Monday, September 21, 2009

Standout Meals from Recent Travels

We had many good meals on our Chicago/New York trip but two were standout meals. What's interesting is that they are at two opposite ends of the cost spectrum.

The one at the low end of the cost spectrum was the Brat House in Milwaukee. We had taken a quick one-night detour to Kohler, Wisconsin so my husband could play golf. We were looking for a quick lunch stop on our way back to O'Hare Airport. Our criterion was good food somewhere in the Milwaukee area that we could order to go. We did some advance research and determined that the Brat House was the place. We both order the Bratwurst ($7). It comes on a pretzel roll with a side of fries. The prezel roll was amazing and made the sandwich. It was soft, flavorful and slightly sweet with a crust featuring a smooth, deep brown pretzel coating. Oh and it was covered in pretzel salt. Of course. The fries were good too - crispy and perfectly cooked. We got the meals to go and ate them in the car. Zero ambience, great food.

Dinner at Eleven Madison Park in New York was definitely at the high-end of the cost spectrum, but worth evey penny. Or should I say dollar as it's not cheap! We started with several amuse bouche - a bowl of outrageous cheese gougeres that were light as air, a tray of a variety of little bits, fried cornucopia filled with sweetbreads and a corn soup with bacon. For my starter - yes, we had not officially even started yet - I chose an heirloom tomato salad with melon, basil and Jamon Iberico (aka ham). The combination of perfectly ripened tomatoes, sweet melon, salty ham and spicy basil was wonderful. My main course was an herb-roasted lamb. The plate also featured a range of vegetables very artfully arranged, some of which featured more lamb stuffed into the vegetables. My husband looked at my plate and said " that looks like an amusement park." And he was right. Dessert was a chocolate caramel tart that was downright yummy. We selected a few macroons after dessert - one tasted like salted caramel corn and was just amazing. How do they do that?

Oh and we had wine too. For our starters we had a half bottle of DeLille Chaleur Estate Blanc - a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon - that paired nicely with the variety of things that we had as starters. For our main course we brought a bottle of 2005 Sine Qua Non Grenache that was a great match for the food.

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