Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 3 - The "Domes", Cheese, Brats, and renewing an old friendship.

DAY 3 - October 9, The "Domes", Cheese, Brats, and renewing an old friendship.
The day was cold and rainy, so we figured it was a good day to spend touring indoors. We had seen "The Domes" listed as a tourist attraction, so we decided to take a visit. "The Domes" is a county park, built on the site of a hundred-year-old sunken garden. There are three domes, one which houses tropical plants, one of desert plants, and the "show" dome, whose exhibits change seasonally. We entered the Tropical Dome, and were immediately transported back into the Mexican jungle from our trip to Cancun. The heat and humidity were a welcome change from the cold, dreary weather outside, and immediately, we were greeted by a bright orange bird (too fast to get a picture). Everywhere we turned there were plants that were familiar to us as indoor house plants, and as tropical trees. We have a pothos plant in the kitchen which looks SO spleeny compared to this giant crawling up and around a waterfall. We saw palms, golden shrimp plants, grapefruit, cinnamon and pepper, dozens and dozens of beautiful plants which make me want to convert the back deck into a heated glass conservatory!

The Desert Dome was chilly, as deserts can be, and it was loaded with all kinds of cactus, including the woolly torch cactus -- yes, it's actually woolly! Many succulents and other plants, like aloe and agave grew profusely. Who says a desert is devoid of life -- just got to know where to look! The third dome was a collection of summer garden flowers which was nice. We suspect that soon it'll be converted into a winter garden, or maybe Christmas.

Our next stop was the Milwaukee Brat House, but we were early, so we also stopped at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart. They had foam rubber "cheese-heads", cheese neckties, cheese stetson hats (see cow photo), cheese bow-ties -- after all, the Green Bay Packers (football) play only 100 miles north of Milwaukee, and cheese is a favored product of "The Dairy State" -- and yes, there IS a town called "Land of Lakes". We got a cheese education first class -- Q:-Why don't you make macaroni and cheese with cheddar more than 2 years old? A:-It doesn't melt well. Q:-Why can't you buy old-fashioned "rat cheese" any more? A:-It is aged at a temperature too high to be approved by food and drug authorities today, though I suspect many farmers make it any just for their own use. Q:-Does Wisconsin produce parmesan, romano or havarti? A:- Duh=is this "The Dairy State?"

We bought some great souvenirs here -- a round cheese box, a shot glass shaped like a cow's udder, and a t-shirt that says "CHZHEAD". Oh yeah, and about $30 of cheese -- they DO have mail order and the prices are very reasonable for very good cheese.

We still had time, so we stopped at the Spice House, where our sinuses were cleared out instantly with all the flavorful aromas of the hundreds of spices and combinations on sale. We tried one, the Mitchell Street Steak Seasoning. Smell this and think "kielbasa"! Can't wait to get a good steak or hamburger to try it out. They're VERY reasonable, have an online catalog, and their print catalog is an education in spices by itself. No computers on the counter -- they hand-write receipts, and they have an old-fashioned cash register -- the kind that "dings" ("It's a little lumpy, but it rings")!

Anyway, back to the brat house ... we had researched this place and wanted to try the brats boiled in beer on a pretzel roll. Another really important aspect of this place was that we were going to meet a former student -- I have over 400 "friends" on Facebook who are former students; in fact the most over-used phrase in my life, so Barry says, is "former student." Anyway, we met David about 1 p.m. I haven't seen him since about 1983, but I recognized him instantly. We renewed old acquaintances, reminisced a bit, and in general, had a great time. The beer here is served 2 mugs at a time -- saves time and effort in ordering a second... and the brat is served on a soft pretzel roll -- oh I'd LOVE to get hold of some of those here in Kentucky!

Kohl's, our favorite store, began in Brookfield, a suburb of Milwaukee, so we absolutely had to make a pilgrimage there. Bought a few items, saved 15% -- though you gotta be suspicious when everything is 15% off all the time. Well anyway, we like Kohl's and are VERY thankful there's not one any closer than 25 miles away!

No comments:

Post a Comment