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Sep 17, 2008 01:14 PM

Great Eats in Milwaukee - a trip report

Wow, is Milwaukee ever a great eating town! We were there a few weeks ago. We ate so well that I'm still dreaming about our meals.

Mekato's Columbian Bakery was my favorite find of the trip. Wow, is this place great!!! We went there twice because we loved it so much. I'm sitting here craving their arroz con pollo. The blood sausage with arepas were great. And the alfajores cookies and the caramel napoleons (aka milhojas con caramel) would bring me back from the dead. But everything we tried was delicious. I'll detour for a visit to Mekato's whenever I'm within 150 miles of the place.

Other places we liked:

Cempazuchi - We also went here twice, because we loved their sopa de lima. We also liked the duck "al pastor" tacos, the salmon and lime-slaw tacos, and the romaine-grapefruit-avocado salad. And I loved the margaritas and the Paloma cocktail.

Speed Queen BBQ - What a great place! The rib tips weren't as crusty and chewy as I like, but the sauce made up for any deficit. And the collard greens were divine.

Jake's Deli - Another marvelous place. We shared a pastrami sandwich and a corned beef sandwich. I slightly preferred the corned beef, but both were great. And I loved that the sandwiches aren't overstuffed - it's humanly possible to eat one for lunch and still have room to stop somewhere for custard. (Which we did, of course.) Thanks to MSPD for the tips on Jake's and Speed Queen.

La Merenda - Bustling, popular "world tapas" place with very good food. Many thanks to RoosterJen for this tip.

Triskele's - Another good tip from RoosterJen. See this post for more on my meals at La Merenda and Triskele's.

The Palm Tavern - I loved this cozy, warm, all non-smoking tavern.

Heinemann's - Our only "so-so" meal. My oatmeal pancakes were good, but not great - they tasted nice, but they were slightly undercooked.

We also managed to get to a few old favorites: The Three Brothers - I *must* have spinach burek on each trip - and our fave places at the Milwaukee Public Market: the fish place (for smoked salmon on a stick) and Aladdin's (for their dynamite red-pepper hummos and baba ganouj). My new favorite MPM place is the Thief Wine Bar - great wine selections, and you can even carry your wine glass to a food stand.

And we had custard every day (of course) - this time, we got to Leon's, Omega, Gilles, and Oscar's. They're all good, but I especially loved the Butter Pecan at Leon's.

We also got to Golosi Gelato in Oconomowoc - delicious stuff, well worth a trip. (Though we were already in the area to visit the Honey Museum in Ashippun.) This was another great tip from chowhound (thanks, UrbanSuburban!).

Best of all was that all these places are completely non-smoking - I was extremely pleased that Milwaukee has such good choices for the smoke-allergic (i.e., me).

I can't wait for my next eating trip to MKE!


Three Brothers Bar & Restaurant
2414 S Saint Clair St, Milwaukee, WI 53207

Milwaukee Public Market
400 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Mekatos Bakery & Cafe
3500 W National Ave, Milwaukee, WI

1205 E Brady St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Speed Queen Bar-B-Q
1130 W Walnut St, Milwaukee, WI 53205

Jake's Delicatessen
1634 W North Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53205

La Merenda
125 E. National Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53204

1801 S 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

Palm Tavern
2989 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207

Heinemann's Restaurant
317 N 76th St, Milwaukee, WI

Golosi Gelato Cafe'
162 E Wisconsin Ave, Oconomowoc, WI

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  1. Anne, thanks for this mouth-watering summary. I've developed a real fondness for Milwaukee over the last few years and I know I've mentioned that it's one of the underrated Chow cities. Consider me officially jealous.

    Last time I was there, I met a handful of people from Roadfood. "MilwFoodlovers" and "ChicagoStyleDog" turned me on to Mekato's. I sampled a few things and everything was good, but I could seriously eat a full-sized garbage can of their flan and wouldn't mind if it caused me to die of a coronary as long as it happened while I was eating it. I look forward following in your footsteps and exploring more of their menu.

    Thanks again for the writeup.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MSPD

      >> I could seriously eat a full-sized garbage can of their flan and wouldn't mind if it caused me to die of a coronary as long as it happened while I was eating it.

      That's how I felt about that caramel napolean - when I go, I wanna go eating this delight. But now I gotta try the flan.

      I'm glad there's a local buzz about Mekato's. When we were there, the place was almost empty. Granted, it wasn't a mealtime, but I would expect lines out the door at all hours for food that good. I hope things are busier for lunch and dinner.


      P.S. By the way, the original Mekato's Bakery is in Chicago, so the flan and napoleans are available in two states. But the Chicago location doesn't do meals - just breads, cakes, and pastries - so that means I have to stop in Milwaukee for arroz con pollo whenever I head to Chicago.

      1. re: AnneInMpls

        For your drooling pleasure. And interesting info in the p.s. I didn't know that.

        Pic 1: The flan (what's left of it)
        Pic 2: A couple other goodies I sampled
        Pic 3: Exterior for those interested

    2. The original comment has been removed