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Good Eatin’ on the East Side

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The East Side of Milwaukee is home to ethnic grocers and delis that are among the best in the city. Depending on your taste and mood, you can find a number of specialties within a few blocks of Brady Street that you can take home and make yourself or have made for you at the deli counter. Koppa’s On Farwell, Koppa’s Polish Grocer is one of my favorite places to shop. Given, it’s not fancy like a big chain store, and it’s not spacious either, but it does have everything you’ll probably ever need when you do your grocery shopping. The daily specials in the deli give customers a chance to save some money. I went on a Saturday and picked up a homemade Polish sausage along with chips and a pickle spear for two bucks. The sausage was seasoned with the perfect spices to make it tasty, without overpowering it. The atmosphere of the store was completed by Bob Dylan’s “Desire” LP played over the store’s stereo system. As I checked out, I noticed that there were whoopee cushions available at the checkout line. I bet there isn’t a whoopee cushion to be found in all of the Metro Market. Even though larger markets have taken a bite out of smaller markets in the area, Koppa’s survives. Look for the store to do some renovating soon, adding booths for customer dining along the north wall. Orlando’s Off the far west end of Brady Street, up Van Buren, sits Orlando’s Deli, specializing in Italian food. The store space is small but well-stocked with pastas, sauces, meats and spices for cooking your favorite Italian dishes. However, the deli counter did leave a bit to be desired. The lasagna made with ground beef looked rather stiff. They had a nice selection of salads, but the main dishes were not impressive. Pueblo Pueblo Foods, located on Holton, a couple blocks north of Brady Street, was a nice surprise. The small store is a full-service grocery, with a butcher and deli counter. The meats were fresh and recently cut. The deli counter serves both single entrees and full dinner plates. They offer a variety of rices, as well as bean and meat dishes. Barbecued chicken and rib tips were tempting, but I took home peppersteak over a bed of rice, which was very good. Glorioso’s This Brady Street landmark is swimming in Italian atmosphere. The small store is packed to the ceiling with fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and packaged foods. It also has a great deli counter, with popular Italian dishes, some you won’t find anywhere else. The octopus (calamari) salad is something I will have to try soon. I chose their lasagna and was happy to hear that there was some Italian sausage mixed in with the ground beef in it. When I brought it home and heated it up, it was delicious. The sauce and cheeses mixed well, and the noodles were soft with no hard edges. Also, if you have never tried them, the mozzarella balls in oil is something to put on your list.
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