Chips and Salsa: a double, a triple and a strikeout

With Cinco de Mayo this week, its the perfect time to check out the chips and salsa at some of our local restaurants — kind of a little guide for our readers that are hitting the town on Thursday.   Our members suggested several places, and we chose three of those suggestions.

At all locations, the chips and salsa were brought quickly after we were seated.    We didn’t cheap out and eat the chips and salsa and leave; we also ordered food, and sometimes margaritas, which didn’t always work out…

Coming in at No. 3

Samano’s Mexican Restaurant, 3431 East Plankinton Avenue, Cudahy. Wisconsin.  http://www.samanosrestaurant.com/

Samanos exterior two

Samano’s prides itself on serving Milwaukee Mexican food for over forty years.   The location is a historic building that has been completely rehabbed on the outside and the interior has an old-fashioned intricate wooden bar.  According to Samano’s website, this historic building was originally a Miller Brewery Tavern in 1894 and the Samano family took it over in 1967.   I love everything about the history of this place.

The chips were warm flour tortilla chips which is not common to my observations and not my preference, but they were fine flour tortilla chips.   The salsa was chunky, had some spice and was very flavorful, however I think this salsa was homemade but not fresh-made.   It seemed to have the texture of salsas that you buy in the store – but more flavorful.   If you are looking for a fresh chopped or blended salsa, (we were) then this may not be your cup of tea.

samanos chips and salsa

The bigger problem was the margaritas – they were simply undrinkable and had a chemical- like flavor.   Three of us ordered margaritas and not one of us drank more than a few sips.   We struggled with how to convey this opinion — this is not a margarita take-three after all.  However, you really can’t just show up and order chips and salsa and leave — and most of us like a margarita when we go to a Mexican restaurant.   Here is your warning – don’t order the original margarita on the rocks at Samano’s – I can’t speak for any of the other 200 flavors.

Coming in at No. 2  – Javier’s Cuisine, 2011 Lathrop Avenue. Racine, Wisconsin, Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/javierscuisinee/

Javier's Sign

This place doesn’t look like much from the outside but the inside is good-sized, tastefully decorated, with playful touches.  I especially love the print of Guanajuato, Mexico (a city I have always wanted to visit) with the note that this is Javier’s hometown.   Certainly tells us a little about our chef and his roots in Mexico.

Many of us think of “Mexican food” as being just a singular type of food but certainly “grits” are an American food that not many of us in Wisconsin eat or know how to cook.   Don’t even think of asking for a brandy old-fashioned outside of Wisconsin.   My point is that Mexico is a very large country with regional specialties.   Many times this is evidenced by the naming on Mexican restaurants in the area.   (Guanajuato is the name of one of the highest-rated restaurants in Milwaukee as well as Guadalajara (large Mexican city), Jalisco Restaurant, Rivieria Maya, Mazatlan, etc.)

On to the chips and salsa – of which Javier’s hit a solid double.

Javier's Chips and Salsa

The chips were corn, warm and crispy.   The salsa was fresh, with a definite chipotle flavor.  We would have either (a) liked a little more heat or (b) liked second “hot” option.   Regardless, we bottomed out the chips and the salsa, as well as a frozen sangria.  I would also love if Javier’s opened for lunch or on Sundays.   Nothing like a margarita-Sunday type of day.

And the best of the chips and salsa we tried was at:

Mi Jacalito, 1318 Douglas Avenue, Racine, Wisconsin..  http://mijacalitoracine.com/

Best I can gather, Mi Jacalito mean “my little place” and this Mexican restaurant is deep on Douglas Avenue and (as of now) looks like the type of restaurant you may see in Mexico.   This is going to change as the owners have requested a grant to modernize the exterior which in my opinion will definitely bring in more diners.  Excellent job also on the helpful website – websites can be made at a relatively low cost and its hard to understand restaurants that don’t have one.

Mi Jacalito exterior

People want authentic Mexican food but sometimes these little places are intimidating — maybe they only speak Spanish and I won’t be able to order or the menu will be all in Spanish.   The new exterior that Mi Jacalito is planning will help break down that fear people have of trying something different because it looks so inviting  — at least according to the plans.  http://journaltimes.com/business/local/fa-ade-upgrade-planned-for-mi-jacalito-restaurant/article_6da63b3f-e45f-5ffa-b29a-a909f5d86570.html

Ok, so on to the salsa and chips.   The chips were warm and crispy.   Mi Jacalito served three salsas.  One was pico de gallo – fresh chopped.  Another was a blended spicier salsa and the third was, well, best i could tell not much more than a slightly thicker tomato juice.   We like having a choice, and other than the tomato juice one, both of the salsas were pretty good, not mind-blowing, but solid salsas.   In baseball, this salsa offering is like a triple, not a home run.

