400 North Water Street
If you think Milwaukee's culinary offerings are limited to cheese, sausage and beer, you haven't been to the Milwaukee Public Market. The vendors at this permanent indoor market offer a wide range of specialty ingredients, prepared food and cookware. On a recent trip to Milwaukee, the market was at the top of our list of places to visit. It opened in 2005 and still looks brand new. We didn't find a lot of produce when we visited, but they offer an outdoor farmer's market every Saturday through October. We were impressed by the wide selection and quality of the food, and, as we found throughout the city, some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet.
• 1 The market is located at the north end of Milwaukee's historic Third Ward neighborhood.
• 2 Giant olives are the star of the antipasti bar.
• 3 Thief Wine's large retail selection can be sampled at its wine bar.
• 4 The St. Paul Fish Company offers a variety of fresh seafood. Grab a stool at their counter to sample their oysters and po boy sandwiches. Grab a local beer while you're at it.
• 5 Salmon jerky and smoked salmon on a stick are some of their specialties.
• 6 There's plenty of cheese at the market – this is Wisconsin, after all. These Mozza Whips look like a lot of fun to eat.
• 7The Spice House, our favorite source for spices in Chicago, was founded in Milwaukee. This is one of two locations there. Their famous local blends are inspired by neighborhoods around the city.
• 8 Cute, kitchy unitasker No. 1: The Cherry Chomper.
• 9 No. 2: The Strawberry Huller.
• 10 Cake bites! We tried out a few flavors, in the name of research, of course. Lemon poppyseed was the clear favorite.
Related: Taste Escapes: Milwaukee
(Images: Joanna Miller)