Wine Barrels and Lobster Bisque

by: Ann Christenson

Chef Matt McMillin, of Cooper’s Hawk.

Food & Wine
In 2010, Nation’s Restaurant News
gave Illinois-based Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant a Hot Concept! Award. While uniting wine and food is as old as the hills, this restaurant “takes it to a higher level,” proclaimed the trade publication. You’ll be able to experience that for yourself when Cooper’s Brookfield Square location, the company’s sixth, opens on June 27. The restaurant distinguishes itself from other high-end chains by its substantial commitment to wine. The restaurants have an on-site tasting room and retail shop. Apparently, each location barrel-ages varietals of wine – Cabernets and others. The main production facility for the wines – nearly 50 different kinds – is in Cook County, Illinois. The 10,000-square-foot Brookfield space will seat 250 diners, not including the outdoor patio. Bottled wine prices range from $17 to $39. Buffalo chicken sliders, ahi tuna tacos, chicken Madeira, pistachio-crusted grouper, red wine and mustard shortribs, and Parmesan-crusted lamb chops are a few options from the food menu. Appetizers $7.99-$12.99; entrées $13.99-$30.99. The restaurant will occupy the old Claim Jumper’s. 15 S. Moorland Rd., Brookfield, 262-785-9463.

Victorian Excess
Lavish table settings, menus from England’s Queen Victoria. Both are components of a new exhibit at the Pabst Mansion. If you’re intrigued about dining etiquette, food preparation and menus in a 19th century well-to-do household (and who isn’t?), then this show will need to work its way into your calendar. “Edible Excess: 19th Century Victorian Feasting,” incorporates the mansion’s butler’s pantry, servants’ dining room and the family dining room. You’ll see recreated place settings and have the chance to check out Maria Best Pabst’s cookbooks. Makes me a little ashamed when I cook and eat while just standing around in my kitchen. Exhibit runs through Oct. 30. (2000 W. Wisconsin Ave., 414-931-0808) Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun 12-4 p.m.

Water for Thought
The business of drinking water in restaurants is strangely complicated. A friend clipped out a recent “Bizarro”cartoon and sent it on to me. So apt, the cartoon depicts a server asking the couple seated before him about their preferences for water. His question: “Would you like sparkling water, bottled water, tap water, tap water from France, or dew collected from flower petals in Fiji?” Amusing, yes, but I was recently at a restaurant where I was given the choice of tap or bottled still or bottled sparking. Then, the option of lemon or cucumber or both. The Fijian dew doesn’t sound like that much of a stretch.What are you doing next week? Reading Dish on Dining, right? This twice-weekly column features new info and updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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