Farwell Avenue, south of the Oriental Theatre, goes by fast when you’re in a hurry. But something new and bright may have caught your eye on the way Downtown – Mayura Indian Restaurant (1958-62 N. Farwell Ave., 414-271-8200). At night, the wide, shade-less windows reveal warm, yellow walls, modern pendant lights and a bar with maybe a half-dozen seats. Mayura (the word for “peacock” in Sanskrit) just opened a few days ago. I popped in for some ginger-onion naan and a super-creamy vegetarian dish called shahi paneer (a smooth, buttery, chile-laced sauce studded with Indian cheese, raisins and cashews). The shelves behind the bar hold bottled beer and wine (a few labels from India, as well as California). For the record, I like the steaming cardamom chai served here. The lengthy menu includes samosas, various stuffed flat breads and entrées featuring lamb, goat, chicken, seafood and veggies. At mid-day, the lunch buffet is up and running. Learn more about this resto in a future issue of Milwaukee Magazine
From That City Down There
Rick Tramonto is a big kahuna in Chicago. He owns the respected Tru restaurant with his former wife, pastry chef Gale Gand, and won the 2002 James Beard Award for Best Chef-Midwest. January is a beastly month, but good food can get you through it. Bacchus will host Tramonto and a slew of copies of his new Italian cookbook, Fantastico, at a luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 31 (12 p.m.). The $95 event includes a three-course lunch, wine and a signed copy of Tramonto’s book. I hear the Bartolotta Restaurant Group is still finalizing the menu with Tramonto. Hmm, should be a good spread. Call 414-765-1166 for reservations. The sooner, the better. (Bacchus, Cudahy Tower, 925 E. Wells St., 414-765-1166)
Do you ever wonder how it is that frozen dessert shops like Kopp’s don’t suffer for business when the temperature dips into those horrid single digits? Personally I’m not sprinting in to get a cone of Midnight Chocolate Cake, but I can understand the attraction. One of my favorite places for treats of the cold nature is Golosi Gelato Cafe in Oconomowoc (162 E. Wisconsin Ave., 262-527-0950). If you don’t want a cup or cone of one of more than 30 flavors of super-creamy gelato (a dense Italian ice cream) made by Italian-born co-owner Marina Degiovanni, try the gelato caldo – literally, warm gelato. It’s a baked gelato creation that Degiovanni says is “impossible” to describe. But with ice cream, sponge cake and meringue, it sounds similar to baked Alaska. I’m in.
A Little Soapbox Break
I was thinking about a dining predicament the other day – to tip or not to tip on a carryout order. What I’m referring to is at full-service restaurants (not walk-up fast food joints), where you are ushered to a crowded bar to pay and pick up your order. (Or you’re picking up and settling the bill with a flustered hostess.) I know people who’d never in a million years tip on a carryout order. Why? Because they’re not dining in the restaurant at a table waited on by a server. I disagree. While I don’t think this kind of service deserves a 15- or 20-percent tip, it certainly warrants a couple of dollars, maybe more depending on how extensive your order is. Speaking of orders, since it’s fresh in my mind, I need to vent my ire with to-go containers. I have a friend who still reminds me of the lentil soup that leaked out of the to-go container, through the paper bag and all over his leather car seat. I hate it when that happens. I, on the other hand, have serious issues with those plastic containers sealed with seemingly adult-proof lids. Recently, I fought with one until it spurt scalding-hot sauce on my counter and (more importantly, I like to think) me. That does not deserve a tip.
Can’t get enough dining? I chat about restaurants every week with Jane Matenaer and Kidd O’Shea on “The Mix.” Listen between 8 and 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10. That’s 99.1 WMYX-FM.
Also check out Colleen Heather Rogan’s weekly Shopping column and our Events Editor Evan Solochek’s picks for the best events in arts and entertainment in This Weekend.