Milwaukee’s most romantic dining destinations

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Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend, and on this week’s episode Ann shares four ideas for a perfect date night in Milwaukee. If you’re in an unpretentious mood, she suggests going to The Vanguard, sitting at the bar and watching WWE wrestling while eating a sausage you’ve prepaid for. “Just sit there and let all those first date jitters subside,” Ann says.

She also recommends an entire day at the Milwaukee Art Museum — it has a restaurant that’s open for lunch, and it offers a nice view of the lake. Its lunch menu is often inspired by the current exhibits, and if you stay late enough, there’s a bar and lounge where you are watch the sun go down — pretty romantic.

If you’re a plant-based kind of person, head to Strange Town, where DJs spin vinyl as patrons snack on great vegetarian food and enjoy wine and cocktails. After that, head over the Jazz Estate for some live jazz — that place has great cocktails. And finally, she suggests, head to Third Coast Provisions for some seafood. They offer lobster rolls and oysters.

Third Coast Provisions | facebook.com/thirdcoastprovisions

Speaking of romantic places, we’re talking about Ardent. It’ll be closing from Feb. 23 for some renovations that will last through early April. When it reopens, part of the restaurant will be open to walk-in guests only, and they’ll be offering “smaller a la carte food menu offerings, and a thoughtfully curated beverage list.” It’ll be a more casual experience for people who don’t love making reservations.

Apertivo opens in the Pritzlaff Building

Next we look at a couple of places that will be opening. Apertivo in the Pritzlaff Building just opened. It currently serves breakfast, lunch and cocktails, but its specialty will be an “apertivo hour,” which offers pre-dinner cocktails and snacks. Expect a menu filled with drinks like Campari, Aperol and Ramazzotti Aperitivo Rosato.

For breakfast there are items like bagels, breakfast burritos and a breakfast croissant filled with two eggs, cheddar and bacon. The building is absolutely gorgeous, too.

Apertivo | facebook.com/aperitivomke

And then we discuss Crab Du Jour, a new Cajun seafood chain restaurant that’s coming to Brown Deer. Offerings include boiled seafood dishes like clam, crab, crawfish and shrimp. It is crawfish season right now, by the way. The restaurant also will have fried seafood and chicken wings. The restaurant is opening in a former Applebee’s building at 9080 N. Green Bay Road.

Hear us get into all of that and more on this week’s episode.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Forget candy, give the gift of pie this Valentine’s Day

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On this episode of This Bites, we’re talking pie! Milwaukee Magazine’s Ann Christensen and I talk about a lineup of local pie-makers looking to sweeten your Valentine’s Day. Plus, we uncover a hidden steakhouse, check in at a forthcoming bagel shop and discuss some don’t-miss food events coming up in Milwaukee this month.

Listen to the podcast below.

Honeypie is again offering “piegrams” for Valentine’s Day. Photo courtesy Honey Pie’s Facebook page.

No shade to the great candy and chocolate makers in town, but if pie is more your speed, why not opt for a slice of locally baked love instead? (Or better yet, both!)

Thankfully, you have many options for freshly made pies near Milwaukee, whether you’re looking for a traditional lard crust, a fruit pie made from Wisconsin ingredients or an innovative flavor combination. Check out these local pie makers this Valentine’s Day:

New Harbor District bagel shop

The former Drink Wisconsinably space will soon be vacant no longer with a new bagel shop and deli coming soon. Enter Allie Boy’s Bagelry and Luncheonette.

Owners Ben Nerenhausen and Staci Lopez are updating the space and aim to open by late March. The new venue will offer New York-style bagels, made in house, and a variety of global flavors. Look for latkes, smoked fish and soups, including borscht.

Fine-dining arrives in Bay View at the White House. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

White House reopens

Bay View has a new fine-dining restaurant — with a familiar name. After years of vacancy, the White House is back open with new owners and new concept.

The former corner bar has been transformed into a high-end restaurant with white table cloths, fresh flowers and romantic chandeliers. The wife-husband duo Allison Meinhardt and Zachary Bryne plan to continually update the menu, according to the restaurant’s website.

