In my last post, my dear friend Amy and I had some wonderful Vegetarian Adventures in Chicago!  However, since she used to live in Chicago, she was eager to see something different – and my post earlier this summer about Milwaukee peaked her interest.  So on Saturday morning – we were off to Milwaukee!  Additionally, we were lucky to have some friends in Milwaukee show us the best sites in town.  (Thanks a Million to Kate, Dana, and Mike (a different Mike than my bf)!)

We started off with lunch at the Milwaukee Public Market.  In my opinion, the vendors here were as good as the ones at the Chicago French Market, but the Milwaukee market’s sunny, modern setting left me completely in awe.

Several of us grabbed lunch from the Green Kitchen stand, which is known for it’s healthy fare including artisanal sandwiches, salads, and juices.  My sandwich, the Mediterranean Veggie was loaded with vegetables and flavored with roasted red pepper hummus and olive tapenade.  Dana’s Herbed Goat Cheese & Portabella sandwich was big enough to share.

  

Instead of a sandwich like the rest of us, Amy ordered this beautiful falafel sampler platter from the Aladdin – Tastes of the East booth.

We wanted to walk around outside the market after eating and stumbled upon the Historic Third Ward Jazz Festival, right across the street.  It looked like such a lovely way to spend the afternoon: sitting outside, relaxing, and listening to music.

  

          

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to linger at the Jazz Festival long.  We had somewhere to be!  We were off to the Sprecher Brewery for the “Reserve Tasting”.  For just $15, we received samples of ten different beer and cheese pairings.  The pairings were well thought out and both the cheese and the beer were top notch.  Our guide did an excellent job explaining the flavor notes, along with some interesting history and beer factoids.   I’m not much of a beer drinker, but even I enjoyed the experience and came away with some new knowledge.

  

Did you know that India Pale Ale beers came about because when the British were occupying India, they needed to find a way to make their beer stay fresh longer for the sea voyage between the two countries?  Since hops have antibacterial properties, they added more hops to the beer.  To balance out the bitter hops, they then added more sugar to the brew, which resulted in increased alcohol in the beer, also helping to extend the shelf-life.

But my favorite part of the tasting was the very end, when our guide offered us some samples of Sprecher soda.  I tasted their Root Beer, Cream Soda, and Cherry Cola – a special treat, since it’s not very often that I drink soda!

After the brewery, we stopped in for a taste of Kopp’s Custard, a classic Milwaukee treat.  Then, we drove along the lakefront, catching a glimpse of the Milwaukee Air and Sea Show and some very beautiful homes.  Lastly, we had a light-dinner before heading over to the Wisconsin State Fair, where we spent the rest of our evening.  I’ll be writing more about the fair in my next post!

What a fun Saturday!  However, my absolute favorite part of the trip came Sunday morning – breakfast at Beans & Barley, a wonderful vegetarian-friendly restaurant.  

What’s so special about Beans & Barley?  

  • The sunny, inviting dining room & warm and friendly service

  • Pleasant surprises like the homemade jam, homemade scones, and biscotti 

     

  •  A wonderful tea list

     

And there’s MORE… In addition to all of that, Beans & Barley also has a wonderful Health Food Store attached!

This small store has such a diverse selection – from freshly baked goods to groceries to gifts -you could truly do all of your shopping here.  I even spotted some difficult to find items like a Field Roast vegetarian loaf (I was SO sad I didn’t have a cooler with me, so I couldn’t bring it home!).  But the best thing I found in the shop?  The Beans & Barley secret recipe for the Tofu Scramble I had for breakfast!  For just $5, I am the proud owner of Volume 2, which includes this amazing recipe that I can’t wait to try.

I’m sad that Beans & Barley isn’t closer, or I’d certainly be a regular.  But at least I can make the Tofu Scramble at home, until my next trip to Milwaukee!

What are your favorite restaurant cookbooks or recipes?

Coming Up Next: Stay tuned for my experience at the Wisconsin State Fair, as well as some fun places we stopped along the drive home!