2021 FAIR REFLECTIONS

Most of you know that this time of year is when I have the most fun. It is our local State Fair and I enjoy every minute of it. The length of the fair is 11 days and I go every day, or at least I have since 1996. I enjoy many different events including trying different foods and reviewing them for the website Chow Down in Milwaukee, which I highly suggest you visit. I also get to enjoy local bands, see some animals I don’t see often, enjoy gardens, works of art, do some shopping for things I never knew I needed as well as spending some quality time with friends.

At the end of these 11 days there is always a bit of sadness. My yearly vacation is over, summer is drawing to a close and of course this wonderful festival I enjoy so much is over for another year. Margie does her best to remind me things such as, “It is less than a year now until the next state fair” and “Think about all the fun memories we made this year!” It is the latter of those two statements that I would like to write about today. With the State Fair being canceled in 2020, I was interested to see how things would rebound in 2021. Would people return to the fair or would they still be a bit too cautious? I guess the answer turned out to be a little bit of both. There were several things I noticed that were different this year than the last few. I am going to note a few of the more optimistic changes here and hope they continue for years to come!

The food. Let us take a second to talk about the changes in food over the last two years. There were our regular favorites such as large pickles and choices from Krautland. There were some new options that dazzled our taste buds. There was several new quesadillas that we enjoyed. Specialty tater tots and, of course, all of the ‘Sporkie’ or award winning foods. These included a pork sandwich that was sandwiched between two glazed doughnuts, a deep-fried pineapple that was crusted with coconut and even bacon and cinnamon cheese curds. I felt stands really got creative, but their efforts were a little hampered by available staff. This caused wait times to be a little longer and food to not always be served at the proper temperature. Still, they did their best and I look forward to trying several of these dishes next year when we hope staffing will be less of an issue. Speaking of things to look forward to, there was one food that we got to sample that will be premiering next year and I can’t wait. Firehouse Chicken has created a dish that combines sweet potato fries with a sauce that will have you thinking you are enjoying an entire sweet potato casserole! The best thing is that you can do this as you walk along taking in many of the fun activities the fair has to offer.

All fun at the fair

Let us take a look at some of those fun activities you were able to do at the fair for the first time in two years. Although shortened hours and staff along with extreme weather tended to shorten or even cancel many events, there were still a great many things to enjoy if you knew where to look. Margie and I missed seeing one of our favorite bands, Here Come the Mummies, due to a weather event. However, my mom was able to take in a concert of the band Firehouse with me. They performed quite well. There was also the return of the always amazing bird show from the Schlitz Audubon Nature center. Great information, new birds and staff were also brought in the mix. The animal shows and judging gave the opportunity for children from the rural communities show and teach the city kids a few things. It was good to see their hard work rewarded. In the ‘Exploratory Park’ portion of the fair, there were new tranquil areas that provided an escape from the crowds and bustle of the main portion of the fair. There was also a complete transformation of the central area of the grounds that included additional seating and greenery. Also a few comfortable swings.

Some of the things I noticed that I thought were really positive at the state fair this year were a spirit of kindness and connectedness. Part of that was the relief at being able to gather and the precious ability to do so. I personally witnessed a young lady standing in line for the restroom with a toddler that obviously could not wait much longer. Even though every lady in line had the same pressing need, three women let this lady go ahead of them. There were more people holding doors and exchanging pleasantries. Considering all of the division we have been hearing about and even witnessing to some degree, it was great to see people happy just to be able to gather together again. There was almost a whisper of “We haven’t been able to do this in a while, and we don’t know how long we will be able to continue to do it so we better not screw it up.” Another awesome thing to see was people of all races coming together and having fun. Whether that was a couple, or just a group of friends, it seemed a more diverse community than ever before. Sometimes I feel it is good to block out the deluge of news and media reports on a subject and get out in the world and experience it for yourself. In this case it was people not caring where their ancestors came from or what their politics were and more about getting a cream puff, how to get the best seats at the pig races and what band they were there to see.

