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MKE special occasion - Wolf Peach or similar?

I agree with kathryn's recommendation of checking out Hinterland. The food to me is more special there and if you are more into sharing (judging from your other two options), the menu works there for sharing or ordering your own entrees. Beyond having their own great beer, the cocktails are good and the wine list is thoughtful.

RE: Wolf Peach vs. Goodkind-- I think they are very similar in terms of level of casual nature. Wolf Peach has a modern and spacious vibe as you would know, whereas Goodkind is in a very old building and it's more cozy.
I think out of those two it may just be a matter of which menu sounds better. I have really enjoyed meals at both, but neither has been absolutely perfect each time as far as the food goes.

And you may have been to all these other places before, but if not--just throwing out a few more comments.

Odd Duck's bar opens at 3 and it's one of my favorites for dinner in the area. I wouldn't think of it as super special occasion, but I think it is in the similar vein as Goodkind or Wolf Peach.

Moving west--I thought Story Hill BKC had an intimate vibe at dinner, despite being casual, and they are open all day. I think they may have a limited afternoon menu. I am also a big fan of the date night pairing of The Ruby Tap for wine and snacks and then dinner at Le Reve in Tosa (if this is on a Saturday, they do take an afternoon break).

about 6 hours ago
bte576 in Great Lakes

Scottsdale--The Upton - Virtu - The House Brasserie

We ended up at Virtu for dinner. We sat inside and it was a bit loud and crowded, but we kind of enjoy being in on the action...but that might not be for everyone. We couldn't speak more highly of the food--we had a very nice meal, but we were just slightly disappointed in the timing. Our server suggested going heavy on starters and just sharing an entree and the first round of food came out almost instantly upon ordering. The asparagus dish was especially memorable and I told my husband if it would have been on their brunch menu, I would have suggested we go back for brunch the next day and we are not people to go to the same place for food on the same trip.

We skipped The House and just went really casual for that lunch and tried the Brat Haus. Cute place. Good sausages and fries.

We did try the Upton during happy hour. Great happy hour deals. Food was a little hit or miss, but we liked the place and beverage options and would give it another shot when visiting.

The other new place we tried was the OHSO in Scottsdale. This place came up in conversation with locals several times, so we tried it for lunch. Our food was fine, but very basic. They did have a very nice beer and cocktail menu, so it might be a place we'd go back to for drinks over food.

Apr 17, 2015
bte576 in Phoenix

Holey Moley's Best (or Worst) donuts--MKE

Event is over and we were happy with Holey Moley. I might not go crazy for these for breakfast, but they were well-received by the group and they are great looking donuts that's for sure.

The menu ended up being a little different than the first one I was provided and I chose to go with options that were more dessert like-Creme Brulee, Red Velvet, and Samoa. I was able to sample at least a bite of each.

The Creme Brulee was one I had seen a lot of positive reviews about, but personally I would have preferred a lighter textured yeast donut. Although, the filling did have nice flavor and it seemed like the guests enjoyed them.

The Red Velvet and Samoa were both cake donuts and both tasted good and were satisfying for dessert.

I did throw a few dozen donut holes on the order and I think people liked sampling them, but I thought they were too sweet due to the high glaze vs. cake ratio.

Mar 10, 2015
bte576 in Great Lakes

Asheville Valentine's Excursion

Thanks for the tip on Seven Sows over Bull & Beggar, that would be more convenient location-wise anyway and King James is definitely on my radar!

Mar 06, 2015
bte576 in Southeast

Scottsdale--The Upton - Virtu - The House Brasserie

Thanks. I hoped the casual dress would likely be a non-issue during daytime, but figured it was worth bringing up. Upon further review of our schedule, I think we’re going to be looking for brunch on Saturday in lieu of Sunday, so that rules out the Upton for that meal anyway. I’m leaning towards dinner at Virtu followed by a Saturday brunch at The House Brasserie and then we will see if we can fit in at least drinks and apps at The Upton some other time during our stay. Will report back!

Mar 05, 2015
bte576 in Phoenix

Asheville Valentine's Excursion

Ahhh, I did not realize the small brunch menu for the weekends was in addition to the regular menu. Good to know!
It’s early for definitive plans, but just trying to get my options in order. One of our dinners will fall on my actual birthday and the few spots that really appealed to me are Curate, Bull & Begger, or Seven Sows and since it’s MY birthday, I was leaning towards Curate because it would not be what my husband would pick from comparing those 3 menus, but I know he’ll still enjoy it if I do. That said, I was also keeping Curate open as a lunch/brunch choice or possibly as part of a little food crawl. We always like trying to pair up 3-4 spots when our time is limited in a city and sample their best bites if possible. Thanks again.

