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.
- Local News
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Local Catholic leaders are calling for believers to join an interfaith prayer campaign promoting renewed respect for life, traditional marriage and religious liberty.
On the eve of a pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding same sex marriage, and the Aug. 1 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, which forces employers to pay for contraceptive services despite their religious and moral objections, U.S. bishops called for the second annual Fortnight for Freedom June 21-July 4.
AAA: Hands-free texting more distracting than talking
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The 2013 Ford Focus ST has technology that will read incoming texts from a connected phone and translate commonly used abbreviations. You also can respond with a set of up to 15 preset outgoing messages.
Fence agreement nets commission approval for senior housing plan
A good-faith fence line agreement brought the Edmond Planning Commission to recommend approval for the final plat of Mon Abri. This week’s vote was 4-0.
Developer Ron Walters plans to build a group of duplexes and “fiveplexes” for senior citizens. Mon Abri is proposed to be on 87 acres of property on the east side of Broadway, south of Covell Road, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
Arcadia Lake reopens today
All four public access parks at Arcadia Lake reopened this morning at 6 o’clock. The parks have been closed since June 3 due to flooding from heavy rainfall and the ensuing runoff.
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If you were driving in downtown Edmond mid-day Tuesday you might have seen what looked like a film crew at work on a street corner.
Covell/I-35 work on track
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2 officers suffer injuries in drug-related pursuit
Two police officers suffered injuries during a call in which suspects fled in a vehicle and possessed meth, police said.
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“The church wants to rent a 2,302-square-foot space in the office building on the north side of Danforth, east of the convenience store, south of the Timber Ridge Addition,” said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner. “There will be no new construction other than interior remodeling to accommodate the church.
The church does not request changes to the one driveway or sidewalk of the property, Schiermeyer said. No changes will be made to the outside of the two-story brick veneer building. A sprinkler system will not be required.
Arcadia Lake nears reopening for summer season
Work on reclaiming Arcadia Lake has been ongoing since high water forced its closure earlier this month.
Professor: Constitutional heritage can bring sense of belonging to U.S. citizens
Education is fundamental in preparing a citizenry to live under a free constitutional republic, said Kyle Harper, founding director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage at the University of Oklahoma. Harper is also the senior vice provost at OU as well as an associate professor of Classics and Letters.
A sense of identity by belonging to a tradition is an ingredient in being part of a free republic, he said while speaking to the Edmond Republican Women’s Club on Monday. An educated citizen must be aware, alert and intelligent to care about public affairs, he said.
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