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

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

An Ocean of Deliciousness at Molly Cool’s Seafood Tavern

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I stopped down at Old World Third Street fish-slingin’ Molly Cool’s Seafood Tavern and tried the tastiness they’ll be showcasing at the Slam on October 7. First up is their signature hot crab and spinach dip, which is creamy, delicious, packed with Parmesan, and served with buttery, garlicky toast points for dippin’. Next up is their tuna tartare–diced raw tuna stacked up all tasty and fresh on homemade wonton chips with wasabi, soy sauce, and sesame oil. When the rich, deep, and salty flavor of soy sauce melds with the peppy kick of wasabi and saturates your tongue as the wasabi clears your sinuses and seems to go so far as to even clean your brain, it combines with the silky texture of tuna like nobody’s business. These tartare wontons got it goin’ on up in here, so I’m probably gonna eat about fifty of ‘em on the night we all come together to eat to the beat of WMSE.

Food Slam tickets are just about 50% sold out, so if you plan to be one of 500 lucky attendees eatin’ and drinkin’ and havin’ a real good time on October 7, you gotta get your tickets before someone beats ya to the punch. So the gloves are off, Milwaukee–gird your loins, swing over here, and give ‘em the old one-two.

–Erin Harris

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