WHEN I LEFT WISCONSIN IN 1997 THERE WAS NO CALATRAVA AT THE ART MUSEUM, ONLY ONE OUTPOST ON CAPITOL DRIVE, COUNTY STADIUM WAS STILL THE PLACE YOU WATCHED THE BREWERS LOSE, AND THE THIRD WARD WAS JUST A TWINKLE IN SOME DEVELOPER’S EYE. INITIALLY I LEFT THE BADGER STATE FOR A TWO YEAR CONTRACT AS A TV REPORTER IN MICHIGAN (HELLO LANSING!) THINKING I’D PAY MY DUES AND MOVE BACK TO MILWAUKEE TO, I DON’T KNOW, MAYBE A PARADE? DIDN’T HAPPEN. INSTEAD, TWO YEARS LATER, WITH A WRINKLED UWM JOURNALISM DEGREE IN MY BACK POCKET, I MOVED TO NEW YORK CITY.
Growing up in Milwaukee I wouldn’t have called myself a food expert. Food was what happened at supper-time. My mom’s home-cooked meals were of the Good Housekeeping, back of the Campbell’s Soup label, and “Hey, let’s have fish-sticks during Lent” variety. And I miss them dearly. Once ensconced in New York I was surrounded by some of the best food in the world and it just so happened that the magazine I ended up working for needed help doing restaurant reviews. So I was sent out to eat Malaysian, Italian, Thai, Ethiopian, Greek, Middle-Eastern, Chinese, Korean- basically the United Nations of food, and I loved it. I loved it so much I started collecting cookbooks and experimenting with cooking some of the great food I was writing about.
Yet, I still missed Milwaukee. I’d stream local Milwaukee news online, I’d sport my Packers gear every Sunday (to unsolicited cheers of “Go Pack!” from total strangers), and every time I came back for a visit I’d marvel at how much Milwaukee was changing: New buildings, hip new bars and great new food. Suddenly there were new, innovative restaurants on top of the old standbys and every time I visited I was more and more impressed with the culinary scene I’d somehow missed during my wasted youth.
Last year my wife (Hi Suz!) and I decided it was time for a change. We were tired of living in a 700 square-foot apartment with a monthly mortgage the GDP of a small Latin American country and we dreamed of a backyard for our pooch to play in. So we sold our place and moved into our adorable little bungalow with a backyard. But how to make a living? If only I could find a job that was somehow related to food, surrounded by people as passionate about the Milwaukee food scene as me, at a company that was as much a part of Milwaukee as Lake Michigan, and at a place where I could possibly put this dusty journalism degree to work. If only such a magical unicorn of a place existed here. Surprise! It does and those amazing people from that fantastic Milwaukee institution all helped put this magazine you’re holding in your hands together. And I am thankful to be a part of the Outpost family. Enjoy the summer and enjoy the food!
In this issue:
How We Summer A Midwestern Shrimp Boil
Two Ways Melon
Our Table of Summer Necessities
and more ...