Mi Jacalito salsas two.jpg

I hope that along with the exterior update, a little money is spent on the interior – it could use a fresh look as it feels cluttered.   Also, although the Mexican TV shows added to that authentic feel, the TV was loud making it hard to talk at times.

Mi Jacalito Interior

Bonus is that Mi Jacalito is opens for breakfast at 8am and is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.  They also deliver – not sure of the boundary though.

No chips and salsa home run but its all about the on-base percentage anyway, so we will just keep stepping up to the plates.

 

Belly up to the bar for these burgers

We asked our members to suggest  “off the radar” burgers in Racine and Kenosha and our Facebook group delivered — over 100 places were suggested.   We couldn’t just limit our review to three places — we hit nine and gave ourselves a little extra time to do it.

Even with trying nine burgers, not one of these places was a strikeout. Clearly every one of theses places cared about putting good food out to their customers.  The five places below are not our winners but we gotta say, they were still pretty good.   Suds and Grub, Husher Pub and Greg’s Catering were decent burgers, but our winners just had something slightly extra special.   Danny’s Meat Market and Cabbage Heads were good flavored burgers, but the burger was overcooked — next time it could be cooked perfectly, who knows.

Suds and Grub Two

Greg's Burger

Cabbageheads bacon cheeseburger

Husher Pub Burger

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Now for the BEST of the BEST:

Choo-Choo Charlie’s, 13th Ave, Kenosha, Wisconsin (at the train depot).   www.eatatchucks.com  

choo choo sign

Choo-Choo Charlies is off everyone’s radar currently because it is so new.   Unlike all of our other picks, the atmosphere is train-crazy, loud and geared towards kids — no beer here.   It made the top of the list because the burger is darn good and the price is reasonable.

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The buns on Choo-Choo’s burger were wonderfully crunchy – reminded me of the old Pinocchio’s.  This wonderful burger was $6.49 and that included fries.   Grab your kids and go, you don’t have to sacrifice tasty food to eat at a place your kids will love.

Buckets Pub – 2031 Lathrop Avenue, Racine, Wisconsin.   www.buckets-pub.com.  Buckets is certainly not off the radar for Racine folks. — everybody knows about their hot wings.  However, you don’t hear a lot of talk about Buckets burgers.

We ordered the cheeseburger (only half-pounders served here) for $7.95 with cheddar and comes with fries.   Out of all the places we visited, Buckets was the only place that asked how we want our burgers cooked — medium rare please.

Burger

As requested, the burger was cooked a perfect medium rare with a classic beefy burger flavor.   No special sauces, avocado or fried egg topping available – just a juicy traditional burger.   I would eat this burger instead of wings any day.

The Garage, 3001 60th Street, Kenosha, Wisconsin.   www.garagebarkenosha.com.

The Garage is a bar and burger place, but it is new and not yet on everyone’s radar.

garage sign

We ordered a egg-topped cheeseburger and a cheddar-stuffed burger topped with bacon and grilled onions for $11.   With the burger came your choice of kettle chips or seasoned hand-cut fries.  The meat was seasoned perfectly and the burger cooked perfectly.  Bonus for interesting toppings that added to the burger without overwhelming it.

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Uptown Pub & Grill, 1510 Junction Avenue, Racine, Wisconsin.   https://www.facebook.com/uptownpubgrillracine

Uptown exterior

This is a bar on a small street in the Uptown area of Racine that you would never find if you didn’t make a special effort to go there.    Don’t give up though, you will be missing an excellent burger.   Uptown pub has a few tables, a few tvs, but by and large this is a bar – probably not a place to bring your toddler.

Uptown interior

Uptown offers build your own burgers – 1/3 lb grilled for $6.50 and a stuffed burger or $7.50.  We had one of each – Bacon cheese burger and a Stuffed blue cheese burger with swiss and grilled onions.

