My original plan for blogging today was to review the National Restaurant Show at McCormick Place in Chicago. I guess after you’ve gone a few years in a row it sort of loses its appeal. Don’t get me wrong, I still stuffed myself silly with every food sample available to man kind, but there wasn’t a “Wow!” factor. I have decided to write about a fantastic restaurant experience I had in Milwaukee, WI a few weeks ago.
I went to Milwaukee with my boyfriend a few weeks ago to see Social Distortion @ The Rave. He likes to randomly surprise me with unique foodie places and he had heard about Iron Horse Hotel from a friend. The Iron Horse is a swanky boutique hotel with multiple restaurants. The one we went to was called Branded. It was a bar but it also had a limited menu of awesomeness. The ambiance of the bar was very unique. Sort of a retro, country, chic, artsy setting. That may not make sense but it was the best way to describe it! It was very cozy though and not so artsy that I felt I didn’t fit in. However, I didn’t feel I fit in that day because it also happened to be the day of the Kentucky Derby and I was the only one not wearing a fancy hat. I must say, I love when the people gave me strange looks for having piercings and tattoos all over when they are wearing an over sized floppy hat with bows and ribbons and possibly whole game birds attached. But I wasn’t here to check out fancy hats or worry about criticism on my style – I was here to eat amazing food.
My boyfriend was trying to get me to order a drink which I kept refusing. But then I saw something magical. It was called the “Nutella Espress”. It was espresso, nutella, some sorta vanilla vodka, kahlua, and hazelnuts. It was incredible, I could have easily had about 10 because it just tasted like chocolate milk with Nutella and hazelnut chunks. If they were not around 8 bucks a pop I probably would have been sloshed before appetizers. The appetizer was a hard pick. They had unique items that are far from the usual bar snacks. They had a Wisconsin Cheese samplers, Charcutrie Platter (looked super tasty), all sorts of spreads and sliders! It was hard to choose. I ended up going with the Duck Confit Nachos. I must say I was not upset with this decision at all. They were crazy tasty! I hate when you order an item where they end up skimping on the highlight of the d
ish, but they definitely didn’t skimp on the duck confit! It had loads of fresh nacho chips, chopped tomatoes, chopped tart cherries, some micro greens, tons of shredded duck, and a white creamy sauce that I am unsure of what it is, but for the sake of explanation I will call it Heaven Sauce. I was trying not to load up on the appetizer too muc
h but I couldn’t help myself, I nearly finished the whole thing. My boyfriend helped – but even if he wasn’t there I probably would have finished it off. *shame*
I probably could have stopped here. Unfortunately for my waistline – I did not. The main entree was a difficult choice. I was tempted to continue my trend of trying something new and going for a unique experience but my passion for sausage has clouded my judgment yet again. I was in Wisconsin, I had to get a genuine Wisconsin beer brat! This was definitely no ordinary brat though. I know this might sound weird when I explain it, but stick with me here. The brat was without a doubt super fresh – and this was good and awkward at the same time. I don’t want to say good and bad – it wasn’t bad but my palette was so used to the store bought Johnsonville Brats. Not to say those are bad either – Johnsonville is tasty too. But you could definitely taste the freshness in these brats. Almost as if you know that this brat was probably a living animal not too long before (Sorry P.E.T.A). It wasn’t bad, it just had this almost gamey flavor. It was also topped with crunchy fried onion straws, and a colorful tangy fresh slaw and served on a pretzel roll. Normally I would love pretzel rolls…I was a bit upset that they seemed to of overly toasted my pretzel roll which made me a little sad. I don’t like when I go to fold up my brat in it’s bun and the bun breaks in half. In my mind this now becomes a brat sandwich. Still tasty – but now its a whole new item! Maybe im just trying to be nitpicky since I don’t have any other complaints about this place.
Overall, my opinion of the Iron Horse Hotel is great atmosphere, delicious food, amazing mixed beverages, friendly staff, and reasonable prices. This will not break your bank! If you are in downtown Milwaukee looking for something delicious I would definitely recommend this place!
Check out the Branded Menu Here: