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.
My trip to Milwaukee had a disturbing start. I missed my plane.
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SLIDESHOW: Freezing temps keep many at home Friday
Edmond residents awoke to a winter wonderland and the realities of getting to their vehicles and driving on snow-packed streets. Even though the storm system began moving out of Oklahoma Friday, a state official cautioned residents to not disregard safety measures too soon.
During the coming days, the Edmond area will experience sub-freezing daytime temperatures and nighttime lows in the teens and single digits.
Logan Co. investigation nets 7 arrests
Logan County officers made seven arrests in an investigation stemming from the reported theft of a $45,000 John Deere Skid Steer, police said.
Friday morning, after a week-long investigation, Logan County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Richard Stephens said earlier in the week the agency responded to a complaint from a victim of a larceny who had his John Deere Skid Steer stolen from Oklahoma City.
VIDEO: World reacts to death of Mandela
Nelson Mandela spent nearly a third of his life as a prisoner of apartheid before leading South Africa in a relatively peaceful transition of power that inspired the world. The iconic figure died Thursday at the age of 95.
Slick, hazardous streets cause more cancellations
Thursday's snow and sleet fall in Edmond and across the metro continues to impact schedules and events planned for this weekend.
South Africans mourn Nelson Mandela's death
South Africans flocked to the Johannesburg home of Nelson Mandela to mourn his death and pay tribute to a leader who led the nation out of racial discord by encouraging reconciliation.
Snow chances, bitter cold continue for Edmond
Snow chances and bitter cold temperatures continue for Edmond on the heels of the storm that created slick and hazardous streets.
The National Weather Service forecast called for a 40 percent chance of snow tonight and a 20 percent chance Sunday.
In addition to the slick and hazardous streets and highways, residents dealt with bitter cold temperatures. Highs were expected near 22 degrees on Friday, 20 on Saturday, 26 on Sunday and 22 on Monday. Lows were expected near 5 degrees Friday, 17 Saturday, 15 Sunday and 8 Monday.
Thursday evening, slick, snow-covered streets created havoc in Edmond as commuters and other motorists traveled to their destinations. Edmond Police Department spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said police officers were responding only to injury crashes.
Planners look at retail/urban housing mixes in downtown
A presentation by Freese Nichols consultants of Fort Worth was made Wednesday to city staff and leaders regarding the Downtown Master Plan.
The Central Edmond Urban Development Board has revisited plans made in a 1998 Downtown Master Plan through public meetings and presentations to protect the future development of Broadway.
“Right now we are at the point of providing an assessment of not only the physical environment, but also the market conditions,” said Wendy Shabay, an associate urban planner with Freese Nichols. The next meeting in January will focus on recommendations.
Volunteers keep HOPE Center afloat
HOPE Center of Edmond is the community’s compassionate response to families needing a helping hand. Giving of one’s time is valuable when it comes to helping the HOPE Center of Edmond fulfill its charitable mission.
The food and clothing closet for Edmond area residents offers a health clinic and limited emergency financial assistance for rent and utilities, said Chris Sperry, executive director. The HOPE Health Clinic focuses on pre-natal and obstetrics care for women.
The annual Edmond Sun Samaritan Fund Drive has set a goal of raising $165,000 for HOPE.
Nearly 14,000 hours were donated by HOPE volunteers in 2012, Sperry said. Their hard work has a lasting impact on the community, she said. Many HOPE volunteers were themselves clients at one time needing temporary assistance.
St. Anthony announces new outpatient behavioral health facility in Edmond
St. Anthony is pleased to announce the opening of the new Outpatient Behavioral Health Edmond facility which will offer partial hospitalization programs as well as Intensive outpatient programs for both adult and senior patients.
These programs are designed to help those dealing with grief, trauma, depression, anxiety, anger control problems, panic attacks, poor overall functioning and other mental health issues.
Thunder plans Holiday Assist toy drive
The Oklahoma City Thunder will have a Toy Drive before Sunday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, collecting toys outside of Chesapeake Energy Arena starting at 4 p.m. The Toy Drive is part of the sixth annual Thunder Holiday Assist initiative, presented by Cox Communications.
Fans attending the game and those headed downtown Sunday evening are encouraged to stop by the tents outside the northeast and northwest arena entrances and donate new, unwrapped toys to benefit the Salvation Army Angel Tree program.
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