Monday, June 06, 2016

Brew City Getaway

We actually live near enough to Milwaukee that we didn't really need to stay in a hotel for two nights because we were going to a concert, but we took the opportunity to do as a celebration of our anniversary.

We splurged and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn on Broadway in the historic third ward.  The hotel was AMAZING. It's in the renovated Loyalty Building and I loved all the historic details from the tiles in the main lobby to the giant safes left over from when hotels had their own currency.  The room was sort of a normal hotel room size, but the ceilings were super high, so it felt like a ton more room. The rooms were quiet and we couldn't hear the televisions in neighboring rooms. I don't usually care about hotels one way or another, but this was a magical hotel.
The third ward of Milwaukee is gentrification at its finest. There's a public market that's sort of like a farmers' market that is open year round. There are adorable boutiques, many restaurants and bars, countless coffee shops, and so many hipsters that you can almost forget that that is one of the most segregated cities in America.

We loved it, of course. We strolled through bookstores, examined jewelry shops where funky copper settings abounded, leafed through the fabric book at a made to measure suit store, and I nearly bought a pair of black boots until it was apparent that they just didn't come in my size.  

We also went on a tour of the Pabst Mansion. While we tend to think of Pabst today as a cheap beer, Captain Frederick Pabst was a German immigrant beer baron in the late 1800s and that cheap beer was the foundation of the German community in this city. He and his wife retired to Milwaukee, built this home, and now it's a place for looky-loos like me to go and gawk at the strange decorating decisions made by the wealthy of the Gilded Age. Rooms went from French Rococo to dark Black Forest German styles with nary a thought of how exactly these styles went together.

Anyway. If you like to pretend you'd be a servant in one of these houses (as surely I would have been), this is worth it if you're in Milwaukee.
Photo from Portal Wisconsin
We also went to a regrettable concert on Saturday night. Sturgill Simpson was playing at the Riverside Theater on Saturday night for his "Sailor's Guide to Earth" tour.  I'm not going to sugarcoat this, but the sound mix was badly off. The horns (a trumpet, saxophone, and trombone) were MIKED and there was no need for it in a venue that size. Simpson, marble-mouthed at this best, was incomprehensible.  It was so loud that by the end of the second song, I had put in my earplugs. Now, I have sensory issues (what other kind of grown woman carries earplugs wherever she goes?), but after only a few more songs, Dr. BB suggested we leave.  So we did. It was unpleasant.

We had two good restaurant experiences. The reason we don't actually do much traveling together is because of Dr. BB's ever changing food intolerances and allergies. Feeding him "on the road" is just too much. He doesn't really trust most kitchens and he's nervous every time he eats somewhere new, and, frankly, it ruins a lot of fun if we're spending half our time reading reviews from apps on our phones to see if a restaurant is safe.

But I'm going to put in a plug for Cafe Benelux and Stack'd Burger Bar. In both cases, as soon as Dr. BB mentioned gluten free, the waitstaff asked questions. At Cafe Benelux, some substitutions were made with the sides and at Stack'd, the waitress was very clear that the bread was toasted in a separate toaster and the fries were all made gluten free. The food at Cafe Benelux was only so-so, if you ask me (although the blueberry muffin tops were DELICIOUS and made the rest of my okay meal great - they were decidedly not gluten free), but the food at Stack'd was so good that Dr. BB took the rest of it home in a box where he ate it for lunch the next day.  But, overall, it was so great that the servers knew what to ask and how to deal with it that it's possible we'll go to those two places over and over again in the future.

And, of course, then we came home to this cuteness, so I will try to forget about that adorable kitten playing with her tail that we saw in the window of a vet's office (Chicky needs adoption, I guess).

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