Heck, it's a dime cheaper than Three Buck Chuck.
Heck, it's a dime cheaper than Three Buck Chuck.

Cheap wine uncorks a new winner

As a consumer who has purchased cases of Charles Shaw "Three Buck Chuck" wine from Trader Joe’s, I was certainly willing to give a couple of bottles of Winking Owl – available only at Aldi for a mere $2.89 – a taste test. And since Saturday is National Wine Day, here’s my "two cents" on the bargain vino.

I was skeptical at first because the wine is made by Gallo, which is one of my least favorite cheap wines – second only to Boone’s Farm. Both were repeat culprits in sloshy high school drinking experiences and even their labels make me wince. (And, simultaneously, crave Duran Duran songs.)

Conversely, Winking Owl's label is very appealing. In fact, it's possibly the most adorable wine label I've ever seen. And that's important to those of us who don't have bathtubs of knowledge when it comes to wine. We pick by price, recommendation, intuition and the label.

I bought a few bottles of Winking Owl wine: chardonnay, merlot and shiraz. There’s also a cab sav and a pinot grigio. Like Charles Shaw wine, I found all three of them to be a very drinkable. They were also a little watery, but The Shiraz – which was particularly good – had the most body.

I would certainly buy Winking Owl again, but before I do, I must get to the bottom of my latest burning question: do owls wink?

Almost time to get jerky.
Almost time to get jerky.

The Standard hosts city's first "jerk off" contest

MKE Underground is a series that focuses on the grittier aspects of life in Brew City. In respect to younger readers, OnMilwaukee will publish these sassier stories after 9 p.m.

No, it’s not that kind of contest. Geez, people, get your minds out of the sewer. This contest is all about a different kind of meat … jerky!

"This event was created with a couple of guys, drinking some beers and talking about their love of jerky, so we decided, what the hell, let's give it a whirl," says event organizer and bar manager Heidi White.

The event takes place on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 1 to 5 p.m. at The Standard, 1754 N. Franklin Pl.

Participants can dry or smoke jerky from any kind of meat, but it must be made from scratch – no store-bought jerky allowed. They must also make enough for people to sample.

To sign up for the contest, go to this Facebook page and leave a comment for White or Standard co-owner Steve Gilbertson.

As White says, "Who doesn't love jerky?"

Femmes fans gotta sing.
Femmes fans gotta sing. (Photo: Royal Brevvaxling)

Fan requests Femmes' show without audience singalongs

During my 15-plus years at OnMilwaukee, I’ve had people write to ask me for bar and restaurant advice, tickets to concerts and festivals, behind-the-scene tours and connections to prominent Milwaukeeans. And that’s fine. I help when I can.

Recently, however, I received my favorite Milwaukee request of all time, sent via Facebook Messenger.

"Dear Molly," wrote my Facebook friend. "Just one time in my life, I would love to hear ‘Add it Up’ (by the Violent Femmes) without the f*cking crowd singing along. Seriously, I don’t ask for much."

Most Femmes’ fans accept that when songs from the first self-titled album are performed live – "Good Feeling" possibly excluded – it’s completely acceptable to belt out a few "why can’t I gets" or "kiss off into the airs." I mean, c’mon, these songs are our coming-of-age anthems. They mean more to us than some of our relatives do.

At the same time, I like the idea of people not singing along with shows because often it’s really annoying. And it sometimes leads to over-hugging between friends, extensive beer spillage and nostalgia-based hook ups.

The thing is, singing along with live bands is also really fun – especially if you have a few drinks under your belt and it’s the song you lost your virginity to or the one that totally defines your relationship with your ex. I mean, in these cases, how can you not?