Uptown menu

The burger tasted just as delicious as it looks in the photo.   Pink in the middle, great bun, perfectly cooked bacon and cheese.  The chipotle mayo was a perfect addition to the typical bacon cheeseburger.  The stuffed burger with blue was transcendental —  the blue cheese melted in the middle into like a creamy sauce.  (The picture I had didn’t really do it justice so I omitted it)  Paired with the bacon and the grilled onions — hot damn!

uptown pub burger

I suspect we will do an off the radar burgers round two sometime in the future, but for now, I need some celery sticks and wheat grass shots.   Well, maybe for a day or two.

Beer Cheese Soup was Big Disappointment

*sigh*… I don’t even know where to begin with this week’s Take Three Tuesday. I was REALLY looking forward to sampling beer-flavored, cheesy goodness and ranking them, but, unfortunately, I cannot recommend two of the three soups that we tasted.
Let me give you the bad news first…
Grab’s Burger Bar – 2324 18th Street, Kenosha ($3.95 cup/$5.95 bowl)

I really like the burgers and fries at Grab’s. And I love their maple bacon shake so much, I would totally marry it. But we went there to try their Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup as recommended by our page members, and I was let down.

The bacon crumbles were nice, and the popcorn added a pleasing crunch. But the consistency… UGH… almost like slightly melted peanut butter or wallpaper paste (Yes, it was that thick!).   Whats more is that it had a grainy, mustard-like feel in my mouth — I just could not get past it and I cannot recommend this soup.

On to Bourbon Legends – 2200 60th Street, Kenosha ($2.95/$4.95)

This was our first trip to Bourbon Legends, and I wasn’t very impressed. I ordered a dirty martini on the rocks when we walked in, and the bartender asked me to explain to her how to make it (not a good sign, especially with a very uncomplicated drink like a “dirty”). Things can only go up from here, right? Wrong!

  

First, the Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup at Bourbon Legends was downright watery, and so was the flavor.  Second, the chunks of carrot and celery in the soup were basically raw; as if they were added as an afterthought. The one bright spot was the the homemade croutons.

Are we catching everyone on a bad night? Maybe… But if that’s the case, then there’s a big problem with lack of consistency at those two spots.

On to the good news…
Wells Brothers – 2148 Mead Street, Racine ($3.50/bowl) 

From what I can tell, Wells Brothers doesn’t have one particular way they make their Beer Cheese Soup. Looking at their Facebook page, I noticed “cheesy beer”, “cheddar ale” and “cheesy beer brat chowder” listed on their daily soup menu (changes daily). When we stopped in, it was Cheesy Beer Bacon & Jalapeño — and it was good!

With an almost cream of chicken-like base, this soup had the perfect amount of cheesiness with a subtle hint of beer. There was plenty of smoky bacon bits throughout, and jalapeno added a nice kick – not overpowering at all. So the next time you stop in to Wells Brothers for a pizza, make sure to taste some of their homemade soup as well.

This is Wisconsin — we are the home of cheese and beer —- we are better than this.

Crispy Fried Tacos – Racine has Cornered the Market

Our Take-Three Tuesday this week was crispy tacos or tacos fritos.   All of the places our members suggested were in Racine.   We checked out menus of some Mexican places in Milwaukee and Kenosha and we couldn’t see these tacos specifically listed on the menus.   Are crispy tacos a Racine specialty?   One of my favorite food bloggers from Chicago, really seems to appreciate Racine’s tacos fritos.   Check out his Racine taco reports here.    We got a little crazy and went to five places in Racine to try these tacos, and here is the report.

Coming in at No. 5,

Pico’s Tacos and Cerveza, 550 3 Mile Rd, Racine, Wisconsin.   Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/picostacosandcerveza/info?tab=overview

Pico's exterior

Pico’s is  a new kid on the block and there is a lot of excitement about a new Mexican spot on the north side.

Pico's interior

The interior is attractively furnished, however, there is no clear place to go when placing a take-out order, which I think many people will do.   The menu includes a few items that are uncommonly on Mexican menus and I look forward to returning.

Pico's Fluffy Tacos Menu

.We ordered the Fluffy Tacos with ground beef with rice and beans for $7.50.

Pico's Fluffy Tacos

The tacos came out super crispy and not fluffy in the slightest.   That’s fine, I like crispy, but the term fluffy may throw some people off.  Like most of the crispy tacos in Racine, the toppings are lettuce, tomatoes, and queso fresco.    One suggestion I would make is for Pico to put a little more rice on the plate — rice is inexpensive, and their portion is less than the norm.