“The rotating menu we offer allows our Chef to provide guests with a higher culinary experience. Our commitment to serving the finest food possible is exemplified through the freshest ingredients available. Daily specials, fresh soup, fish du jours and homemade desserts are curated for the change in seasons.”

Hidden steakhouse

Art may reign supreme at Saint Kate Arts Hotel, but the culinary offerings are every bit as interesting. And if you know who to ask, you’re sure to impress your dinner companion by visiting the hidden steakhouse inside the hotel.

There is no overt signage, and the restaurant is called The Dark Room. You’ll find it by checking in at a host stand near the Giggle Champagne Bar. Ann recommends trying the dry aged ribeye and the New York strip. Be sure to get a reservation; the ultra-intimate restaurant offers just 24 seats.

February food events

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

How great are Ruby’s Bagels?

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Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

In the latest issue of Milwaukee Magazine, Ann takes a visit to Ruby’s Bagels, the popular bagel spot in Zocalo. For those who have a sweet tooth, we also discuss the upcoming Sweets and Treats Fest in Waukesha. We also talk about 88Nine’s amazing upcoming SoundBites event and share some hot sauce news. Hear us get into all of it on this week’s episode.

Ruby’s Bagels | facebook.com/ZocaloFoodPark

Ruby’s Bagels is the food truck owned by baker Daniela “Ruby” Varela, who spoke with Ann in the latest issue of Milwaukee Magazine. She’d never expected to run her own shop until she was approached by Zocalo. She offers a variety of bagels (rosemary sea salt and cinnamon sugar among them) and flavored cream cheeses (including honey chipotle), and they’re amazingly delicious — and a very welcome change of pace from the chain bagels that proliferate Milwaukee.

Speaking of Milwaukee Magazine, Ann has a new piece in this month’s issue about Wonderland, the charming new diner in Riverwest. It’s at 732 E. Burleigh St., and has some hearty dishes that will appeal to vegans and meat eaters alike, with highlights like soy chorizo, vegan loaf, seafood cakes and chicken and waffles. And how is this for convenience: You can get food from Wonderland while you’re at Art Bar next door. Ann also raves about the pie.

Next we throw out a bit of a shameless plug for Radio Milwaukee’s SoundBites event, which returns for its 9th year on Feb. 6 at the Ivy House. It will feature dishes from Anytime Arepa,  Birch + Butcher, BrandywineBuckatabon, Lake Park Bistro , FauntleroyFireflyHatched MKEMaya Ophelia’s, Pabst Theater GroupScreaming Tuna and Uncle Wolfie’s, each of which will be paired with a song from a Radio Milwaukee DJ. This is some seriously exclusive dining, with some plates you won’t find anywhere else. You can get your tickets here.

Sweet lovers and chocoholics will want to check out this one, too: Waukesha County Expo Center will host its Sweets and Treats Test on Feb. 22. Seventeen dessert vendors will be on hand, offering cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, macarons, gourmet rice crispie treats, cakes, waffles, cotton candy as more, with many gluten-free and dairy-free options.

Hear us discuss all of that and more on this week’s episode.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

A Laotian pop-up is headed to Milwaukee’s Crossroads Collective

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Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

On this week’s installment of Milwaukee’s longest-running food podcast, we’re talking about Laotian cuisine coming to Milwaukee’s East Side, a new pizzeria and a cheese festival I compare to the Coachella of cheese. Then we have a double dose of pasta news. Hear us chat about all of it below.

A tantalizing dish from SapSap | https://www.facebook.com/SapSapEats

The pop-up company SapSap will bring a Laotian pop-up to Milwaukee’s Crossroads Collective food hall. From March 12-22, SapSap will be serving items like Lao beef jerky, egg rolls, and Lao-style lime-leaf sausage. There will also be a charred skirt steak served with rice noodles, daikon radish, cucumber and fish sauce.

