Friday, October 2, 2015

Wings Around Waukesha: Neighbors

While I was coming up with the idea for Wings Around Waukesha and checking out websites of restaurants in the area with wings, I came across The Neighbors Bar & Grille, a place I had driven past a million times but never stopped in.

I read on their menu that their wings are actually grilled and I'm pretty sure my mouth began watering instantly. My guy and I decided to make a venture out there one night for dinner and check out the wings and other menu items.

The bar is a little off the beaten path but on a very busy road, Greenfield Ave., and extremely visible. It's definitely made a name for itself as it's always busy when I drive by. This place is a sports bar  and a great place to watch all the sports action - plenty of TVs that can be seen from just about any seat in the establishment and memorabilia on the walls.Check out their gallery.

We perused the beer menu and selected some micro-brews to enjoy and then it was onto the wings! On Thursdays, wings are half the price they are from the regular menu - a great deal. We ordered 12 and each picked a sauce. Because my buds are little weaker with heat, I went with Sticky which is a BBQ sauce and my guy went with Smokin' A.

We also decided to order entrees as well because we weren't sure if the wings would fill us or not.

The wings didn't take too long to arrive and they were amazing! The grill marks just added that extra level of awesome to wings.

We dug in and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The wings were decent size and the sauces were delicious. A table sat down next to us and asked us about our wings before they made their order "Are the worth it?" With messy fingers and saucy lips I gave them a definitely head nod that it was a must-order! 

I really love the fact that these were grilled. It really adds a whole new level of flavor to the already amazing wings. We finished them off and the sauces were really good. Though mine was a typical BBQ, it had a hint of sweet and honey that I enjoyed. My guys smokin' A were right on cue with flavor and just a bit too much for me with heat. But we loved them - clean plate club members here! 

As for our entrees,  I went for something really crazy--The Dewey Dog, which is a 1/4 lb. hot dog, stuffed with cheddar, wrapped in bacon and deep fried. I ordered sweet potato fries on the side. My guy ordered the Honey Crisp Apple salad -- Could our entrees be any more opposite?
The meals were excellent, though the cheese tended to ooze from my dog the whole time. But it was still really unique and not as greasy as I was expecting.

We will definitely return for more meals, wings and drinks.

The Neighbors Bar & Grille Rating (Max Score of 5): 4.6

Flavors: 4 Drumsticks (A decent variety - could use something really unique)

Size: 4.5 Drumsticks

Taste: 5 Drumsticks - the grilling gave them top honors!

Price: 3 Drumsticks on non-wing night (almost $1.00 each)/4.5 Drumsticks on wing night ($.50 each)

Temp: 5 Drumsticks - nice and hot

Sauces: Options are Ranch & Blue Cheese

Veggies: Celery is offered

Wet Naps: Not provided with wing order - didn't ask if they had them available

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Spring City Wine House

A coworker and I were looking for an option to go to after work and catch up on our personal lives and because both of us enjoy wine, we decided to check out Spring City Wine House. It's located between The Steaming Cup and The Clarke Hotel on Main Street and has been open for just a few months.
We stopped in a little after 5 p.m. and instantly both of us fell in love with the interior. It has both rustic and modern flairs in a very welcoming environment.

We walked past some wine machines that allow you to pour your own wine and headed to the bar to find out how to order ourselves a drink.

Here's how it works: The wine house sets you up with a card that you insert into the machines. You can choose to have a taste, a half, or full pour and the prices are tallied on the card. When you are done, you take the card back to the bar and then pay for your drinks. After each selection, the machine display tells you your total so you can keep track of what you are spending.

There are 24 reds and 16 whites in the machines. They also have bubbly, beer, and bottles of wine available for purchase. Looking through the selections, there were a few familiar names but many that were new to me. The wine house provides descriptions above the selections to help you decide what to try, and the machines are arranged from lightest flavors to boldest for both white and red wines. Prices start at about $2 for a taste and I did see one exclusive that was $9, but everything else is very reasonable.

Super exclusive bottle with a $9 taste price.
Happy Hour runs Monday - Thursday from 4 - 6 p.m. and wines are 20% off. The machines automatically reduce the cost during happy hour and readjust at 6 p.m.

My coworker and I were able to try a few different wines and then settle on one that we liked to have a glass of before 6 p.m. We sat in some lounge chairs in the middle of the shop and chatted for a while.

The shop offers some cheese platters to have with the wine and offers infused water for all the customers.

I should also mention that glassware is located next to the machines so you can use a new glass whenever you feel like. Or you can rinse at a station set up between the red and white wines.

My coworker and I had such a great time, I texted my friends and told them we needed to check out the place soon. That following Tuesday we stopped in (after overindulging in sushi at Meiji) and they too really enjoyed the place. The atmosphere and music is very relaxing.
I am so happy that there are options in downtown for wine drinkers. Sure lots of bars have wine, but just like exclusive micro brews on tap are a big selling point for places like Magellan's, Nice Ash, and Bernie's, shops that specialize in unique wines will bring in another crowd to downtown. Another plus for this great city!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Touchdown Deviled Eggs

My friends invited us over for a housewarming and Packer party. The game was against our border rivals, Da Bears (still suck), so I knew I needed to make something that was green and gold. I searched far and wide for the perfect snack to go along with my friend's menu and came across a great idea for Touchdown Deviled Eggs after seeing the idea on this blog.

I created my own recipe for Deviled Eggs instead of following the one on the blog. I have chives growing in my garden out front, so I was able to cut those fresh the morning of the party.

I followed a new protocol for getting perfectly boiled eggs. But I did find for my stove, I needed to let them sit for 12 minutes. The first batch at 10 minutes were still a little soft in the middle. This is fine for making deviled eggs, but I like my yolks completely cooked when eating a hard boiled egg.

After the eggs are cooked, cut them all in half, scoop out the yolks and add that to the other ingredients to make the egg filling. I used a pastry brush to mash all the yolks because I was making a party size batch. You can see I have a few whites in my bowl. They tore when scooping out the yolk so I added them to the yolks and filling for extra flavor.

Once everything is mixed together well, use a teaspoon scoop and fill the eggs with heaping scoops. Then cut 1 or 2-inch pieces of chives and then 1/2 inch pieces for the laces.

Placing the laces on the egg can get a little messy. I had a towel nearby to wipe my hands on to not mess up the laces with the egg. Lightly press each piece on top until you have the desired football you are wanting.

The eggs were well received, the rest of the food was amazing, I got to see friends I haven't see in a while, and the Packers won!

This was the second party that my guy's daughters attended. They aren't into football yet or the adult conversations so my guy always makes sure to bring movies and games for extra entertainment. Headbands, especially the Disney version, was quite the hit again. Almost everyone at the party got into it and had a blast trying to figure out who they were.

Deviled Eggs
6 hard boiled eggs
2 Tbsp. Mayo or Miracle Whip
2 Tbsp. Dill Pickle Relish
1 Tbsp. Yellow Mustard
1 tsp. Dill Weed

Halve the eggs, scoop out the yolks, and place them in a small bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together well. Using a tsp. measure, scoop heaping amounts into each egg white. Top with paprika if not doing the football theme.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wings Around Waukesha: Mainstream

Here it is - the first wing post on my blog! Sure I have talked about wings before from some of my favorite places, but never to the level that I am going to take it this time. I'm starting it off with Mainstream Bar & Grill. It was at this bar that I really brought the chicken wing blog idea to fruition. I had done some research of all the bars in the area and their wings and specials, but this was the first place that my guy and I ventured to on a mission to try their wings.

Although Tuesdays & Thursdays feature $.45 wings, we went on a Sunday, because...why not? We got to the bar right around noon and picked a table for two. The bartender came over and welcomed us.

We went right to the Chicken Wings area of the menu and started plotting our game plan. Ten wings are $7.95 when not on a wing special night and every five can be in a different sauce.  We asked about the sauces on the menu and if they were in order of heat. Unfortunately they are not.

The menu lists them as: Naked, Garlic Herb, Honey BBQ, Caribbean Jerk, Buffalo, Demon, Inferno, and Thai Peanut. The bartender let us know that the spiciest is Inferno and Thai Peanut is about the same level as Buffalo.

I ordered ten wings and selected Garlic Herb and Honey BBQ. My guy ordered Thai Peanut and Caribbean Jerk. We also ordered the Fried Chip Basket because the chips are amazing! And I figured we might need a side to enjoy with the wings.
It didn't take too long for our wings to come out and the bartender apologized that the cook accidentally made all ten for each of us with one of our sauces. She would be bringing the other five for each of us out shortly. This was no problem for us and we appreciated her apology.

