OnMedia: Chatting with some TV diners
October is the fourth-annual Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delicious features, chef profiles, unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2010."
We all have our favorite restaurants, sometimes purely local place and sometimes the restaurants everyone else knows about.
I turned to a few familiar TV faces this week to ask them about their go-to spots and found an interesting diversity in their choices, starting with the Channel 4 morning anchor team of Susan Kim and Vince Vitrano.
Says Vitrano, "Since we have three kids and our oldest is five, I don't spend a lot of time in restaurants."
But he started by offering on kid-friendly choice.
"We live in Greendale and there's a neat place in the village, Harmony Inn the Village. The food is really fantastic and the people, they're very friendly with children." Their specialties are a Sunday brunch and a Friday fish fry.
When he and his wife, Nicole, want a night without the kids, they're likely to hit one of the various Bartolotta spots around town. And there's a sentimental favorite from their Bayview days: Tenuta's.
"It's a special place for me. Nothing particularly exciting happened there, it's just the place my wife and I used to go before there were 'others'," he says. "It feels like a secret location.
His co-anchor, Susan Kim, has a special spot she hits at least once a year, on her birthday: Bacchus.
"I always get the scallops, even if it's not on the menu," she says. Served over risotto, "it melts in your mouth." There's also a beet salad she always orders.
"I never even thought about beets until I went there," she says.
She's a more frequent visitor to Umami Moto.
"You can't go there without having the sliders, then the calamari. It's lightly breaded, with two sauces. It's just very light -- you can eat the whole plate.
"Usually, I'm too full by the time I get my sea bass."
And like her partner, there's a family favorite: Wasabi in Brookfield.
"Regulars get personalized chop sticks with your name on them. My kids have 'em. And the food is fabulous, too," says Kim.
Channel 58 chief meteorologist Mark McGinnis prefers a classic Milwaukee fine-dining spot when he and his wife are out for the night.
"With two young boys, we don't get out too often these days," he admits.
"There are two restaurants Donna and I enjoy as a break from mother/father life and reconnecting our husband/wife relationship: our favorite is Sanford."
For McGinnis, it's "a true Milwaukee culinary treasure," with "exceptional quality and consistent excellent service."
The second spot is closer to home, the Union House in Genesee Depot.
He calls it "very cozy, with excellent food, drink and service."
Channel 6 anchor Ted Perry has just two nights off a week."One of those nights, I definitely like to cook," he says. "I like to grill steaks."
And while he's a long-time fan of the East Side's Palermo Villa, he doesn't get there much these days.
"If there's one Milwaukee restaurant I go to a lot, it's Real Chili, from a comfort food point of view."
Perry's high on the chili -- he gets it with spaghetti, beans and two cheeses -- he's equally high on the friendliness of the place. Just a few weeks ago, he brought a friend to the Marquette campus location for her first time.
The place was packed, but a couple regulars moved down to clear two seats.
"It was almost like they wanted to bring new people," Perry says.
When he orders, he asks for "The Marquette," with two cheeses.
"I learned that from my buddy who went to Marquette. I just noticed recently that it's not called that on the menu."
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