Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Restaurant Scene in Madison

I am leaving for Paris tomorrow and I want to get out a posting before I go. I will be out of touch for a while.

I refer to Madison's square a lot. When I walk around it, whether it is for a little stroll with the dog or to get somewhere, I am always interested in the commerce around there. I love watching the progress of restaurants as they prepare for their openings.

Here is my latest observation:

Graze is doing well. I recommend it to anyone. Their brunch is superb - I had a chocolate french toast dish (I believe it was sandwiched with nutella). The lunch was amazing - homemade beet veggie burger. (I love beets). Even their lemonade is worth the visit. The best lemonade I have had - no exaggeration. I have only been there for drinks in the evening. I snacked on the truffle oil popcorn and it was delish. Tory Miller, (best) chef and owner said that a lot of people do not realize that everything is homemade - including bread (and I would even guess their butter).

Tory is a chef who you can spot regularly at the farmer's market, shopping for a chunk of ingredients that you will eat at his establishment. What's cooler than seeing a top chef walk through his restaurant with a wagon full of farmer's market produce?

Also in the news, Restaurant Magnus, a classy joint off the square has made a big announcement. They are closing and turning into a casual restaurant that will be "biker friendly." I guess bikers who like to stop for a bite will pull over and stop at the new place. It is closing in January.

Cafe Continental, also a tasty restaurant on King Street will be closing. The family who owns it has been in the business since 1933. Muramoto's group will open it at some point, calling it "43 North". (Love these short names!) It will be the first place the group is opening that will be non-Asian.

I read about nine months ago that a young couple from Chicago is opening a new place in the old Peppino's spot off the square. When asking a valid source, he said that they are opening it - very slowly.

The other interesting looking storefront is the market across from Marigold. It claims it will be a gourmet, down town market with some sort of martini or wine bar? My valid source said he thinks that store will be "a risk" and he also said it is slowly moving forward.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Infamous Bike Rack Posting

Way back when, I asked for you to send me a photo of a bike rack in your city.

Before I moved to Madison, it appeared to be very biker/runner friendly. Some enthusiasts disagree with me. Compared to what I was used to, it was/is a dream come true for my early morning running routine.

In Madison, I was overjoyed with the bike racks, overflowing with bikes. I would point out to my new friends that other cities have bare racks all over. I even told the story about the woman who didn't know what the bike rack on the car was.

I thought to myself, "How about if people share their bike racks to demonstrate the popularity of bike riding in Madison, Wisconsin?"

I have a very poor sample. Having studied quantitative methods, this is not a research project. But here it is.

Enjoy your photos.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Know You're Generation Y....

When I first moved here, I noticed a lot of Subarus, NYT dog poop bags, market goers.... Now - well, that's just Madison.

However, as I mentioned about Madison a few years ago, there are a lot of things that go on in here (and within the Generation Y culture) that others "just don't get:"

1) Hating Walmart

2) Staying in boutique hotels

3) Shopping locally

4) Photographing food and uploading it onto your blog/facebook/tweeting about it

5) Anti Child producing (aka having kids)

6) Having a blog

7) Discussing and digesting the restaurant scene

8) Reading the "NYT" and consistently uploading it onto your blog/facebook/twitter account

9) Moving to New York or Chicago (evidently, those are the only two cities in the entire United States of America that are "cool")

10) Watching "Mad Men" or "Dexter"

11) Making a dinner from scratch

12) Sharing a CSA

13) Biking to work

And I just described myself minus #4, #9, #10, #12 and #13... (Ok, so I am half way there)....


Monday, September 13, 2010

The Square that is Madison

Every weekend, the square is converted into an activity. While Lance Armstrong was on the square two weeks ago, one week ago, Lisa Loeb performed (totally unbeknownst to me, found out after)and yesterday - the Ironman.

Every Labor Day weekend, Madison has an annual event that I like to call, "The Taste of the United States of America." Madison, I am ashamed. While our local restaurants do incredibly well in this little city, the "taste" includes Little Caesers, Panchero's, and more places that I haven't been to since college. But, it does also include some Madison favorites. It brings in people from I am not even sure where... and down town is as congested as a Badger home game Saturday.

And yesterday, thousands of people gathered down town to watch those athletes who want to do the ultimate challenge: the Ironman. (My sister has accused me of being a delinquent blogger and said she is sure she will read about how the Ironman should be called the "Ironperson" in my next posting.... she knows me too well).

This competition is truly an unbelievable act. And an inspiration to watch. As I have mentioned before, races are very emotional for me to watch. When I greeted a friend who had a wonderful support system of spectateurs after her most incredible accomplishment, I was able to tell her how proud I was of her. Something that never comes out of my mouth naturally. Completing an ironman is something that just seems unattainable to me - I jealously admit that. But I will never do it.

Every time I watch a marathon (or the Madison Ironman,) I think to myself,
"maybe I will do another marathon.... nah!"

The one piece of advice I will give you if you are training, whether it is for an ironman or a marathon, having a great support system during your training and at the event is key.

For more running tips and sticking with your routine, e-mail me.