Christmas Lights & Desserts with Milwaukee Food and City Tours

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”- Charles M. Schulz

This past weekend, I was invited to join Milwaukee Food and City Tours Christmas Lights and Desserts Tour. Christmas Lights? Desserts? Who could turn that down! Milwaukee Food & City Tours is in their 10th year of business and they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. They offer something for everyone: from Tacos & Tequila to Churches & Chocolates. The Christmas Lights and Deserts Tour was so fun and a must-do this holiday season. We stopped at three different parks to see lights, had a glass of wine paired with one of Indulgence Chocolatiers delicious treats, a glass of mulled wine and strudel at Mader’s, and a cupcake push pop from Classy Girl Cupcakes! Of course we had hot chocolate and coffee along the way – you have to stay hydrated for all of the christmas carols! We also learned a few tidbits about Milwaukee that I didn’t know before the tour. It was great to see how many repeat customers there were on the tour and how they attract multiple generations.

Milwaukee Food and City Tours owner Theresa knew something was missing in Milwaukee, before Milwaukee knew something was missing. That something was walking tours of Milwaukee! The first tour she offered was of the Brady Street area which was about two miles in total. The patrons who took the first tour were ladies that used to work together at Kopps Custard and drove up for the day in limo from Chicago. How cool is that? The tour has changed over the years, but still remains close to her heart.

One thing you may not know about Milwaukee Food and City Tours is that they offer vacation packages as well – both within the US and internationally. She was telling me about a trip to Poland that I may just have to book in the future. They also offer day trips to places like Chicago!

Their most popular tour in Milwaukee is the Pizza Bus, but I think next on my list is the Bloody Mary Brunch walking tour. Check out their website to see what tour you’d take next! The Christmas Lights and Desserts tour runs only during the month of December, so you still have a chance to pick up those tickets and experience some Milwaukee magic.

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Up next, I sat down with local fashion icon Pamela Kieck. Stay tuned for her take on what makes Milwaukee great.

A special thank you to Editor-in- Chief Ciara Beckers for always keeping my grammar in check.

Oh Lordy, Lordy

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”- C.S. Lewis

It’s been a minute friends. I make no excuses, other than living this here life. If you’ve been following me on Instagram @howsheseesmke, you’ve noticed that I haven’t missed a beat…except for this whole blogging thing.  I can’t promise that it won’t happen again, but what I can do…. is tell you that I’ve missed it.

I’m back, bad grammar and all.

Well… What have I been doing in the past 7 months you say? Taking a new position, moving out of my parents house, moving in with my boyfriend and his two cats, losing one of our cats, and adopting a new one that  we can only hope to love as much. Yep, I’m a cat lady now. Full disclosure: there will be a photo of one of my cats at the end of this post. (Scroll to the end if you just cannot contain your excitement)

Welp, we have some catching up to do then don’t we! I’m going to run down the highlights of the past few months. Stay with me now…

Maxie’s 

What I love about it: Happy Hour. Maxie’s has an amazing happy hour. $1.00 oysters & discounts on drinks and apps. A must try: the Pork Confit Flatbread.

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Cranky Al’s

What I love about it: Sunday’s my boyfriend and I will stop in for breakfast. If they ask you…get avocado on it…don’t ask questions. No, I’m not talking  about the donuts. They may be famous for their donuts, but in my heart they are number one on my bagel sandwich list. (This is a very real thing…don’t judge me or do…whatever)

Pro tip: if you’d like a decent donut selection, you better get there early.

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At this point you’re probably thinking, “Geez, does she even leave tosa anymore?” My answer… Yes, but only to drink apparently. I’ve been on a couple tours lately… Milwaukee MKE Brewing Company and Great Lakes Distillery. Both an excellent way to spend a Saturday afternoon if you’re looking to feel just a little fuzzy.

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I could go on and on, but I’ll finish with Sobelmans. I finally checked them out. I have to say, they are doing something right. 45 minute wait for a bloody in Wisconsin? Surprising, yes. You can pretty much find a Bloody Mary on most menus of places that open before the dinner rush. None of those will have fried bacon cheese crack on them like this one. Well worth the wait!

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It’s about that time for the cat photo! You thought’d I’d forget, didn’t you? Yeah, right! Remember if you have questions, comments, or concerns let me know! Until then, keep hash taggin #howiseemke!

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Bay View Bites

” I am and always will be- The Optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes. The dreamer of improbable dreams.”- Doctor WhoI am. I  am. I am definitely an eternal optimist. Always have been, always will be. If it makes me naive, then so what. If it makes me ignorant, well guess that’s something you could call me. If it makes me happy, damn right.

