The Edmond Sun

Local News

October 21, 2011

From tea shops to public markets, Milwaukee fascinates

EDMOND — My trip to Milwaukee had a disturbing start. I missed my plane.

Not the understandable “got stuck in traffic” kind of missed my plane. First clue was when I went online to print my boarding pass and the message said, “No boarding passes are available for this flight.”

It was shortly after that that I realized I’d missed it by a whole day! After negotiating with the airline — and paying a big “stupidity fee” — I got rebooked for the next day. Arriving 24 hours late, I hit the ground running. Here’s what I saw in Milwaukee in the following 24 hours.

The Milwaukee Public Market: This large, indoor space in a historic downtown area holds 20 different specialty food vendors and a Saturday outdoor market. As you might expect, cheese is big in Wisconsin — and I have the cheesehead to prove it.

Several different stalls sold locally produced cheeses — both finished cheese and the state snack of choice, cheese curds. Among the other choices were baked goods, chocolate and other candies, gourmet sauces and mixes, spices, fish, meat and coffee. Other stands offered food — all in all, a foodie’s delight.

Watts Tea Shop: With a 139-year history, this ladies-who-lunch spot is also great for gentlemen. Sam Watts, the fifth generation of the family, told us, “In the past six years, we’ve raised the bar to bring the tea room up to an elegant, high-end, country-gourmet restaurant.”

Chef Jason Stevens looks young enough (and probably is!) to be my grandson — but he brings a world of experience to his job. He brought out dish after dish for us to sample. He blends classic French cuisine with the contemporary farm-to-table trend and gives old favorites new twists.

What sounds more tea-roomy than chicken salad? Be prepared — Chef Jason’s Asian Chicken Salad consists of a crispy rice paper basket filled with spring greens, soba noodles and julienne vegetables topped with a sliced, marinated chicken breast, dressed with ginger soy vinaigrette and dusted with sesame seeds. And that dish was just one of a number of interesting and tasty offerings he’d prepared for us.

The Tea Room is on the second floor of the building — the first floor houses George Watts & Son, a beautiful shop with china, silver, crystal and luxury gifts. The emblem of the store, a fixture of downtown Milwaukee, is a gingko leaf. This is an homage to George Watts, who in the 1940s chose to plant disease-resistant gingko trees in front of the store. His choice was vindicated when Dutch Elm Disease threatened many of the city’s trees.

The Pfister Hotel: From the moment you walk into the barrel-vaulted lobby and view the ceiling mural with cavorting cherubs you’ll know you’re in for a heavenly stay. And you’ll be in great company. In its 118-year history, the hotel has hosted dignitaries and celebrities from presidents to Pavarotti, Elvis Presley and Paul McCartney.

The hotel is noted for having the world’s largest (hotel) collection of Victorian art. In addition, the hotel has an Artist-in-Residence program — visitors can watch the process of creation and purchase original artworks.

And yes, this is where I stayed. I loved exploring the hotel and sampling the cuisine in the Mason Street Grill. The Pfister has received the AAA Four-Diamond Award 35 times. I know why.

The Safe House: Described as a spy-themed nightspot is as close as I can get to telling you what it is. Alcohol is available but youngsters are welcome (with an adult) to all areas. Of course, they won’t be served an alcoholic beverage. That said, I’m going to recount my experience.

We walked down a deserted alley and stopped at a door marked “International Exports, Ltd.” We rang the bell and the fun began. We were ushered into a tiny reception area. Each of us was asked to whisper the password to the receptionist.  Of course we were clueless.

We had to prove our bona fides by performing a silly stunt — in our case, making a train and adding sound effects — before we were allowed to enter a maze of rooms with spy themes. Among the décor pieces were actual artifacts, for example, an original cell door from an East Berlin prison.

We also discovered closed-circuit TVs where we could watch other visitors trying to gain entrance. It’s impossible to describe this place accurately — and if I did, I think they have to shoot me.

Alterra Coffee Roasters: We had breakfast here in the Milwaukee River Flushing Station built in 1888. This interesting business has taken this historic structure and incorporated the latest eco-friendly technology. And they roast great coffee — all from Fair Trade beans. Menu items include breakfast pastries, soups and sandwiches. In fine weather, outdoor dining and the great view of the Lake Michigan waterfront makes this spot a destination.

We left Milwaukee after breakfast. My visit was ’way too short — my bad! But even if I’d had 24 more hours, I couldn’t have done this fascinating city justice. I can’t wait to come back.

ELAINE WARNER is an Edmond resident.

Text Only
Local News
  • UCO plans Earth Day Fair

    The University of Central Oklahoma invites the community to celebrate sustainability with its Earth Day Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 22 in locations throughout Central’s campus.
    The fair kicks off at 10 a.m. around Broncho Lake with exhibitions from local businesses, state agencies and student organizations. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about its environmental mission and message.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO School of Music closes semester with concert series

    The University of Central Oklahoma School of Music will wrap up its instrumental performance season with three concerts featuring Central students April 29 through May 1 at Mitchell Hall Theater located on the UCO campus.    

    April 19, 2014

  • Fine Arts 1 Auction benefits Fine Arts Institute

    The Spring Sampler dinner and auction event April 12 at Oak Tree Country Club benefitted the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • Literally, books come to life for club

    When some of the women at Touchmark at Coffee Creek got together to form a book club, they didn’t know it would be so much fun and become such an important part of their lives.
    The group of about a dozen residents gets together monthly to not only discuss the assigned novel, memoir or classic, but also to immerse themselves in the setting and culture of the book. There is no limit to their creativity.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • jc_HarveySparks.jpg Pastor seeks congressional seat

    Working in the Congressional 1st District office of Congressman Jim Bridenstine was an eye opener for Harvey Sparks, he said. His analytical exposure to Congress has sparked his drive to run for the Congressional 5th District of Oklahoma, said Sparks, R-Oklahoma City.
    Sparks has been a pastor for the majority of his professional life. Sixteen months ago, he was asked by 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine to come work in his Washington, D.C., office. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters and a son, ages 10-3.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nominations being accepted for Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

    The Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation is accepting nominations through June 1 for inductees into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. Oklahoma veterans including Medal of Honor recipients have been being honored by the hall of fame since 1999. A banquet and ceremony honoring those selected this year for the hall of fame will be Nov. 8 at the Tower Hotel, formerly Marriott Hotel, at 3233 Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City.
    Nominees can be living or deceased. Nomination forms can be obtained by writing to the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 30658, Edmond, OK, 73003; or on the foundation’s website at

    April 18, 2014

  • Filing period for conservation district directors

    The Oklahoma Conservation Commission is providing notice that Oklahoma’s conservation districts will have an election for the position of board member on the 87 local conservation district boards of directors across the state. The local conservation district board is made up of five individuals who set the priorities for the conservation districts.
    The filing period for the board member position is May 1-14. The Notification and Declaration of Candidacy form can be found at or at their local conservation district office.
    The conservation district director election is scheduled for June 3. A listing of conservation district offices is available at, or by calling the commission office at 521-2384.

    April 18, 2014

  • Oklahoma History Center new home for Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

    The Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame has a new home at the Oklahoma History Center. Created in 1999, the hall of fame, operated by the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, has been housed the past several years at Oklahoma Christian University but there was no available space to display photographs and information on the inductees.
    During the past year, the foundation had an opportunity to become part of the Oklahoma History Center where there is a place to display the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame and its inductees, said Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Bradley Gambill, president of the foundation.

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station My name is Cocaine Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results