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I Wanna Iguana

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By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

It’s nearly October. At night, your breath is as easy to spot as the fallen leaves crunching under your feet. It’s a time when some Wisconsinites begin planning their wintry exoduses to tropical locales. Lucky something-or-others. If you’re in the other 95% - like me - and can’t afford a Gulf escape, I say meet me at Jimmy’s Island Grill and Iguana Bar, the Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West’s recharged oasis in Wauwatosa.

If you’ve ever been to that other Jimmy place (there’s one in the congested, expensive city 90 miles south of us), THIS JIMMY’S is all that and lessville. Yes, less. No retail displays of T-shirts, bottle openers, coasters, soy candles (seriously, soy candles Mr. Buffett?) or straw hats. What’s for sale at Jimmy’s at the Radisson? Food and drinks. And a helluva good time.

And time will fly once you cross the threshold from hotel lobby to iguana-themed bar. From the funky Floridian colors to 13 flat-screen TVs, mix of bamboo, tile and shack-like wood to cozy booths and iguanas on the walls, chairs, tables and drinks (the rare North American Suction-Cupped Iguana), it’s all fun. And then the food and drinks arrive!

We were treated to the arrival of a sample of appetizers and flatbreads and they were not only fun (Grouper nuggets? Can I get those super sized?!), but incredibly tasty. Whoa, back up here. I almost forgot the drinks! Like any bar, first you get a drink. But these aren’t just any “hi-we-put-an-umbrella-in-our-drinks-so-that-makes-them-fun” drinks. These are “we-really-know-how-to-make-you-awesomely-happy” drinks. And Jimmy’s Jumbo Blue Margarita (comes with two straws but could easily include a diving board) is enough to make two people awesomely happy. Fast.

Back to the food. Bonsai shrimp in Thai peanut sauce...crab cakes with mango salsa...seared tuna sashami with wasabi...and roasted jerk chicken with island rice. Aloha total satisfaction! Everything was authentically prepared and served, including Jimmy’s wood-fired flatbreads. It is THE BEST buffalo chicken pizza I have ever tasted. It was like I was eating buffalo chicken on a pizza! Oh. Er, I told you those margaritas have a quick affect. 

As will Jimmy’s Island Grill and Iguana Bar on your NEW travel plans. Pack your best tikiwear into the overnight bag, head to Wauwatosa, get a room at the Radisson and flip flop it down to Jimmy’s. Let the other 5% spend thousands. Just text them a pic of you and your iguanas with a message that goes something like this:

I don’t know the reason
You left here this season
So much distance between me and you
But I’m happy at Jimmy’s
Got other friends with me
Why would I leave a margarita that’s blue?

 

Details:
Jimmy’s Island Grill and Iguana Bar
Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West
2303 North Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa

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Mo dining, please!

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By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

10 Days in Tosa. Sounds like a summer blockbuster starring Clooney or Cage. Maybe both. Maybe they’re trapped in a far-away place called Tosa and have 10 days to shoot, jump, drive and climb out.

Or, the actual plot could be even more exciting, like an end-of-summer smash produced by the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce with this real-life storyline: 21 restaurants offering 21 dining deals in Wauwatosa from September 12-21. And, diners would be armed with a 10 Days in Tosa dining card - available online for a mere $10 at 10DaysInTosa.com - and each card has a real value of $10 or more at each restaurant. That’s the ticket! Er, card.

My co-star and I grabbed our cards and headed west to Wauwatosa last night for the event’s premiere. But how to pick from the 21 ways this story could go? Hmmm, the first Monday night of football season...we had to choose Mo’s Irish Pub. I was salivating all day at the thought of bellying up to a Mo’s bar with a Guinness and big-screen TV in front of me. Didn’t count on it being 82 degrees at gametime.

“We HAVE TO sit outside - it’s sooooo nice out,” insisted my co-star, obviously going way off-script.

Turn the page to our next scene: a cozy patio filled with diners, all enjoying an incredibly-warm September breeze. Then, my Guinness arrived. I sipped, smiled and sighed - a touch of Irish foam on my whiskered lip. Nice choice, my little femme fatale. Nice choice.

Dining at Mo’s, there really is no other choice when ordering appetizers. The Dublin Sampler Platter stars with its combination of spinach tapenade, chicken quesadillas and scene-stealing cheeseburger shalaylees - a flavorful blend of ground beef and American cheese stuffed inside a crispy wrap. Just saying “SHA-LAY-LEES” makes my mouth water. I think we’ll name our first born (or first Irish Setter) Shalaylee.

Or, we could name him Mo (Mosie if it’s a she) after the Mo’s Burger I devoured. A half-pound char-grilled Angus burger layered with corned beef (aye, lads, a burger with corned beef), Swiss cheese, criss-crossed bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and Mo’s signature Killarney sauce served on a toasted bun. I was toast half way through, but couldn’t stop eating. I had to see how it ended!

Turns out, we did go inside for football and more beer, the perfect ending to the perfect beginning. Plus, we got $10 off our bill thanks to our 10 Days in Tosa dining card, so my Mo’s Burger was basically free. Free burgers, tasty ale and a smart, sexy co-star? Man, I can’t wait for the nine remaining sequels to 10 Days in Tosa.

How did your 10 Days in Tosa story end? Share it below!