I love Bay View. I’ll shout it from the rooftops. It’s been “up and coming” for years. Doesn’t that mean it’s here? Whatever. Lately, I’ve been hanging around a decent amount.

Drinking some wine and mowin down some meats at Pastiche…

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(Ratatouille photo by James Blair @jimstagram17)

Drinking some pineapple cider and margaritas at The Palomino Bar. Even though they’re known for their whiskey…

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Brunching at Honeypie..

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and finally stopping in to the Sparrow Collective to pick up my new favorite mug.

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We’ll just say…I’m a fan. It’s like small town USA on the south side of Milwaukee.

Good people, good food, and good shops.


Do you know where I should eat next or want to share your thoughts with me. Leave a comment  or #howiseemke to join me in our love of this city.

Walker’s Point: La Merenda and Blue Jacket Bar

Disclosure: The following is not written by me. These are her thoughts and her words…edited and formatted by me. Enjoy her point of view kids.


“Blessed are the curious, for she shall have adventures”

Hello Milwaukee! My name is Ciara, and I’m so excited to be guest blogging for Howsheseesmke! I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with all of you!

When Elizabeth told me she had never been to La Merenda in Walker’s Point, I jumped at the opportunity to join her. La Merenda has been on my list of Top 5 Restaurants in MKE for years. I usually don’t like to return to the same place twice, and like to try out new places and new food. But this place is a huge exception. The experience is different each time I go and it reminds me of great experiences with my closest family and friends. This place offers so much more than great food and drinks.

La Merenda is a tapas restaurant in Walker’s Point that uses local ingredients to showcase small plates from across the globe. Each plate that comes by subtly reminds me of all the places I haven’t been. It is like they put “wanderlust” in the tap water. My favorite dishes are the Patatas Bravas y Chorizo, Butter Chicken, and the Prosciutto Salad.

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I also had a Pink Gin, which was fresh and sweet. Elizabeth had a mojito, because she drinks rum like a pirate. La Merenda also offers communal seating, forcing us out of our comfort zone, but giving all of us the opportunity to meet other adventurers out there. We sat a the bar, however. (I like to let my feet dangle.) After having a global cultural experience, from Spain to India and everywhere in-between, we walked to the restaurant next door to explore a bit closer to home.

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Blue Jacket is a trendy seafood restaurant that I cannot wait to try. I highly recommend making a reservation. I drank the “Jamrock Beauty” and Elizabeth had an “Every Corner”. The staff was extremely fun, engaging us in conversation and playing Paul Simon on a record player. I can’t wait to go back!
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Overall, we had a fantastic night. We ate delicious food, drank delicious drinks, and explored our city! I love a good adventure. MKE is an adventurer’s dream, so many hidden gems just waiting to be dug up!

Thanks for letting me share my MKE experience! Follow me on the instas! @cbeckers813

Lulu Cafe & Bar

” The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” -Audrey Hepburn

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms out there!

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I spent today celebrating at brunch at Lulu Cafe & Bar with my family.  Lulu is one of the few places in the city we all can always agree on. My little sister made the reservation and boy was that the right move. We waited outside with others in the morning before it opened at 10am and got seated promptly.

We started going to Lulu probably almost five years ago now, after church on Sundays. It has, over the years, become one of the staples in my diet. Brunch, lunch, dinner, or drinks. They have specials that change weekly. My, by far, favorite dish is the Mediterranean Steak Pita…strips of steak, large chunks of feta, and kalamta olive and tomato relish with their homemade chips and blue cheese dip. YUM! They also have a delicious roasted vegetable salad and their burgers never disappoint.

 Today, I ordered the Parisian Eggs for brunch. My sisters both had the Moroccan chicken sandwich one with the Asian slaw, the other with Lulu chips!

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As always our server was cheerful, even though she was about to have a long day ahead, and the food was superb.  I didn’t have a bloody or a mimosa today, but I’d recommend them! If you ever find yourself on Kinnickinnic, Howell, and Lincoln stop in for some good service and scrumptious food.


Have you been to Lulu? What did you get to eat?

Do you Derby?

” There is something about the outside of the horse that is good for the inside of a man. “- Winston Churchill

Kentucky Derby that is.

Who wants to celebrate? Milwaukee has some great parties if you’re looking to get down and “Derby.”  All events have prizes for best Derby attire, so grab your best bow-tie or your over-sized giant flower/bow hat and sit your butt on a bar stool Saturday, May 2nd.  The first race starts at 5:24pm, but from what I’ve seen this could be an all day event!  I couldn’t choose one so I have complied some of my favorites in no particular order:

Iron Horse Hotel

The Iron Horse is hosting their annual Derby party “Talk Derby to Me”.

