The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce hosted a food tasting on Tuesday, July 19th at Discovery World in Milwaukee. The event featured 15 restaurants and caterers demoing some remarkably tasty bites. With no limit to the number of times guests were allowed to go back for another tiny pudding or entrée served with an adorably small utensil, it was also quite filling. “All you can eat” is a truly American concept, and there’s something just so sweet about eating your fill of deliciousness prepared by folks who share your pro-fairness values. “This event really showcases those in the food industry that are committed to diversity and inclusion,” said Jason Rae, Executive Director of the Chamber.
And showcase it did – suffice it to say it was two hours very well spent. Maybe it was the fresh Lake Michigan air or the free drink ticket (Johnnie Walker? Why, OK!), but honestly, every bite was fantastic. Mason Street Grill offered what was probably the fanciest dish of the evening, a braised Korean beef short rib over mixed cauliflower coleslaw. The flavor was fantastic, combining sweet and tart freshness with the richness of a long, slow braise – a move any of us avid home cooks would do well to pocket. I’m not a big fan of large-batch mac and cheese, but the Safe House’s Licensed to Kill version was perfect and the type of comfort food Milwaukeeans love. Their offering of stick-on moustaches was also pretty killer.
Altitude Restaurant was there with a delicious coctel de camarones and barbecued chicken flatbread, and the pulled pork slider from Jimmy’s Island Grill defied my expectations (I skipped it on the first round, but turns out it was much better than your average tiny sandwich – cheers, Jimmy!).
Then there was dessert. I was delighted to see Hom Woodfired Grill serve up a fluffernutter pudding, a take on the tradition of combining marshmallow fluff with peanut butter. Theirs added chocolate – what more needs to be said?
If bakery is your thing, there were excellent options. Classy Girl Cupcakes threw down with a truly wonderful red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and a yellow cake with rainbow sprinkles (extra credit for getting in the theme of things). But I think the standout was the cake and cookies from Kickapoo Valley Ranch. David and Joe’s bakery business grew out of their bed and breakfast in La Farge, in Western Wisconsin, and boy how is it fine. The carrot cake was moist and dense and fluffy and gingery, and the double chocolate chip cookies were almost more chocolate than cookie.
With over 115 people in attendance, it was also a lovely, very laid back social event, exactly the kind of thing you’d want to head to after work on a Tuesday. Having attended alone, I quickly realized I would not be dining alone for long. I was joined by others who had just picked up a new dish to try, or asked to join a full table nearby.
This stands out to me as something unique about the LGBT Chamber’s event – it really brought people together in a celebration of food and fairness. I met a woman from Kenosha who had brought three family members to the event, all women, and they were having a heck of a good time and inviting everyone to join. Another couple I spoke with came in from Delafield and wanted to know all about my favorite places to eat in Milwaukee. When I passed by tables, other patrons smiled at me or raised a glass. This isn’t the average experience at your average food event. I was impressed.
Cheers to the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber for hosting a great evening! To learn more about the Chamber and its events, visit http://www.wislgbtchamber.com/