Beans And Barley 1901 East North Avenue

Through thirty years of blizzards, hideously humid Julys, and political turmoil, there is something in Milwaukee that has, for me, remained reassuringly unchanged: the cheese quesadillas at Beans and Barley. The dish has always been  a quintessential simple food; rich queso blanco cheese compressed between the folds of a delicate and perfectly browned flour tortilla, a few scallions and black olives carelessly sprinkled on top almost as an aleatoric afterthought.  There is no effort here to be imaginitive or flamboyant;  the dish doesn’t need to be.  Just as  a good tune doesn’t require  over-orchestration and is able to stand on its own, so Beans’ impressive cheese quesadilla is able to do the same. This food is not a tone-poem by Richard Strauss; is is a melody of Rossini. May it remain tuneful for another thirty years!

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