Good Times and Danke! Gracias! Cheers! Thanks! Ta! You Rock!

Good times were had by all at the 10th annual Food Slam this past Friday night. Thanks to all you spectacular Slammers for coming to eat, drink, bid, and support WMSE, making Friday’s fiesta the biggest, funnest, and successfullest Slam to date!

And hey, check out that sweet video up there expertly shot in a gritty, dizzying, hand-held style by yours truly, Food Slam blogger Erin Harris. I think I missed my calling, Milwaukee. Writing, schmiting. I was meant to be a cinematographer on classic films such as Saving Private Ryan, etc. JK. But do dig the tune by magnificent Milwaukee musician and musical mastermind Rick.

Oh and big, big thanks to the fine local establishments that provided the awesome auction items, and a special shout-out to the following delicious vendors for supplying the tasty vittles:

Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co., Atomic Chocolate Co., Ball ‘N Biscuit Catering, Beans & Barley, Blue’s Egg, Bolzano Artisan Meats, Centro Cafe, Chubby Cheese Truck, Eat Cake!, Hector’s On Delaware, Indulgence Chocolatiers, Jake’s Deli, Jow Nai Fouquet Thai, Kasana Concierge Gourmet, Martita’s Mixers, Maxie’s Southern Comfort, McBob’s Pub & Grill, Milwaukee Ale House, Molly Cool’s Seafood Tavern, The Noble, Outpost Natural Foods, Paciugo Gelato, Purple Door Ice Cream, Red Rock Saloon, Revolucion Mexican Restaurant, The Rumpus Room, Sala da Pranzo, SPiN Milwaukee, Times Square Bistro & Pizzeria, and The Wicked Hop

Nectarous! Cheers! See you next year!

–Erin Harris

Food Slam! Tomorrow Night! Rock!

Hungry Slammers unite! A few things to keep in mind about the Food Slam that’s goin’ on tomorrow night from 6 till 10 p.m. at the Grohmann Museum on the campus of MSOE:

  1. There might be one or two tickets left. Sales stop tonight at six, so get down to the station before then if you want to get your taste buds rocked tomorrow night.
  2. Don’t forget that when you bring two or more nonperishable items to donate to the Hunger Task Force, you get a ticket for the free beverage of your choice.
  3. The Food Slam ain’t just about tasty vittles—it’s also a bidding slam for getting awesome deals on sweet stuff like such as the following for instance:
  • Starting at just fifty smackers is a makeup party for four, a unique experience that includes a one-on-one makeup application and lesson with Blush’s premier artists! Bring out the feather pillows, the Cyndi Lauper records, and the margarita mix, ladies, cuz the girls are gonna have some fun!
  • Two pairs of tickets to any of the Brew City Bruisers’ exciting home-season bouts! Get out the Band-Aids, the crutches, and the steaks for them black eyes! Wait . . . you’re just a spectator—no first aid kit necessary. Just bring the good times! OK—the Bruisers supply those too . . . and lots of ‘em. How ‘bout just bring your splendid self and your vigorous vocal chords for cheerin’?!!
  • You must be a luckystar cuz you shine on the opportunity to bid on this fabulous special-edition three-piece from Luckystar Studio’s Chimp Series. There’s a dude with a yellow background who’s gettin’ pretty chesty with the Superman thing, and then he’s over there regarding that banana peel, and I don’t know what he’s doing in that suit, but it’s definitely cool. Yeah, that chimp stuff’s definitely gots it goin’ on!
  • Holy supercool handcrafted handiwork, Batman—get down to the Slam and check out the wrought-iron “Squiggle” candle holder hand-forged by Bay View’s own Milwaukee Blacksmith. Ain’t nothin’ as cool as something that took fire and muscle and iron to make—this thing’s gonna floor ya.
  • Whoa, daddy, a two-hour experience aboard the Milwaukee Pedal Tavern! A 16-person bicycle-powered party on wheels! Whether you’ve got a pub crawl, a bachelor party, or a company event coming up, this is the travelling apparatus and terrific adventure for you. Bid starts at sixty bucks. SIXTY BUCKS? Pretty sweet for a super-fun segue to good times. Forget rotting away in dark bars—get some air with your booze, Milwaukee!
  • Itchin’ for some ink? Put the pedal to the metal and the needle to the skin and bid on a $250 gift certificate for a custom tattoo from Spencer at Zoe’s Vicious Circle in Bay View! When the bidding starts at $55 for Spencer’s spectacular work, we’re talkin’ pirate’s booty here, ladies and gents. You’re liftin’ the loot, pilferin’ the plenty, and you ain’t even gonna walk the plank for it.