And so we dug in. What I noticed first about the Garlic Herb wings is that the wings weren't overly saucy and I wouldn't be elbow deep in wing sauce causing me to use 10,000 napkins. For me this is a plus--I appreciate wings that are coated, but not dripping with sauce. And I loved the flavor on these wings. The mix of herbs and garlic was terrific. My new goal is to figure out their blend and use it on all my chicken. It was really good. I couldn't stop eating them!

My guy's Thai Peanut wings were nicely coated in sauce.. We of course shared our wings so I could try the other flavors--I agree that these had a slight kick but weren't overly hot. The heat mainly comes at the end. I could probably handle a few of these, but for my guy, he thought they were a nice heat and could eat them all day.

I didn't take shots of our additional wings because my fingers were a little too greasy (and maybe I forgot). The Honey BBQ is a very sweet sauce with no kick at all--very mild. This sauce too would be great on grilled chicken.

Unfortunately my guys Caribbean Jerk wings came with the wrong sauce, but whatever the sauce was, it was really good. The bartender was quite busy at this time and because the wings were still delicious we continued to eat without complaints.And the chips were a welcome snack for us to munch on between wings. We will definitely be returning to Mainstream to eat here again and try more wing flavors. And my guy has to have one of their burgers - I love those too.

Mainstream Bar & Grill Rating (Max Score of 5): 4.3

Flavors: 4 Drumsticks (flavors in heat order would be helpful but great variety)

Size: 3.5 Drumsticks

Taste: 4.5 Drumsticks - huge fan!

Price: 3 Drumsticks on non-wing night (~.80 each)/4.5 Drumsticks on wing night ($.45 each)

Temp: 5 Drumsticks - came out hot but we were able to dig in right away!

Sauces: Options are Ranch & Blue Cheese

Veggies: Celery is offered

Wet Naps: Not provided with wing order - didn't ask if they had them available

Friday, August 21, 2015

400th Post! And a New Feature

Drum Roll Please......I have reached post number 400!!!!! Wowzers! What started out as an online diary has morphed into this blog over the past years. Attending a blogger conference in Utah in February of 2013 is really what got me focused and set my course for the posts that you are reading today. In just the past year, I have changed the look of my blog and actually had a logo developed for my "brand." And in the past two years, I create a Facebook page and have fans that follow and comment. All of this just boggles my mind, but I still enjoy this pastime and love to see where it's going.

A huge thank you to all of you that read my blog. I hope that what I share brings you some information and maybe a few smiles or laughs along the way. 

Time for a little reminiscing over the past few years. Here are a few of my favorite posts that I have shared with all of you.

The post that started it all

The addition of the bars and restaurants tab on the blog

Paninis and Potatoes Post

Working with Qdoba for some posts

The Annual Food Blogger Cookie Swap: 2014, 2013, & 2012

My year as a Foodie PenPal

And of course, all of my posts about Waukesha. This town holds a special place in my heart and I hope that my posts show that. I want everyone to see how great of a city I live in and want to come here and spend time and money!

And with that, I want to introduce a new feature that I am adding to my blog. I'm calling it.......

Wings Around Waukesha

Eight years ago if you asked me to go out and get wings with you, I probably would have said no. I didn't understand biting meat off of tiny bones smothered in hot sauce. But now....ask me to get wings with you and I'm in! I still don't like the hot sauces, but just like everything else in this crazy world, wing sauces have developed tenfold and restaurants offer more than just BBQ, Mild & Hot.

I want to share my wing experiences with you in the community. I already have a few favorites that I'm going to start with to get things rolling and once I have a few posts written up, I'll add a tab to the site that features all the wings I have tried.

If there is a specific place you think that I might want to check out, let me know. My guy and I love wings and are always open for trying new places. And he likes spicy foods so we will be able to try a variety of sauces.

I am working on a rating system and also have some specific things that I'm looking for to compare the wings from location to location. I hope you find this feature fun and useful if you are a wing fan too. Watch for the first post next week!

Again thank you to all my readers and here's to another 400 posts! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Divino Gelato


The weather has been absolutely perfect for enjoying a noon time stroll around the city. And with it being August, planters are full of gorgeous foliage and everything looks great. I did a few laps last week through downtown while deciding what I wanted for lunch.

There are quite a few options for lunch, many of which I frequent, but I forgot that a place that serves up some of Waukesha's favorite cold treats has lunch options too!
The place I am referring too is Divino Gelato Cafe - located in the Avalon building on the east end of downtown. Though most people go there for the amazing Gelato, they have pizzas and an Italian beef sandwich on the menu too. I decided I would order the sandwich, and it was extremely hard to resist the Gelato, but I did (somehow!)
It was just a few minutes for my sandwich to be made, so I took a seat and relaxed. The inside of Divino Gelato makes you feel like you are outside, the walls have buildings painted on them and the ceiling looks like a sky.
Two freezers are full of Gelato flavors just begging for you to try them. If you have never had Gelato, it is worth the slightly higher than ice cream charge - very creamy, even though it has less buttermilk than ice cream!

My sandwich was ready and I took it back to the office to enjoy-- I was not disappointed. The beef was thinly sliced and piled high, the cheese was melty, and the seasonings were spot on. The au jus soaked into the bun just enough to add flavor but not a soggy mess. I asked for the mild gardinieara (hot is available too) on the side as I'm not much of a spice person. It was good, but even that was a bit much for me. I'm glad I asked for it on the side.
I'll have to keep this place on my radar and come more frequently! They have locations in Racine and Brookfield Square Mall, but those are just Gelato. They also own Sloppy Joe's Soda Fountain in downtown Waukesha on the Five Points. **Allo! Chocolat on Main Street sells Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, headquarted in Madison. It's a premium ice cream that is very smooth and creamy. I haven't tried it yet, but I think the next time I'm downtown, I'll have to stop in and get a cone! 

So when its warm out and you looking for a frosty, delicious treat, or hungry and want a sandwich, Divino Gelato is where it's at!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Meli & Waukesha Civic Theatre

The power of social media lead me to a great night out in Waukesha earlier this month. While scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, I saw that a friend posted that her daughter was going to be in Shrek the Musical Jr. at the Waukesha Civic Theatre. It looked to be a really cute show, and the tickets were extremely reasonable, so I bought a pair for my guy and I to check it out.

I also had my heart set on dinner at Meli to check the place out for a meal. Unfortunately, my guy came down with a horrible bought of pneumonia and couldn't attend. But mom came to the rescue and filled in for him. She was on board for my plan of checking out Meli.

We arrived very close to 5 pm and the place was already starting to fill up. We chose a high top table across from the bar and too a look at the menu for a few moments. I had a really hard time deciding what to get because everything sounded so amazing.

Being the person that I am, and my friends will definitely get a laugh out of this, I ordered the Grilled Flanksteak and Hummus Flatbread. My mom too went with a Flatbread - the Mediterranean Grilled Chicken.
 It didn't take long for our food to come out though the restaurant was filling up nicely. The bar was very busy. My mom's flatbread was almost like a chicken gyro with tzaziki sauce and all. A gorgeous side of fruit accompanied the flatbread. She told me it was delicious.

 My flatbread was really good too. The chimichuri sauce added another layer of great flavor to the dish. The hummus was light, the steak was cooked to perfection and so tender. I ended up eating most of it off the pita and then enjoying the pita at the end. I got a side of sweet potato fries and honey mustard dipping sauce with my flatbread. The honey mustard is the best! I won't say that I made the best choice pairing sweet potato fries with the flatbread, but both of these items would be excellent on their own!
 By the time we left at a little after 6, the restaurant was hopping. I think every table was full, the bar was full and outdoor dining too! Friday Night Live draws a nice crowd to downtown and I hope that these people continue to patronize the businesses even after the event is over in Fall.

We had a little time before the play started so we wandered through a few shops in downtown before heading over to the theatre. While waiting for the show to begin, they have a video screen with cute stats about the production.
 I also received a pamphlet in my show program about movies that the Civic Theatre is hosting once a month. In October, it's Hocus Pocus and in December it's Elf. Just $5 to see the film.
Photos were prohibited during Shrek the Musical Jr., but it was really cute. I laughed a lot and had a smile on my face for most of the show. And I will say that my friend's daughter received the most laughs of all when she debuted as Lord Farquaad.

Though this show is done for the year, the Civic Theatre has an excellent line up this season with a little of something for everyone. I even received a voucher in the mail for a buy one, get one on a future show - excellent!  I will make one suggestion if you come to a show--it's a bit chilly in the theatre so dress accordingly. The performers are wearing more layers and have hot lights on them, so I understand why it was cooler, but I was ill prepared and couldn't wait to get outside into the hot summer night after the show!

So thank you to Facebook and my friends because my mom and I had a wonderful night in Waukesha. As for my guy, he is recovering nicely and we hope to be out in downtown soon for a bite to eat!