So I've been trolling the ads on the web the last few days in search of The Right Car. I'm picky about cars. I like to buy really well-made cars that still have plenty of life in them, but I'm only looking to spend about five grand here, so I'm looking at long running models (Honda, Toyota, Volvo, Subaru) with a pretty good amount of mileage on them. A Subaru with 100,000 miles still has a lot of life in it.
Ideally, I'd love to find a Volvo or Subaru wagon (I've always loved wagons) with 60-70k miles on it for around $5000. They are out there, although most have upwards of 100k.
Yesterday I found a nice-looking Subaru Legacy wagon with 60k on it for sale up in Milwaukee. I figured since it was priced at $5,000, it'd probably go fast, so I decided, despite the fact that Monday is my day to take care of the kids, that I'd go up there, take a look at it, and if all looked good, buy it on the spot.
So I packed up the kids, snacks, diapers, toys, stroller, etc...and headed up to wonderful Wisconsin. Henry's last voyage to Wisconsin was way up in the Northwoods, so when I told him we were going to Wisconsin, he kind of freaked out a bit, thinking we would be in the car for 8 hours again. "No, don't worry...we're just going to Milwaukee," I told him, "only an hour or so."
And then I tossed it out there; the promise....given good behavior....of burgers and frozen custard.
Yep, that's right. I figured as long as work was taking me up to Milwaukee, we would have to check out the famous Kopp's. If in the name of research, if nothing else.
Ok, first off, let me just say that the place looks wierd. The building has this strange, kind of late 60's modern industrial feel to it. I saw the sign above when I pulled in, so I knew I was in the right place, and I saw all these people milling about eating custard and burgers, but they all seemed like they were coming out of a bus station or something. We parked and headed in.
Inside, it's clear you're in the right place. There are 25-foot high gleaming spans of stainless steel everywhere, and huge tall menu boards screaming out the burger/fries/custard offerings. Again, it's got this strange industrial cafeteria kind of feel to it, and compared with the freakishly chipper employees at Culver's, who always seem to take a double dose of their morning happy pills, Kopp's employees serve you with all the joy of a post office employee. The place is built for volume and speed.
Which is understandable, but somewhat inhospitable. The only tables are high cocktail-type tables, but there aren't any stools, so you can stand and gobble, go eat in or around your car, or go down some steps to an outdoor courtyard kind of area. We opted for in-car dining, since dealing with the kids any other way seemed pretty difficult.
The burgers were quite good. I'm not going to wax rhapsodic about them, but I've come to expect a much higher standard from a burger in Wisconsin vs. a burger in Chicago, and Kopp's didn't disappoint. It was a damn good burger; bigger than expected, loaded with cheese, fresh-tasting beef, good quality bacon, good unobtrusive bun, decent grilled onions. Worth the trip.
But the custard was really the star of this show. They have this massive custard-making set-up that takes up one whole side of the restaurant, and the wonderfully fresh, creamy frozen custard is constantly streaming down a trough into these deep wells that are set into the counters. Unlike many custard places, they serve it scooped, and unlike many, they do flavors with chunks of stuff in them without having to go the mix-in McBlizzard style route.
What they do is delightfully low-tech. A worker stands by the trough and spoons in chunks of cookie dough, peanuts, or chocolate chips as the custard moves into the well, creating layers of stuff within the finished product.
The result is fantastic. You get all the smooth creamy texture that makes frozen custard so awesome, but you also get the crunchy stuff for those that like that sort of thing (like me). What's nice is that the nuts or whatever stay intact, due to not being bashed around with a Flurry wand, and they're nice and fresh, due to the fact that it was just mixed with the custard a few moments before it was scooped onto your ice cream carrying vehicle of choice, so they're still crunchy, rather than being sogged out from being mixed with the custard earlier in the process. It's seriously great.
Ok, so, bellies full, we loaded ourselves into the car and headed up to the used car dealership. My plan was to take the carseats out of our car, hook them up in the prospective Edzo-mobile, and take a kid-tested trial run.
Didn't happen though. When I got to the used car lot, they had just taken a deposit on the car from someone else.
So we drove all that way for naught. Bummer. I was pissed.
But there was no one to blame, no one to focus my anger at. Guy's in the business of selling cars...first come, first served. I peeled out of the lot and sped away, straight onto 94 and back down south. By the time I got back, I wasn't so angry anymore, and I was still burping Kopp's burger and onion rings. Back to cars.com!