only there for three days, but here's what we did:
-had the most incredible hot chocolate of my life at peck. mediocre pastries; i think i just prefer gooey american stuff if i'm going to indulge.
-gelato at tre gazzelles was alright; not spectacular (but who wants gelato in january? that might have affected my reaction).
-alfredo gran san bernardo (i think that's the name; i don't have my notes with me) was good. supposedly the vanguard of milanese food. we ordered the typical dishes (risotto, ossobucco, veal) in our no-italian-speaking way and were literally mocked dirisively by the eurotrash diners at the adjacent table. they thought that because we didn't speak italian we wouldn't understand their schoolyard antics. it was really infuriating and kind of embarassing for them. but the risotto was sublime, the ossobucco tender and gummy (the marrow was visceral), and the zabaglione was intensely wonderful. warm and full of alcohol.
-but even better was la libera in the brera neighborhood. this was a gem. i had a potato-crusted sea bass that blew me away and a great salad. lovely caramel panna cotta. really great neighborhood feel on a sunday night.
so that was my first experience of italy. thanks everyone for your info! i think actually my first, embryonic ideas about milan came from the frugal gourmet, bless his heart, who did a show about it once.
he got a real kick out of the milanese eating their sandwiches and drinking wine standing at a bar, as did i.