The polar vortex may have passed (or has it?!), but we’re still under a blitzkrieg of snow and negative wind chills. I often find, when speaking to people about the Midwest during winter, there’s a misunderstanding that when our gardens and farms are covered in snow, we have no access to fresh food. But fear not, intrepid travelers. Fresh fruits, meats, and vegetables are abundant–if you know where to look.
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.
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.
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.
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.