How do you like your eggs?

Since it's Egg Week, and all the tweets have been about different ways to prepare eggs, I wanted to know what you thought about the incredible, edible egg!

How do you prefer your eggs to be prepared?

Comment below, and let me know where your favorite egg spots are around Milwaukee!

Brocach - Cozy Irish Hospitality

Brocach Irish Pub transports you across the ocean with your first step through the door. Irish for badger's den which is appropriate, Brocach first opened in heart of Madison, next to the State Capitol building. The Milwaukee location is on the Lower Eastside in downtown Milwaukee, and this charming pub serves up great brunch favorites with some Irish twists.

Heading up Water Street, going under the Holton/Van Buren bridge and past another Milwaukee brunch favorite, Brocach is a smaller restaurant that is guaranteed to impress. Warm-colored walls are accented with dark wood work. The bar has the traditional partisans to allow for intimate conversations. Even the bathroom door signs are in Gealic, but don't worry about having to bring your guide book. The English translations are on there too.

I walked in to Brocach and was greated by Julianna, the hostess and server for the lower level. She sat me at a table, and while I waited for my two friends to join me, let me know of the specials of the day: two for one mimosas and bloody marys (Saturdays only). I was set. I ordered my usual (mimosa ($7), coffee and water) and waited for my friends to join me. I have been trying to make brunch plans with my friend Sara for a long time, and when she let me know Liz was going to come along as well, I knew we had to check out Brocach. Mainly, due to the fact that Liz grew up in Ireland for a part of her childhood. Also, Sara is a vegetarian and loves a good bloody mary, so this gave the review a well-rounded perspective.

We ordered and caught up over our coffee and drinks, and before we knew it, our server brought out some fresh bread. Not sure what type of bread it was (Irish soda bread, Irish brown bread), but it was really good. Fresh, warm and straight-out-of-the-oven, the cake-like bread contained raisins and was topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Our entrees did not take very long after we finished our bread. I had ordered the Biscuits and Irish Sausage Gravy ($9). The two home-made biscuits were lightly covered in a tasty sausage and mushroom gravy and fell apart while cutting in to bite-sized pieces. Also on the plate were two eggs (over hard) and some of the best house potatoes I have eaten. Leave it to an Irish pub to get the potatoes down right. The crunchy golden brown exterior of the potato opened into a light and fluffy inside. Served with roasted red peppers mixed in, these potatoes were heavenly.

Liz ordered the Shirred Eggs ($10), which was a good choice. Similar to a traditional hash-style entree, this dish had the house
potatoes, roasted red peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, bacon, onion and tomatoes hidden by two eggs and topped with parmesan cheese. The entire dish was then baked until golden brown. The flavors were incredible. The bacon did not over power the roasted vegetables and blended nicely with the onion and tomato. Having grown up in Ireland, Liz was looking forward to a side of Rashers (Irish bacon) ($3). However, after trying it decided it was missing the flavor of traditional Irish bacon and was more like a slab of ham cooked on a griddle.

The vegetarian of the group, Sara, was very pleased with her bloody mary. Not caring for a spicy bloody mary ($7), she requested little to no spice, and was happy with the result: a well-seasoned bloody mary without the heat. Her entree, the Vegetable Frittata ($10), was large enough to split into two meals. The roasted red peppers, tomato, asparagus, yellow beets and roasted garlic were cooked to perfection and topped with parmesan cheese. The earthy-tasting frittata came with a side of the house potatoes and fresh fruit.

Whether it's for the authentic pub atmosphere or brunch with an Irish twist, I would recommend Brocach to anyone looking for a good-sized meal with Irish hospitality. For a total of about $18 per person and a drink special, Brocach is a great spot for a Saturday morning brunch. Watch out for parking, though. Located on Water Street north of the Holton/Van Buren bridge, be ready for street parking. Other than that, plan on a something different for brunch sometime: a Saturday morning brunch at Brocach.

Until next time, hope you have a great week and look forward to seeing you next weekend morning!

What have been your experiences at Brocach? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments or suggest other places for me to try around Milwaukee!

All the details you want to know: (on a five star rating)

Brocach (****½)
1850 North Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 431-9009
Brocach Irish Pub on Urbanspoon
Brunch hours:
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Atmosphere: ***** (awesome)
Traditional Irish Pub

Food: **** (very good)
Entrees with an Irish influence and amazing bread

Service: **** (very good)
Friendly, honest and knowledgeable of menu items

Drinks: ****½ - (Two for One on Saturdays!)
Mimosa - **** (very good, a little too much pulp for me)
Bloody Mary - ****½ (very good)

Price: **** (pretty good)
Less than $20 a person with a minimal leftovers.

Bloody Mary or Mimosa?

