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Hotch a do, no longer [Milwaukee]

I tried to find a menu online, but couldn't. There's a Facebook page, but no website. Rumors on this side of town say Hotch Hash remains, as do many of the breakfast items (the makeover was supposed to maintain the brunch business that was strong on weekends. I'm anxious to see if the fish fry has survived (for those not aware, panko breaded tilapia, pan fried with cheese potato pancakes). I'll definitely miss breakfasts during the week.

I do have faith that the former owner, now co-owner, will preserve many of the best recipes. But the funky service, the fact that the servers took shifts doing prep work in the kitchen, the vibe I've enjoyed since they opened will certainly be gone, as will the jealous stares of folks on the former #15 bus when I schlepped fish fries home on Friday nights. I wish them success, but not without regret. Adieu.

Jul 10, 2012
mike_d in Great Lakes

Hotch a do, no longer [Milwaukee]

Someone mentioned in another thread about whether Hotch had reopened. It has, but I fear it'll never be the same. Certainly, some of the dishes will carry on. But a restaurant is not only it's dishes...

http://onmilwaukee.com/dining/article...

Jul 09, 2012
mike_d in Great Lakes

Midwesterners visit to Charleston - a report , a bit long

First, thanks to all the folks who've posted to the Southeast Board for the suggestions we picked up from you all.

Day one, our eating schedule was all messed up from travel. Late afternoon, we stopped in O'Hara and Flynn's wine bar on Meeting St., had a glass of prosecco and split a salmon and lentil salad. Pretty good. Decent prices. Much later in the evening, clams, a salad and the house chips with blue cheese dip at Pearlz. I was a little disappointed in the clams. They were cooked well, but I ordered it with broth as the preparation. Way too salty.

Day two - Breakfast at Hominy Grill. Excellent omelet and potatoes. Easily the best grits on the trip to go with the high rise biscuit with egg and cheese. Really good biscuit (maybe that seems odd to mention, but in Milwaukee a fresh biscuit at breakfast is a rarity).

Dinner that night was the big feed at Magnolia. Cups of soup to begin - tomato bisque and blue crab bisque. The tomato was excellent. The crab was fine. Then we split a pear salad, as my wife enjoys them. In this case, something new as the pear poached with clove. And interesting and good choice. Then on to the small plates - shrimp and spicy sausage w/grits and the boneless pork chop with bacon horseradish gravy. The pork chop just about finished me off, as the gravy was richer than anything I think I've ever eaten. The shrimp and sausage I thought was excellent, grits were well seasoned.

We also had lunch at Jim and Nick's bbq. Hey, not that great, but with some of the habenero bbq sauce, not bad. Made the mistake of stopping in the La Hacienda place on King. Avoid. One treat was breakfast at Jack's Grill off King St. Before someone starts laughing, I'll concede that Jack's is a greasy spoon, without a doubt. But, the short order cook is a dying breed and to watch one guy on a 4x4 foot grill whipping up breakfasts for the entire restaurant was a treat. Jack has some serious chops. If you've never seen it done, you should go before there are no more short order cooks.

Thanks again to all of the folks regularly on this board. We'll be back for more, we hope.

May 07, 2012
mike_d in Southeast

Annual Chicago Conference--any new dining suggestions? And what's near the Palmer House?

Frontera serves at the bar. The tables in the bar are now run by the host station, no grabbing when open. (that may not be news to some, but it'd been a bit since we were last there, so new to us this last trip to chicago.)

Apr 10, 2012
mike_d in Chicago Area

Milwaukee. Von Trier - once bar only, now small plates

Along with the renovations to the bar a couple years ago, Von Trier has now started a menu of small plates - olives, pretzels, flatbreads, a sausage plate... here's the link

http://www.vontriers.com/images/menu/...

I've had the sausage plate, the roasted fennel and apple salad, and the duck confit flatbread, the last twice. I'm not a huge fan of sausage such as knackwurst, so my view of that dish is somewhat meh. But someone I shared it with thought it good. Wife and I shared the fennel/apple salad and the duck confit flatbread the other night. I enjoyed the salad. Good balance of flavors, the fennel and apple set off well by the vinagrette, despite the "sweet" designation of the mustard. The bechamel on the duck confit bread is really good, rich. Overall, it's a good start for them, imo.

Apr 09, 2012
mike_d in Great Lakes

Mexican and New Mexican in Madison, Wi

You know, I never noticed that when I originally posted. I didn't select it, merely mentioning the Trailer seems to have done that.

Apr 03, 2012
mike_d in Great Lakes

Softshells in Charleston

Ah, well, I won't be visiting till end of April/May 1, so sounds like I'll be too late.

Mar 26, 2012
mike_d in Southeast

Softshells in Charleston

How long will the season last?

Mar 23, 2012
mike_d in Southeast

Lou Malnati's: what kind of place?

