First Timer’s Guide to Wisconsin
I can sum it up pretty easily – eat cheese, drink, and eat more.
My mom was so worried about me making friends on the internet when I started this blog, nearly 10 years ago. But little did I realize at the time, that a group of seven of us would be lifers. We literally talk every day. And once a year we make a trip to one another’s homes for a girls’ weekend, where we eat, drink, eat more, go for a walk and do at least one healthy active thing, then eat more. This year’s trip was to Fond du Lac and Milwaukee Wisconsin! And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
To sum it up – I found the best cheese curds on the face of the earth at one particular downtown Milwaukee brewery.
For me, I always search out non-stop flights, and luckily Alaska Airlines has a daily non-stop to Milwaukee. The airport in Milwaukee is small and easy to navigate. If you are a reader on airplanes – it’s about the only time I get uninterrupted to myself to do so – they have an EXCELLENT used bookstore right before security where you can find a fun and eclectic selection of books, best sellers, off the wall stuff, and more. Make sure one the way in or out that you stop into this local retail Renaissance Books.
Driving to where we stayed in Fond du Lac took a little over an hour, but it was easy driving. The scenery is lovely, just what you imagine the dairyland to be, and relaxing almost instantaneously.
Where did we eat? Well, funny you should ask…
Kelley’s Country Creamery is a Fond du Lac local dairy and ice creamery that has the perfect chairs for porch sitting while you mow down an extra large waffle cone with one of their rotating selections of stellar ice cream. Or! Go for the taco cheese curds that we put a serious hurt to when we got back home. They had ranch flavored ones, too. But did I really need two pounds of curds? Sigh. Probably not. It was a herd of lions hovering over a zebra with these cheese curds.
Feeling cute, might eat ice cream later. IDK.
Friday nights in Wisconsin lend themselves to a particular ritual known as Supper Club. I did not know this was a thing, but it is a big thing. We even wiki’d it to make sure it existed. But it does. And let me tell you, there was a lot of beige food. Probably to soak up all the alcohol you had before you actually got to dinner. Ours involved going to Bill and Linda’s, a clearly popular venue on a Friday night, to work our way through the channels and ritual of Supper Club. First stop, the bar.
I’m pretty sure my Old Fashioned was fill to the top with booze, then a sprinkle of soda, and a red cherry to top it off. You put your name on the first-come-first-serve list for dinner. And drink and eat appetizers (that are also beige) until you are called for dinner. Basically you’re hammered going into dinner.
Then you have dinner, four or five courses of more beige food, depending on the spot. A soup, a salad, and appetizer, a main course, and something else, I’m sure. And the odds are, it is all beige. And basted in butter. And if you haven’t figured it out, you are drinking more here too.
But it comes with entertainment! In our case, it a chic snakeskin printed silk shirt wearing karaoke singer who really got the crowd going with a disco ball and some mixed lighting. The ladies went wild. It was one of the quintessential mid-west experiences that I am would have been sad to miss. We talked, boozed, ate, and had fun.
The next day we did a healthy activity, and went stand up paddleboarding at the lake. I am insanely jealous of the lake life that midwesterners have. I grew up in Washington my whole life, but they have perfected “Lake Life”. We rented from Wind Powered Surfing in Fond du Lac, and spend some time out on the water. Be sure to know which way the front of the board is, it will be infinitely easier to move that way. Not that I would know. *hangs head in shame*
But just before going home, we went into Milwaukee and did an adventure at Lakefront Brewing. It was hands down the best brewery tour ever. Their tour guides are hilarious, goofy, probably hammered, and just excellent. And in true Wisconsin fashion, they get you hammered on the tour, too!
Afterwards we weren’t sure if we wanted to do more eating (lol, jk we did.) we sat down in the beer haul and snacked on an array of things, including the best fried cheese curds of my life. Between six women, we analyzed the curds to figure out how they got them so perfectly crispy. And we surmised that it was a combination of panko, and shredded parmesan crust that did it. More cheese crusting a cheese curd? Yes, please! And their Wisconsin charcuterie boards was no joke. It was literally a Bavarian pretzel with each section filled with some sort of snack – (more) cheese, pickles and dilly beans, and then cured meats. And naturally mustards for dipping.
It is safe to say that I didn’t need to eat when I got home. Wisconsin, you gave us a top weekend. And dreams of cheese curds to come.