Next Ann gives us the early scoop on a new pizza spot that’s focusing on Wisconsin cheesemakers and specializing in vegetable toppings. There will also be a clam-sauce pizza.

Speaking of cheese, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin have put together a three-day cheese festival in Madison called the Art of Cheese Festival. It’ll include cheese classes, a pop-up cheese market and a cheese-themed ball. There will even be opportunities to visit dairy farms on a cheese bus.

wisconsincheese.com

A new pasta place has opened in the former John Hawk’s Pub building at 100 E. Wisconsin Ave. It’s called Tua Pasta and offers design-your-own pasta options using fresh homemade pasta. Customization is king in this modern space, which features seating for more than 100 guests. And speaking of pasta: Egg & Flour is doing a takeover at San Giorgio on Thursday, Jan. 30.

Hear us talk about all that and more (including a big paczki party at the Polish Center on Feb. 9) on this week’s episode.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Broken Bat Brewery will host a pierogi pop-up

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Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

On this week’s episode of Milwaukee’s longest running food podcast, we’re talking about a really interesting Mexican dinner happening later this month, as well as a pierogi pop-up happening at Broken Bat Brewery. We also talk about a Chinese New Year dinner and a bourbon bash and more. Hear us get into it all below.

Pierogi Jo’s | facebook.com/BrokenBatBrewingCompany

Jan. 28 at Good City Brewing, a new group called  Chef Latinos Wisconsin will kick off a dinner series. It’ll feature five courses, with highlights including pork belly tacos with poblano tortilla, tamarind glaze and ancho-guajillo chile sauce by chef Luis Corona, and a braised-goat empanada. Each course will be paired with a beer or wine. For desert there’s a dulce de leche panna cotta. Tickets are still available.

There’s also a really interesting event happening at Broken Bat Brewery. Pierogi Jo’s will host a popup on Jan. 25th serving up a variety of fluffy, delicious pierogis, some classic, others a little more adventurous. We describe them in mouth-watering detail.

We also tease DanDan’s upcoming Chinese New Year menu, discuss ice bars and celebrate a big anniversary for Iron Grate BBQ. Stream this week’s episode below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You’ve had pizza, but have you had Roman-style pizza?

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Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

On this week’s edition of This Bites, we’re discussing the new restaurant in the Iron Horse Hotel called Ash, an upcoming hot chocolate festival in Burlington, the story behind Meat on the Street and some big pizza news.

Harry’s Prohibition Bistro | http://harrysprohibitionbistro.com/

If you keep up with restaurants and like the idea of hearth-based cooking (like Birch + Butcher), you’ll be interested in Iron Horse Hotel’s new restaurant Ash. Who doesn’t like the idea of cooking around a fire?

Ann explains how this restaurant differs from Birch + Butcher. The dining room has changed from when it was Smyth. It’s warmer and brighter now, and it has less of a masculine feel to it. Ann gives the restaurant a thumbs up and shares some dish recommendations, including an interesting grilled spin on avocado toast.

Next, Ann gives us the backstory about the Filipino restaurant Meat on the Street — you can find her story on that in the print issue of Milwaukee Magazine — and then we discuss Hot Chocolate Fest, a weekend of activities in Downtown Burlington. Burlington hosts an event called Chocolate Fest in the summer, and this is the winter offshoot of it. There will be bon fires, ice skating, s’mores and hot chocolate tastings.

And then we talk about two new pizza places. The Sheboygan spot Harry’s Prohibition Bistro is now offering something called Roman Taglio pizza, which promises a distinctive airy yet crunchy crust. “The special dough rests and ferments for up to 96 hours prior to baking, is cooked three times and is served as rectangular slices cut by a specific style of kitchen scissors,” according to a press release.

And we now know which restaurant will be occupying the old Irie Zulu location at 7237 W. North Ave. It’s called BB’s On North, and will offer pizza, pasta and wine. It plans to open this month.

Finally, we share some sad news about Divino Wine + Dine. It’s been sold. A new restaurant will take its place. It’s called Tavolino, which translates to “small table” in Italian, so neighbors will still have an Italian spot nearby.

