Panoramic View of Collectivo Coffee (Lakefront), Milwaukee, WI

I couldn't help but take a long picture of this very unique location and always busy coffee hotspot, down on the lake front in Milwaukee, WI. They seem to have a unique combination of upbeat, patient personnel, old and new food and drink options, and people watching for days. Not to mention they're located in an old water facility on the lakefront... it's a great place to get some refreshment or get some work done.


Local Fungi, Madison, WI

It seems like mushrooms have been more common this year than I can remember in years past. I noticed many posts about early spring morels on social media, and I seem to keep seeing them growing wild almost anywhere I venture. It has been consistently damp in most places, so that might be a factor. I found the big guys below a couple blocks from home, growing on someone's front yard. They certainly caught my attention. I don't know enough to know which ones to eat and which ones to leave. Better not try if I'm not sure.

I have a medium-sized hand


Quote of the Day.

"Only when we allow others to be who they are, rather than who we want them to be, will we have peaceful relationships."


Quote of the Day

As Will Rogers wryly noted: “It is not what we don’t know that gets us into trouble; it is what we know that ain’t so.”


Riley House (1908), Madison, WI

If you've been playing along on this blog of late, then you know I've been out for some walks... well, the neighborhoods I've been investigating happen to have some pretty neat historic houses, one of which is featured below...


Stalzy's Deli, Madison, WI

After the hot tea, I needed some real food, and needed to be able to use a debit card. I knew this deli was across the street, and again, it seemed like high time I went in too. Having worked in a deli-bakery in my late teens, I was curious to see how this local version stood up.

They talked a big game, and I have to say, I was eager to try the sandwich I'd picked out ahead of time online, The Brooklyn Breakfast.

They did not have a beer tap at the deli I worked in... probably for the best.

Service was pretty typical for Madison, not "amazingly fast", but friendly and helpful. They took my order within about 10 minutes, I grabbed a beverage out of the self-service cooler and sat at the counter (pretty old-school, and just like the Victory had too). They had plenty to look at while I waited another maybe 10-15 minutes for my order to arrive, and a lot of it reminded me of my days working in the deli in Skokie, IL.

Fresh baked bread is a good sign in any deli, imo. There's no sound quite like a bread-slicing machine in full flight. It's unmistakable.

And when the Brooklyn Breakfast arrived, which consists of Pastrami, a Fried Egg, Brown Mustard, and in my case Muenster cheese, I was ready to devour it... did I mention I was feeding a cold too?

Not even the pickle had a chance of escape.

While I didn't manage to take a picture of it, you can bet their sweets case was very well appointed and both a chocolate covered and plain macaroon both made their way home with me. They were excellent as well, perhaps some of the best I've ever had.

I'll be back to Stalzy's soon, and would be happy to bring out-of-town guests as well.


The Victory, Madison, WI

On a recent and gorgeous Saturday morning, since I was under the weather, I decided to head out for a walk and see if the sun didn't make me feel a bit better. It had a good effect and once I'd gotten a good bit from home, I decided to see if I could get some hot tea to see if that could continue my "feel better" streak. Thanks to Google Maps, I found a very nice coffee shop close by and walked right in for a cup of their White Apricot Ginger tea.

Friendly staff, a full menu, nice patrons, and even pooch-friendly will keep this place on my short list for neighborhood spots. They are cash-only, but the proprietor said I could just pay him next time, luckily I had enough cash for the tea that visit. Still, kinda unheard of this day and age.

They make an "authentic" Hawaiian Shaved ice... U'm going to have to go back for one of those AND they offer Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, one of the area's favorites.

Cool stool, Dude.

This guy below was all muscle... and probably the biggest one was his heart. We wanted to see everyone that came in and would have loved to have had you pet him too. Plus, he sat right in the walkway, so you couldn't help but get down to his level and pet him. Smart dog.

I don't normally comment on bathrooms, but I liked theirs enough to mention it... nice to see a decent restroom in a small business.


Memorial Mile, Madison, WI

As I came home from a Memorial weekend spent out of town, I noticed a large number of these small white "tombstones" along my street. I quickly got the gist of the idea, but was pretty amazed at the length of the art installation. It is called the Memorial Mile here in Madison, and seemed to be about that long on the Atwood Avenue corridor, near Olbrich Gardens and Park.

I was glad to step out and get some pics of it on a recent Saturday, as I came back from this walk, they were pulling all of it up and had I not gotten them on the way out, it would have been too late. Phew.

From what I could see, they didn't have all Us wars, but only the ones from this century, I believe. Still the amount of men and women we've lost, laid out like they have, is pretty impactful.