As far as the tacos, these were bust up upon the first bite crispy, and they were decent.  The only thing that threw us off was the inclusion of the herb cloves in the ground beef.  It was a little different and I wasn’t really on board with it.   It certainly made Pico’s ground beef stand out as all the other places tasted about the same.

Coming in at number four,

Baja’s Supermarket, 2145 Mead Street, Racine, Wisconsin  Facebook page (perhaps) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Baja/100504303341970 

Bajas Supermarket exterior

There is no seating at Baja’s, just a deli counter in back, but you place your order up front.   Despite the name, neither the store clerk or the cook appeared to be of Mexican descent.

Bajas Menu

Talk about a bargain, four $3.49. Baja’s will serve you four fresh-fried hard shell tacos. Although the shells were tasty, these were the least authentic tacos of the group.

Bajas tacos

Unlike the other places, Baja uses shredded cheddar cheese.   Also, the tacos come with sour cream on top.  Finally, Baja does not offer a salsa, instead tops the tacos with an Ortega-like taco sauce.   The biggest complaint I have with Baja’s is the lack of an appropriate take-out containers.   There is no seating, so everything is by default  take-out.  It is pretty hard to handle a paper plate full of tacos covered with aluminium foil that sticks to the sour cream.

The last three that we tried were all fairly similar, all very good, and all recommended.

Coming in a tie for second place,

Taqueria Nuevo Vallarta, 3700 Durand Ave, Racine, WI (No web page)Taqueria Nuevo Vallarta sign

and, Santa Fe Liquor & Groceries, 516 High Street, Racine, WI http://www.santafeliquorsgrocery.com/ 

santa fe sign

First, Nuevo Vallarta.   Unlike some of the places, this is a restaurant only, not a store.  We went at 11am and by noon most of the tables were filled.

TNV Interior

Nuevo Vallarta offered four tacos fritos for $5.50.   (The only filling offered was ground beef which was the case at most of the places.)

TNV menu

These tacos were super crispy, authentic and fantastic.

TNV Tacos Fritos

Santa Fe, unlike Nuevo Vallarta, is a corner grocery first, taco stand second.  There are two tables at Santa Fe, so dining-in is possible.   You order and then pay at the cashier up front.   We grabbed these tacos before the Packer game and ordered a container of guacamole to take to the Packer party we were going to.  The guacamole was fresh made and for a little over $4, a good take-out option.

Santa Fe interior

At Santa Fe, the tacos fritos were not specifically listed on the menu but, upon request, we received four ground beef tacos fritos for $3.89, another bargain.

Santa Fe Menu

Santa Fe’s tacos were expertly fried and topped with the perfect amount of lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.   Santa Fe served them with a green sauce and a red sauce, the red sauce having a strong chipotle flavor.  I think I may be the only one that doesn’t love the flavor of chipotle, I went with the green sauce.

Santa Fe Tacos

and our WINNER is

La Tapatia, 1951 Mead Street, Racine, Wisconsin.  Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/La-Tapatia-362542481687/   (La Tapatia posts a lot of delicious food photos on the page so make sure to “Like” the page.)

La Tapatia Exterior

La Tapatia is a store but it also has several tables inside to dine-in.  Like the other store-front taco sellers, you place your order with the cashier.

La Tapatia menu

La Tapatia sells four ground beef hard shell tacos for $4.59.   Hard shell tacos are the default ground beef option at La Tapatia.   Soft shell tacos are actually 40 cents more than hard shell which seems odd because there is much more prep with the hard shell tacos.   For people who prefer flour tortillas, La Tapatia also sells hardshell flour tacos. $4.99 for four.

La Tapatia tacos

When we first opened  the container of tacos, we initially thought that the shells were Ortega or Old El Paso, because they were so perfectly formed and fried.    After tasting the tacos, we knew that these were the real deal, fresh fried.   The shells are actually what propelled La Tapatia to the top in this Take-Three challenge.  The shells were crisp, but they still had a little “give” to them, which was perfect if you don’t want a major spillage of the toppings each time you bite into the taco.    I want to talk to someone at La Tapatia to learn how they go about forming and frying those taco shells   Better yet, send us some pics of the process to Jill@wisfoodtalk.com.

This small bar makes the best chili in SE Wisconsin

Gray skies, leaf-less trees and cooling temps tend to put me in the mood for hearty comfort foods. And even though temperatures have been warmer than usual for December in SE Wisconsin, chili-eating weather is here.

