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The Green Kitchen Review

I love sandwiches. Any sandwich. Give me a Panini, a wrap, a sub, even just a plain white bread sandwich and I will be happy. Today I went to get my favorite sandwich in Milwaukee. I discovered the #11 about a year ago and I have never been able to go back.

The Green Kitchen is a little stand in the Milwaukee Public Market that serves sandwiches, salads, wraps and juices. It is conveniently located right by the front entrance, so it is pretty hard to miss. When I first went to The Green Kitchen, I had no idea what to get. I asked the man who was working and he suggested the #11, which was featured on the cover of the May 2015 issue of Milwaukee Magazine. I figured since it was good enough to be on the cover of a magazine, it was good enough for me. To this day, I have not found a sandwich as delicious as this one.

The #11 is listed as a “Hot Artisan Sandwich” and is served on two thick slices of ciabatta bread. It is stuffed with chicken, fresh mozzarella, arugula-basil pesto, tomato and fresh arugula and sells for $8.45. They place the giant sandwich in the Panini press, wrap it in foil, and there you have it. The bread is perfectly toasted with beautiful grill marks and has a crunchy outside and a soft inside. The structure of the ciabatta helps to make sure the sandwich keeps its shape. This is a sandwich that won’t have half of your ingredients leaking out the sides. On the inside of the bread, the arugula-basil pesto is spread generously, and acts as a glue to hold all of the fresh arugula inside. Fresh slices of tomato and mozzarella are laid on top of the pieces of chicken and together, it provides and almost religious experience. The freshness of the ingredients is what makes this sandwich great, and to me, the shining star is the mozzarella. It is so delicate in flavor with a nice light texture, but the best part is that it doesn’t melt in the Panini press. Most Paninis have the cheese melted inside to help hold the ingredients together, but it would be a sin to melt this perfect cheese, and the employees of The Green Kitchen know that. Not only is this sandwich full of fresh and crisp flavors, it is extremely filling. I can usually only finish half of the sandwich, but go back within an hour to finish the rest, because the taste is too good to resist.

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Oakland Gyros Review

Today it was 80°F in Milwaukee, and that meant that the restaurant scene was almost completely barren. Whenever it is slightly warm enough to wear shorts, everyone heads to the beach all day, because as Wisconsinites, we have to savor every little instance of nice weather. I decided to take advantage of the emptiness on Oakland Avenue and head to a place that I have never seen without a line to the door: Oakland Gyros.

When you walk into OG’s, you get the feel of an old diner. The workers wear paper hats and the lobby is decorated with classic maroon booths. There is a wall of photos displaying families on their trips to Greece, decked out in Oakland Gyro’s flair, and even a picture of Usher. I mean come on, if Usher eats there it has to be good. In addition to the photos, they boast numerous plaques of achievements, even winning Milwaukee’s Best Greek Restaurant for 10 consecutive years since 2006.

When I walked up to the counter to order, I saw the gargantuan tower of lamb roasting on a spit, and knew I needed just a classic gyro.

The regular gyro sandwich consists of a 6” pita, finely sliced white onion, a few slices of tomato, and about an entire pound of lamb meat. They serve you a 4oz cup of tzatziki sauce on the side. I decided to go the extra mile and get feta cheese as well, which was an extra $1.69. They also served me a bag of fries, which was comparable in weight to the gyro itself. Let me just say, it is unbelievable how much meat they serve you in one sandwich. I actually had to take about 1/3 of it off to be able to hold the pita!

Now it’s time for what you really want to hear: how was it? The fries were perfectly crispy on the outside, and just thick enough to boast an almost creamy inside. They were so hot; it was easy to tell that they are made to order and not kept in a warmer all day. The gyro’s components meshed so well together. The pita was soft, yet chewy and soaked up the juice from the lamb. The onions were mild and sliced so thinly, that it almost tasted like a slaw instead of just onions, and the tomatoes were perfectly ripe and not too thick. The tzatziki sauce was less flavorful than other versions I’ve had, but complimented the flavor of the meat. The lamb is by far the shining star of the dish. In each strip you can see which part was closer to the outside of the spit because some pieces were more caramelized than others. Even though that lamb had probably been roasting all day, it was perfectly tender and juicy, while the crispy edges gave some nice texture. And how could I ever have anything bad to say about feta cheese? It was salty and crumbled nicely, and wasn’t too wet.

I have had other things from Oakland Gyros before, like the hamburger and the chili cheese fries, but in my opinion, the classic gyro platter is the best deal for your money and for your taste buds.

 

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