“Checking In With” Carol, Our Sunday Brunch Host | August 2016

You can’t tell from the photo (or maybe you can), but Carol possesses a quick wit! Watch out . . . or your smiles will make your cheeks start to hurt!

“Checking In With” Carol, Sunday Brunch Host

Here at The Pfister, I treat everyone the same.  I know they’re human beings: they all put their pants legs on one leg at a time.

I have been in hospitality for thirty years–I started out in banquets here at the Hotel–but I also have a huge theater background.  I did theater as a kid and in high school; I also did Student Congress and debate, both of which helped me talk my way out a problem.  Then I did community theater in my hometown.  There, I found myself backstage more–I was good at telling people what to do, where to go, what they needed–and was stage manager and producer on some of the productions.

Some of my favorite productions were Nunsense (I loved the amazing banter between the nuns, and the character I played had to do a song and be on pointe the whole time–yes, in ballet shoes) and My Fair Lady (I loved the dances).  What I realized is that theater is really about the people: we eat and sleep together for a few months at a time.  We become family, one that understands the stress and wear and tear that theater can inflict.  I mean, in a regular family, people can say, without really knowing your situation, “Oh, you can get through this” or “Why are you stressing so much?”  But in a theater family, everyone understands–and it can be more comfortable being with people who understand.

Hosting the Sunday Brunch at The Pfister is kind of my outlet for theater now: each guest is a new audience.  I feel trusted by the Hotel to take care of guests–all of the Associates do–for the good of the company.  It’s nice being able to make someone’s day a little better.

The Menu of Holiday Past and Present

There are all kinds of relics to uncover here at the Pfister Hotel. With the holidays in full swing, food comes to my mind right away.  In my home, food for any celebration is always given the utmost care and attention, like a newborn baby. As I was poking around last week, I hopscotched my way up the wide, coral marble steps in the lobby guarded by Dick and Harry (the bronze lions). Displayed inconspicuously, was the china used at Thanksgiving dinner in 1899 at the Pfister Hotel, complete with the dinner menu. DSC_0046

Blue point oysters, Little Neck clams; followed by consomme, whitefish, salmon, leg of lamb, filet mignon, young chicken, young turkey and haunch of antelope. I’m not quite sure about that last entree, but overall, that sounds like a way better spread than turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.

Luckily, this tradition of elegance and fine dining continues today with both Thanksgiving and Christmas brunch here at the Pfister. When I first arrived back in November, I marveled at the Sunday brunch service. Now, I see that truly, no one does the holidays like the Pfister.

Pfister menu

Only one other holiday tops the decadence of Thanksgiving, and that  is Christmas. At The Pfister, food is paramount.  I made a special trip on Christmas morning just to see the spread for myself. A runway of tables split the grand ballroom in two, piled high with every kind of delicacy you could imagine. It was a sight for the eyes, as much as a treat for the stomach. The tables intersected another horizontal row of smiling, white-coated chefs eager and willing to prepare you a fresh omelet or a stack of malted Belgian waffles.

Features from this year’s menu were: juniper berry grilled quail with sun-dried fruit wild rice, traditional rosemary leg of lamb with mint pan jam,  sea salt and herb crusted prime rib with thyme-garlic jus, Scottish salmon en croute with fennel, snow crab claws, shucked cold water oysters and lemongrass poached jumbo shrimp with cognac infused cocktail sauce.

(Is your mouth watering yet?)

Caramelized onion broth with parmesan croutons, citrus roasted chicken with rosemary polenta cakes, melted arugula, smoked tomato cream and winter squash ratatouille. I could go on all day…

The ballroom was packed with families smiling, laughing and enjoying their time together. I realized that although the food was spectacular, the more important function of it was bringing families together to share a meal and make memories on this most sacred holiday.

 

 

And So It Begins…

First day on the job as the Pfister Narrator and I feel like I’ll get used to hanging around this place pretty quickly. Greeted by the bubbly Timothy Westbrook concocting another masterpiece in his studio, I walked in on what I thought would be a quiet Sunday because of the Packer game. I was mistaken. Brunch –the most extraordinary brunch I have ever seen–  was just wrapping up and sure enough, there was a TV hidden in that stately armoire, so the lobby lounge comforted a roaring chorus of Packers fans.

Within minutes of cozying up to the bar, Val asked if I drank alcohol and if I wanted to try something delicious. Two questions I rarely say no to. This was apparently a holiday tradition and a rite of passage for new employees. “Must try the Glog,” advised Timothy. It was warm, smooth and strong. Be sure to ask Val for a glass next time you are in.

I was happy to run into Ed Makowski, the third Pfister Narrator, and his adorable offspring Edmund. He recounted every detail about their trip to the art museum, but acted uncharacteristically shy when I asked to take a picture. Ed shared suggestions for getting to the good stories a few hidden spots in the hotel.

As you can imagine, the Pfister has been heavy on my mind the past few months, and by pure serendipity, I came across this article in the Shepherd Express. (I got my first break as a writer in the Shepherd.) It’s a quick read about the history of this gem and its founder, German immigrant Guido Pfister. It got me thinking about the modern application of this Historic space. I will be studying these paradoxes as they unfold and seeking out the characters passing through.

By all means, if there is something you are dying to know or some secret you’d like me to uncover – let me know via the comments or directly at jlkashou@gmail.com. More to come!

Brunch at the Pfister [VIDEO]

Gather family and friends and hop into one of Milwaukee’s most loved dining destinations for a delicious Easter and Mother’s Day Brunch.  With chef-prepared favorite entrees, mouthwatering pastries and complimentary treasured memories.

$49.95 for adults
$24.95 for children 12 and under
Four (4) and under are FREE

Follow along as Joshua Wolter puts on another hat and takes a crack at making some egg omelets with Darin at the Pfister Hotel.

The Rouge is a Milwaukee classic, a historic dining room serving the finest Sunday Brunch. The brunch menu features over 40 unforgettable items including carving stations, made to order pasta and omelette stations, fresh fruits and cheeses, and a decadent dessert display. Mimosas and signature bloody mary bar also included.

To make reservations, please contact Café Rouge directly at 414-390-3830.