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Sanford & other WI Eats - a reply to Cleo - Long & Late!

torta basilica | Oct 10, 200505:21 PM

We were there Sept. 26th - with a VERY non-foodie elderly couple - my in-laws. Sorry, it's been nuts since I've been home & haven't had time to review.

Overall, very much enjoyed our experience there and I would definitely return - especially for the tasting menu. There was no way that was going to happen with this group... Lovely small & elegant without being stuffy. Most men in suits & ties & women chicly dressed. Breadsticks to die for! I am not a big breadstick fan, but these were flaky & had rosemary & other goodies in them. Sanford is opening a bakery right next to Coquette Cafe (now it was probably last week it opened...), so all you locals can go & check out the breadsticks! I asked if they could open a Newport Beach branch ;-) Very short wine list & I let my husband choose - did see Sanford Chard, which is one of my lesser likes & we ordered the Morgan Chard, which was $44, I believe. Amuse Bouches of squid in watermelon & something else - should have seen the look on my in-laws faces! (Guess they wouldn't have liked El Bulli!) I thought this was very good - although theirs sat untouched. We split 'Julia Child's favorite dish,' the roquefort tart with carmelized pears - they didn't like it , I thought it very good, but I wish I'd ordered the squab with foie gras - it sounded a whole lot more exciting & I definitely wouldn't have had to share! Mom has the scallops, which she deemed very good, except they were on a rather unappetizing raft of green stuff - like green mashed potatoes & something else. She wouldn't touch that & this is not a family who shares bites from other's plates, so I can't tell you what it was either. Dad proclaimed his Thai steak delicious & perfectly cooked - and it did look good, until he got down to a similiar raft, but his was brown - weird. My husband loved his veal & I did get a bite of his little gnocchi, which were yummy. My dish was the only major miss of the night (figures!) - I had the lamb in a sweetish sauce with pinenuts - this was served barely warm, had no discernable lamb flavor, but the side of veal mousakka was yummy. I sent it back & they were very gracious & agologetic about it & took it off the bill. Dessert was a wonderful carmelized banana rum tart - NOW they decide to share!! The banana rum ice cream accompanying it was some of the best Ice cream I've ever tasted & the tart was truly wonderful, although we thought it would be served warm. Hopefully, they'll be selling that AND the ice cream at the bakery! Service was very good, except for forgetting to bring us dessert service & the evening turned out to be a success.

On the downer side, I have to reluctantly withdraw two previous rec's of mine. We had a very boring dinner at Lake Park Bistro - the bread was good & so were the frites with a steak frites, but other than that... I had a warm goat cheese salad that the cheese came out on top sitting & tasting like a hockey puck. Absolutely inedible. Had a decent foie gras, but nothing exciting. No one else was too happy with their meal, either - greasy trout, dull ravioli, over-cooked steak. Still such a beautiful room & setting - hopefully, they'll get a new chef in! I've also rec'd the Harp Inn for brats & a beer on the outside patio on a sunny day. Their brats were totally over-cooked, buns not so great and, horror of horrors, the only mustard was the yellow stuff. Bummer.

We did have excellent brats at State Street Brats in Mad-town and the Badgers beat Michigan, so they tasted even better.

Learned a big lesson in Green Bay - don't eat cheese curds for breakfast - I was sorry the rest of the day... and the Packers lost, so double-bummer.

Had the best pickled mushrooms I've ever tasted in Simpson's Restaurant in Waupaca - they all laughed at the California girl being amazed that you would put mushrooms in a drink - I definitely preferred them on a toothpick without the drink! They sell them here in jars & I'm so mad I forgot to bring some home. Also incredible grilled garlic to accompany the warm bread & butter - managed to not gain more than 3 lbs during my visit to your beautiful state, which I think is a major accomplishment!

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