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Milan pre La Scala

We arrive in Milan via train from Paris on Sunday around 17:15 and have tickets for La Scala at 20:00, staying at Hotel La Scala. Will we have time for a light meal before the performance or should we plan to eat on the train before we arrive and have a snack after the performance? Recommendations for dining near La Scala?

May 02, 2014
munchingsandcrunchings in Italy

Boulevard [San Francisco]

Thank you for the detailed report! Sad to hear that things have slipped; we have fond memories of Boulevard at its best.

Boulevard [San Francisco]

Has anyone been to Boulevard lately and if so, how is it? We went last year (not long after Prospect opened, I believe) and things were not what I remembered, sadly. Would appreciate hearing about any recent experiences.

Trip report

Just a post to thank all for their help--we were back in Chicago this week and I studied posts before we left. Stayed near the Water Tower and started off with a restaurant not mentioned in posts but suggested by concierge because of a late arrival and convenience, Francesca's (think's it's a local chain?) in the Seneca hotel--pleasant, pumpkin tortellini were quite nice. Had late lunch/early dinner at Purple Pig the next day--midweek and off hour, so it was pleasantly less noisy than it can be; beets and chicken thighs were best items of 4 we had. Next night we had a wonderful dinner at Piccolo Sogno--definitely our favorite of the trip, thanks to all who recommended it! Busy and lively on a Thurs, excellent and knowledgeable waitress who paired wines for us (and did it well). Hubby and I each got antipasti, then split the other courses. Started with beet salad (guess I was in a mood for beets this trip)--very light, actually needed a touch of balsamic from that provided on the table to make it sing. Hubby got grillia mista (my recollection of spelling is sketchy at best, but basically a seafood mixed grill on greens)--excellent. Wine pairing was a pinot bianco from Friuli, think Yermo or something like that. Next was our favorite course, pasta, stracci di farro--lots of mushrooms and black truffle flavor, wonderful but definitely rich and one to consider sharing; she paired it with a chianti reserva that balanced all the richness nicely. Secondi was short ribs--rich braised selection with pea vines amongst other things, and hubby had a different wine pairing with that. Finished with a saffron-infused panna cotta and vin santo and rolled out of the restaurant. However, after walking all day Friday, we recovered and met friends at North Pond for dinner. We enjoyed ourselves very much, but it was more the atmosphere and the company this time around, compared to the wonderful brunch we had enjoyed there just over a year ago. Nothing was bad per se, but it just didn't sing. I would still go back for brunch, but I think we'll be looking onwards next time we visit for dinner. Must also mention we went to Cafe des Architects for breakfast and enjoyed it--the crab ragout was especially interesting and yummy, the pastries nice (but wish they were warm).
Overall, another enjoyable visit--again, thanks to all for the helpful posts.

North Pond
2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

Purple Pig
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Nicer restaurants in Hot Springs

This is after your trip, but for better dining in Hot Springs at the moment, consider Central Park Fusion--just past downtown, within walking distance of art galleries and shops, and has a nice open dining room and also outdoor dining if weather is decent. Had a very nice thai-style crusted whole red snapper (I think it was snapper, was a couple months ago) there, and it's been pretty consistently good. Another good option is Bohemia--it was an old German restaurant and looks like it got stuck in the 50's decor-wise, but the chef/owner is a NYC chef who moved here w/his wife and son and is making a nice go of it. Very reasonably priced, too. Other places to consider would be Rolando's (also downtown in what used to be the Faded Rose), "nuevo latino" cuisine--try to sit outside on the upstairs back patio that backs into the bluffs, very quaint and pretty. Further from downtown, Bella Luna is just getting going and is quite pretty altho I think they're still working the kinks out and food is still better at Bohemia. Some folks like Jahna's (Italian) altho we were not overly impressed. Sadly, both Chef Paul's and Pompeii have closed.

Hope you found some good food!

Faded Rose Restaurants
400 N Bowman Rd, Little Rock, AR 72211

Chef Paul's
4330 Central Ave, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71913

feedback on recent trip

They didn't so much warn us as they said "oh, yess, it's a nice place...." which immediately made me ask a little more :) seems the 3 different concierges I talked to (didn't want to go by just 1) all felt like the food got a little too far out there for their tastes, gave a sense the restaurant is trying a bit too hard to push the envelope. On another night we would have gone for it, but we were in the mood for something a little more conventional.

feedback on recent trip

Appreciate all the good posts and info--just back from w/end in Chicago and had great time--

Briefly, Fri lunch at Feast, near hotel and pleasant sidewalk cafe. Catch 35 Fri dinner (met friends, they chose)--sea bass was quite good, perfectly cooked, asian-inspired sauce wasn't overly sweet, salmon was so-so but we like ours seared outside, sashimi inside. Hubby reported martinis were good.

Sat lunch at Purple Pig--loved it--but agree might get too noisy for dinner, was quite lively even for late lunch. Particularly liked the hazelnut salad, bone marrow smear, and grilled scallions. Interesting menu, fun atmosphere, good energy, cute helpful servers and ?owners? making sure all ran smoothly--definitely would go back to explore more of the menu.

Couldn't get North Pond reservations for Sat and had made them for Graham Elliot, but decided to change last minute based on concierge at hotel and ended up at Naha. Upscale atmosphere, smoothly efficient service, and they paired wines for us which was nice. Started w/tuna tartare for hubby and fois gras for me, both excellent. Main courses--I forget his but it was excellent too, I had scallops w/vanilla bean glaze--very good but I shouldn't have followed w/another sweet dish, my mistake. Too full for dessert, portions quite decent...

Sun we had brunch at North Pond--so glad we couldn't get dinner reservations since we were able to wander in the park on a beautiful morning--my favorite meal. $32/person 3 course brunch, food all great. Particularly liked his starter of salmon w/teeny melon balls, teeny dark croutons, and some soupy stuff poured around (bad description but worked wonderfully). My smoked salmon starter was also top notch. Main courses--hangar steak and a pork dish (tenderloin slices accompanied by a big cube of ?pork belly broiled and caramelized/glazed on top--another bad description but richly tasty). Desserts: blueberry-lemon mousse layered in parfait glass, tangy-tart, and a very sweet flourless chocolate cake w/raspberry sorbet/drizzle. Both desserts were tasty but fairly heavy (of course we'd had quite a few glasses of nice Viognier by then too which probably filled us up...)

Anyway, thank you for all the great info, we look forwards to coming back!

Catch 35
35 W. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60601

North Pond
2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

Graham Elliot
217 W. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654