  I didn't want to be preoccupied with my blog notes while a bunch of my wonderful friends came out to celebrate.

I decided to get there early and wait for everyone to come since I'm such a good host and don't want anyone sitting by themselves.  Plus, I had a bunch of people coming, since I'm so popular (jk) and wanted to ensure that we had an appropriate sized area to fit us all.  If you've been to Comet, you know that it isn't the best spot for larger groups but they always try to accommodate the best they can.  I put my  name on the wait list, ordered a Bell's Oberon (one of my Summer beers of choice) and sat outside to wait for my friends.  They said it would be a wait but what can be expected on a Thursday night on the East Side.

When my friends all arrived, we waited about 20-30 minutes to sit.  (Shout out side note to my friends that came.)   The server that was keeping an eye on out for our party was super friendly and helpful.  She kept an eye out on all the different spots in the restaurant to get a good idea of what two tables were going to be open first.  She often checked back with our group to give us tentative seating times.  They sat us at two booths, back to back on the bar side with one chair at the end.  Of course,  I sat on the chair at the end to ensure that I can mingle with all my friends throughout the night.  We all ordered food.  As I said before, I will only review what I ordered.  Refer to the 6.3.11 and 6.12.11 blogs for more details about Comet's atmosphere and jive.

Here's what I got...
Details.  Comet Cuban.  Wilsons farm pork shoulder, ham, house-made pickles, swiss cheese, whole grain mustard pressed and grilled on ciabatta bread.  Side of fries and a pickle.  $9.00
Slice of wild berry pie with a dollop of whipped cream.  $0.00 (Birthday girl special, with a candle in it!)

Comet Cuban and fries.
My thoughts:  A whole lot of food packed into a little sandwich.  Boy, was I stuffed at the end of it.  Lots of meat was loaded onto this sandwich.  Obviously, if you're not a pork person, don't eat this.  Very tasty sandwich and the whole grain mustard really stands out.  I had a wipe some of the mustard away because at times, there was too much present in one bite.  The ciabatta that was pressed and toasted added a very nice texture to the sandwich.  As it is with most Cubans, the act of toasting and pressing the sandwich is key.  But, per Wikipedia the Cuban sandwich is usually served on Cuban bread.  The ciabatta on Comet's Cuban adds another level of flavor and texture with it's crisp crust and soft porous body.   As I bit into the sandwich, I noticed how juicy the meat was as the natural juices of the meat dripped out of the sandwich.  (ALERT: not a first date type of sandwich because could potentially be a messy meal but don't hesitate to manage it if you think you have mad sandwich handling skills... I guess mine were lacking on this day.)  The fries were good and crisp.  Pickles are always a plus with a sandwich. The wild berry pie came with an oatmeal crumble on top.  The crust was a little crisp for my liking.  The filling was great with whole fruit and not too sweet with a little tartness to balance it out.  Good sized slice for everyone to have a bite.

Comet pies.  from Cometcafe.com
Other things to consider:
-Not the best for larger groups. If you still decide to go, you'll have to break up your group a tad.
-Nice enough server... you may get a birthday treat.
-Various flavors of home baked goods.

As you already know, I love me some comet cafe.  This sandwich wasn't one of my faves at comet but definitely not the bottom of the list either.  If someone asked me, probably wouldn't recommend this if they were going to Comet for the first time.  The pie was pretty darn good.  I would want to get the other flavors some other time, warmed up and with ice cream.   A la mod-E as she would say in Little Miss Sunshine.  Dig that movie.  I will be back there soon for sure!  Hope to see ya there. 

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