We each have our morning ritual when it comes to brunch. There has to be the correct combination of items in order for the meal to feel complete. For me it is a coffee, water and mimosa. I must have these three items before I think about ordering my entree. For others, it could just be a tall bloody mary with a great beer chaser.

On to this Friday's Question: What is your favorite brunch beverage: a bloody mary or a mimosa? Better yet, let me know where you think the best Bloody or Mimosa is in Milwaukee in the comments below.

Looking forward to the weekend, and I hope you are too. Have a great one and happy brunching.

Smyth - A Busy Holiday Morning

UPDATE: As of April 2011, Smyth has a new chef, Jason Gorman, formerly of Dream Dance Steak at Potawatomi Bingo Casino. Their brunch menu and concept has dramatically changed from this review. Please check them out and comment back here on the changes, and if they should be reviewed again.

Get your motor running and head off into another direction from Smyth at The Iron Horse Hotel. Located in a beautifully renovated 100-year old warehouse, The Iron Horse Hotel recently opened in Milwaukee in 2008. Being one the of the newest additions to the hotel scene, I wanted to see what guests to our city would experience for a Milwaukee brunch.

Driving south on Sixth Street, the hotel is located on the far end of the rotary. The commanding red brick building contrasts with the sleek white metal bridge leading from Downtown to Walker's Point. However, the valet and doorman warmly welcomes you into the building and reminds you to "enjoy your stay." Smyth is located right off the main lobby to the left. The wood pillars, steel and glass dividers and large leather couches make the weary traveler feel welcomed in.

Joining in brunch with me on Valentine's Day morning were Andrew, Chris and Andres. I made reservations online the day before just to be sure we would have a seat on this busy holiday morning. The host greeted us and sat our table of four after several other groups. Once we were seated, we had to wait for some time before we were given water or asked for our drink order. There was a confusing flurry of activity of servers, bussers, host and bartenders, however, our table seemed to be overlooked. After some time, Karen, our server, did start serving us water and telling us about the special of the day. At the time, we were more interested in getting our bloody marys and mimosas. After ordering, the host, who then was playing bartender, prepared the bloody marys with all the fixings ($8) and mimosas ($10) table-side.

The bloody marys were loaded with a celery stalk, pickle, beef stick, brussel sprout, pepperoncini, olive and a lime wedge, and it ended there. The drink itself was lacking the body, spice and richness of the add-ins. Watery and with no seasoning, the drink needed the extra items to make it worth the price in my opinion. The mimosa was served in a champagne flute (not a larger traditional glass), and was loaded with pulp. For the price of $10, I made sure this drink lasted the entire meal.

After we had our drinks and ordered our entrees, our server brought us out a small assortment of mini-muffins: blueberry, poppy seed and others. For a table of four, we were served six mini muffins. Needless to say, they did not last long. We asked our server for some more while we waited, and she informed us after some time the kitchen was out, but she would look for other muffins to serve us. We never did find out if there were more.

Our entrees were delivered among many empty water and coffee glasses. Chris had ordered the Crab Cake Benedict ($16). The large plate being set in front of him (and the price) made me think he was being served a large crab cake with a generous portion of breakfast potatoes. When the plate reached the table however, all of our jaws did the same. The presentation of food lead us to believe the kitchen forgot to place something on the dish. There was a large empty space next the eggs benedict. The run-of-the-mill crab cakes were topped with two poached eggs and a watery Hollandaise sauce. If the cakes had a special seasoning or the sauce was outstanding, I would understand the price. However, neither wowed us. The breakfast potatoes were nicely seasoned with rosemary.

Andres decided to try the Portobello Benedict ($16). This nice vegetarian option filled the plate better than the previous dish. The mushroom was nicely cooked and topped with roasted red peppers and two poached eggs. However, the same watery Hollandaise sauce covered the the eggs. The larger portion of the breakfast potatoes were a pleasant side to have on the plate. Once again, the high price tag seemed to promise an incrediable entree, but the reality did not live up to the hype.

Andrew and I both chose the Traditional Benedict ($15). When the plates were delivered to the table, if someone did not know what we ordered, you would not be able to tell they were the same entree. My food looked as if it was haphazardly thrown together on the plate. The eggs benedict were strewn about and had barely enough watery Hollandaise sauce to cover the eggs and English muffins. The large slice of ham, however, was nicely cooked, and I ended up eating that first. The portion of the potatoes were half that of the other plates on the table. Andrew's entree was nicely presented on two-thirds of the plate. His entree was also lacking a full-bodied Hollandaise sauce, and in my opinion, an essential for any benedict dish.

Since the hotel was undoubtedly sold-out for the weekend, the staff at Smyth were busy trying to keep up with the demands of a full restaurant. In my opinion, even though there were some inconsistencies of service, presentation and food quality, I would be willing to check out this restaurant again, perhaps on a less busy weekend.

