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Bohemian House?

I'll have to look it up as well it wasn't on my radar. I hadn't really thought about there being good options after other than bar food, but light eating before and some fried chicken after could work. Thanks again.

Oct 01, 2014
bte576 in Chicago Area

Bohemian House?

Maybe we'll at least try to stop in for a drink and the pierogies. We'd really prefer to make a few stops for food and drink rather than do a sit-down meal before a show, but I'm always leery planning to do that in Chi as places can be so busy.
Thanks for the reply!

Sep 30, 2014
bte576 in Chicago Area

Bohemian House?

Heading down to the House of Blues in November for a show and was doing some searching to see what's new in Chicago and I came across the Bohemian House restaurant and I don't see any references yet on here. It might not be what we're looking for before a concert...but still curious if anyone has been?

Sep 28, 2014
bte576 in Chicago Area

AUB SVP (Brussels) & BAK (Amsterdam): Report

These were our favorite stops on our recent trip and with only a few mentions on the boards, I just wanted to give them a shout out with some quick reviews. Also, from their respective websites, etc. we really weren't sure what to expect, so perhaps this will be helpful.

AUB SVP (Brussels) for dinner
You might think you are in the wrong place when you walk into the restaurant if you are unfamiliar with the concept as we were. There is an open kitchen/counter area and only a handful of tables. There was only one person working who turned out to be the chef and server. The menu is purposefully vague listing mostly "suggestions" to allow them to serve the freshest food possible. The drink menu is also sparse with a pair of selections for each category--2 beers, white or red wine, vodka or gin cocktail.
We shared the fish of the day (cod with a lemongrass butter sauce-WOW), bread with dips, and the roasted vegetables. All were excellent, especially considering the modest prices for gourmet cuisine. We were there late and had the opportunity to chat with the chef a bit and it was just an overall positive experience!

BAK (Amsterdam) for lunch
This restaurant sits along the harbor in what appeared to be an old warehouse that has been beautifully restored. There are a series of large faux-balcony style windows in the restaurant and our table set next to one of these windows. The weather was lovely and the view was great. We had assumed our only option was to do a surprise menu, but there were a la carte options available which we were told was something new they were doing at lunch. We went with the four course lunch. The first two courses were beautiful vegetable dishes (roasted celeriac over celeriac puree and then a bitter vegetable combo of butter roasted chicory with endive and arugula). We had spent a few days in Germany prior to arriving in Amsterdam and these lighter vegetable dishes were just what we needed after indulging in the local German fare. Our meat course was duck breast w/roasted mushrooms and our dessert was a porcini vanilla ice cream with a berry sauce and some sort of chocolate crumb. They definitely ended things on a high note as the dessert was pretty incredible. I believe the cost of the 4 course lunch was 34 euro and while all of the dishes weren't perfect, they were all enjoyable and at that price, this was a great value and the space is really something special. They have a thoughtful wine list with some interesting varietals and affordable glass pours, as well as a handful of craft cocktails on the menu.

Sep 28, 2014
bte576 in Europe

Winery Recommendations for Santa Ynez Valley

While I tend to prefer syrah over pinot as well, the pinots from Cold Heaven are really great and they do a syrah as well. We visited their tasting room in Buellton last year and really enjoyed it and would recommend a visit if you're in that area. It's small and unassuming, but very welcoming and the wine was awesome.

Most of our other tastings were in Los Olivos while there, but we did make a stop at Curtis which had a nice tasting room at their vineyard. I just looked them up and apparently Andrew Murray is now taking over that space and I can't tell if the tasting room is open yet at the former Curtis property, but if it is open by the time you make your trip, it was a nice place and is not far out of Los Olivos--and Andrew Murray does several syrahs.

Hope that helps!

Sep 28, 2014
bte576 in California

Sunday Brunch or Lunch in Cologne

Figured I will update my post with where ended up and with some other comments on Cologne in case that would be helpful to anyone. Instead of the brunch at the Hotel Excelsior Ernst, we went for a for Sunday lunch in their restaurant Hans Stube. Gorgeous restaurant with a hefty wine list (very refreshing given the limited beverage options at the casual spots we had visited) and all the accoutrements of fine dining (amuse bouche, complimentary after meal chocolates and small desserts). Our meals were excellent, but the service was a bit too “professional” and stuffy for us to feel relaxed and the meal did drag out a bit. A nice meal for sure, but not an outstanding overall experience.

We visited many of the local brew pubs and the food that was coming out looked great, albeit quite similar. Here are the spots at which we ate: Max Stark, Malzmuhle, Lommerzheim. Malzmuhle was under construction and serving only a limited menu, so it may be better at other times but this was our least favorite food-wise. Lommerzheim is quite unassuming and the menu is small and had a long wait, but the food was great and very reasonably priced. We had heard Max Stark is also quite busy during the dinner hour, but we were there for a late meal and didn’t have a problem getting a seat. Both seemed to be well regarded for true local fare and we agreed with the recommendations.
I saw another post about the area that referenced Kolsch and thought I would just comment that it is THE beer of Cologne and you should plan to drink it (assuming you drink beer) and expect to pay for water and still get hassled for ordering it. The servers are known for being playfully snarky as well in the area and that rang true, so it’s probably good to know that so you’re not caught off guard

Sep 25, 2014
bte576 in Europe

Sunday Brunch or Lunch in Cologne

We are looking for a nice Sunday brunch or lunch in Cologne. I have identified the Piano Brunch at the Excelsior Hotel Ernst and the Glashaus in the Hyatt as two options. If anyone has had either of these brunches or has another recommendation, please do let me know.

I saw another poster had commented on Vendome, a 3-star Michelin outside of Cologne and I had asked for feedback as that appears to be the top of the line option in the area, but I’m ruling that out as the reservation cancellation fee makes me uncomfortable given we’re traveling internationally.
Thanks!

Sep 03, 2014
bte576 in Europe

Great Tasting Party Cakes in Milwaukee Area

I didn't ask and would guess if it were all natural it would have been touted as such, but it did not have that bitter chemical taste that I have often associated with red velvet.

Sep 02, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Great Tasting Party Cakes in Milwaukee Area

Just wanted to report back. I decided to stick with the red velvet idea as it worked with the party theme. I tried V. Richards and Sendik's as well. Sendik's was a little bland/plain tasting. The V. Richard's cream cheese frosting was amazingly rich and delicious, but the cake suffered from the food coloring taste coming through which is an issue with red velvet. I ended up just going with Perwinkle's/Rochester Deli. They seemed the most accommodating as far as what would be complimentary in terms of decorating the cake and it stood out to me as the best cake of the three.

In the end, the cake looked great. It was maybe a tad drier/denser than the piece I had taken home from the shop which was a bit of a bummer, but it was by no means a bad cake and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Sep 02, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Cologne in Late November

Did you end up making it to Vendome for lunch? We may be too late to get a reservation, but will be in Cologne later this month and just came across this as an option for a splurgy lunch. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Sep 02, 2014
bte576 in Europe

Milwaukee Trip Report – Bacchus, Rocket Baby Bakery, Maxie’s, Smyth, Odd Duck

Maybe the guy who asked that question lives in the suburbs a little further from downtown (and dines there usually as well)...
I think the value Odd Duck provides is what makes it so awesome. I think the city has many great places for that mid-priced meal. When we eat at non-chain restaurants outside of downtown and the adjacent areas prices are often just as high or higher and we leave less satisfied, but I still think our city offers great values.

AP is somewhat connected to Crazy Water I believe. We went last summer shortly after it opened and were pretty disappointed with our food, yet thought the space was lovely and enjoyed our drinks at the bar. We had friends who had a pretty similar experience a few weeks later. This spring, another couple we know raved about their dinner there, so maybe they've got things together. I would agree that the menu does sound great.

Aug 21, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Great Tasting Party Cakes in Milwaukee Area

A friend suggested Costco and that they were better than most grocery stores.

Anyone ordered one of their cakes? This will be for a casual, fun party and will probably (OK, definitely) be consumed after some adult beverages...so maybe I was thinking too hard.

Aug 12, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Difference between stovetop and baked macaroni and cheese? Recipes?

I think if I go with Mac & Cheese, it will need to be a la minute. I suppose even with regular bechamel based mac & cheese I could attempt to make the sauce separately and gently reheat that and add to fresh noodles. Boiling noodles won't be too taxing and this would be better than what we know happens in the oven.

I am looking forward to trying out the sodium citrate though for cheese and I love that you brought up Midnight Moon. That is probably my favorite cheese and I am now dreaming of a perfectly melty version draped over a burger...

Aug 12, 2014
bte576 in Home Cooking

Milwaukee Trip Report – Bacchus, Rocket Baby Bakery, Maxie’s, Smyth, Odd Duck

We arrived around 8:20 and there were only a few people waiting. We took a counter seat as the bar was wide open. By 9:30-ish when we left it was full and there were many people waiting. The bartender did comment to us that it was a slow morning and they are usually on a wait by 8. In the past, we've never waited more than a few minutes when going around 8, and generally just try elsewhere when looking for something much later b/c we're not really people who wait for brunch.

Aug 12, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Cedarburg, WI - Any opinions on August Weber Haus?

Sorry, but that's the question that would be on my mind!

Aug 12, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Difference between stovetop and baked macaroni and cheese? Recipes?

Have you made mac & cheese this way and then reheated it? Do the noodles absorb the sauce and will this dry out like the issue with oven baked mac & cheese or can I use this method to make this ahead?

I need to make a batch of mac & cheese for a party and I am always disappointed in the results of baked mac & cheese, but it would be so nice to not have to do any stovetop cooking at the last minute for this occasion.

I came across this post and immediately placed an order for some sodium citrate and would like to avoid wasting more good cheese with too many experimental batches.

Aug 11, 2014
bte576 in Home Cooking

Milwaukee Trip Report – Bacchus, Rocket Baby Bakery, Maxie’s, Smyth, Odd Duck

So glad your dinner at Odd Duck was great. I do think we are really lucky to have it in MKE.

It was also good to hear about your experience at Bacchus. It was always one of my favorites, but I think I commented in another thread that we haven't been back since an awkward dinner several years ago.

Sorry to hear about the less than stellar experience at Maxie's. I do really like the place, but we've also been there many times and have luckily had many more hits than misses. I have ordered the trout dish off the menu several times, but did notice the breading seemed to grow much thicker the last time so I haven't ordered it since and it sounds like that's a good plan. I will say that beyond the food, I like Maxie's drink options and everyone always seems like they are having a good time, so that may have always boosted my general impression.

And glad you liked Smyth for brunch too, now I should really try it after suggesting it. (We were actually looking for an early brunch yesterday and I looked up Envoy based on your suggestion, but we'll have to save that for a day when we're looking to eat later as it didn't start until ten. Not to rub it in :-), but we ended up at Blue's Egg and the early time allowed us to get seating right away and it was probably the best meal we've had there, although it's always been delicious.)

Aug 11, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Cedarburg, WI - Any opinions on August Weber Haus?

We did not get drugged if that's what you were alluding to...

We dined there several years ago. I do recall the owner being VERY friendly and really engaging with us. Very creepy in hindsight. I think the food was ok, but not anything we were excited to get back to.

Aug 08, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Great Tasting Party Cakes in Milwaukee Area

Thanks for the tips! I will look up those suggestion. Rich's would be convenient for me to stop at on my way home from work...

After posting this, I remembered that they do cakes at the Rochester Deli in downtown Waukesha and have expanded their bakery operations to have a separate stand alone bakery next door. I popped over there at lunch and picked up a few cake pieces by the slice to share with my co-workers for a little sampling. I really enjoyed the red velvet, but it was a little lighter (ha, not light in calories--just texture) than a traditional version, so that could be an option. Thought I would share that, but have not made a decision at this point.

Thanks again.

Aug 08, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Great Tasting Party Cakes in Milwaukee Area

I love to bake....and can't remember the last time I bought a whole cake in this area, but I am considering ordering one for a party to lighten the cooking load.

The exception being our wedding cake and a cheesecake at Simma's a few years back, but I am looking for more traditional cake versus cheesecake.

Any tips on great tasting cake? I may request some custom decorations, but taste is definitely more important than design.

I'd like to keep it reasonably priced, so while independent bakery suggestions are great, I'd also be interested in grocery stores, etc. that one might not expect to make a great cake.

Location wise--Waukesha, Washington, or Western Milwaukee County would be preferred, but feel free to share any area suggestions because I didn't see any recent threads regarding cake, so it might be helpful to others.

Thanks!

Aug 07, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

good not-expensive eats in Indianapolis (not downtown)?

The Legend in Irvington is one suggestion. My family likes it and I've been there when visiting. There is a small microbrewery in the same block called Black Acre if that appeals to anyone in your group btw.

I haven't made it yet, but keep wanting to try Papa Roux. i think they have location downtown as well, but the original is on the east side.

I had also seen some positive reviews on the buffet dining at Fort Harrison--that may not be gourmet, but it may be interesting to check out.

Unfortunately, even though my family is on the SE and NE side of town, the memorable meals we've had have been downtown. Hopefully a local can help with some more options.

Jul 17, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Please 3 dinners in Amsterdam!

Thank you, hopefully we can get the itinerary in time to get a few reservations set. The tour was a bit of a splurge and we're thinking to focus more on more casual eats on our own, but are hoping to enjoy a special dinner or two--after viewing the website for De Kas and looked like it would provide us with a memorable dinner.

I appreciate the additional city tips as well. We travel frequently in the US, but this our first trip to Europe (hence why we went with the safety net of a tour...) and planning is a little more intimidating than making our usual travel plans. Thank you.

Jul 07, 2014
bte576 in Europe

Please 3 dinners in Amsterdam!

Will be looking for spots in Amsterdam as well, so thanks for reporting back.

We are doing a group tour later this summer through a few European countries with some of our meals included and the itinerary won't be finalized until a few weeks before, so I am trying to be prepared options in the cities we are visiting, but there is no sense in trying to make any very hard to get reservations, etc. given our plans are not 100% known.

If you feel like elaborating, I'd love to hear more about your courses at De Kas given they don't post a menu. Also, I assume you made reservations in advance? How long?

Also, were you able to just walk in at De Proeverij with no reservation? That happens to be convenient to our hotel as well and we may end up in the same boat as you.

Jul 07, 2014
bte576 in Europe

Milwaukee - six ladies, one dinner, one brunch and a few bars!

Good tip on the parking, we've always parked on side streets as well. Just wanted to add that Saturday overnight stays do not require permission in MKE.

Jul 07, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

La Merenda (MKE)--Thoughts?

I know Bacchus labels their starters as small plates and I have wondered since they made that change if anyone actually goes there and eats in that forma? I will look forward to hearing your review.

From my experiences, regardless of what they are labeled, I'd probably feel more comfortable sharing appetizers at Crazy Water than eating small plates at Bacchus in the dining room just because it is so formal as noted by JKDLady.

I've actually had dinner at Bacchus more than a handful of times and we've always had good food with some meals being especially great, but our last dinner there was marred by a very awkward service experience and it turned us off from choosing it over other options for the last few years.

Jul 07, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Sunday brunch in Milwaukee - Envoy or Harbor House or...?

I have not had brunch at Harbor House, but I have some friends that have gone and they weren't impressed for what that's worth, but I can't imagine it would be bad with Bartolotta management. I have been for lunch and for drinks. The space is beautiful, but the lunch menu is a little overpriced when comparing other options on a food only basis, but the location and view did make it worthwhile.

I've mentioned before that I like Lake Park for brunch. I just think for the price, it's nice to have a leisurely multi-course meal and I always have a hard time deciding between sweet and savory at brunch, so having a few courses helps with that.

The only other brunch that comes to mind on that higher end of the spectrum is the one at the Iron Horse. I think it is priced comparably to Harbor House and we've been tempted to try when staying there, but weren't sure if it would be worth it.

We've had good luck with food at Kil@wat at brunch--haven't been for a little while, but have a stay at the Intercontinental coming up and may check that out again.

For something very casual, I am intrigued by the brunch menu at Smoke Shack. We've just been for appetizers there, but they were good enough to warrant a return trip for more of a meal sometime. Maybe someone else has tried their brunch and will chime in. The atmosphere is not very brunchy...but they do have a nice patio.

There is a Simple Cafe now in Milwaukee. I haven't been to this location, but have enjoyed several breakfasts at the one in Lake Geneva.

Wolf Peach also does brunch--if you haven't browsed their menu.

Although it's a chain & in the near suburbs, just so you know it's an option if you weren't aware...I do think the Devon Seafood brunch is pretty good for $25 up at Bayshore and if you sign up for their mailing list, they do send out special offers from time to time.

I have been to Envoy for brunch when they first opened. It sounds like it's a little different now, but will have to put that on our list when looking for brunches. Thanks.

Jul 06, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

La Merenda (MKE)--Thoughts?

Anyone gone to La Merenda recently? I have been there once for sure, maybe twice...but probably in their first year of being open. I think I may keep overlooking it in favor of other, newer options and would love to know if anyone has been there lately and has any thoughts. I need to pick a spot for a birthday dinner in a few weeks and small plates/sharing will go over well with the group and it looks like I can actually make a reservation easily on opentable which has never been the case when I've looked them up in the past.

Jul 05, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Reichl novel, "Delicious"

I just finished this and liked it, BUT I would definitely put it in the genre of fun, girl humor--like the Devil Wears Prada for food lovers.

I could definitely see being disappointed if you were looking for something more serious.

Jul 03, 2014
bte576 in Food Media & News

Milwaukee - six ladies, one dinner, one brunch and a few bars!

Lucky you--Iron Horse is the place to stay!

I have been to the distillery, but not since they remodeled. The bar used to be right in the factory area, but from their website it looks like the bar is much bigger and the patio is open for service--probably making it more appropriate now for a girls night out stop, but it was still fun before. I would definitely check it out since you'll just be across the street!

Jul 03, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Bikini Beer--Evil Twin Brewing--2.7% IPA

I did end up picking up a 6-pack and tried one last night. I was definitely impressed with the flavor given the low alcohol and think this is a great option for summer or when you just really want a beer for the flavor without actually feeling the impact. I'm not a very big person. Drinking one 7% IPA won't make me drunk, but I will be able to tell that I had a beer and that's not always what I'm looking for and I really didn't find this much less satisfying than some of my favorite session IPAs that are a few percent higher.

Thanks for the responses!

Jul 02, 2014
bte576 in Beer
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