Just like we’ve done in the past, we asked our readers to send us their favorite chili hotspots. Three locations were selected, chili was enjoyed, and our results are as follows…
#3 – Shirl’s Frozen Custard 7943 Sheridan Road, Kenosha

Shirl’s is a popular spot in Kenosha for burgers and frozen custard, and I’m a little embarrassed to mention that I’d never been here before. So, needless to say, I was excited when Shirl’s was mentioned for our chili challenge.

The chili at Shirl’s (small $2.79, large $3.39) was decent (I’d say it kind of reminded me of Wendy’s chili), albeit a little inconsistent. One serving was pretty greasy with a really strong oregano flavor and a medium heat level with grilled onions. But a later other serving didn’t seem greasy at all and without the overpowering oregano (yay!), but had virtually no heat (boo!) and raw onions. Maybe one bowlful was scooped and served without being stirred up a bit first; that’s my theory anyway. We also asked for cheese and onions to be added. I kind of dug that Shirl’s used nacho cheese instead of shredded cheddar. It seemed like a very “drive-in” thing to do, and I wish similar places would offer a cheese choice – shredded or whiz.
#2 – Swingin’ Door Exchange 219 E. Michigan Street, Milwaukee

This is a bar/restaurant in downtown Milwaukee that has been slinging drinks since 1931.  The vibe was great and the menu went beyond bar food to steaks and complicated salads.



This chili (cup $3.50, bowl $5.50 + $0.50 for cheese/onions) tastes exactly how chili should taste. Thick and spicy and meaty with diced onions and peppers and exactly the right amount of heat. Shredded cheddar and diced raw onions were served on the side so you could decide exactly how much of each you’d like to add. Simply, really good chili.

I just want to take a quick sec to talk about what a fun place this is – from the kitschy decor to the delicious Moscow mules to the 70’s and 80’s music that was playing overhead to the waitstaff singing Little River Band songs with us – I cannot wait to go back to this place. Great time!
 #1 Toad Hall 611 Wisconsin Avenue, Racine



As delicious as the chili was at Swingin’ Door Exchange, the chili at Toad Hall (cup $3.50, bowl $5) is on new level. It’s just so… complex. Smoky, spicy, but also a touch sweet. You can tell after just one bite that this is a recipe that was developed over time. And topped with shredded cheddar and diced red onions – whoa… Corey, Pope of Chilitown, (the creator of the chili recipe mentioned on the Toad Hall menu), well done, sir!


Just to make your mouth water a bit more, Toad Hall also serves up Frito Chili Pie ($7).

French Onion Soup – We found perfection

We received a ton of great suggestions as to where we could find the best baked french onion soup.  Traditionally, this deeply flavored soup is topped with a large crouton or croutons and melty, gooey cheese with a crusty top.    This would be my soup course if I was on death row.

Although there was a lot of things right about the soup at three places we tried,  there was a clear winner. Here are our results –

Number 3 – HobNob– 277 Sheridan Road, Racine, $5.25

Hobnob exterior

I always love the vibe of the HobNob. The vintage atmosphere practically forces you to imbibe in a martini (or two). I overheard one of the bartenders telling a patron that since the closing of Ray Radigan’s in Kenosha, the HobNob’s business has picked up. And that makes sense – we LOVE the supper club experience in SE Wisconsin!

Hobnob interior

As far as their french onion soup goes – it had its good points.  Plenty of onions in the bowl and tons of  cheese baked on top, giving it an almost creme brulee-like crust. However, we didn’t care for the soggy, tasteless “crouton” plopped under that cheese.  It was too mushy.   As for the broth it was oniony but lacked overall flavor.

IMG_2550

Number 2 – Erv’s Mug– 130 West Ryan Road, Oak Creek, $5.49

Erv’s is just north of Racine County and it is locally famous for its fish fry and starting this week, Erv’s Mug’s interior will be Christmas crazy with lights and decorations.  Although they have a bar, the dining area is large and kid-friendly.

Ervs Mug Interior

Erv’s also has good reason to be proud of their Crock of Baked French Onion Soup.   The broth was great, the crouton was  shaped to fit the mug, nicely seasoned, and retained some exterior crispness.   Another soup Erv’s offered that night was crocked Cajun buffalo chicken cheese….very interesting but we didn’t have room to try it.