What have been your experiences at Smyth? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comment section or suggest other places for me to try around Milwaukee!

All the details you want to know: (on a five star rating)

Smyth at The Iron Horse Hotel (**)
500 West Florida Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204

(414) 374-4766
Smyth at The Iron Horse Hotel on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Atmosphere: *** (pretty good)
Warm and welcoming in an nicely renovated warehouse hotel

Food: * (poor)
This visit seemed to miss it's mark.

Service: * (poor)
Seemed to be lost in the flurry of a busy morning.

Drinks: ** (ok)
Mimosa - ** (ok)
Bloody Mary - ** (ok)

Price: * (poor)
For the price, one would expect more flavor or a greater portion.

Cafe Hollander - Tosa Village

Whether you are looking for an interesting take on the traditional brunch or you want to experience an amazing space, Café Hollander in Tosa Village is a must on anyone's list of brunch stops. This restaurant, which is a part of the Diablos Rojos restaurant network, has one of the largest import beer selections for any meal, but some of the best waffles and pancakes in Milwaukee for brunch.

Driving into the Village of Wauwatosa on State Street, one gets a sense of how this suburb of Milwaukee absorbs the best the city has to offer (food, shops, neighborhood) and blends it with the friendliness and charm of a small Wisconsin town. Opening a second location of this Eastside staple, Café Hollander blends in nicely to the surrounding neighborhood of the Village. I have visited this restaurant on several different occasions for different meals. Brunch, of course, has been my favorite.

Immediately upon entering, you are presented with a large bar with several import beers on tap. It might be a bit hard to notice the host station, since it's a little tucked behind the entrance. I looked around for my friend, Andrea, who was meeting me out for brunch this time, but she was not there. I asked for a table, and the hostess sat me and told me the server, Mike, would be right over. Sure enough he was, and so were my drinks (coffee, mimosa ($6.50) and water). The mimosa's are more traditional at Café Hollander, served in a slightly larger champange flute and garnished with an orange. Andrea arrived not too long after I did, and we dove into conversation.

Our server came to check up on us and take Andrea's drink order soon after she was seated. He also described to us the special of the day, a breakfast burrito, and asked if we were ready to order. Having not seen Andrea for almost a year, we needed some time to catch up and look over the menu some more. This was probably our mistake, because then it seemed that we were "out of the rotation" of the server. It took him a little longer than we would have liked to come back to take our order. However, we made the most of it, and just got back to talking.

Once our food order was in, it did not take much time at all for it to be delivered to our table. I had ordered the Southern Gentleman Belgian Waffle ($8.95). This fluffy, perfectly cooked waffle comes loaded with ale braised onions, Applewood smoked bacon, white cheddar cheese sauce, roasted pecans and maple syrup on the side. I did not need the knife to cut into the waffle, and every square had an ample amount of toppings on it. The idea of a savory waffle intrigued me, and I was not disappointed. Each bite had a complex set of flavors to it: the smokiness of the bacon was smoothed out by the cheese sauce. The sweetness of the toasted pecans were contrasted by the savory braised onions. This was all supported by the fluffy Belgian Waffle. It was so much though, I could not finish the last couple bites.

Andrea had ordered the daily special, the Breakfast Burrito ($10.95). While, the presentation was nothing to write home about, the massive burrito was also a plethora of flavor. Chorizo sausage mixed with rosemary roasted potatoes and two eggs wrapped in a flour tortilla topped with a spicy red sauce and mild white sauce. The rosemary potatoes were a nice compliment to the chorizo sausage. The creamy white sauce blended the flavors together with the red sauce adding a touch of heat at the end.

If you an avid brunch fan and are looking for a restaurant that takes brunch to the next level, Café Hollander is must. For a total of about $16 per person, it's worth every flavorful bite. The Tosa Village location offers plenty of parking and, in our case, a great place to meet up with friends. I would highly recommend Café Hollander to those that are a looking for a nice change of pace.

Until next time, hope you have a great week and look forward to seeing you next weekend morning!

What have been your experiences at Café Hollander? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments or suggest other places for me to try around Milwaukee!

All the details you want to know: (on a five star rating)

Café Hollander—Tosa Village (***)
7677 W State Street
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 53213
(414) 475-6771
Cafe Hollander on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Saturday and Sunday
8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Atmosphere: *** (pretty good)
Belgian bicycle enthusiast serving some great European beers

Food: ***** (awesome)
A wide array of flavor combination taking a traditional Brunch to the next level

Service: **½ (good)
Quick to deliver food, but slow on taking orders

Drinks: ***
Mimosa - *** (pretty good)
Bloody Mary - n/a (didn't try!)

Price: *** (pretty good)
Less than $20 a person with a minimal leftovers.

