Welcome To My Blog

Weekends are for wandering Wisconsin. That's what Rick, my guy, and I do. Occasionally we wander during the week, too. Sometimes we just drop in on other people's lives.

This blog is my way of sharing where we've been, neat places and things to do that we've found.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Milwaukee Food Tour

A week ago we joined our friends, Laurie and Greg, to sample goodies offered by Milwaukee bakeries and to enjoy stories of ethnic holiday traditions while we rode a big yellow school bus. We were on the "Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Bus Tour" sponsored by Milwaukee Food Tours.

We started out at Stone Creek Coffee. Coffee beans from all over the world are imported and roasted at the factory store at 422 N. 5th St. 
Stone Creek Coffee is located across from Milwaukee's Intermodal Station.
The building was designed by Burnham and Root, who also designed the
1893 Columbian Exposition (World's Fair) in Chicago.
I'm sipping a cup of Stone Creek coffee in front of the wall that shows all of the
coffees that Stone Creek roasts and blends.
Our next stop was at the East Side Ovens in the Bay View neighborhood. Our friend, Greg, grew up in Bay View so he was able to point out some familiar landmarks. From there we traveled to the Canfora Bakery. This Italian establishment features an assortment of pizza slices on Saturday mornings along with other baked goodies.

At the National Bakery our sample was a ham sandwich on a hard roll - a Milwaukee tradition - and a nice palate cleanser between all the sweets.
While we rode the bus, Sandy, our tour guide, told how various ethnic groups
 celebrated the holidays. Several traditions included eating a big meal
on Christmas Eve and then fasting until another big dinner on Christmas Day. 
Four stops in Wauwatosa were within a block or so of each other.

Cheesecake samples teased our sweet tooth at Simma's Bakery
La Tarte was nicely decorated on the outside for the holiday season.
The lemon bar sample from this bakery was light and delicious.
Ultimate Confections is the place to buy a chocolate treat for anyone on your Christmas list - even the local beat cop!

Our last Wauwatosa stop was Rose's Flower Shop. Nothing to eat here but we experienced wonderful smells of flowers and received a carnation during our visit.

Rose's boasts a huge collection of lunch boxes.
No blue or odd-colored poinsettias at this shop!

This display greets customers at the front door.
The Milwaukee Cupcake Company in the Historic Third Ward was the last place we visited on our tour.
Our sample was two mini cupcakes. We were cautioned
not to save them until later because the bakery uses no
preservatives in its recipes.
Who can resist an aluminum Christmas tree
in the lobby of the bakery? 

Here we are at the end of our tour with Sandy. So many sweet treats
delighted our palates along the way.
We would like to check out some of the other tours offered by Milwaukee Food Tours in the spring. Bloody Marys on Sunday morning, anyone?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Holiday Music

We were treated to music from Warren Nelson and his trio on Saturday night at the Schauer Arts & Activities Center in Hartford. Warren is the founder of the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, one of our favorite music venues. His performance was billed as a “folk music holiday.” The set list included a couple of familiar numbers from Big Top shows as well as original tunes.
Rick appreciated that we didn't have to travel 350 miles to Washburn to hear
the trio's music. 
The setting for this musical evening was in the Pikes Peak “cabaret” at the Schauer Center. We couldn’t help but notice that most of the patrons were of our vintage. Our table companions were a couple from Columbus. He had been on the Big Top Chautauqua Board back in the 1980s.
Warren has been writing songs and performing for 45 years! He started when he was a teenager. 
Then on Monday of this week, our Downtown Kiwanis Club, where I’ve been a member for 4 years, carried on our holiday tradition of a joint program with the Downtown Optimists and a performance by the Madrigal Singers from Stoughton High School. These 16 students (8 boys and 8 girls) have amazing voices. Their a capella harmonies are exquisite. Sometimes they are even singing in 8 parts! One of the numbers they sang for us in madrigal style was “Can’t Buy Me Love” by the Beatles. That rendition brought smiles to many of us in the audience who were teens ourselves when the Beatles came to America in the mid-1960s.
The costumes worn by the Madrigal Singers add to the festivities. 
The Stoughton choir will be performing at Madrigal Dinners on December 8, 9, and 10. The evening features a 7-course dinner with the choir as the main attraction.
It's always fun to hear from the singers after their performance. Several of
the seniors will be pursuing their musical interests when they go off to college. 
It wouldn’t be the holidays if we didn’t have music. We like to take advantage of concerts. Or we'll stop and listen to the occasional carolers who turn up at the town square or even at the mall.