I didn't shoot in sequence or in completion either, it would simply be too much, but I hope this gives some idea of their work and the impact of these wars.

Taking a note off their signs above, I believe you can find out more at VeteransForPeace.Org


Papillion-La Vista Fire & Rescue #2, Omaha, NE

A quick shout-out on the ole blog to the fine fireman that showed us around his station last month. 
We had dragged out the whole crew, including a 2-year old and a newborn. Our tour guide did a great job with all of us, finding neat things for each of us to identify with: 

2-year old - hose and water spraying, plus almost everything else... oh, and popcorn
Dad - Halligan, plus most everything
Mom - hearing about her brother's days and duties, from her brother
Newborn - well, pretty breezy place to sleep
Myself - pretty much all of it. The engine is just rad

It was a very cool hour or so. The job is no joke either.

The top of their rig really did look like the movie scene in Backdraft, 1000ft. of hose

Jaws of Life, air ram, and shears... all powered by a compressor and generator kept on the truck

Let's hope this video can play...


Retail Therapy: The Full Kit, Iowa City, IA

I recently found myself in Iowa City for the night... on the way to Omaha. I'd never been in this city before (pretty sure), but lucked into a relatively cheap hotel room and paged through one of those "downtown" tourist magazines. I noticed a store that did some high-end gym shoes, and as any sneakerhead would do, I had to check it out the next morning. 

I arrived on a rainy Friday morning right at their opening time of 11AM, but the door was locked and no lights were on. Since I'd trudged out to the shop through the pedestrian mall in the rain, I didn't have a problem taking some exterior pics and waiting a few more minutes to see if someone showed. Plus, the storefront looked great and even if I had to wait a bit, I wanted to see inside.

As luck would have it, the proprietor arrived a few minutes later and let me right in. I was very glad I had waited. "Pretty little maids all in a row"...

They had a nice mix of product and brands from Nike, Levi's, Herchsel, Adidas, New Balance, Vans, Asics, Saucony, etc... including items like jackets, jeans, t-shirts, hats, etc. It seemed like the full price kicks had all the sizes for a size run still left, and kept the premium prices. The reduced price kicks got a break on the price, but were down to 1-3 sizes left in the size run, so you'd have to luck into your size. They also had a "skater" feel, which I would guess is how the store started, but now seems to be more of a men's fashion store with a casual or street vibe. You could still find a deck, trucks, etc. but that was alongside premium denim from Levi's skate collection (adding Cordura and Lycra), and other fashion accessories that a hardcore teenage skater wouldn't be interested in.

I don't know enough of the complexities to explain the levels of shoe store ranking for each shoe brand, but I believe this store is placed on a higher level than your local Foot Locker or Shoe Carnival. As such, they are given access to premium, exclusive, high-end products, that you can't find just anywhere. It makes the potential to be wearing a shoe almost no one else wears pretty high if you see it and buy it here. And sure, some of the shoes here are similar or the same models at larger stores.

As an example of this upper echelon product, below is a Premium series Vans shoe. High-quality, buttery leathers, and this one sports a zipped on/off option. I'd never seen one before. Pretty dang sweet, but not my size.

If you happen to be on the I-80 highway and would be driving by Iowa City anyways, I'd highly recommend you get off the highway for lunch and walk the ped mall. You can make this a quick stop and then get back on the road. I would also try-on in the store as they only offer in-store credit on returns.


Over Easy, Omaha, NE

My brother and sister-in-law had been touting this place for weekday breakfast and lunch eats for as long as they've had kids, since it's near the pediatrician. Virtually every time they see the doctor, they stop here and get a meal. Of course, they also send us pics of all the food they're eating, every time. As luck would have it, we were in the right area to grab a late lunch when I was recently in Omaha, finally!

We can learn a lot about the place from their signage:

Seems like they have a nice story to tell, and good food to share, so I jumped in.

I decided to go for the breakfast side of the menu, but I'm told both sides are equally as good. I went in for their avocado toast with "hash brown rounds", and they did not disappoint. I might have eaten them faster than my pie-eating days.

To cap off this meal, I decided we could all use their edition of a Pop Tart. They have a seasonal version on the menu each day, but it had already sold out, so I had to (poor me) order one of their Nutella Pop Tarts. It was really tasty, and a pretty small serving when you split it b/w four people.

They had a nice clean sheet of white butcher paper on each table, and offer crayons so kids (or adult kids) can draw while they wait for their food to arrive. And we did have to wait. We don't know if it was the last few tables of the day, the weekend crew, or something else... but my family commented that normal weekdays are run smoothly and the food is very consistent.

In the end, it seemed like a very nice neighborhood spot to have where you live/work, and I would absolutely go back and try more of their menu options.


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