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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
1

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

Both Bavette and Odd Duck are in neighborhoods with nightlife. The Bavette area will be more trendy hip...whereas Odd Duck in Bayview would be of the more casually hip & interesting with dive bars in between.

From Bavette...
Ale House and Wicked Hop wouldn't have made my list for food, but those are spots you could stop for drinks. Ale House does have a nice riverside patio. Beyond that, I think having a glass of wine or beer is fun at the Milwaukee Public Market--probably more appealing if you have a whole group of food lovers. Just outside the Third Ward in Walker's Point, there is a bar called Black Sheep with those wine tasting machines which has been happening when we've been and they've had some fun live music going. Indulgence Chocolatiers could be a fine stop too--they do chocolate and beverage pairings. And from there, you would also not be far from the Iron Horse Hotel--which does have a cool bar scene indoors and out and is worth considering.

From Odd Duck...
Immediate area: Sugar Maple (beer bar, but with alcohol available), Cafe Lulu, Boone & Crockett (cocktail focused), Tonic Tavern (nice outdoor patio), From there, about a ten minute walk away there are a few more bars--Burnhearts & Palomino come to mind.

Wolf Peach kind of sits by itself in Brewer's hill, but is conveniently located to the Brady Street Area which is fun place for nightlife and would be an easy location for you to just wander and pop from bar to bar. To name a few options-- There are some classy spots (Hi-Hat, Balzac), interesting dive bars (Jo-Cats, Thurmans), & options in between (Nomad, World of Beer). If you did want to walk, you could break that up with a few stops to pass the time. Lakefront Brewery is now just open for single beers (you used to have to take a tour). So, you could do an early dinner at Wolf Peach, walk down for a beer at the brewery, from there head to the Hamilton for a craft cocktail, and then you'd be near the rest of the Brady Street spots.

Jul 02, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

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

Was really not trying to start a philosophical debate on beer, was actually curious if anyone had tried this.

For those unfamiliar, Evil Twin Brewing actually makes some pretty strong beers as well, but they have a sense of humor. While they contract brew in the US, its roots are in Denmark. They have fun with their beers and clearly Bikini Beer is not mean to to be a serious brew...

From their website:
We Have
All good intentions to disturb, disorder and enlighten you with unforgettable beer after beer.

Because
We are so much in love with good taste, all the beers from Evil Twin are prepared in 10 of the best breweries around the world. Exclusively hand picked to please you with delicate, funky, extreme and by all means rare flavors. Maybe not the easiest way, but certainly the most fun!!!

One More Thing
A clever man once said: 'Stay thirsty... stay foolish.' That sounds like our vision, just with a tad less attitude.

Jun 23, 2014
bte576 in Beer

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

Did a double take when I saw this at the store. Has anyone tried this? It was $12.99 for a 6 pack of cans, so the "value" when considering the low ABV is pretty poor...but having something really light with some flavor does intrigue me. Although, it does seem like something I'd be more likely to order when out and planning to drive than on my own patio.

It's has an 85 on Beer Advocate, so really not bad for a low-alcohol beer...

Jun 22, 2014
bte576 in Beer
1

MKE - apparently Jerry;s in Ger4mantown is no more

Wow, not sure where to start. Since you've been there, this may not all be news to you, but hopefully this will also be helpful to others considering it.

Our service experience during dinner was pretty terrible. We aren't really people who let a bad server ruin our dinner, so it wasn't like all was lost, but I would have serious reservations about recommending the place for sitting down in the dining room for dinner. I am sure there are quite a few people that would have made a fuss had they experienced what we did. We weren't greeted by a server for nearly ten minutes and once we got one, she was very awkward and repeatedly forgot items we had requested. It took over 30 minutes to get water on the table and we were given an excuse and apology about how the water machine was broken, so she had to get it from the bar and that's why it took so long. From the time we sat down to the end of dinner, nearly 2 1/2 hours had passed and we didn't even have dessert.

On the other hand, we had a drink at the bar before dinner and the bartenders were very attentive.

The draft beer selection was good for the area. It is not all German like the Bier Stube next door. They did have Edmund Fitzgerald Porter on tap (one of my favorites, so things started off on a positive note). It tasted great, so I think they are taking their beer seriously and keeping the lines clean which can be an issue around here. The others in my group had old fashioneds and said they were good ones. The wine list is short, but there was a Steele Zin on the list that is an $18 retail bottle for $28. We enjoyed that and thought it was a good choice for a BBQ-centered restaurant and the low mark-up was nice.

On to the food.
Two in our our group had the famous ribs and they were well reviewed, but the one critique was they weren't very saucy and it took some time to get our server to bring extra sauce and it was brought out in a small plastic condiment container. I think considering the place is on the casual side and most people were ordering ribs, they should just put sauce on the tables and throw in a bottle of ketchup while they're at it. They are serving ketchup on request only at the tables in those dip & squeeze packets, so obviously the lack of condiments on the table is not because they are trying to be classy.

My husband tried the 1/2 and 1/2 smoked and famous ribs. The smoked ribs were probably more "fall of the bone" than they should have been, but they were tasty.

I went for the combo of 1/4 smoked chicken and 9 oz. NY strip steak. The steak was closer to medium than medium rare as ordered, but it had a pleasant grilled flavor and was good for the price ($26.50 with two sides, so my expectations weren't that high when comparing this to a steakhouse). I asked if I could request dark meat chx and was told no, but they'd give me a little bit of each which of course didn't really make sense for a 1/4 portion, but I just stuck with the order. Of course I ended up with a breast. It was fine, not worth being too bent out of shape about it as I was quite full before even getting to the chicken.

Sides/Apps reviews among the group from what we tried:
Onion Rings: Great
Fries: Good, but not notably special
Baked Potatoes: Dried Out
Slaw: "Pretty Good, would like creamy slaw better to compliment the BBQ sauce"
Lachs Rosti (smoked salmon potato pancake starter): Over salted. The salmon was tasty. The pancake was nice and crispy with a good texture, but it was salty on its own and then adding the salmon with capers and pickles made it a salt bomb.
The vegetable of the day was a green bean with red pepper saute that was prepared nicely.

SO. The food was actually pretty good, not great overall, but the ribs were enjoyed which was why the others wanted to go there. The consensus in the group was that we might go back and sit in the bar area, consider it for take-out, OR eat next door at the Bier Stube.

You can exchange your dinner receipt next door at the Bier Stube for one small beer. We popped over and had one beer in their beer garden. They did a great job with the renovation and I would consider it one of the best outdoor bar spaces in that area. We noticed you could order ribs and some of the other food items on the menu at the Inn at a lower price, so we may do that sometime.

Old Town & the Stube are not too far from our house, so that's why we'd still consider the place despite a less than stellar experience. We're not exactly in culinary heaven up this way and we aren't always looking to drive 25 min. + for a meal.

Prost!

Jun 22, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

MKE - apparently Jerry;s in Ger4mantown is no more

Now that it is open, has anyone made it to the new Old Town Inn? I saw it was reviewed in the Journal Sentinel a few weeks back.

We'll be going for a family dinner over the weekend, so I'll have to report back, but I thought I'd see if anyone had been as I'd love to know thoughts on what to order. I know ribs are their thing and I'm sure that's what the rest of the group will have, but I'll probably try something else.

Jun 17, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes

Milwaukee Area on a Sunday + / - 1 day

Dapuma-
I know you were looking for ideas of what else to consider, but having gone there again over the weekend, thought I would comment that I really like Odd Duck for interesting small plates in a lively & casual atmosphere. I have been there a handful of times and have always found it enjoyable. We've had a few items that have been misses, but I've always left feeling satisfied from a value standpoint. If you are one to order charcuterie and/or cheese plates, I am a fan of their selections. The cocktails are respectable and they have a thoughtful wine/beer list.

There is a cocktail bar just up the street from Odd Duck called Boone and Crockett that you may want to look up if you are into craft cocktails and end up in Bay View. They are open Sundays, but not Mondays per their website.

Hope you have a great trip!

Jun 17, 2014
bte576 in Great Lakes