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  • Post #151 - August 15th, 2019, 9:45 am
    Post #151 - August 15th, 2019, 9:45 am Post #151 - August 15th, 2019, 9:45 am
    Good call, but longer drive from highway. With you on the stuffed wings.
  • Post #152 - August 15th, 2019, 10:22 am
    Post #152 - August 15th, 2019, 10:22 am Post #152 - August 15th, 2019, 10:22 am
    Puckjam wrote:Good call, but longer drive from highway. With you on the stuffed wings.

    Those unwilling to venture a few miles off the highway don't deserve any stuffed chicken wings! Seriously, I think Phongsavan is worth the detour because Chicago has nothing quite like it. I'm not saying Phongsavan is the best Asian food and shopping experience ever (and it really doesn't compare to the two great Hmong malls in St Paul), but it's "very cool, very transportative to another world," to use Vital Information's words. And I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't love those wings.

    To make that short detour even more worthwhile, if you take Silver Spring (first major road south) back to the highway, you'll pass House of Corned Beef, sort of a fast-food-ish joint serving some seriously good hand-sliced corned beef sandwiches. You can get awfully hungry driving between Milwaukee and Chicago.
  • Post #153 - August 15th, 2019, 11:02 am
    Post #153 - August 15th, 2019, 11:02 am Post #153 - August 15th, 2019, 11:02 am
    Phongsavan looks like a 15 min detour from 43. We LOVE the idea of this kinda place. Great call! It'll give us a lil while to stretch the legs while shopping for some stuff to take home, and get some interesting lunchies all in one place.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #154 - August 15th, 2019, 1:15 pm
    Post #154 - August 15th, 2019, 1:15 pm Post #154 - August 15th, 2019, 1:15 pm
    If I was coming through MKE on a summer Saturday afternoon I'd make sure to find time to swing by the West Allis Farmers Market. Not many markets around that are celebrating their 100th year.
    https://westallisfarmersmarket.com/
  • Post #155 - August 17th, 2019, 9:28 am
    Post #155 - August 17th, 2019, 9:28 am Post #155 - August 17th, 2019, 9:28 am
    BadgerDave wrote:If I was coming through MKE on a summer Saturday afternoon I'd make sure to find time to swing by the West Allis Farmers Market. Not many markets around that are celebrating their 100th year.
    https://westallisfarmersmarket.com/


    I second this rec; it's a fun market, with the benefit of afternoon hours.

    As for shopping; not too far from this market is the Asian International Market (3401 National). It's not a huge space, but they pack a lot into it. It primarily caters to the local Hmong. There's all sorts of interesting prepared stuff in the cases and various Asian greens. Best, you can get papaya salad made to your exact specifications to order.

    Also visit the Vientiane Noodle Shop next door, get one thing and one thing only; the laap, raw, extra spicy, with bile (I'll leave the choice of meat to you).
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #156 - August 17th, 2019, 6:41 pm
    Post #156 - August 17th, 2019, 6:41 pm Post #156 - August 17th, 2019, 6:41 pm
    Phongsavan was awesome. The food was much better than I anticipated. The market parts were pretty sparse as far as what I was looking for, but, of course, ymmv.

    We did do the two food counters in the grocery store bldg, and also hit up the food court in the bldg next door.

    The grocery store counters:
    We only got the stuffed wings and some egg rolls at the one counter, then hit the other for the sweets. I had one wing, and as good as has been stated.

    The other counter had an off smell going on, not like Asian market smell, but an ANY market off smell. It put jr off immediately, but I did get the steamed sweet cornbread, and a few portions of the purple sticky rice in banana leaf, and 3 of their sesame balls (love those things, can't resist.) Haven't tried the rice or the cornbread, but the sesame balls were pretty damn good. Not sure of the filling, but if I had to guess, it was a bean, but not too sweet, and way less dense than I'm used to. The dough was nice and crunchy outside/chewy inside.

    The bldg across the alley housed a bigger food court with 6-ish counters, and what we had was good to great.
    "A.P Hot Food" stall:
    Pho and Egg Roll
    Vietnamese Special Pho was WAY better than I expected. Jr and I split the small size, and it was massive. The noodles were just right, the broth was damn fine. It had some tendon, tripe, a few scrimps, few meatballs, and some flank or brisket, maybe both. This was DAMN fine eats, came with the add ins you'd fully expect (bean sprouts, VOLCANIC jalapeno slices, basil, lime, and a bunch of sauces.)

    Egg roll was very good, very savory flavor with bean thread / (glass thread ?) noodle. I have a feeling the entire market peddles the same egg rolls at every stall. They just looked similar at each, and may have been priced the same throughout. I got one from here, and a handful at the counter in the other bldg. I haven't tasted the ones from the grocery counter place, but they all look the same. This stall seemed to have the most business while we were there.

    "Mai Banh Mi" stall:
    Skewered meats. We sat and waited for our pho order, and this counter had some skewers on display "3 for $5.00" so like a moth to flame... "one of each, please." They had red lookin wings - full wings extended so they were like 8 inches long, a beef parts skewer, and a red tinted pork belly skewer. All of them were great, but the wings and pork belly were fantastic. We were their only customers while we were in the food court. They sell pho, banh mi, and the skewered meats.