And am I remembering rightly that the State st. location is smaller than the Madison spot?

Mar 23, 2012
mike_d in Chicago Area

Piccolo Sogno

So, I started this thread what seems a lifetime ago, and I thought I'd finish it with a review of our dinner there last night. What can I say? I'm slow but persistent - we finally got there. FYI, this may get a bit long....

I'm going to put in the url for the current menu for reference:
http://piccolosognorestaurant.com/men...

My wife is fond of pear salads, so we split the roasted pear salad. I added a bit of balsamic vinegar from the bottle on the table. I thought it brought out the delicate roasted flavor of the pear. The goat cheese and greens worked very well together. A good start, I thought. My wife loved it.

As much as I wanted something off the secondi menu, it was St. Joseph's Day, and the range of pastas, and the chance to have appetizer sized portions, won the day. And to clarify, we shared everything, passing the plates back and forth between the two of us.

The first two pastas, the signature ravioli w/4 cheeses. I swear I can taste it now :-) The marsala glaze was just perfectly restrained, the pine nuts (so easy to ruin) just right. It was impressive as a blend of flavors. The stracci might have been better though. Best pasta ever, so light and flavorful. I'm not ready to give up the usual durum semolina, but wow. Excellent combo of ingredients, especially with what is a great time for asparagus. Great mushroom and truffle oil flavors, just hint of garlic.

In place of the meat course, the second set of pastas were ragus. The veal ragu on "straw and hay" and the bolognese on the tortelli. First, it was great to be able to compare the ragus. The bolognese, rich, strong beef and pork flavor (at least to my palate); the veal, light and buttery, but with some lemon juice, I would think, to balance the sweetness of the meat. The straw and hay noodles were very good. The tortelli.... the fennel seed in the potato mixture was just right, the hint of saffron under the bolognese. I don't know whether to say it was "transporting" or "blanking fantastic" :-

)

Our service was fine. :-) To explain the smile emoticon, they went to seat us outside, but my wife prefers indoors, so back in we went to be waited on by our waiter who freely admitted in the first minute that it was his second day at the restaurant. He did fine. I wanted to turn him loose for what would probably be the first time of him pacing a meal with one salad and 4 pasta dishes, but he was reasonably afraid. No matter, the timing on the salad and the first pasta course was fine. And then he waited for us ask to start the second round. Since the rush had faded, this worked fine, putting the second pasta course on the table right when we wanted it.

Sorry to be posting such a love song, but I've been waiting a year and half to get here after first hearing about the place on Twitter from someone. It was worth the wait.

Mar 20, 2012
mike_d in Chicago Area

Madison WI late March weekend

For breakfast or brunch or lunch -the Marigold Kitchen
http://marigoldkitchen.com/

Mar 12, 2012
mike_d in Great Lakes

Milwaukee Pizza,,,Help!

Lisa's Pizza on Oakland for East Side, or Zaffiro's. Zaffiro's is better for a bar, and dining in, but you need to like the cracker crust type pie.

Feb 06, 2012
mike_d in Great Lakes

Piccolo Sogno

It's killing me that I still have not gotten to this restaurant in a year. C'mon you guys, stop posting about it. ;-)

Oct 19, 2011
mike_d in Chicago Area

Mexican and New Mexican in Madison, Wi

Some very good of both in Madison. First try at Los Gemelo on Gilman. Steak, chicken and pastor tacos. 2 bucks a piece, good red and green salsas, onions and cilantro. Really very good.

The Santa Fe Trailer was on site for the farmers market. Breakfast burrito is a good egg, chorizo and green chile combo. I was impressed by the red on the blue corn cheese enchiladas.

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Santa Fe Restaurant
132 E Church St, Sandwich, IL 60548

Aug 27, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Milwaukee, wi - New Mex green chiles in any grocery stores?

found some Big Jim new mexs at the Dane County farmers market. locally grown by the chile pepper vendor, always near the corner where Genna's is. Right across from the Best Western. Had their chiles before, very reliable.

Aug 27, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Milwaukee, wi - New Mex green chiles in any grocery stores?

Thanks. Must be time for a trip to New Mexico ;-)

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New Mexico Restaurant
35851 Ford Rd, Westland, MI 48185

Aug 24, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Milwaukee, wi - New Mex green chiles in any grocery stores?

Might be a little late, but has anyone seen New Mexican green chile in the stores?

Thanks.
m

Aug 21, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Best spicy foods in MKE?

Yikes, I'm way behind on my chowhound reading, having not replied to this earlier - The Human Torch sandwich at Glorioso's - Felix's special pepper spread, hot muffalatta olive salad, hot giardinara, etc... really good.

Jul 29, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Milwaukee: some specific restaurant requests

I'd second the rec for Glorioso's for carry out, and not just for sandwiches. There's a variety of stuff in their now expanded cold case.
The tough one will be breakfast to-go near the Intercontinental. For some reason, downtown Milw. cannot grasp the idea of breakfast. Either sit-down or carry-out.

