- How did you get involved in writing for OnMilwaukee.com?
Lori: It’s interesting OnMilwaukee.com kind of found me. I’ve always loved to write and I’ve always loved to cook and eat and enjoy food. I was working at Marquette University and my job was pretty nine to five so I had a lot of time on my hands and for a while I had a food blog so I would cook and write about things that I was cooking. Then I started kind branching off of things that I was doing and started free lancing about like hidden gems and different funny little food companies that nobody knew about or different places to go in Milwaukee and it just kind of developed from there. All of a sudden, I was doing this writing and writing about things I loved and I found a gig doing a little bit of free lance work for Milwaukee Magazine and OnMilwaukee saw what I was doing there. I was there for maybe nine months and I got a DM from somebody from OnMilwaukee and they said, ‘hey we like what you’re doing over there, you should come over here and do that for us.’ So it started as free lancing work and I probably free lanced for five or seven years and they came to me and said hey we’d love to bring you on full time and I thought who is going to turn down a full time food writing gig? I always tell people I did what I loved on the side and eventually people noticed and I kind of slipped into that. I feel like I was really, really lucky to have people who appreciated what I was doing.
2. Were there any challenges that you faced when you left Marquette and wrote full time?
Lori: Yeah, you know it was very different. The job took a lot to get used to. It was one thing when I was a free lancer and I was writing two or three articles a week, which was quite a bit considering I worked full time but I could do it at my own pace and I had a little bit of control over that. Now full time, I’m in charge of which restaurants are opening and which restaurants are closing. Things are changing here all the time. So that took a lot of adjustment. The pace is so much faster. And you know being a writer, I took a pay cut, I won’t lie but in this case it was about what will I love doing everyday and this is something I cant turn down.
3. How would you compare Milwaukee’s dining experience to other cities you have been to? In other words, what makes Milwaukee Milwaukee?
Lori: Right now, Milwaukee is changing really, really fast. The past ten years have been great to Milwaukee. One of the things I’m seeing now is that people are coming up from Chicago and opening up restaurants here because the real estate is cheaper and we have room in the market because we don’t have ten of everything. So, Milwaukee is an exciting place. I think we are just starting to be noticed as far as the breadth of our food scene. In the next few years, we have the potential to really be a good competitor. Wisconsin was always a fly over zone. Kind of a place people overlooked for food. And that wasn’t really true, we’ve always had some pretty good food here but not necessarily things other people didn’t have. It’s pretty cool to be looking and watching other people start to acknowledge that we really have a pretty interesting, diverse food scene.
4. So what is your favorite spot?
Lori: This is an impossible question. It depends on my mood. If I’m going kind of a little bit more high end I love Morel in Walkers Point. I went there for my birthday last year. They have a menu with really great food with all Wisconsin things. It’s a farm to table thing and so their food is delicious. There’s this place called All Purpose, or AP Barn Kitchen in Walkers Point that has the best wine list, really ever. And they just know so much on pull out wines, like really interesting things that you’ve never had before. And then like if I’m craving macaroni and cheese I go to Comet Cafe because they just have the best classic macaroni and cheese that you can get.
5. Where would you tell someone to go for the best burger in Milwaukee?
Lori: I’m actually working on a series right now called ‘The Burger Trail’ and every week I eat a burger and I rate it on a scale like the bread that it’s on, the burger and the way that it’s presented, the toppings and how they work with the burger and then the overall value of it. So I’ve done twelve or thirteen burgers so far and it’s kind of interesting because when you put a rating system on a burger… you know you eat a burger when you’re hungry and a burger is like pizza. A burger is almost always kind of good. And when you think about it a little harder it becomes more difficult. Right now though, one of my favorite burgers is at Merriment Social. They just started doing lunch and they do dinner. They make their own buns that are called ‘Japanese Milk Buns’ and they are made with this Japanese technique. They are kind of sweet but like brioche and they’re really kind of soft and spongey and they’re delicious. They go kind of crazy over there they sometimes crazy with toppings but even their classic burger, which is like American cheese, bacon and this great bun is just really good.