And that ain’t even the half of it. There’s that, and more, and a ton of stuff galore. So sweet! Get stoked! And we’ll see ya at the Slam!

–Erin Harris

Centro Cafe’s Luscious Lasagna

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Riverwest’s smackdown, dynamite Centro Cafe is bringing its A game to the WMSE Food Slam this Friday at the Grohmann Museum on the campus of MSOE. For all you vegetarians who’ve had enough talk about salami and reubens and tuna and reubens and meat and meat and meat, chow down on Centro’s luscious lasagna layered with leeks, roasted butternut squash, garlic, and rosemary. It’s got this cream sauce, see, that makes you swoon, and the leeks are heaven, and the squash melts in your mouth, and it all comes together like the way a good band comes together, when everyone’s firing on all cylinders and you can believe in harmony and unity and perfection. And then there’s Centro’s vegan Caesar salad, which is cunningly creamy (how do they do it? Tahini and silken tofu, I think), fantastically fresh, and succulently snappy. These dishes are gonna shine as stars of the show come Friday night. You won’t be able to get enough.

And, while I was at Centro, I also tried their gluten-free pasta with marinara sauce, since I usually (except in anticipation of the Slam, when I get to write this blog) roll gluten free, and had shamefully not previously made it to Centro, though I had heard great things about their GF options. The pasta is good, you know, as good as gluten-free pasta can be, but what makes that dish is the well-balanced marinara sauce–bright, fresh, garlicky, rich, and neither too sweet nor too astringent. It hit the spot, I’m tellin’ ya–it was on the mark. I felt like Goldilocks, Slammers–the porridge was just right. Fo shizzle.

And regarding tickets, I really don’t know what to tell you. No, I’m kidding . . . I think there are a few left–maybe two–so if you ain’t got yours, hit up the station down at 820 N. Milwaukee Street during business hours (9 a.m. till 6 p.m.) through Thursday for a fix.

–Erin Harris

Anodyne’s Cuppa Mo-Joe

SCIENCE! And necromancy. I stepped down to Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. with the charismatic and magnificent Buzz, illustrious host of the great WMSE show Buzz’s Garage, and got a brewing demo and coffee tasting divined by coffee conjurer Steve Kessler. As you can see in that video up there, the siphon-pot demo was like some kinda mad, cool science experiment conducted by Bill Nye or Mr. Wizard. The brewing apparatus looks like something in a lab, what with the little Bunsen-burner-like flame under the glass vessel. The vacuum action of the siphon pot swirls and whirls and spins like a cyclonic particle accelerator and forces the water up to saturate the savory grounds and produce an exquisite extraction. It’s almost like you’re watching an illicit substance being cooked up, and, I’m telling you, what comes out of that carafe is so good it might as well be against the law. We tried the Ethiopian Limu Natural brewed with this device, and the coffee’s berry notes and light, clean, creamy body knocked us over with deliciousness. Buzz weren’t jestin’, ladies and gents, when he said “Hey, that’s good coffee!” Well, OK, he kinda was, but just to make you laugh–he was serious too. When the alchemical magic gets coaxed out of a naturally processed Ethiopian heirloom bean with some kinda necromancer’s mojo, that stuff truly blows your mind.

And it’s gonna taste like a million bucks with Kasana Concierge Gourmet’s panna cotta infused with Madagascar vanilla and topped with homemade caramel with rum. This classic Italian dessert is creamy, aromatic, and knockout delicious with its sensuous, exotic, islandy twist, and knocked-off socks will be flying around the Grohmann when Slammers savor the panna cotta with my favorite Anodyne offering–Guatemalan Huehuetenango, which wins first prize for fullest body, richest flavor, and funnest name to say. Way-way-ten-ango. Way-way-ten-ango. Way-way-ten-ango.

So you’ve really got to step on it if you haven’t gotten your Food Slam tickets yet. They’re almost 90% sold out, and we know you wanna revel in the food event that’s gonna rock Milwaukee’s taste buds on October 7, so you best click here, if ya know what’s good for ya.

–Erin Harris

PS. Thanks to Milwaukee outfit Sons of Saboteurs for the use of their spectacular tune (in the video) called “It’s Just a Slide.”

Outpost’s Deliciously Diverse Dessert Bars

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Hey, check it out! Outpost Natural Foods is rollin’ out the barrel of tasty variety with a pleasing potpourri of delectable dessert bars to suit any taste and any diet. If you go-go vegan, they’ve got Chewy Granola Bars, packed with oats, raisins, peanut butter, walnuts, wheat germ, and sesame seeds. They’re crispy, nutty, sweet, ‘n good. If you roll gluten free, hit ‘em up for one of their Gluten-Free Marble Cheesecake Bars, whose chocolaty goodness and creamy divinity convey the sumptuousness of edible velvet. If you don’t do wheat or dairy but you do munch oats, dig Outpost’s Sheba Bars, which are kinda like sorta healthy Rice Krispie treats cuz they’ve got that fun, sweet, I’m-a-kid-again chew to ‘em from brown rice crisps. And if you eat what you want when you want cuz you’re your own man or lady or cuz you’re not limited by dietary restrictions, the good folks at Outpost’ll set you up with one of their Chocolate Indulgence Brownies. Just before my tasting at Outpost, I went to a brewing demo at Anodyne and sampled some fine coffees, and I wished that I had a cup of that luscious liquid heaven in my hand while I savored the succulence of that spectacular brownie, which, I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t do justice to with that blurry photo up there. But I made up for it with that tantalizing pic of the savory Sheba Bar, right? Right. And regarding perfect pairings, have no fear, Slammers, cuz the Food Slam’s gotcha covered on October 7, when you’ll be throwin’ back brownies, dippin’ ‘em into Purple Door’s magnificently melty espresso ice cream, and washing it all down with a steamy cuppa Anodyne coffee–all at once, simultaneously, at the same time, concurrently, the way Nature intended.
And hey, my crystal ball’s showing me that Food Slam tickets will be sold out within a week. Seriously, Slammers, tickets are currently well over 70% gone, daddy, gone, and there are still almost two weeks till the event, so you best scoop up some tix before they vanish like my fleeting–but accurate–powers of intuition.

–Erin Harris

The Tom Wanderer Dining Experience at McBob’s Pub and Grill

Oh, Sweet Daddy . . . A Luscious McBob's Reuben!

Hey if you’ve got the radio on on Thursdays from 3 till 6 pm, you know and love WMSE DJ Tom Wanderer, host of The Tom Wanderer Radio Experience. You know, that real gone cat who really knows how to lay a patch of sweet sonic delights. I caught up with the good TW at McBob’s Pub and Grill earlier this week, and we talked The Stones and The Stooges and Buzzcocks and The Who and The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine and Mad Men and spaghetti Westerns and Terrence Malick and drank beer and hung out on the patio at McBob’s and chowed down on mouthwatering reubens stacked with luscious, juicy corned beef; tangier-than-elsewhere sauerkraut; snappy horseradish mustard; and buttery, toasted marble rye. Oh, the scrumptious crunch, the tender beef, the savory zip of the fixins . . . I’m salivating as I recall the deliciousness, which was so ambrosial that Tom said that it was the best corned beef he’s ever had. He said that totally off the cuff, with genuine glee, as he whet his whistle on one of them award-winning reubens. I said, “Holy awesome quotes, Batman, can you say that again on film?” So check out the 12-second video down there of Tom’s gracious reenactment of his awe at his knockout sandwich. Sorry about the brevity–I was too busy downing Guinness to have the presence of mind to keep the camera rolling. Thanks to Milwaukee artists Sons of Saboteurs for the use of their song “Eleven 11.”