Get the scoop on all that in this week’s episode.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s most satisfying winter comfort foods

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Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

We’re kicking off 2020 by discussing comfort foods to warm you up this winter. We’re also discussing all things arepas and sharing the scoop on a Milwaukee food tech incubator. Stream this week’s episode below.

Pancakes at Cafe at the Plaza | Photo courtesy Cafe at the Plaza

Ann highlighted five Milwaukee comfort foods as part of a cover story for Milwaukee Magazine about how to not only survive a Milwaukee winter but enjoy it — something that isn’t always easy. Her picks are a mix of savory and sweet and high end and low end. And of course she included pancakes: the lemon poppyseed pancakes at Cafe at the Plaza. They sound amazing.

She also endorses the cassoulet at Pastiche in Brown Deer, an off-menu favorite that is incredibly rich and delicious. Hotel Madrid’s beef wellington and Char’d Korean Sunday Special also get a nod, as do the s’mores at Hangout MKE. Who doesn’t want the memory of a campfire s’more during the dead of winter?

Arepa’s Place | facebook.com/1sapsapkitchen/

Did you know you can find great arepas at Brookfield Square? There’s a counter in the foodcourt at the mall called Arepa’s Place that features amazing Venezuelan arepas. What’s an arepa, you ask? It’s a griddled corn cake filled with meat and cheese and sauces. They’re like a sandwich, and they’re incredibly satisfying — especially the ones they serve with a garlic cilantro sauce.

Then we highlight a very special meal for people who love spicy foods from Sap Sap Kitchen. Get all the details on that and more in this week’s episode. Stream it below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s most decadent New Year’s Eve dining options

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Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

In just a few more days we’ll begin a new decade. So on this week’s edition of Milwaukee’s longest-running food podcast, we highlight some ways to celebrate the new year with some New Year’s Eve dinners.

New Year’s Eve dinner at Third Coast provisions | facebook.com/thirdcoastprovisions

We kick things off by discussing a a three- or four-course meal at Braise in Walker’s Point with some very wintery options. Then we move on to Movida, which is going to have a sangria-themed event featuring a variety of recipes with flights of sangria. There will also be tapas, of course.

Third Coast Provisions also has a nourishing menu that Ann highlights. How does this sound?:

∙1st
Honeycrisp Apple Focaccia, Thyme, Triple Cream Burrata, Olive Oil
(Henriot, Brut Souverain, Reims, Champagne FR, NV)
∙2nd
Red Romaine, Candied Marcona Almond, Fennel, Red Onion, Pear Vinaigrette
∙3rd
Spot Prawn Bouillabaisse, Stuffed Clam, Whitefish, Rouille, Sourdough
(Sauvignon Blanc, Dom. Hippolyte Reverdy, Sancerre, Loire FR 2018)
∙4th
Wagyu Beef Shortrib, Pumpkin Gnocchi, Delicata Squash, Bone Marrow, Charred Scallion, Herbed Breadcrumb
(Dolcetto, Poderi Luigi Einaudi, “Vigna Tecc” Dogliani Superiore, Piedmont IT 2016)
or
Ora King Salmon, Honeynut Squash, Geechie Boy Polenta, Calabrian Chili, Eggplant, Mushroom Conserva
(Kabar, Öröm, “Metamorfózis” Tokaj, HU 2015)
∙5th
Chocolate Bombe, Dark Chocolate Mousse, Caramelized White Chocolate Cremeux, Chocolate Cake, Cocoa Nib Crumble, Salted Caramel
(Warres 2002 LBV Port, PT)
or
Key Lime Cheesecake, Macadamia Nut Shortbread, Lime Meringue, Calamansi

Don’s Diner is also doing a festive menu with some tiki-themed options. We also share tons other unique options, including one featuring music from the 5 Card Studs as well as seven-course meal in Delafield. We also discuss some very indulgent drink packages at Glass + Griddle.