All that being said, my favorite memory of the 2021 Wisconsin State Fair was the memories I created. I was able to see friends I have not seen in a very long time and spend some quality time with them. There were people I see when Margie and I are working as DJs, that we often don’t get to see more than a minute at a time. Being able to sit down with them and watch a band, eat some food or just have a conversation was fun. For the second fair in a row, I was able to join up with Amanda, Margie and my mom to review some of the award-winning and new foods for the afore mentioned Chow Down in Milwaukee. My mother and I did both the ‘Garden Walk’ and ‘Art Walk’ which explore both the gardens and art in the park. These are fun because they take you to areas you do not normally see. Most of all, I loved the memories created with the love of my life. I know Margie does not have to be there and on many occasions I am not sure she wants to be there, but I love that we get to share memories at my favorite place. We got together later in life and this is one of the areas I feel myself trying to ‘make up for lost time’ as they say. I want to experience and create as many memories with her as I can. Even just the thought that she puts up with the hours of walking, the heat and the excitement of her crazy man is something that makes me love her more.

As you can see from the pictures and what I have written, it was another successful run for my favorite time of the year. Sure, there are things I would like to do that I missed. That happens every year. As a whole, it was great to have the State Fair back again. I look forward to reviewing pictures and memories in the months to come. I would love to hear some of your favorite summer memories.

THE PARTY BEGINS!!

You may have noticed that last Friday’s blog post seemed to lack a little something…like being there. I apologize for that, but Thursday started our state fair here in Wisconsin. I have been attending this festival ever since I was born in 1975. Around 1996, I made a decision that was rather unique to me back then. If I really enjoyed every time I went to the State Fair, why not go as often as I could. In this case, that would be 11 days as that is how long our state fair lasts. Beginning that year I have done just that very thing. The Wisconsin State Fair became my annual vacation. I take those days off from my day job and make every effort to have other obligations either rescheduled or taken care of.

I have received my fair share of flack for this decision over the years. People ask me such questions as how do I not get bored going every day, how do I manage to afford it and certainly questions about the health aspects of such an adventure. These are all valid concerns and here are some quick answers. Doing something you love rarely tends to become boring. Doing it 11 days straight, for almost 20 years can bring that into possibility. For me, this has never been a problem. As a personal characteristic, I cannot remember the last time I was bored. It is a fact that if I had 3 lifetimes I could not do all that I wanted to do. Involving different people in my life makes each experience new and different. Margie likes to see bands and shop. My mother, she likes the baby animals and doing the garden and art walks. Everyone loves to explore new and exciting foods. Trying them makes each yea, and sometimes day, different and exciting. I learned I can apply this to anything I enjoy in my life. Going for coffee with my mom is one experience. Doing the very same thing with my friend Nick is something different entirely.

My love and I at the fair

Another question was how do I afford going to the fair every year? Several ways. They all involve planning ahead of time. In about April, they begin to sell tickets at a discounted price. This saves me $5 a day. They also have coupon books available. I purchased one for $4 and if I use the ones I plan to, that will save me a total of $70 on food, drink and items throughout the 11 days. It is also using my time there to discover where and what presents the best deals. Nachos may be a dollar cheaper at one stand, but you may get twice as much at another. I turn it into a fun game. Thinking of the different foods and drink and where is the best place to go.

Speaking of food, another concern, often voiced by my doctor, is the health aspects of spending 11 days eating fair food. I’ll be the first to agree this is not the healthiest 11 days I spend in a year, but there are several factors to consider here as well. The first being that this is an exception and not the rule. As Margie, Amanda, my mother and myself were sampling several of the new foods for a review on Chow Down in Milwaukee (which I will link at the end of this post) We all discussed how we do not normally consume fried food (Like the fried fish fry above, which was rather delicious) Another tip is while finding the best value at the state fair, I also look for several healthier options. There is a gluten-free stand for those that need those foods. There is a stand that serves grilled chicken over a bed of rice. Snacks such as dried tart cherries and cranberries can be found among all of the chocolate and fudge. Same holds true with beverages. You can always find soda, beer and cocktails. You can however find water, juice and even a stand for a business named Urbal Tea that serves…you guessed it, herbal tea. Not only healthier option, but refreshing one as well. Couple these tricks with the incredible amount of walking I do and a trip to the Wisconsin State Fair is not as unhealthy as it could be.

