Chapter Sixteen- Epic Date: MAM, Braise Restaurant, Honeypie Cafe and South Shore Park/Oak Leaf Trail

On Saturday, Theo and I celebrated 6 years ago when we chose to travel life together.  We ditched the kids (ok, our amazing babysitter came over to give our kids a super fun Saturday afternoon/night) and went to the Milwaukee Art Museum.

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We couldn’t figure out why it was so crowded for a late afternoon, but realized when we entered that it was a free day.  Yay!  Free art for anyone!  The exhibit 30 Americans was open, crafts were happening in the lobby, and easels were available in the hall for drop-in art.

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After seeing 30 Americans, we stopped by the Veterans Book Project: Objects for Deployment.  I wasn’t prepared for such a powerful experience, yet could have spent a whole day reading through the books, notes and comments.  While it’s a difficult and politically-charged subject, please stop by and take part in this experience. We’re all affected by the wars our country has fought/is fighting in, and more education and knowledge about first hand experience can only give us a greater understanding.

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We headed upstairs to some standard Storm family photos.

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We had some time to kill before our early bird reservations at Braise Restaurant, so we walked over to The Harbor House for a quick drink.  I can’t comment on much other than the soda, which was as is should be.  The view, however, was great.  It was nice to see the skyline and art museum from an ever so slightly different view.

Now, here is the part where I need to wow you with my descriptive writing.  Braise Restaurant.  I took no photos because I wasn’t planning on it being part of my blog, didn’t ask for a table by the window (so the photos of food would be better, of course), and didn’t want to ruin the mood of our date by documenting every aspect.   I can, however, tell you that by the time I took my second bite of food, I blurted out to Theo “I CAN’T WAIT TO COME BACK ALREADY!”.  Staff was genuine and good at their jobs, the decor was a great mix of industrial, country and modern, all with a warm and natural feel to it.  Price was as I’d expect for amazing local and well-prepared food.

We ordered three small plates and one large, because we splurged.  The crispy scallion cracker, lamb kefka, and soba noodle dish were incredible.  I got the distinct impression that whoever put these plates together knew EXACTLY what they were doing.  Everything was the perfect balance of delicate and rich.  I want each dish in front of me right now, in fact.

We also ordered the crispy pork shoulder as a large plate.  My favorite part of it was the bed of greens it came on.  They were earthy but tender, and drizzled in ramp jam (a strange clear gel/liquid) and stinging nettle sauce.  Both the ramps and nettles were foraged by the Chef/Owner, and made at the restaurant.  YUM.  I wanted to soak up every last bit of those two sauces on the greens.

Chef/Owner Dave Swanson was stationed at the Chef’s Counter where he supervised every plate leaving the kitchen.  He seems very involved in the process and I think he’s doing something right.  You can read more about Braise on their website, but the gist is this: it started out as a link between local farmers and local restaurants.  They have an RSA program (Restaurant Supported Agriculture), culinary school, home delivery program, and restaurant.   Braise seems to breathe community and intention.  The entire experience was amazing and I’m looking for an excuse to go back.

Next we headed to Honeypie Cafe for some pie and coffee, cause you know, we didn’t splurge enough at dinner.  I had (part of) a giant piece of cookies and cream pie, and Theo had apple pie.  Luckily they had to-go containers.

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You can imagine one might need to take a walk after such a dining experience, so we drove to South Shore Park.  We parked the car, and walked along the Oak Leaf Trail both down by the water, and up on the residential streets.  We got an incredible view of the city and daydreamed about living on S. Shore Drive.

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The chance to get out and enjoy our city was so appreciated.  Kids are great, of course.  But it’s also great to be an adult and walk along a beach without chasing after toddlers and wiping sand out of mouths.  There are so many neighborhoods with charm and character in this city.  There is culture and art and diversity and life.  I feel refreshed having been reminded of this.  We made a pact that we should do this every few months.  It’s totally worth getting a sitter and spending the money on food.

Thanks for reading, and I’d love to connect with any of you readers.  If you have suggestions for spots to visit with or without kids, I’m all ears.  In fact, if you submit a comment with a suggestion, you’ll get a postcard!!  Last time I offered this, two lucky women received HAND WRITTEN correspondence!  How rare is that these days?  Make sure to email me your address if we’re not already friends….milwaukeebystorm [at] gmail [dot] com

Also, a special shout out to my mom….Happy Birthday MP!  We love you lots!

A. Storm

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