Jul 29, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Milwaukee: some specific restaurant requests

Will try to add to the food end of the post a bit more, but fyi, the Intercontinental is on Water st. home to the 15 bus line, which will take you to the Comet, Zaffiro's and HoneyPie. Don't get the fish at Comet. Also, beyond that area, but still on the 15 is Hotch-a-do and Beans and Barley, both on North Ave. Both serious about vegetarian food.

Jul 28, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

What is the Milwaukee Experience?

While I agree there's more to Milw., if you want the German thing, you should get it.

http://www.oldgermanbeerhall.com/ never have been but have heard reports that it's decent.

http://www.vontriers.com/ upscale but relaxed bar. No food. Boots available at Hooligan's across the street. the beer selection here is excellent.

Ratzsch's of course

Jun 23, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Booyah in the Green Bay area?

Try to find a way to get church picnic info. That's where you'll see them.

Jun 06, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Report on our visit, so far

First, thanks to all the posters. I've been lurking and searching for things around Dupont Circle while my wife is here for a conference, and I'm telecommuting.

Second, thanks to all who recommended Darlington House. We just had lunch there today. Two specials, veal ragu over risotto, and seafood linguine. Both the rice and the pasta were perfect. The veal ragu very flavorful, and the seafood a good mix, with grape tomatoes and a nice touch with the crushed red pepper. Excellent wine - a rose, nicely dry, at 8 bucks a glass. It wasn't easy to get back up the hill to the Washington Hilton. :-)

Aftewords at Kramer books may not be the best restaurant in town, but their crab cake and rockfish special was good. The fish tacos as well (last night dinner)

And a big shout out to the kosher food stand at Nationals Park. A dog worthy of my Chicago roots, and a good shwarma with a great slaw as base.

I'm looking forward to making Truckeroo tomorrow.

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Darlington House
Washington, DC, Washington, DC

Jun 02, 2011
mike_d in Washington DC & Baltimore

MIlwaukee -- food carts and trucks

I follow Pita Bros. on Twitter, but their usual Marquette or 3rd ward locales eliminate them unless it's a Friday at Cathedral Square. And details on Tigerbite, please?

Apr 22, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Bolzano Artisan Meats... [Milwaukee]

I hadn't heard about them keeping the prosciutto for folks. That's interesting. Also, they have whole hog butchering classes where the students take home the pork.

Mar 28, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Bolzano Artisan Meats... [Milwaukee]

Their pancetta is without compare. Check them out on Facebook to catch specials. For example, I've got an entire slab of pancetta in my fridge, price discounted about 33%.

Mar 28, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Any ideas for Milwaukee?

Hotch-a-Do http://www.hotch-a-do.com/
Excellent ingredients, great prep.

Mar 23, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Milwaukee - new West Allis Cheese location

And I think the advert on the door said "cafe" too, so interested to see what they might do beyond just selling to take home.

Jan 31, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Recs for Madison WI on NYE

Good to hear there's improving mexican food around the square. I forgot to mention that we had lunch when we arrived at La Mestiza, after reading about it in The Daily Page. The Oaxacan mole was so-so, I think someone put in sweet chocolate instead of bitter. The verde sauce was pretty good though. I'd be willing to give them another try, I think.

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La Mestiza
6644 Odana Rd, Madison, WI 53719

Jan 04, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes

Recs for Madison WI on NYE

Just wanted to report and say thanks for the suggestion on Graze. We ate at the bar - deviled eggs w/ paprika aioli (good), mixed green salad (good), mussels w/frites (excellent, I unashamedly lifted the bowl to my lips to drink the broth as there were only two small slices of bread to mop up the broth) and a Graze burger. The last, I don't know what to say. I have truly never had something that tasty that was called a "burger" moist, great flavor on its own, but with caramelized onions and brie!

And a huge shoutout to the bartenders - great service on NYE, while they were getting slammed. When the food runner brought out burger to the wrong group, one bartender ran to the kitchen to see what was what. Actually came back and said that since the kitchen had already cut up the burger for that group, he'd reorder for us! Top shelf, in all respects.

We kind of laid low otherwise, grabbing some Ian's pizza (new slice, chicken pot pie, and it was true to its name, with a top crust), two meals at Marigold Kitchen - breakfast (chorizo/corn/pepper omelet and chile poached eggs) and lunch (smoked turkey sandwich with argula pesto and cranberry mustard and a ham/salami combo that was good, but not as excellent as everything else.)

Again, I'll recommend Barrique to anyone visiting for a quick bite, had breakfast this morning before hitting the road, only thing open. Avocado jack wrap and huevos ranchero wrap. Both very good.

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Marigold Kitchen
118 S Pinckney St, Madison, WI 53703

Jan 01, 2011
mike_d in Great Lakes