When you find something that does not harm you or others that you enjoy in life, I recommend incorporating it as much as you can. There are ways to make it exciting, economical and healthy. Try doing it with different people and notice how that can expand your enjoyment. You may notice things that escaped your attention. Find ways in which it can be planned and maybe done more economically. This could involve purchasing tickets ahead of time like I do, or joining and organization, going in with others or a host of other ideas. Find ways to make it healthier too. Is there a particular run/walk you do every year? Maybe get a group of friends to start training with you. Whatever it is you enjoy in life, think of ways in which you cannot only do it more, but do it better. I would love to hear what activities you enjoy doing every year.

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR REVIEW OF THIS YEAR’S FAIR FOOD ON CHOW DOWN IN MILWAUKEE

CAMINO OPENS NEW WEST ALLIS LOCATION!

Always on the lookout for new and fun places to try close to home, I was quite excited to hear that Camino had opened a new location just blocks away from my house. Their first location on south 2nd street has always received rave reviews and I was about to discover why.

What Margie and I discovered was a menu full of unique items, an interior that was airy and clean, food that was hot and delicious and service that was friendly and prompt. You can read my full review to hear about some of the exotic options available at this location as well as our dining experience. This was one of the most enjoyable reviews I have written for Chow Down in Milwaukee. I encourage you to click the link below and see what is in store for you in you treat yourself to a visit to Camino in down town West Allis.

CLICK HERE TO BE TRANSPORTED TO CAMINO WEST ALLIS

WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR

In this crazy pandemic world, going out to eat can be a challenge at best and an awkward nightmare at worst. Trying to find a place that both practices the proper safety precautions and still feels comfortable is a great challenge. Margie and I found such a place. The pleasant atmosphere was just the beginning. It was accompanied by amazing customer service and a meal that had your mouth watering from the first bite until the last!

In addition to all of this, the restaurant gave you several other compelling reasons to visit. Click on the link below to read my food review on the great site Chow Down in Milwaukee to learn all of the details. After your finished reading the review, your taste buds will have you running to Mimosa in Franklin!

CLICK HERE TO READ MY EXPERIENCE AT MIMOSA

A TASTE OF THE EAST IN THE WEST… WEST ALLIS THAT IS

An exotic culinary adventure located in the heart of the city. Explore the orient without leaving the state. Click the link below to read the wonderful food and drink available to you. Hidden away in a strip mall you would never guess what is behind the doors. Click the link below and let me take you inside

CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN INSIDE THIS HIDDEN CULINARY GEM

YOUR KEY TO BREAKFAST BLISS


There are few places that I would drive across town to visit. This is one of them. Our experience here included mouth-watering food, heart-warming coffee and sunshine filled service. This description may sound a little over the top, but it is 100% true! You could visit this place many times and still not be able to sample all of the delicious, and in many cases healthy, options on the menu.
The wonderful news is that with many locations across the country, there may just be one located near you. If you would like to hear about this amazing establishment and our experience there just click the link below to read my review on Chow Down in Milwaukee.

CLICK HERE TO DISCOVER YOUR BREAKFAST BLISS

Middle east in the west?


My latest restaurant review explores a location with exotic cuisine that really satisfies! Click the link below to read my latest post to the fabulous website Chow Down in Milwaukee. In this post you will not only learn about a great restaurant I recently dined at, but learn a little about Middle Eastern culture and even more about Middle Eastern cuisine!
Are you ready to discover a clean, modern and inspiring location that can leave your taste buds reeling and your mind and stomach hungry for more? Than click the link below to read where you can enjoy all of this!

CLICK HERE TO TRAVEL TO THE MIDDLE EAST!

SOMETHING WILD IN WEST ALLIS!

Below you will find a link to my latest restaurant review. Wild Roots is located in the eastern corridor of West Allis and is unlike any other place the city has to offer!

Find out what makes this place so unique and what rare dishes you can find. You will also discover the one quality ingredient found at Wild Roots that is not listed on the menu. I can’t wait for you to read my adventure at one of the newest dinning options in West Allis!

CLICK HERE TO READ MY REVIEW OF WILD ROOTS

OUR TRIP TO A SOUTHSIDE COCKTAIL GEM


A few months ago, my Lovely Margie, my mother and I all visited a unique south-side establishment for dinner and a cocktail. We visited McKiernon’s Irish pub, located at 2066 s 37th St. Click the link below to read all about our experience as well as the history of a place like no other.

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THIS UNIQUE RESTAURANT