And Food Slam tickets are, as you can imagine, since the Slam is thee food event that’s gonna rock your taste buds on October 7, flying like hotcakes. They’re more than half sold out, so snap up a pair while you can, cuz you know you wanna feel that wild swing of euphoria that comes with chompin’ down on the best corned beef the great Mr. Tom Wanderer has ever had.

–Erin Harris

Radio Chow Time at SPiN Milwaukee

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Tom squared, Slammers. Tom squared. I hit SPiN Milwaukee with WMSE station manager Tom Crawford one night, and McBob’s with DJ Tom Wanderer the next. TC and I saddled up to the bar at the table-tennis social club and tucked into some good stuff. We started out with the Taste of Wisconsin appetizer, comprised of Wisconsin cheddar-cheese curds, beef sticks, pretzel bites, and stone-ground mustard. You’ll notice in the pic above that one of the beef sticks has a bite taken out of it, and the pretzels look a bit scant, and there might be a pepperoncini missing. That’s cuz this platter’s so tasty that we dug in before I remembered to take pictures. This appetizer embodies traditional Wisconsin standbys in a way that can only be matched by SPiN’s house tap brewed by Sprecher, which goes so well with the pretzels and cheese that I felt like I was home in Bavaria or maybe on a mountaintop in Switzerland.

Next we continued our tradition of divvying up delicious sandwiches, and we each tucked into half a BLT and half a turkey sandwich. Jet over to SPiN with some work chums for a corporate event, or with just some regular friends for a game of ping pong, and chomp down on this BLT. It’ll strike a chord with your taste buds because the bacon ain’t just breakfast-table bacon–it’s deep, rich, crispy pancetta, and the mayo ain’t just bologna-sandwich mayo–it’s pesto aioli, rife with the heaven of garlic and the flavor and fragrance of fresh basil. The arugula gives the BLT bite and snap, and the toasted Tuscan bread . . . my God, why did I forget to ask them where they get that magnificent bread? Oh yeah–it was because I was so overwhelmed with the deliciousness of the turkey sandwich, which they’ll be featuring at the Slam. What could be better for an early-fall event than a sandwich that recalls one of the savoriest spreads of the year. The roasted turkey marries like rock and roll with the cranberry-orange chutney, and the cats in the kitchen at SPiN top it off with fresh baby spinach and creamy, pungent brie.

This is a sandwich you’re gonna wanna chow down on, so if you’re a lucky Food Slam ticket holder, you gots it goin’ on. But I admire anyone who doesn’t have their tickets yet. You’re living on the edge. You’re a thrill seeker. An adrenaline junkie. You’re gonna get your kicks, all right, as you hold back and back and back and feel the anticipation and wait for the rush. Then right at the last second you’ll shoot for the last pair of tickets as your palms sweat and your heart pounds and you can’t find your breath. But don’t drop the ball–you don’t wanna suffer Food Slam withdrawal. Be sure to score your tix and your fix.

And please stay tuned to this here blog for tomorrow’s news of The Tom Wanderer Dining Experience.

–Erin Harris

Spook Them Grits!