Details:
Mo’s Irish Pub
http://www.10DaysInTosa.com

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Oh me oh my Umami Moto

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By Bill Prange
Web Marketing Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee

If you ever have the chance to eat at Umami Moto, run, don't walk, to the Asian-fusion restaurant on Milwaukee Street. You'll be glad you did, because after looking over the menu, it's likely you'll want to try everything Umami Moto has to offer. And if you're like me... that will lead to a few more calories than usual.

The interior is slick and the atmosphere chic. While I’d be remiss not to mention the wonderful service and expertise of our waiter, I want to get right to the food. It’s the star of the show.


                  Tuna Poke                                       Kobe Sliders and Super White Tuna Rolls

We started with Tuna Poke, Kobe Sliders and Super White Tuna Rolls. Let me tell you, I was spoiled rotten to begin my meal so deliciously. The Tuna Poke was simple and delightful. The tuna was clean and fresh – it didn’t need any help making it tasty. The Kobe Sliders, adorned with spicy mustard, were sweet, tender and extremely flavorful. If only all burgers were that good! The tuna rolls were a nice surprise for me. I have yet to fall in love with sushi, but these were quite good. The spiciness gave it a good kick and batter gave it a really nice crunch. This was the first time I had sushi so good that I wanted to eat it until every last bit was gone!

I could have left at this point, completely satisfied. But there was more eating to be done and I am a dedicated blogger.

We decided on two entrees – the Sea Bass and Fivespice Niman Ribs. The Sea Bass was the kind of dish that makes me wonder how a chef cooks it so well. Crunchy on the outside, yet perfectly cooked on the inside, it was simple and delicious.


Sea Bass                                                   Fivespice Niman Ribs

Considering that Umami Moto focuses on Asian cuisine, I didn’t expect their ribs to be anything typical. And I wasn’t disappointed. They were much sweeter than your standard barbecue, and it was a very pleasant surprise. Like everything else I tried, the ribs were very well cooked… tender and juicy. They were accompanied by fingerling potatoes topped with corn and bacon bits. It’s like a mini baked potato, loaded with the good stuff. Who doesn’t love that?

I couldn’t help but think as we wrapped up our dinner that this was one of the best meals I remembered eating. You can’t have a conversation about great Asian food in Milwaukee without mentioning Umami Moto.

The only drawback from the evening was that I was left too full for dessert. Although now that I think about it, that gives me the perfect excuse to come back. And I guarantee I will.


Details:
Umami Moto
718 N. Milwaukee St.

Have you had the pleasure of eating at Umami Moto? We'd love to know what you enjoyed while dining there. Let us know by clicking "Leave A Comment" below!

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Born To Be Wild

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By Jeannine Sherman
Director of Public Relations
VISIT Milwaukee

You never forget your first time.

Mine was on the back of a Harley-Davidson Sportster.

He was a beach-boy blonde with a crooked smile and the soulful eyes of a wayward puppy. A chance meeting at the local burger joint turned into small talk turned into teasing turned into a dare.

Before I knew it, I was on the back of his bike, gripping his letter jacket like the last pair of Jimmy Choos in a half-price sale. Think Mad Max takes on the Subdivision and you get the picture.  In the seven minutes it took to deposit me more or less safely at my front door, I managed to experience all five of the Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief. 

Denial: No, I did not just pass my mother’s car while tearing through the neighborhood on a motorcycle.

Anger: WHAT IS MY MOTHER DOING IN HER CAR?! ON THE ROAD?! WHEN SHE’S SUPPOSED TO BE HOME, MAKING DINNER??!

Bargaining: There’s NO WAY my mother would recognize her little ANGEL tearing through the neighborhood on a motorcycle. I’m an HONOR student.

Depression: Oh. My. God.

Acceptance: I am so not going to junior prom.

The boy with the puppy dog eyes is ancient history but I never got over the lifelong love affair with motorcycles that started that day. Every time I get a chance to catch a ride, I’m there.  

Lucky me the annual Milwaukee Rally is roaring back into town Sept. 1 – 5! Brew City turns into Bike City every Labor Day Weekend at the Midwest’s largest motorcycle rally, drawing bikers from all over the U.S. Even if you’re just a rebel without a cause (a.k.a. the rest of us) it’s still a ton of fun. H-D Dealers Milwaukee Harley-Davidson/Buell, Hal’s Harley-Davidson/Buell, Suburban Motors and House of Harley-Davidson/Buell are party central with plenty of entertainment, music, food and vendor malls. Seriously, there’s something for everyone, whether your tastes run from live music to mud wrestling!

The Rally keeps the good times going with newly added Miller Lite Bike Nites featuring food, music, bike showcases and contests at the Harley-Davidson Museum and along the North Avenue and Water Street entertainment districts. I know you know Milwaukee is the proud birthplace of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle and the H-D Museum is a must-see for any enthusiast. There are more than 450 legendary motorcycles on display and exhibits on racing, history, pop culture and more.

There’s even a chance to take home a little coin at the Potawatomi “RUN FOR CASH.” Riders visit predetermined Milwaukee Rally locations, snag an official stamp and qualify for cash and gift certificate prizes worth more than $11,000. Maybe it’s time to get off the back seat and get my license!

I can’t help but smile when I first hear that low, familiar rumble throughout the city, a sure sign the Rally is ready to roll. It takes me right back to the autumn day I realized I was born to be wild…and a complete sucker for a big brown pair of puppy dog eyes.
 

Details:

Milwaukee Rally
September 1-5
http://www.milwaukeerally.com

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