Happy New Year
I don’t know about you, but I usually get a little nostalgic at the beginning of a new year.
This year is no different. I had to go to Milwaukee to take care of some family business so decided to go out to dinner with my sister to Karl Ratzsch’s Restaurant. Some of you may have heard of it. It’s one of the old established restaurants in downtown Milwaukee. By old I mean that it has been there for over 100 years.
Now if you have looked at my website and done any reading you’ll know that I worked there. 1973-1980 was when I did my stint at this old establishment. I can say that there are a lot of great memories associated with those years and the restaurant. This is the restaurant that I actually learned the most jobs. I started out in the kitchen as a line cook, and worked all the stations in the kitchen then moved to the front of the house and learned all the jobs out there from bus boy to waiter, bartender and host. I even did a stint in the basement as storeroom manager after Anne left.
Well enough about that. Walking into the place Tuesday night was a step back in time. Three of the people that I worked with, way back when, were working that night. Maybe a little grayer around the temples but looking good. The rooms look great with all of the antiques still adorning the walls and all the glass ware behind the bar shining on the glass shelves. Even the cooper steins looked especially good. We had a drink at the bar and did some reminiscing and then went to a table for a feast. Rita was outstanding as our waitress, although she didn’t have to help us decide on to much.
I had been thinking about what to have for dinner all day. Had to have schnitzel so went with: Black Forest Veal Breaded Veal Cutlet layered with Smoked Pork, Swiss Cheese, spinach, and Mushroom Sauce, served over Spatzle. I had to try the potato dumpling instead of spatzle though. I made enough of them and they were always so good. Sister Carol had: Wiener Schnitzel a la Holstein Breaded Veal Cutlet topped with fried egg, anchovies and capers served with steamed vegetables and Potato Dumpling. Both entrees were as outstanding today as they were in the 70′s. We did start out with some consomme with liver dumplings and a spinach salad with hot bacon dressing. I’m so glad that the new chef, John, by new I mean other than Chef Ray that I worked under, kept the old recipes. We even managed to get down what I call a “Trudy Schaum Torte”. Meringue shell with ice cream and strawberries and hot fudge. And we were able to walk out after all that.
Did go back at lunch the next day to play catch up with some of the other people that still work there. Clancy, Tom, Dennis and John were all there and I had a good time talking about what is going on now in our lives and about Stoughton and Naeset-Roe Inn. Hope they can get some time away and come and visit my Inn.
Karl Ratzsch’s isn’t as busy as it used to be, but the food is just as good and it is worth the time to go and dine in the hallowed halls. I said dine. Today to many restaurants are around for you to go out to eat. They offer the same thing and it is all done in grease and it all looks the same and tastes the same and you eat it and you get out. Karl Ratzsch’s is meant for dinning. Sit and relax, enjoy a drink or imported beer or a glass of wine. Enjoy the people you are with. Then order your dinner and take your time to enjoy it in courses. If the waitperson is bringing food out to fast ask them to slow down.
I hope that when you are in Milwaukee, you’ll stop in at Karl Ratzsch’s at 320 E. Mason Street. Give them a call at 414-276-2720 to make a reservation. Remember to Dine Out as often as you can, it makes life a lot more enjoyable. If you’re looking for a complete getaway, remember Naeset-Roe Inn in Stoughton is the perfect place for your B&B experience and dinning is great at Laz Bistro or Vincenzo’s Wine Bar, and you can walk to them.
Have a great year.