Whether its a hilarious half hour spent in front of a TV, a good book with which to relax, a fine dinner or a vacation experience, we've got you covered with this week's collection of tips from the OnMilwaukee.com staff writers.
"Louie" -- I don't get to watch a lot of TV these days. But, I stumbled across Louis C.K.'s show on FX a few weeks ago and fell in love. It's the funniest half-hour I've seen in a long time and I'm spreading the word like I did with "Entourage" several years ago. The premise isn't exactly groundbreaking. C.K. plays a neurotic comedian (pardon the possible redundancy) who tells jokes in front of a brick wall and lives an eccentric off-stage life. Jerry Seinfeld stayed above the fray and let his friends be quirky and uncomfortably unusual/entertaining. C.K. does it all, and the show borders on brilliant. Check out the first six episodes on Hulu.com and you'll be up to speed. The show just got the green light for season two and I'm stoked already. --Drew Olson
Roots’ barbecue smoked tofu -- Ever since I participated in the cheeseburger-eating challenge with my coworkers last week, I have sworn off meat. Hence, on a recent visit to Roots Restaurant & Cellar, 1818 N. Hubbard St., I ordered the barbecue smoked tofu and found it absolutely delectable. I have experimented with tofu on the grill this year, but Roots’ version is better than mine. It’s perfectly seared, exactly the right temperature on the inside and smothered in a thick, tangy sauce. The dish came with summer succotash, "Johnny cakes" and a sorghum slaw, all of which was fresh and unique. The $20 price was a few dollars more than I usually like to pay for an entree, but I was OK with it considering the attractive presentation, perfect portion size and overall deliciousness of the dish. --Molly Snyder
Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars (Backbeat Books) -- The great guitar books keep flowing from the presses of Backbeat Books. This identification guide for American fretted instruments (that's the subtitle, I didn't make it up) comes in two formats. There's a durable and weighty hardcover for the house/shop and a slimmer, soft plastic covered version for the road ($32.99 and $24.99, respectively). Both include copious amounts of info on electric and acoustic guitars, amps, basses, banjos and mandolins. Now in its third edition, this guide to end all guides was written by George Gruhn -- owner of Nashville's legendary guitar shop that carries his name -- and Gibson company historian Walter Carter. Here you'll find all the details on all the models made by the major instrument makers (think Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Guild, Martin, Rickenbacker) and some not so major (Kay, Mosrite, Larson Brothers), in an improved format that makes finding information easier than in previous editions. This is not a book for most casual observers but it's something of a bible for guitarists, music shops, collectors and instrument enthusiasts of all stripes. --Bobby Tanzilo
Electric Guitars and Basses: A Photographic History (Backbeat Books) -- This oversized softcover is packed full of color photographs of the most stunning examples of vintage guitars and basses from the great makers like Fender, Gibson, Gretsch and Rickenbacker, along with cool instruments from Danelectro, Mosrite and others. While the "Guide to Vintage Guitars" is heavy on details and information, this attractive book is slim on text, focusing instead on eye candy. As such, it's perfect for those more casually interested in guitars, but will still cause the mouths of guitarists, collectors and dealers to water. --B.T.
Original Wisconsin Ducks -- Call me crazy, but I love the ducks. No, not the waterfowl (I actually have a long-standing disagreement with those) but the ones that entertain Wisconsin Dells visitors every summer. The green and white World War II relics are probably my single favorite state attraction and I try to take at least one ride every summer. As a Dells fan, it's always wonderful to see that the area isn't just about waterparks and thrill rides; there's natural beauty and some amazing history. You get both -- and some corny jokes -- when you ride the Ducks. --Andrew Wagner
Daytrotter.com and Daytrotter's iPhone app -- Cool music on a cool app. The premise: bands take two hours off the road to stop for a Daytrotter Session at The Horseshack studios in Rock Island, Ill. They use borrowed instruments, jam with other bands and cut interesting songs (check out The National's cover of "Pretty in Pink.") If you can't find something you like here, you probably don't like music. --D.O.
State Fair Blue Ribbon Brownies -- Forget the cream puffs. Been there, done that and probably wouldn't lose any sleep if those things never passed my lips ever again. The brownies on the other hand ... well, it just doesn't get any better at the Fair. Much to my belt's chagrin, I plow through at least one of these daily during my time at the Fair. They're just $3.50 a pop and much, much more easier to eat than a cream puff. --A.W.