December 28th's Favorite Thing - Trying new restaurants
Especially while on vacation in various cities, but even here in the Milwaukee area, I get bored of going to the same places... especially chain restaurants. I know one of the allures of a place like Applebee’s (and if I had to pick a chain, then that would be one of my favorites) is that the menu and taste of food is consistent. And that's my problem. Too much consistency. I know what the House Sirloin with bleu cheese and onions tastes like at Applebee’s, and now I want to try someone else's.
I have found some real gems in Milwaukee just by trying new things. One of my favorite pizza places (and there are many) is Classic Slice in Bay View. I like Stone Creek coffee slightly more than Starbucks. The Tijuana Burger from Daymaker Cafe in Wauwatosa is out of this world, as is the 10 ounce bleu cheese and bacon burger at Open Flame in Hales Corners. In other blogs, I have extolled the virtues of other local restaurants, but the reason that I can like them is because I want to try different places.
Let's use my favorite Mexican entree as an example... Two tostadas (or one large chimichanga) with al pastor meat and two helpings of beans instead of a helping of rice. The gold standard, in my opinion, is El Rey grocery store on 35th & Burnham. So in my mind, the challenge is to go somewhere else, and compare their similar entree to El Rey's. In doing so, I have had some that don't compare well (unfortunately, Fiesta Garibaldi on Bluemound Rd is in that category), and some that are different - not better or worse, just different (like the now-closed Taqueria Azteca in Bay View, which added pineapple to their al pastor). But the hunt to compare to the best tostada al pastor is what gets me to try other Mexican restaurants.
As noted in other blog entries, the various Food Network and Travel Channel shows have pointed me towards wonderful food in New York, Chicago, Albuquerque and Las Vegas. I started doing it first, and I will continue to do it in the future. I find it fun, and even when I have a disappointing meal (and I am looking at you, ribeye steak from Texas Roadhouse, which was absolutely horrible compared to the Delmonico Ribeye at DeRango The Pizza King in Racine [Side note; That's right, one of my all-time favorite steaks can be found in a pizza place in Racine. See? Adventuresome]) I enjoy the challenge, and look forward to trying again the next time My-Sugar-Na forgets to buy a Tuesday dinner from Peapod.
On the First Day of Christmas, my favorite thing is - Baseball's Hot Stove League
On the Second Day of Christmas, my favorite thing is - A handful of chopped pecans
On the Third Day of Christmas, my favorite thing is - Memories of my past
On the Fourth Day of Christmas, my favorite thing is - Jim Steinman lyrics
On the Fifth Day of Christmas, my favorite thing is - Christmas tree smell
On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my favorite thing is - Watching forbidden football
On the Seventh Day of Christmas, my favorite thing is - The airplane taking off
On the Eighth Day of Christmas, my favorite thing is - Trying new restaurants