I recently got to get acquainted with a freelance marketer, sports journalist and travel blogger from Texas named Jayme Lamm, who I met at the Pfister because Jayme was connected with the Astros and had heard about how wonderful it was from both the tour and booking managers for the team. Referred to me by the marketing director at Travaasa Hana in Maui, where she’d recently stayed, Jayme was described as “a fun, bubbly blonde who looks stereotypically Texan, but then she opens her mouth and what comes out doesn’t match, at all.” I’d nosed around on her website, read a few of her blog posts and began following her on Twitter, and was quickly convinced we could have some fun and I could probably learn a lot from her.
When she arrives, there’s an instant affinity: petite like me, she has sunny blonde hair, big brown eyes, is highly energetic, and reminds me of my younger sister. We start chatting right away about what brings her to Milwaukee (a family reunion up North), and how she’s looking forward to spending a night out and about. I warn her that on Wednesdays not much is going on, but I had an idea that would allow for a quick survey of Milwaukee: something old, something new, and something unique.
Starting at the Pfister (“something old”), we toured the hotel. A fan of old hotels because of their character, Jayme has stayed at a lot of beautiful places, but is impressed by what she sees here. Ending inside Mason Street Grill, we settle onto a pair of leather stools at the end of the bar, and our bartender, Micah, approaches with the menus. As we decide on our drinks (champagne for Jayme, a glass of Kung Fu Girl Riesling for me), Micah guides us through the appetizers. I know we’ll be definitely ordering my favorite (Tuna Tartar Tacos), but we aren’t sure what else to get. Thanks to Micah’s guidance, we add Mason Street’s signature Rockefeller Dip and Fried Surf Clams.
Conversation turns from the week’s Brewers games (“It got so hot and muggy with the roof closed for the rain!”) to her blogging work. Jayme relates how she always keeps an eye out for stories, though because she has bad luck, the story often ends up being about her. Our appetizers arrive and are demolished before we even knew they were there. Jayme, with her story-finder’s observant eye, notices Micah’s pin – a small square, featuring a butcher knife and the words “certified foodie.” We both instantly jump on this new thing and inquire after its meaning. We’re informed that it’s related to something at Mason Street Grill called “Counter Culture, “ which consists of a 7-course meal served with a chef as guide, at a special counter facing the kitchen, a la a chef’s table.
Jayme and I then head to our next destination (“something new”). SPiN Milwaukee is located in the Third Ward, a short jaunt from the Pfister, which gives me a chance to point out other fine destinations for food and drink. A combination table tennis club and bar, SPiN features ping pong tables for rent by the half hour or the hour and a full-service bar with food. It’s quiet when we arrive, but gives us a chance to talk to the bartender, after he serves us a couple pints of Milwaukee-made Sprecher beer. He and Jayme hit it off when he mentions being a musician and she mentions she’s looking to hire someone to write a little jingle with her for her charity work.
By the time we’re finished with our pints, having met one of the for-hire table tennis coaches and practiced giving perfect high fives (secret: keep your eye on the other person’s elbow), it’s quite late. Instead of going on to our “something unique” which was going to be At Random: Bay View’s swanky, orange-lighted, rat pack-music playing, liquorrific milkshake fountain shoppe – we decide to call it a night. SPiN managed to be both new and unique; as did Jayme.
For Jayme, the Pfister was old, new and unique and she looks forward to returning to Milwaukee to stay there, in order to best explore more of what the city has to offer, like the Safe House and Bryant’s Lounge, which were both recommended by Micah (and endorsed by me). Plus, At Random is waiting, as is a whole array of new places that have cropped up in the city over the last five years. It’s a terrific thing to be in a city that has so many wonderful things to offer, but I also like knowing where my favorites can be found: like Tuna Tartar Tacos and Kung Fu Girl Riesling.