Time: 3:00pm

$35.00 all you can drink Mint Juleps from 3:00-6:30 pm

Photo op with a horse and live music

Matty’s Bar and Grill

Time: 3:00pm

Bourbon Flights and Mint Juleps

Derby style food such as Crab cakes, Hot Brown, and Burgoo Stew

Maxie’s

8th Annual Derby Day Party

Entry: $15 and doors open at 1:00pm

Derby “bets” raffle, photo booth, Derby style food, and a Jazz Orchestra

The Wicked Hop

Time: 3:00pm

$5.00 Mint Juleps

Complimentary crawfish boil at 4:00pm

Woodford Reserve Samples from 5:00-6:00pm


If these events don’t get you excited for the weekend…

Here is a couple of others you need to check out!

The Maker’s Market

Sunday, May 3rd from 10am to 4:00pm at  Collectivo in Bayview

South Milwaukee Food Truck Festival

Sunday, May 3rd from 12:00-4:00pm on 11th and Milwaukee


Are you planning on going to any of these events? Did I miss your event? Leave a comment and let me know!

Engine Company No. 3

” Beautiful people are not always good, but good people are always beautiful.”

– Ali Ibn Abi Talib

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I have an undeniable love for people. All people. Young, old, black, white, red, purple, tan, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, or Buddhist.  I have what some people would say the ability to talk to anyone. Has it gotten me into trouble? Yes. Has it gotten out of trouble? Also, yes. What else has it done? Enabled me to hear some really interesting, wonderful, and heartbreaking stories. While sitting in on a meeting on Friday morning, in a room scattered with Doctors, Nurses, Professors, and Community members, I heard a very interesting perspective. The topic was community engagement.

A community member rose during an question and answer session, which honestly turned into more of a forum. She stated something to the point of the following, “I do not have the credentials of many in this room, but what I’d like to say is… a lot can be learned from listening. Two ears. One mouth.” What is my point here.

On this blog I will write about the good things I find. I will never bash an establishment. I may just leave a few points out.  There is a saying, “Everyone’s got an opinion.” This is mine. I will let you have yours.

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Saturday Morning:

I brunched at Engine Company No. 3.

I have heard rants and raves about this place for months. It was finally my turn to check it out. I went in with pretty high expectations. I read MKE What’s Up’s post about it and got pretty excited.

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Here are my thoughts:

Great service: I asked our waitress numerous questions about menu items… she was very knowledgeable and didn’t roll her eyes at me when they kept on coming.

Environment: I mean who doesn’t love a jazzed up old firehouse?!

Farm to Table: I am a freak when it comes to this. I immediately get goo-goo eyed and excited. If there’s a farmers market within 30 miles it’s pretty likely I’ve gotten my paws on some local produce. This is a reason we are blessed in the Midwest.  Hashtag: blessed.

Hollandaise Sauce: Homemade. That’s enough of an explanation on that. I got the Smoked Salmon Benedict. (delish)

Final thought:

I don’t think I gave it enough time to put it on my faves list. I believe it deserves a second look. We’ll just say I’ll be back. I’ve got some SWEETS to try.

Icing on the cake: The hostess gave me a wave on my way out. I dig a good human connection when I leave a place of business.

Have you been to Engine Company No. 3?

Share your thoughts with me.

Hotel Metro & Five Presidents

” Any fool can criticize, condemn, & complain… and most do”- Dale Carnegie

It has always been important to me to be positive. Talk about peoples success and joys, rather than the negatives or the rotten things in life. I’ve encountered a number of people through out my life who are the complete opposite.  I’ve never been able to understand it, but then again maybe that’s just me.

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http://www.hotelmetro.com/dining-en.html

Wednesday, night I met my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin at the Hotel Metro. My Aunt’s birthday who also happens to be my godmother was on Tuesday. We met for drinks and appetizers before seeing Five Presidents at the Rep.  Located on Wells and Water, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater always has a good variety of performances for all ages. We saw Five presidents which unfortunately is not longer playing. See below for their current listings.

http://www.milwaukeerep.com/

If you haven’t been, the Metro Lounge at Hotel Metro has a fantastic happy hour.

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Here are the highlights:

$5 martinis, half-price certain appetizers, $3 taps, $4 house wines

Since Hotel Metro is within walking distance of the Rep, we of course took the opportunity to enjoy the weather. It was 60 degrees and just gorgeous out. I captured this sunset on Mason and Milwaukee right outside the Hotel Metro. Is it summer yet?

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 What to share your Milwaukee favorites with me? Send me an email at howsheseesmke@gmail.com.