Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend in Madison

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

- A perfect weekend getaway for lovers of food and booze 

I got up to Madison Wisconsin for my annual summertime trip and found myself at a few of my favorites and also a couple new spots. First up as far as the recs in the LTHforum feature post go I linked to go. Tempest is still good for happy hour slurping though the prices have gone up a little bit. Old Fashioned remains a great choice for one of your meals and some ice cold Wisconsin brewed beer. Old Glory American Pale Ale at Great Dane is still one of my favorites and Willy street continues to rock. I got a few new spots not seen in there for here.

First up, how'd I forget about Greenbush Bakery? I hadn't been to this place since my school days and a visit on this trip had me asking, is there a better baking city in the States? Madison is filled with little independent mom and pop bakeshops that dazzle every time I enter one of them. Greenbush is known for their Old Fashioneds, the donuts not the drink. They make several variety's of them, amongst other things. Dont miss the original made with sour cream, the blueberry and also the cinnamon. Best donuts I've had in a while.

Best Old Fashioned Donuts in the Game

Madison has a wonderful food cart scene and it only seems to be getting better. They actually have somewhat similar restrictions to the trucks here in Chicago but they are allowed to do things like fry on board. Check out this cool article on them from Madison Magazine. On this trip I had two really tasty bites from them.

Food Carts at the Maxwell Street Days Festival 

On Saturday we spotted Bubbles Doubles setup alongside the capitol building during the city's weekly Farmer's Market setup. They're pushing the food of the owners native Trinidad & Tobago which is one of my favorites. Doubles are common street food there and the owner aka bubbles was living in Brooklyn when he took a job with a cable company in Madison. He decided to stay and open a food cart which serve these awesome street eats. I tried the double with chicken and it definitely hit the spot. I love the flavors of Trinidadian cuisine which include spices from the Caribbean, Africa, India and China amongst others.

a double from Bubble's

We also spotted the Soho Food Cart at the weekly 'Live on King Street' concert series (going on the next few Friday's) and before that had an order of the Sausage/Shrimp/Water Chestnut Dum Sum with some drinks at Natt Spil. Later that night I made my first of three visits to Paul's Pelmeni. If you like dumplings you'll be very happy in Madison. All three pleased. You can read all about them HERE should you please.

Dumpling Trifecta

If you're going to go to Madison for the weekend and you arrive in town on a Friday there's no better way to start your vacation than with an ice cold Spotted Cow and a Fish Fry. There's some really good ones in town and my guy over at Madison Fish Fry has done most of them. I've followed his lead to a few for this Serious Eats piece and did so again last weekend.

Locals/Students Bar on Regent

Jordan's Big Ten Pub came rec'd via twitter as I had asked for a place with some perch and pancakes. As my own fish fry folder continues to grow this one will be added into the really good category. Well fried pieces of fish accompanied by a dense potato pancake and a really nice bowl of cinnamon apples to wipe it all down. The New Glarus on tap was ICE cold. Winner, Winner Fish Fry Dinner.

Friday Fish Fry: Perch and Pancakes

On Saturday we did the Farmers Market in the morning, amazing as always, this is one of the biggest reasons to get to Madison before the wonderful weather goes bye bye. They say it's the best farmers market in the nation and I've never been to close to better. 

So much beautiful stuff that surrounds you as you walk around the state capitol building

After our shopping I was ready for some 'Burgers of Wisconsin' research. I didn't get to try the acclaimed burger at Tipsy Cow located downtown just off the Capitol on my last couple trips so this was a perfect opportunity to walk over and try what 'Business Insider' said is the best burger in the state. If there's anyone who's eligible to judge what truly is the best burger in Wisconsin I'll put money down that it's me.

Popular Bar food off the Capitol

We got a table outside as it was a gorgeous day. It didn't take long to place the order. I already told you why we were here. The signature Tipsy Cow burger is two smashed patties, 3 year cheddar, onion, Widmer's brick cheese, Nueske's bacon, tipsy sauce and housemade pickles. This was a fight, but it was a knockout. I cant say it's the best burger in the state because there's so many different kinds but it's easily one of the best in Madison which also happens to be one of the best burger eating city's in the country. Don't believe me? Check the previous posts.

Tipsy Cow Burger

We then hit up a few towns outside of the city for some fun in the sun. There's so many great daytrips from Madison. New Glarus, Monroe, the Dells, Cave of the Mounds, Mount Horeb, Black Earth, Spring Green and Mineral Point to name a few. The cruising produces some top notch views. Feel free to click HERE to see every post on Wisconsin ever on the site. There's lots of info about all these places.

 Riding the Rolling Hills

Lastly I got a nice addition to add to the international eats section of the list. The family behind the casual sitdown La Taguara is bringing the flavors of their native Venezuela to East Washington avenue. We had a super satisfying lunch here featuring a sandwich that made the jibarito seem tame.

Venezuelan Food on East Washington Avenue

We don't have that many options for Venezuelan food in Chicago but I see now and then when traveling abound. Madison has a really strong international food scene going on with it's university ties and all and this place is one I would add to the list of spots you should go try. In fact they now have a second location attached to the Cardinal Bar on Wilson just off Lake Monona. We got an Arepa which is basically a split open pancake made of ground corn thats stuffed with fillings. This is very common street eat in Venezuela. The pernil (roasted pig) filling was really wonderful. 

Pernil Arepa

I'd read about this spot in the Daily Isthmus paper I picked up and it was this insane sandwich that made me want to stop in. The Patacon Pisao is another popular eat in the country and if you've ever had a jibarito here in Chicago the smashed then fried plantain used as the bun should come as no surprise. What might shock you is what goes in between them.  In this case Shredded Beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, mayo, ketchup, mustard, tartara verde and Guasacaca sauce in the middle Sound like a mess? It was. But it was a glorious one. I wasn't hungover but this made me feel like I would of been just fine if I was. Good times.

Venezuelan Patacon Pisao Sandwich

Greenbush Bakery
1305 Regent St
Madison, WI 53715
(608) 257-1151

Jordan's Big 10 Pub
1330 Regent St
Madison, WI 53715
(608) 251-6375

Tipsy Cow
102 King St
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 287-1455

La Taguara
3502 E Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53704
(608) 721-9100

1 comment:

nichole said...

Excellent! I hadn't heard about Tipsy Cow getting that Business Insider nod. Nice.


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