    "K.M. Noodle" stall:
    Pad Kee Mao
    Papaya salad
    This had to wait til we got home. We were STUFFED from the skewers, pho, and egg roll.
    WOW.
    I was skeptical of this stall, not much traffic while we sat and ate, but WOW.
    No joke spicy, no joke flavorful, no joke good.

    I would love a spot like this in Chicagoland. Great call, well worth the detour. I'd expect the food quality to differ day to day, but the stuff we tried so far was damn fine, and I really like the low key, food court setting.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #157 - August 19th, 2019, 11:39 am
    Post #157 - August 19th, 2019, 11:39 am Post #157 - August 19th, 2019, 11:39 am
    seebee wrote:The bldg across the alley housed a bigger food court with 6-ish counters, and what we had was good to great.

    Great report, thanks. I'm glad Phongsavan worked out well for you and I'm especially happy to read your positive comments on the new food court. As I mentioned above, all my visits since the new building opened have been in the morning (not much ready) or late afternoon (not much left) so I really couldn't evaluate it fairly. Clearly I need to make an effort to visit at lunchtime. Incidentally, I just returned from St Paul, which has two big Hmong malls, both much larger than Milwaukee's. But I'm glad we have Phongsavan not too far away.
  • Post #158 - August 19th, 2019, 11:26 pm
    Post #158 - August 19th, 2019, 11:26 pm Post #158 - August 19th, 2019, 11:26 pm
    seebee wrote:The other counter had an off smell going on, not like Asian market smell, but an ANY market off smell. It put jr off immediately, but I did get the steamed sweet cornbread, and a few portions of the purple sticky rice in banana leaf, and 3 of their sesame balls (love those things, can't resist.) Haven't tried the rice or the cornbread, but the sesame balls were pretty damn good. Not sure of the filling, but if I had to guess, it was a bean, but not too sweet, and way less dense than I'm used to. The dough was nice and crunchy outside/chewy inside.

    You know you're an LTH'er when the off smell doesn't dissuade you from buying 3 items to check out. Outstanding! :D

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #159 - August 20th, 2019, 7:00 am
    Post #159 - August 20th, 2019, 7:00 am Post #159 - August 20th, 2019, 7:00 am
    I used my rooter to pinpoint the smell, and it was obviously coming from either their open cooler display, or the floor next to it. I suspected that there was a spill next to that cooler under the rubber mats. I bought all of my stuff from the goods on display in a different area - no smells there.

    But, yes, I bought with caution, tho I suspect many would steer clear (and I wouldn't blame them.)
    I've worked in kitchens before, I've had a few cases of food poisoning as well. I still felt totally confident in what I bought, and gave it a good sniff test before putting it in my and the fam's faces.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #160 - August 22nd, 2019, 2:46 pm
    Post #160 - August 22nd, 2019, 2:46 pm Post #160 - August 22nd, 2019, 2:46 pm
    Nice to hear the K.M Noodle stall is worth checking out. I guided the Hungry Hound on a Wisconsin Pizza Tour and we checked out the new Phongsavan sometime last winter. The Noodle stall was due to open the next day and the menu was intriguing. Boat Noodles catching my eye.

    While it's still nice out three spots worth checking out are 1) Triciclo Peru for Peruvian empanadas in a beer garden. 2) Mazorca Tacos for street tacos on homemade tortillas from a trailer. 3) Drift for New Zealand style meat pies out of a trailer in the Public Market lot.

    Also add Mae Velma's to the discussion of Milwaukee's best corned beef sandwich. It's based out of a drive thru only spot and they serve a seriously good corned beef sandwich similar to the other spots around town. I love their slogan - "Arguably the best corned beef in the city" and you can definitely make that case.
  • Post #161 - Today, 10:19 am
    Post #161 - Today, 10:19 am Post #161 - Today, 10:19 am
    Attended a family wedding last weekend. Had time for a wonderful lunch with two of our girls at Celesta. Chicago needs a casual, stylish, vegan restaurant with creative dishes and not a diner/fast food menu.

    Great cocktails, the girls both had a Baby Doe, my wife had a kombucha, and I loved my Jalisco sour.

    We shared the lima fries, roasted za’tar cauliflower (we all loved both), and the mac and cheese (good, but a bit sweet as most non-dairy versions are).

    The girls shared a lasagna and the southern plate, and the loved them. We shared a lasagna and a Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, quinoa bowl. I preferred the lasagna and my wife preferred the bowl. We took three desserts to go.

    It was a toss up between Celesta or Strange Town, which we’ll have to try on another trip. We arrived at 11:30 and never imagined would need a reservation for 4. We were lucky to snag four stools at the bar, which we all enjoyed and maybe preferred. I love a bar for two, but with four it tends to get difficult to chat, but it worked. Great to see them doing so well.

    On Sunday we had 9 and only four of us were eating vegan. Went to Comet Café, which I’ve been to several times. I really enjoyed my chilaquiles, but both daughters ordered the avocado toast which they did not like at all, felt the avocado was stretched with other ingredients, bread not toasted, and the sesame yogurt overpowered. They are still jammed on Sunday mornings and our half hour projected wait was really about an hour for a 5 top and a 4 top.

    Celesta
    1978 N. Farwell Ave.
    Milwaukee, WI 53215
    414.231.3030
    www.celesta.restaurant

    Comet Café
    1947 N FARWELL AVE
    MILWAUKEE, WI 53202
    (414) 273-7677
    www.thecometcafe.com

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