Hear us discuss them all on this week’s episode below.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

This Bites’ favorite cookbooks of 2019

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Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

This week on Milwaukee’s longest-running food podcast, we’re talking about some of the best cookbooks of 2019, as well as a really cool new dinner series at Blue’s Egg, a “Gremlins” takeover at Hotel Madrid and an unusual oysters and beer event Mars Cheese Castle. Stream the episode below.

Our favorite cookbooks of 2019

Ann kicks off her cookbook recommendations with “Baking at République: Masterful Techniques and Recipes,” from Los Angeles baker Margarita Manzke, “who teaches the key doughs, batters, recipes, and clever ways for creating wow-factor and bakery-quality results at home.” It’s loaded with photos and also includes some Filipino sweet recipes, such as a sweet coconut soup.

Baking at République” | Lorena Jones Books

I kick off my recommendations with Toni Tipton-Martin’s “Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook,” which looks at 200 years of African American cuisine, including some classics like Sweet Potato Biscuits, Seafood Gumbo, Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pecan Pie with Bourbon as well as Spoon Bread. Other picks include a book that will make you rethink the way you look at vegetables, and a book that puts a fresh spin on southern cuisine.

Blue’s Egg is of course known for breakfast and brunch, but it has announced a new Friday dinner series, exclusively at its Shorewood location on Oakland Avenue. It feature heritage ingredients. The first one is on Jan. 10. Ann shares the tantalizing menu.

Hotel Madrid is honoring the holiday classic “Gremlins” with a pop-up. They’ve come up with an elaborate Gizmo-inspired cocktail. The whole event makes us wonder whether Gizmo was the inspiration for Baby Yoda. The pop-up will run through Christmas Eve.

Hear us discuss all that and more — including the Mars Cheese Castle’s 7th Annual Bourbon Barrel & Oyster Brunch — on this week’s episode.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Celebrate the season with Lazy Susan’s French-Canadian holiday meat pies

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Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

On this week’s edition, we’re talking about a lot of great culinary events around the holidays, including a New Year’s Eve event celebrating Filipino food, and where to get some French-Canadian Christmas meat pies, and also some really cool events happening at Tre Rivali and the annual Dickens dinner at the Grain Exchange. Stream the episode below.

During this weekend’s big Packers/Bears game, Boone and Crockett will host an event called Spoon and Crockpot, an annual slow food social that takes place this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s an all-you-can-eat event, and it features food from restaurants including Amilinda, Bad English, Don’s Dinner, Goodkind, Pete’s Pops, Snack Boys, Vanguard, Saucy Swine and more. 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Milwaukee Riverkeeper.

Next we talk about another cool benefit. About 15 or so women bakers, chefs and makers will come together for the Holy Serpent Bake Sale tonight, Dec. 13, at the Muza Church art studio, 2114 9th Ave. Proceeds will support the Milwaukee Women’s Center. Participants include bakers from Goodkind, Milk Bottle Bakery, Odd Duck and Black Shoe Hospitality.

Tre Rivali is hosting a feast of the seven fishes between Dec. 17 and Dec. 23. Every night a different fish will be featured. Ann runs down some of the menu highlights, which include jumbo shrimp and slow-roasted salmon.

We also look a three-course Dickens Dinner at the Grain Exchange. Warm bread pudding for desert? It sounds like a perfect holiday dinner. There will be readings from “A Christmas Carol” as well as professional Christmas carolers dressed in period costumes.

Lazy Susan’s tourtiere | facebook.com/lazysusanmke

After a debate about “Deadpool,” we discuss Lazy Susan’s French-Canadian meat pie sale. Now through Dec. 18, you can order one of these pies, called tourtiere, to take home for the holiday. Lazy Susan describes them as “an all butter crust with pork, potatoes and onions spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice inside.”

And also the founders of Meat on the Street are launching a new dining experience called Kamayan + Kin, a Filipino feast you eat with your hands. You may want to reserve your seating for this New Year’s Eve dining experience, because it seems quite likely to sell out.

Hear us discuss all that and more (including Purple Door’s Malort ice cream) on this week’s episode below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee