Metro Milwaukee Guide

The go-to guide for activities in the greater Milwaukee area


Cheese Steaks at The Philly Way

I’ve heard that people in Philadelphia don’t eat Philly cheese steaks. Well, let me just say to all those Philadelphians – THANK YOU. I’m more than happy to eat your share over here in good old MKE. I’m pretty sure ours are better anyway. I mean, even Philadelphia Magazine rated the sandwiches at The Philly Way as the best Philly cheese steak in America. More than once. Clearly we needed to go there and try this glorious sandwich.

Milwaukee cheese steak

Here she is… the best cheese steaks in the country!

In the spirit of full disclosure, this was my first ever cheese steak. If that’s shocking to you, it was shocking to me too. This sandwich combines some of my favorite things: meat, bread, grilled onions, cheese whiz (don’t judge me, I’ll eat this cheesy nectar with everything)… And then to find out I could get MORE types of cheese? Heaven!

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Squeaky Cheese at Clock Shadow Creamery

There’s an old Wisconsin saying, “If fresh cheese is what you seek, make sure to listen for the squeak.” The phrase has been passed down for generations. It’s a very important part of Midwest folklore, and cheese tasters have abided by the rule for centuries. I’ve heard that some cheesemakers inscribe the words in food coloring on the inside of the cheese rind during production for good luck.

Okay, okay, that’s not true. And “old saying” clearly translates to “hey, look what I just made up!” But still, it is true that the fresher the cheese, the more it will squeak. And dare I say, the squeakiest cheese I have ever enjoyed came right out of Milwaukee, at Clock Shadow Creamery.

Behold, Wisconsin's first urban creamery!

Behold, Wisconsin’s first urban creamery!

Clock Shadow is Wisconsin’s first creamery in a city and was designed with the goal of having a local, accessible cheesemaker for city residents and visitors. Three cheesemakers work overnight to create four flavors of curds (plain, garlic dill, tomato basil, jalapeno) and about ten cheeses based on yellow and white cheddar (ricotta is the newest). If you’re unfamiliar with the cheesemaking process, here’s a quick overview.

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Milwaukee’s Best Burgers

Dearest carnivores, I have a request for you. We’re planning a post on Milwaukee’s best burgers, and we need your input! Where’s your favorite place to get a burger in the Milwaukee area? So far on our Facebook page, we have one vote for AJ Bombers and one vote for Sobelmans. Let us know your picks in the comments, and then watch future posts for our featured burgers.

Well gee, this looks mighty delicious!

Well gee, this looks mighty delicious!

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An Event Note

One of our readers asked us to spread the word about this event, so check it out!

On March 16th, 2013, the first-ever Art Institute of Wisconsin (AI) student-run fashion show is being held at the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum. The Haute List show will feature garments designed & created by the art school’s fashion design majors. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cash bar; show starts at 8:30 p.m.

VIP with gift bag & front row seat: $40.
General admission: $20.
Students with ID: $10.
Advanced ticket purchase recommended. Tickets can be purchased via phone order – contact Alice at (414) 978-5015. Tickets purchased via phone order will be available to pick up at Will Call at the Art Museum entrance the night of the show. VIP tickets are limited, order yours promptly.

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Milwaukee Public Market

I love food. It’s no secret. Anyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy culinary indulgence. Bury my face in a plate of spaghetti? You got it. Want someone to taste test your twenty flavors of wedding cupcake options? I’m your girl. So really, there’s no better place for me to go in Milwaukee than the Milwaukee Public Market in the Third Ward. It’s a foodie paradise. Let me tell you how a normal trip goes.

Milwaukee Public Market

Here’s the market. Ain’t she pretty?

Kyle and I will walk in the door and immediately veer into Oro di Oliva, the gourmet olive oil and vinegar shop. The only thing better than a good piece of bread – which, by the way, you can purchase right outside the store at Breadsmith – is a good piece of bread dripping with delicious olive oil. Oro di Oliva is about half flavored olive oil and half flavored balsamic vinegar. Now, you could circle the store using the adorably teensy tasting cups to try each individually, but trust me on this. You want to combine things. Pretend you’re a four-star chef trying to find a new spectacular combination to accompany your mind-blowing dish that no one’s ever heard of. You’re making magic here, people. Tangy, smooth, vinegar and olive oil magic.

