PrideFest – Milwaukee – 2016

It’s about expression of #Pride. This is something that can be done in one’s daily life, but never have I seen so many people expressing their right to be who they are and be proud of it than PrideFest.

PrideFest Milwaukee is held on the Summerfest grounds. Summerfest is hailed as the world’s largest music festival. Not only is PrideFest the opportunity to show one’s pride, it is the kick off of the Milwaukee festival season.
Day one saw the opening ceremonies on Friday afternoon followed by a non-stop calendar of events lasting all weekend. I headed over Friday night to the Dance Pavilion and caught the end of The Jumpsmokers’ set. The crowd was wide and full of people dancing! Sarah Silverman entertained the crowd Friday night at the Miller Lite Stage.
It was a very warm day on Saturday (it can actually be cold in Milwaukee in June!), but the crowds came out. Featured that afternoon were the health and wellness booths so area organizations could get their messages out to the community.
As a lover of dance music, Saturday night was my personal favorite with DJ Chris Cox for his second year in a row! I was able to sit down and talk to him. Check out the interview here: link.
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Unfortunately, the weekend was a bit rattled by the events in Orlando. Attendance Sunday saw increased security measures and a sort of sadness and solidarity in the air. If anything, those events inspired and brought out more Pride in people than it extinguished. We pull through as a community and always come out stronger. PrideFest also received a write-up from The Advocate.
Photo Credit: Milwaukee Pride

Photo Credit: Milwaukee Pride. This is city hall’s display after the tragedy in Orlando.

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Image Credit – Milwaukee Pride

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Polish Fest – Milwaukee – 2016

I was lucky enough to make some Polish friends this year and they are like my second family. Of course, I had to check out PolishFest to have some sausage, sauerkraut, and some vodka!

Everything was white and red and there were Polish flags everywhere. I was greeted by a mini polka band and a lot of booths with information on Polish culture. There was even a stage featuring a Chopin piano competition.

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It was a warm day and people cooled down on the benches and picnic tables, which is where I had my Polish sausage with sauerkraut on a bun served with chive fries. There was even a Pierogi Truck!

I checked out the kids stage where my friends had a daughter in the pageant. It was amazing seeing all the different colors on the dresses and asking what the colors meant. This was a special year as it was the 35th anniversary!
There was also an amazing non-stop polka stage, which requires no explanation! It was a great way to people watch and hear some great classic polkas…and see the effect of the vodka!
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I couldn’t leave the land of red and white without sipping on some tasty Chopin Vodka. Let’s just say, it’s a good thing I used Uber to get to the festival!
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I’m still working on my Polish! Do zobaczenia za rok!
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Polish Pottery

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Wining and Dining in Wisconsin!

My Wisconsin culinary adventure started in 2008 when I made the move to Milwaukee to attend The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Without the slightest clue of the in-depth culinary scene, I had a lot more to discover than I ever could have imagined! Over the years, I have discovered the culinary landscape of Wisconsin and the city of Milwaukee causing me to become a true ambassador for the city and its delectable cuisine.

Recently, I was able to experience the BEST of the BEST of everything edible in Wisconsin at Wine and Dine Wisconsin, held in downtown Milwaukee. The space was incredible as it was held at the Wisconsin Center and there were booths with food for every imaginable palate.

I did face one big challenge…where to start? The food and drink scene were well-represented at this event with vendors like The North Shore Boulangerie for their amazing bread and spicy jam, Templeton Rye for their delicious warming whiskey, and probably my most favorite, Santori Cheese where I was able to try their award winning Rosemary and Olive Oil Asiago among others. Vines to Cellar had the perfect pairing for that scrumptious cheese with the selections at their wine tasting table. They are a great group of people who allow you to not only try new wines, but create your own (you can give it a name and everything!) special vintage! There were more opportunities to stimulate my taste buds than I could count! Red velvet cupcakes, pretzel rolls, fresh pies, expertly mixed cocktails, great jazz, leather couches in the lounge area, beer, soda, chocolate, coffee, smoothies, and more were all on the menu. An added plus were the kind folks from The Milwaukee Area Technical College along with well-known chefs like Brian Boitano to teach people like me, who burn water, how to prepare delicious food.

From savory to sweet to something to wet your beak, there was something for everyone at Wine and Dine Wisconsin. Check out the series of photos here and start planning your trip to Wisconsin. Come hungry!

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A Trip to Italy…well almost!

Some of us have been fortunate enough to see the real thing (the boot known as Italy), but for those of you who haven’t, Festa Italiana in Milwaukee is the place for you! The festival greeted visitors with gladiators, Michelangelo’s David, and an enormous replica of the Trevi Fountain. Once I threw my coins in the fountain, it was off for an unforgettable culinary experience. First stop: Divino Wine & Dine for a rice ball (arancini in Italian) before a stroll past the cultural tents to learn about religious art, Italian cinema, an d admire handmade items from local artisans. I had a pretty strong reminder of Venice when I saw the Gondolas being steered around Lake Michigan. The view of the boats, the sunset, and that great rice ball brought it all back. Once my sweet tooth hit, I couldn’t pass up a cannoli from Peter Scortino’s Bakery and along with the great opera coming from one of the many stages. You would think I was there just for the food, but that’s enough of a reason to check out this wonderful festival. The evening ended in a trifecta of amazing experiences: a pit stop at Glorioso’s for an Italian beef sandwich, a stop by one of the many cultural tents to say hello to The Chairman of the Board, and fireworks just after sunset. Whether you’re in Chicago, New York, or Rome, Festa Italiana is an event not to be missed.

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