For the sixth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2012."
Our best-laid plans seemed stymied, but, instead, a minor hiccup led to a nice little self-guided Tosa Village food tour recently.
On Saturday, we had hoped to dine at Le Reve, 7610 Harwood Ave., in downtown Tosa, and expecting crowds, I called earlier in the day to make a reservation. But reservations aren't accepted for a two-top and showing up at 7 p.m. meant a nearly hour-long wait.
We strolled across to Ristorante Bartolotta, 7616 W. State St., thinking we could keep it under budget if we didn't go all-out and, of course, assuming we could even get a table simply by walking in on a Saturday night.
Business was booming there, however, too, and there was a more than two-hour wait for a table – there was even a wait to dine at the bar – so we kept moving.
Luckily, Tosa really is a walkable smorgasbord these days and because the weather was still on our side, there were a number of good options. Though it was more casual than we had planned for, we decided to eat al fresco at Pizzeria Piccola, 7606 W. State St., and it turned out to be a great choice. We enjoyed the pizza and the quiet of the patio (though the dining room inside was busy, there was only one other hale and hearty group of diners out under the festive bulbs on a fall evening).
Next, we visited The Ruby Tap, 1341 Wauwatosa Ave., for the first time, sampling a range of wines at the new place, which was really hopping. There was nary a seat in the house, save for a few out on the patio. Once a couple chairs opened near the heater, we sat.
The self-serve tap experience is a good one because you can choose from a couple dozen wines and three different sized pours, which really offers a chance to sample a range of wines.
My advice, however? Put in a few more tables. There's plenty of space and clearly plenty of demand.
For dessert we walked past Yo Mama – we reserve that for outings with the kids – and returned to Le Reve, which had quieted down quite a bit by now. Grabbing a pair of stools at the bar, we chatted with College Dave's pal Joe, ordered two champagnes and picked out two insanely delicious and sinful desserts (each a steal at $5.75) that were the perfect finish to a great little unplanned Tosa food tour.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.