Inside the market

It’s pretty loft-ish, I think.

Once your masterpiece is perfected, check out the rest of the market. If you love the Spice House as much as we do, you’ll be happy to find a satellite store in the market. Don’t those pink Himalaya salt blocks just make you want to slap a slab of fish down on top? Me too. You can get it a few steps away at the St. Paul Fish Company. What’s that? You think fish is lame and you want a big, juicy, manly piece of steak instead? Again – me too. (Did I mention I love food?) Turn around and Nehring’s Family Market will be waiting to get you appropriately beefed up. Or chickened. Or porked. Or sausaged. Yeah, and they have beer, too. The ladies can get wine at Thief, and all us boozers can come together at Margarita Paradise. And when you inevitably do something drunken and stupid to annoy your significant other, grab some flowers at Locker’s and apologize in style.


Why yes, I would love some cheese!

Or, you know, you could save yourself the hassle of picking a fight and just get some coffee from Cedarburg and food-to-go from West Allis Cheese and Sausage, Aladdin, Sushi-A-Go-Go, The Green Kitchen, or the Soup & Stock Market. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a T-shirt at Brew City and some sweetness from C. Adams or Kehr’s to make up for the flowers you didn’t get after you didn’t have a fight because you didn’t get drunk… whatever, just get something to make your better half feel special. It’ll be worth it. Plus, it’ll give you a reason to go back to the market when the demands for more start. And yes, you will want to go back. Trust me.

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Get Splashed at Splash Studio Milwaukee

Do you like to paint? What about drink, do you like to drink? If so, then you should definitely combine the two and head out to Splash Studio in the Third Ward. Splash’s innovative concept joins an art studio and a bar in one raucous combination that will leave you with both a sense of painted accomplishment, and a bit of a tipsy buzz.

These are just some of the paintings done at Splash - and they're all for sale!

These are just some of the paintings done at Splash – and they’re all for sale!

Here’s how it works. Get on their website,, and comb the calendar listings for a painting you’d like to do. Register with a credit card to reserve your space. Then head to the bar at your designated time. You’ll pay the $33 per person (on weekends, weekdays are $28 per person), don a sassy painting smock (complete with fashionable smock pockets – or smockets as I like to call them), and pump your required amount of paint onto a paper plate. A chalkboard at the paint station tells you how many pumps you need. Then grab a drink at the bar (PBR for you hipsters, mimosas for the ladies – or any other number of drinks available) and claim your canvas. A painting teacher will come in and show you the steps to creating your perfect picture. You’ll get three breaks so your paint can dry. Then the painting is yours to take home and nail to the fridge next to your toddler’s art project.

Our painting was titled “Good Morning Museum,” a tribute to the Milwaukee Art Museum at sunrise, and our painting instructor was Dena Nord.

This is where the teacher paints from.

This is where the teacher paints from.

You can also come in without reserving anything in advance, pick up a mini canvas for a few bucks, and sit at the bar and paint whatever your heart desires with whatever motivation a steady flow of alcohol gives you. Or you could just play Mario. At the end of the bar, a Nintendo hookup lets anyone grab a controller and play. While we were there, somebody beat the game without dying once – he got free drinks. And no, it wasn’t me. I’m terrible at Mario – that’s why I always choose Luigi, the lesser Mario Brother.

Probably the best thing about Splash is how vastly different every painting ends up. You can either stay along with the teacher or go your own route, but either way, every single canvas carries the personal style and brand of the artist. And, trust me on this, you have to get up and look at other paintings during the break. For one, you’ll be completely compelled to gauge your progress and skill against others’ paintings, and for two, the variations are incredible and oftentimes, hilarious. A guy on the other side of the room from us painted his city behind the museum with flames shooting out the window and fire engines below. Across the canvas row between us, one girl painted her picture entirely in shades of black and grey. The effect was stunning.

Our finished paintings. Aren't they just lovely?

Our finished paintings. Aren’t they just lovely?

See how that “straight” line squiggles a bit in my painting of the Milwaukee Art Museum? I could try to blame it on the painting teacher, but let’s be honest. That’s the result of a mojito at the Milwaukee Ale House for dinner and three mimosas into the painting session. It may not be the best painting (clearly!), but I’ll always love it because that canvas is covered with the product of a great time out with friends.

Plan your visit:
Splash Studio
184 N. Broadway