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Them good ol’ boys down at Maxie’s Southern Comfort set me up tonight with some of their famous Southern hospitality and a sweet spread of the three delicious dishes they’ll be servin’ up at the WMSE Food Slam next Friday, October 1 at the Grohmann Museum on the campus of MSOE. First up is the shrimp & grits, an outstanding fusion of buttery grits; deep, rich Cajun tasso sauce; and Gulf shrimp. I could say that the grits are what rock this dish–the way their creamy-smooth texture melts in your mouth–or I could say that the perfectly tender shrimp are what make this concoction taste like a million bucks–or I could say that the tasso sauce, that rich reduction of spices and cream and slow-cooked ham, is what makes you wanna yell yee-haw. But it’s the combination of all of the above that compels you to kick your heels. Next up is jambalaya, that classic medley of shrimp, andouille, chicken, and rice. The holy-trinity base of onions, bell peppers, and celery, together with a barrel o’ Creole seasonings such as cayenne and thyme, gives this dish its depth. And last but not least is the vegetarian jambalaya with red beans and tofu, which ain’t no slim pickin’ cuz the smoked tofu is dynamite. Yes, sir, there’s a lot to be said for smokin’. Whoo-wee, smoked food’s got flavor, and Maxie’s brings it way down home. So hey ya’ll, all you Earls ‘n Billy Bobs ‘n Wendy Sues ‘n Emmelines out there, get on down to the Food Slam and fill your plate with Maxie’s bevy of Southern delights!

–Erin Harris

McBob’s Award-Winning Reubens

McBob's Mini Ruebens

I stopped into McBob’s tonight and sampled the mini Reubens they’re throwin’ down at the WMSE Food Slam next Friday, October 1. It’s no surprise that Milwaukee Magazine repeatedly commends McBob’s with its Critics Choice award. The lean, moist, delicious corned beef on buttery toasted marbled rye is slathered to perfection with sauerkraut and horseradish mustard. The rye is crisp and crunchy. The corned beef is juicy and well seasoned. The sauerkraut is bright and pungent. The horseradish mustard kicks like a mule. Together these ingredients tell your taste buds why McBob’s has a national reputation for outstanding grub. Hands down the good folks at McBob’s bring their A game to the creation of this magnificent sandwich. So get your Food Slam tickets here and wash a couple of these bad boys down with some fine Milwaukee Brewing Co. suds!

–Erin Harris

Click here for tickets!

Shuck It All, These Oysters Rock!

Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell

Hey, Casanova, strut into the Food Slam at MSOE’s Grohmann Museum on Friday, October 1 and set your senses ablaze with Molly Cool’s fresh oysters on the half shell. The Old World Third Street tavern’ll be settin’ Slammers up with two varieties of luscious oysters from Maryland and Dabob Bay. Drenched with fresh lemon, the magnificent mollusks ooze a briny sensuality that’ll light your fire as surely as a couple glasses of Trapiche’s wines’ll give you fever all through the night. Not only are the cats at Molly Cool’s gonna shuck oysters on site, they’re also dishin’ out their signature hot crab and spinach dip, which ain’t no slouch itself. Rich, creamy, salty, and succulent, it’s a pretty perfect pairing to the classic aphrodisiac known as the oyster.

Word on the street is that Food Slam tickets are just about half sold out, so if you’re not yet a proud ticket holder, you’re gonna wanna shoot over here and grab a pass to the food event that’s gonna rock your taste buds and maybe your whole night. Yeah, you can indulge in Molly Cool’s delights any night of the week–and hells yeah you should!–but if you bring two nonperishable food items to the Slam to support the Hunger Task Force, you can start the night off right with a free drink!