Mar 05, 2015
bte576 in Southeast

Asheville Valentine's Excursion

Sorry to hijack this thread--not ready to post a new thread yet, but I am starting to research for our trip in June.

miss piggy--Do you prefer Curate for brunch over having dinner there or were you just saying you really like their brunch? It's on my list, but we could visit for lunch, dinner, or brunch...so thought I would see what you thought. Thanks!

Mar 05, 2015
bte576 in Southeast

Scottsdale--The Upton - Virtu - The House Brasserie

Thanks for the feedback. I think the problem is that I think the menus sound great for both meals at all three places...
I do have a slight preference for the dinner menu at The House vs. brunch, so that helps a little to put that in the running for dinner only.

Having been to both, did you feel out of Virtu or The House Brasserie that one was more reliably good? I know they may be hard to compare, but I'd love to hear what you think.

We would likely be dressed pretty casual on the day we do brunch, so any thoughts on whether casual brunch attire is likely acceptable at Virtu would also be helpful.

From reading the vibes online, I'd guess The Upton is the most casual, so if that is the logical choice for being casually dressed, then that might help make the decision as well.

Mar 04, 2015
bte576 in Phoenix

Scottsdale--The Upton - Virtu - The House Brasserie

We are visiting in April and these three spots interest me. I was hoping to pick one for a Friday night dinner and the other for Sunday brunch. I would love to hear if anyone has done brunch and dinner at any of these and may have further input for comparing them.

In an effort to visit all three, we would be open to choosing one for brunch and then trying to hit the other two in one night just ordering a few things at the bar at each spot.

Any thoughts are appreciated! Thank you.

Mar 03, 2015
bte576 in Phoenix

Holey Moley's Best (or Worst) donuts--MKE

I've read a ton of reviews and any press I could find already, I was just curious if anyone on chowhound had actually had any of their donuts and had specific reviews of the different donuts they've tried. I realize I should have been more specific that I was actually looking for help with what variety I should order. It seemed like a lot of the specific donut variety comments were negative, yet there were still quite a few positive general comments.

I have to do a minimum of a dozen each, so I can’t just order a variety--I was trying to decide on what might be the best three choices from the following options given to me. I have no issue identifying what I think would be the best from the list, but given the mixed reviews, I thought maybe some of these have been consumed by someone on here to get another opinion.
CAKE
Blood Orange - Chocolate Cherry - Chocolate Peppermint- Cinammon Powdered Sugar - Coconut - Maple Pecan - Passion Fruit Coconut - Pistachio - Raspberry - Gingerbread - Pumpkin

SOUR CREAM OLD FASHIONED DONUTS
Blood Orange - Lemon - Lemon with Raspberry Drizzle - Raspberry

YEAST DOUGHNUTS
Peanut Butter Chocolate - Peanut Butter Chocolate Bacon - Creme Brulee - Maple Bacon - Maple Pecan - Nutella

Feb 24, 2015
bte576 in Great Lakes

Holey Moley's Best (or Worst) donuts--MKE

I am organizing a group dinner downtown and they only have full-size, plated desserts or the option to bring in Holey Moley donuts. Plated desserts are just not appropriate for the event, so I think the donut idea could be fun.

From what I can tell, this place has been seeing early success, but the reviews seem really mixed.

I don't want to deal with trying to sample their donuts and would just love to know if anyone has had some of their donuts or has any recommendations or comments.

Thanks!

Feb 23, 2015
bte576 in Great Lakes

Milwaukee, WI Fine Dining

I don't have much new to add to this thread, but wanted to comment/second a few things.

We dined at Sanford over the weekend for the first time since the ownership change and like, JGinWFB, we also did not feel it missed a beat. This is still my choice for most reliably delicious fine dining spot in Milwaukee. The place is small, quaint, and quiet...lovely for an intimate meal.
The heightened focus on beer was fun for us a beer lovers (the chef and owner now makes his own beer), but we also enjoyed a great bottle of wine and appreciate that the wine list is still very reasonably priced.

This was the first time we've ever sat at a table near the front door before and it reminded me to mention this--there is no bar at Sanford. It's best to arrive just on time for your reservation. I witnessed what must have been at least 4-5 parties of diners seeming very surprised and confused by this.

As far as other spots, I have had great meals at Bacchus and Lake Park, both are just larger and more bustling spots for fine dining. Lake Park does have weekday lunch and Sunday brunch which is worth mentioning as you won't find all that many fine dining options for meals other than dinner in MKE.

I prefer sharing and dining at the bar at Hinterland over eating in their dining room, but we've had some great things there for sure and if you like beer, they are also a brewery. And even if you don't like beer, they do have interesting cocktails and a thoughtful wine list.

Odd Duck is definitely a favorite of mine as well for small plates.

As has been mentioned, Ardent has been well received for more inventive fine dining, but I also have not been there yet.

The Vanguard in Bay View (also on my list to try) may be a spot for you to look up since you did mention sausages. That's a newer spot that's putting out gourmet sausages with positive reviews.

If you find yourself needing a spot to dine in the village of Tosa, I will give a shout out to Le Reve for great French food in a casual environment from breakfast through dinner. Each time I go I am reminded of just how much I love the place. It has yet to disappoint me.

Not sure if you'll be looking for breakfast spots, but for something more creative near downtown, check out Engine Company #3. Otherwise, Blue's Egg to the west of downtown serves great traditional and more interesting cuisine for breakfast and lunch.

Feb 09, 2015
bte576 in Great Lakes

Restaurant Week in Madison, WI

We decided to chance it and try Nostrano.

Overall, we had a nice dinner for $35 each and the desserts were fabulous, but I would have been a little disappointed to have paid the normal menu prices for some of the savory courses. I would, however, assume we were given smaller portions because of the restaurant week menu.

With three choices for each course, the two people I dined with were dead set on just getting one of each and sharing, so I was the losing vote there. Had I just gone with my gut and ordered what I wanted for each course, I would have been very satisfied with the meal and value provided. I would have ordered the Pate Campagnola to start and the Snapper Brodetto for my entrée and those were definitely my favorites.

The other savory courses weren’t failures by any means, but just fell a bit short in terms of being consistently seasoned or the ratios seemed slightly off per my preferences. (i.e. the carrot salad with faro and winter greens was very faro heavy in comparison to the carrots and greens, the squash risotto with brussels sprouts and onions was basically all risotto with a small garnish of vegetables, and the duck ragu had great flavor, but there was too much pasta to have consistently full flavored bites.)

As a I said at the beginning, the desserts were awesome so we ended things on a high note. We had great service and the pacing of the meal was nice, so from that standpoint we did not feel that suffered at all from a result of it being restaurant week. As far as my dining companions go, one thought everything was pretty enjoyable and the other found much fault in nearly all but the desserts—can’t make everyone happy all the time, but on a side note, we did visit Sardine for lunch on Saturday and that was a hit.

Jan 26, 2015
bte576 in Great Lakes

Restaurant Week in Madison, WI

I have not been to Lombardino’s, but with some other Italian restaurants closer to the square, it just wasn’t on my radar for this visit. I do appreciate the suggestion and thanks for filling me in on Oliver’s—hadn’t heard about that yet. I brought up Brasserie V b/c if we were going to leave the immediate vicinity, I’d probably play it safe because I know it would definitely fit the bill…

Jan 13, 2015
bte576 in Great Lakes

Restaurant Week in Madison, WI

Thanks for the feedback.

I’m going to be dining with two more budget conscious diners, so I thought the restaurant week menus might give us the chance to go somewhere they wouldn't normally consider…but I totally agree that some of the menus did not seem like a good value at all.
My original goal was to find someplace with a nice weekend dining atmosphere, but would generally serve entrees in the $15-$20. I typically think to look for a great burger or sandwich when trying to keep costs down, but one of my fellow diners will not want to eat a sandwich. We’re staying just off the square, so I was trying to think of something in that vicinity, but I know our options open up quite a bit if I look to the east or my fall back choice would be to just head over to Brasserie V. I am going to check out the Sardine bar menu, though, as I have not looked that up before. Thanks again.

Jan 13, 2015
bte576 in Great Lakes

Restaurant Week in Madison, WI

I will be in Madison in a few weeks and I see that our first night will fall during "Restaurant Week" and I'm curious if anyone has had good experiences dining out and enjoying the special menus. I always have mixed feelings about restaurant week menus as it seems some places try really hard, but others seem to lack enthusiasm about the deals they are offering.

I'm probably debating between Nostrano, The Merchant, Sardine, or Heritage Tavern (I have dined at each of these places before)...but also wonder if we'd be better off purposely picking a spot not participating and maybe scoring a shorter wait for a table than usual since it seems many of the places we like in Madison don't accept reservations.

Any thoughts appreciated!

Jan 09, 2015
bte576 in Great Lakes

New Openings In Indy

We did try Union 50 and really enjoyed it. Neat space, too. Thanks.

In addition, we were able to visit Milktooth and The Garden Table for interesting brunches. Definitely not standard breakfast fare, but we liked them both a lot.

Not new, but we stopped for lunch at Taste Cafe as it was conveniently located near some other stops we needed to make and thought it was a nice spot for sandwiches.

Dec 27, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Vegetable dish for brunch?

If vegetables are what you want, a baked dish with spinach or broccoli would be great alongside eggs. I would just think about what your favorite strata or frittata fillings usually are and make something with those vegetables, but skip the eggs.

I often eat leftover roasted brussels sprouts with eggs and I did make this recipe (with some modifications) for a broccolini cheddar gratin with rye breadcrumbs and we were happy to enjoy leftovers with eggs for breakfast. I really don't think the quantity of breadcrumbs in the dish would compete with the other carbs, but you could always lighten that up a bit.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/broc...

Dec 23, 2014
bte576 in Home Cooking

New Openings In Indy

Thanks for the feedback! Union 50, as well as Milktooth and Plow & Anchor, would probably be the spots we'd most likely try to check out, but I still have an ongoing list of other spots to try...

Dec 08, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

New Openings In Indy

Heading down to Indy soon and wanted to see what might be new/notable since I last visited. I came across this article and it looks like quite a bit!

Just wanted to share and see if anyone has any comments on these or anything else new in town.

http://www.nuvo.net/FoodDrinkBlog/arc...

Dec 08, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Report from Weekend in Chicago--Oak + Char, xoco Wicker Park, Mott Street

Glad the feedback on Oak + Char is of interest. The experience was not perfect, but those large plates were the kind of dishes I’d go back and order again if we lived in the area…but we’re not so good at returning to the same place more than once when visiting Chicago, as there are just so many choices. Admittedly, we really wanted to go to Bavettes, but even trying to book over a month out, I never ended up with a reservation, but we had a great night, so no regrets here.

Nov 25, 2014
bte576 in Chicago Area

Report from Weekend in Chicago--Oak + Char, xoco Wicker Park, Mott Street

Had a nice weekend visit in Chicago with some enjoyable meals and wanted to share. We tried Oak + Char on Huron in the former Graham Elliot space. The menu sounded great, it was right by our hotel, and reservations were easy to get, so we took a chance on going with a pretty new spot. They had opened several weeks before getting their liquor license, but had just started serving drinks when we dined on Friday and it showed. Our cocktail choices were temporarily unavailable (recipe & nitrogen line issues). After a little awkward waiting, we changed our orders with my husband going with a beer and I just suggested a few ingredients to the bartender and ended up with a great drink. Despite a frustrating start, things went smoothly once at our table and we were ultimately happy with the choice for dinner.

Ordered the charred burrata & eggplant, crispy broccoli, smoked chicken, and Fjord trout. The chicken wasn’t on our radar, but the server described it coming with crispy potatoes and a soft boiled egg and said it had been receiving rave reviews, so we went for it and it was awesome. The trout was also excellent. The burrata dish was delicious and was served with nice, house made naan, but we felt it would have been better if served warm vs. cold. I wished we would have asked what they meant by crispy broccoli—for some reason I was envisioning more of a high heat roasted prep vs. the battered and fried version that it was, but this was still good, just not a real highlight.

We did visit Celeste for a cocktail after dinner due to some recommendations from the board. We were able to snag bar seats and enjoyed our selections. Our bartender was very friendly and approachable.

Saturday Brunch: Met friends at xoco in Wicker Park. It was not busy at 10 when we arrived, so there was no wait and the atmosphere was pretty relaxing with the lack of a crowd. The brunch menu isn’t large, but their reg. menu was available and they were cool with letting you add proteins from their main menu to your breakfast. I enjoyed huevos rancheros and the rest of our party seemed to really like their meals.

Saturday Dinner: Mott Street
We had calamari, brussels sprouts with lamb pancetta, everything wings, pork stuffed cabbage, and a bread special (flaky bread topped with a soft egg and served with charred leek curry butter). This really was too much food for us as is and the waiter almost suggested we order more, but the only thing I could have imagined cutting out was the bread as it was good, but seasoned a little inconsistently--one bite would be really flavorful and then a bland bite might follow. Everything else was rich, flavorful, and pretty addicting. We were looking for something casual-ish after some afternoon football watching, but still wanted to make our second dinner count and this turned out to be perfect. The pace of the meal was faster than I would have expected. We were actually pretty tired, so this didn’t end up bothering us, but I could see being a little turned off by that if we were hoping for a longer and more relaxing dinner.

Overall, a great time and we were definitely well fed!

Nov 25, 2014
bte576 in Chicago Area

New in Milwaukee: Morel, Movida, and Goodkind

Thanks for the report. I had been curious about Morel and Movida.

I have been to Goodkind and agree with your review that while everything was very good, it wasn't over the top amazing...but yet I would be happy if it were in my neighborhood! We were especially excited with the drink options--beyond the nice cocktail list, the tap beer selection and small wine selection were thoughtful and interesting.

Oct 23, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

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