Erv's Mug French onion with spoon

And the winner…  No. 1 – The Corner House– 1521 Washington Avenue, Racine, $6.75

Corner House Exterior

The Corner House is a supper club in the Uptown area of Racine that has been in operation since 1945.   The celebrity-signed menus that decorate the entry area mostly make references to their famous prime rib.

If the french onion soup at Corner House isn’t perfection, then it’s damn close.

IMG_2544

The rich, beefy and oniony broth was loaded with caramelized, julienned onions. The mozzarella and provolone cheeses on top were bubbly and but baked so nicely that we were scraping the sides of the bowl to try to pry off the cheese.  But what really put it over the top was the crouton.  It remained crunchy until we finished the entire bowl as if created by some sort of crouton wizard.   The bartender told us that their secret is to deep fry the crouton — well, this was a difference-maker.  It made my mouth happy to have that bit of crunch to accompany all those soft onions. In fact the next day, I found myself craving more.

If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a compete dinner, you can have the soup and a brandy old-fashioned at the bar.   It’s a great time of year for a delicious bowl of soup. I’ll be heading back to the Corner House very soon to get my next fix.

Looking for Choice Clam Chowder? Set your GPS to Racine

Clam chowder was logistically a difficult “take three” to tackle as most places only serve it on Fridays.   We asked if anyone wanted to ride the chowder circuit with us and we got some help from one of our page members this week, Racine resident, food lover, chef/grillmaster, beer and bike afficianado, Jerry Springer.

jerry making sausage

We went to three places; two knocked it out of the park.

Coming in at No. 3:

Bartley House, 1212 58th Street, Kenosha, Wisconsin.  http://www.bartleyhouse.com/Bartley House exterior

Bartley House is a true Wisconsin Supper club, first opened in 1959.  The cement block building is next to train tracks on a side street in an undesirable section of town.  Basically, you are not going to “happen” upon the Bartley House; you have to know its there.   Every seat was full at 7 pm on a Friday night in a dining room where the chef prepared all the meat at an open hearth located in the corner of the restaurant.

Bartley House Interior   open hearth

In true supper club tradition, dinners include bean salad, seasoned cottage cheese, which of course we paired with a Brandy Old Fashioned muddled to perfection.   We very much enjoyed the complimentary salads and our fine-dining dinners as well as the vintage atmosphere.

The Clam Chowder was bargain-priced at $1.75 a cup, $2.50 a bowl.   It was cross between New England and Manhattan Chowder. —  the color was pink/salmon.  Despite the interesting appearance, we can’t recommend this chowder.  We are not sure why it was called chowder because it was missing the potatoes.   Bottom line: the clams were tough and chewy.

chowder menu  chowder close up

No. 2 (or 1A) – Soup Shanty, 6022 Douglas Avenue, Caledonia, Wisconsin.  https://www.facebook.com/soupshanty

Soup Shanty is so cute you want squeeze it like a baby.  It was spotlessly clean and well-decorated in an updated country theme.  The menu offers three to four soups a day along with salads and sandwiches.

soup shanty large exterior

Its not simply a take out place – the Soup Shanty has several tables inside.  (Isn’t it just so cute, I want to eat it up!)

soup shanty interior

As far as the New England Clam Chowder — it was  excellent.  A satisfying, thick herbal cream base, large potatoes, carrots, and bacon is always a plus.  Lots of clams that were tender and not chewy.  The only downside was the first bite of clam was extremely gritty.  The rest of the clams were grit-free and the thick base made you want to take a nap after you ate it – comforting.

soup shanty chowder two

Just beating Soup Shanty (although not on all the judges scorecards):

  1.  Yardarm Bar and Grill, 920 Erie Street, Racine, Wisconsin   http://www.yardarmbargrill.com/

yard arm wide angle

The Yardarm is a sailboat-themed establishment tucked along the Root River.  The interior is oddly divided and has rooms named the quarterdeck, upper deck, and oarhouse.    The Yardarm is famous for its Sand Dollar potatoes and sky high ice cream cakes, not to mention the fish plates.

yard arm chowder

The New England Clam Chowder was just right with a creamy base, potatoes, red peppers, and bacon.   The seasoning was spot on and the large piece of bacon at the bottom of the bowl of soup may have put this chowder over the top.  The clams were tender and plentiful.

Being that its more than a days drive to New England from SE Wisconsin, if you get a craving for chowder, head on over to the Yardarm or Soup Shanty and get your fix. If anyone wants to help with the next take three, email us at Jill@wisfoodtalk.com.