–Erin Harris

Heavenly Hot Crab and Spinach Dip

Chin Drippin’ Flavor Down at Milwaukee Landmark Jake’s Deli

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All right Milwaukee . . . Slap on the cuffs and throw me in the clink cuz I’d never been to Jake’s Deli till today. The local landmark’s corned beef is so tender, so juicy, and so flavorful that any carnivorous Milwaukeean who hasn’t had the pleasure of making its acquaintance should be tried for crimes against deliciousness. The corned beef melts in your mouth. The seeded rye, locally made at Miller Baking Co., explodes with flavor. The Jake’s-made pickles finish each bite with a zest that sparkles like a lip smackin’ gem. The place itself, with its original fixtures down to built-in bells you used-ta could press to call for service, has gone pretty much unchanged for over sixty years. It’s almost a shame that Jake’s old-school atmosphere can’t be transported to the Grohmann for the food event of the year on October 1, but the Grohmann itself is pretty groovy, and the soul of Jake’s is infused in its hand-cut slices of juicy succulence. So put your fedora on, jet over here to tap the time machine, and shoot back to an era where fast food was good food!

–Erin Harris

Food Slam 2010!!!

Yee haw, Milwaukee! There’s just two weeks till the ninth annual WMSE Food Slam! Yes, sir, in just two weeks, the same folks who air the most di-verse and doggone damn fine tunes in Milwaukee–those very same folks–they’re once again bringin’ together twenty-five of the city’s tastiest restaurants to serve up the best dang grub in town. If you dig WMSE’s smorgasbord of blues, reggae, hip hop, classic rock, classical, free jazz, electro beats, garage rock, and on and on and on–not to mention the deep cuts, the B-sides, and the three-hour programs of, say, obscure German post-punk–if you dig that kind of variety–then your senses are going to explode when you step into the Grohmann Museum on October 1 and you see the spread and you smell the wafts of heavenly goodness. An ocean of food and adult beverages will spread before your eyes, and you will glide from table to table, diving in to Ball’N Biscuit’s empanadas, McBob’s mini reubens, Times Square’s pizza, and Nanakusa’s sushi–all while doin’ good for the community, supportin’ the station with your $30 contribution, and soakin’ up the tunes spun by WMSE favorites Wax Addicts and that beach-baby beat-cat Mr. Tom Wanderer–you know, that far-out daddy-o who really knows how to lay a patch of sweet sonic delights.

In the meantime, fasten your seat belt and hold onto your hat as local writer Erin Harris whisks you off on a lightning-quick, Indy-500-style whirlwind preview of the awesome vittles and delectable libations to be had at this year’s Slam. Keep your eyes peeled to this here blog to check out reviews and photos of all the chocolates, cakes, puerco en adobo, soup, tamales, and brisket that’ve got your name on ‘em.

And until that delicious evening two weeks from now, sate your hunger with the burger that that cat down there under this text is advertising for. If that badass dude sittin’ on top of the pig down there looks to you like his wallet is the one that says bad motherfu**er on it, that’s because it is. Dude is stacked with a ridiculous amount of deliciousness from BBQ pork to beef to bacon to sausage to a fried egg. And if he looks like he’s gonna take a sledgehammer to your heart, don’t worry. He’s a real health nut. He’s got some lettuce there in between those two chunks of tasty meat.

–Erin Harris

Announcing the 2009 WMSE Food Slam!

We here at WMSE are thrilled to announce the 8th annual Food Slam, a mouthwatering food and auction event set to rock your taste buds on Friday, October 2, 2009 at the Eisner American Museum of Advertising and Design! Mark your calendar to come sample succulent delights from twenty-five of Milwaukee’s tastiest restaurants, and to bid on fun and unique auction items generously donated by our friends at fine Milwaukee establishments such as Rishi Tea, Milwaukee Beer Soap, and Mad Planet. WMSE’s own Tom Wanderer and Shopkeeper Ken, DJs extraordinaires of the Thursday Blues Drive and the 5 & Dime Show (respectively), will spin the tunes as we all come together to eat, drink, be merry, and support Milwaukee’s great independent radio station, 91.7 FM.

Stay tuned as local writer Erin Harris whets your appetite for the toothsome treats we’re cooking up. She’ll dish out a daily blog that will make your stomach growl and your taste buds long for Brewed’s flatbread pizzas and Beans and Barley’s fall squash tarts. Mmm mmm good!

–Erin Harris


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