Honey Pie Cafe - Great Neighborhood Diner

As a "transplant" to Milwaukee, I am always looking for a meal that reminds me of my childhood. One of the best places I have found that give me this nostalgic feeling is Honey Pie Cafe, located on Kinnickinnic Avenue in Bayview. If you too are looking for a good home-cooked brunch, you must try this great little neighborhood diner offering an authentic "made-from-scratch" brunch.

When heading south on KK, the cafe's front is on the right side: look for the large pig with a napkin around its neck. When you walk in, you are immediately know that you are in Bayview. The large clock above the kitchen window that looks like a 1950's alarm clock, the mounted deer heads and stuffed ducks are mixed in with a hand-drawn map of the neighborhood and historic photos. The staff is zipping around delivering food and seating tables. If it is busy, be sure to jot your name down on the clipboard on the post directly when you walk it. Otherwise, you might get looked over for seating. Luckily for me, this time my friend, Robert, had already got a table.

It didn't taken long after I had been seated for the server, Jennifer, to come over and ask for our drink order. Before I knew it, I had my usual (mimosa ($6), coffee and water) in front of me. Robert had decided to order the "beermosa ($5)," a New Glarus Spotted Cow mixed with orange juice and garnished with an orange slice. Not a bad drink for a weekend brunch! We ordered our food and sat back to relax. On each table is a little arrangement of fresh flowers, all the condiments you need and a box of Trival Pursuit cards. Just the thing you need sometimes to pass the time while waiting for your food to arrive!

For being as busy as it was (always about 8-12 people waiting to be seated), the service was on pace. Our food was delivered quick and hot. I had ordered the corned-beef hash ($9) with eggs over hard and rye toast. The toast was neatly arranaged on top of the eggs and peeking beneath this perfectly cooked layer was the hash. Now I had ordered this once before, and I have to say, it tastes like St. Patrick's Day dinner with every bite. The corned-beef is not shredded like in some hashes. Instead, the meat and red potatoes are in nice-sized cubes. With the addition of a gravy and roasted red peppers, this was a great breakfast. The toast was the perfect addition to the dish to help soak up the last reminiscences of the sauce.

Robert's two egg scramble with ham and cheddar ($7) was good as well. The scramble was completely customizable, so for the overwhelmed, hung-over or morning dazed, it's sure to hit the spot. More than half the plate was taken up by the eggs, with a good sized portion of Cajun home fries on the side and wheat toast.

For the brunch novice, who isn't quite ready to dive head first into dim sum, Honey Pie delivers brunch classics for a total around $16 per person. Our brunch was an excellent way to start off the weekend, even if both of us had never done a Saturday morning brunch before! I would definately recommend Honey Pie again to those that are looking for a home-cooked meal and atmosphere.

Until next time, hope you have had a great start to your weekend!

What have been your experiences at Honey Pie? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments or suggest other places for me to try around Milwaukee!

All the details you want to know: (on a five star rating)

Honey Pie Cafe (***½)
2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Milwaukee WI 53207
(414) 489-PIES
Honeypie  on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Saturday and Sunday
Starting at 9 a.m.

Atmosphere: *** (pretty good)
Southside meets Northwoods cabin (with Grandma in the kitchen)

Food: **** (great)
Made from scratch and great authentic flavors

Serivce: **** (great)
Quick and friendly

Drinks: ***½
Mimosa - **** (great)
Beermosa - *** (pretty good)
Bloody Mary - n/a (didn't try!)

Price: *** (pretty good)
Less than $20 a person, and still left full

A Weekend Culinary Adventure in Brew City

Ah, weekend mornings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: the Brew City in the Cheese State. No matter what the time of year, weekend mornings have a tradition in Milwaukee: brunch.

Ever since moving to this city over 5 years ago, Saturday and/or Sunday mornings have always been a personal adventure to some of this city's restaurants and their individual take on brunch. From the corporate hotel restaurant's buffet to the the neighborhood diner's hash skillets, Milwaukee has the best brunch offerings of any Midwest city. No matter what your budget, age or neighborhood, there are plenty of offerings every weekend morning.

One of the highlights of any brunch, as any good citizen of Milwaukee will attest to, is the quality of the establishment's bloody mary or mimosa. This is mainly the point of brunch in this city, I have found. What better way to shake off the baggage (or hangover) from the night before than to have one of these great morning drinks. Personally, I have to have a glass of water, a cup of coffee and a mimosa in front of me before I even think about ordering. I have several friends that will frequent certain restaurants only because they love their "bloodies."

In the coming weeks, I will review with you the restaurants I go to each weekend morning and give you my insight on what I thought about the service, atmosphere, food, drink and price. I welcome your feedback or suggestions on places to visit.

So let's check out some of Milwaukee's Best Brunches.

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