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Tuesday
Oct272009

Eating My Way Through Madison, Wisconsin

 

What: Wedding for Matt's College Roommate
Where: Madison, Wisconsin

Homemade Bratwurst at the Madison Farmer's MarketThis Search takes me to Madison, Wisconsin. We went out to Madison because Matt's roommate, Chris, from College (Matt went to University of Wisconsin, Madison) was getting married.

Madison really surprised me. I've been there a bunch of times, as I used to visit Matt a lot when we were in college. But I guess I never realized how GREAT an eating town this is. There are so many different things to try--from bratwurst to excellent, authentic Mexican Food. I've listed some photos and highlights below. You will note, I'm sure, that I ate a lot over the course of one itty bitty weekend. But I can't help it; traveling is where I really go crazy on my Search for Delicious. For me, traveling is as much about eating as it is exploring a new place. I learn an incredible amount about a place through it's food, and it's food culture. I feel the need, almost compulsively, to try everything at least once. If I pass a store window advertising something tempting for me to eat, I stop in to take a taste. When I walk by a line of people waiting eagerly for a cream-filled Whoopie Pie at the Madison Farmer's Market, it is natural for me to get on that line and see what these people are so excited about. That is what the Search for Delicious is all about. Finding Delicious things to eat, wherever you may be, and eating those Delicious things!
Whoopie Pie from the Madison Farmer's Market. There was a line of people waiting to get on of these. The cookie was soft and moist, with a light airy cream filling. It is important to note that in my everlasting attempt to maintain a reasonable weight, I don't necessarily finish everything I buy. Many times, I just need to take a taste of Delicious. I don't need to eat that whole Whoopie Pie. Just a bite or two to see what makes the Whoopie Pie so tasty. Everything in moderation!

HIGHLIGHTS OF WISCONSIN ADVENTURE:

  • University of Wisconsin Union, an amazing place that's really more like a giant beer hall than a student Union. They serve great beer and hot pretzels, as well as the famous local Babcock Ice cream, sold only in Wisconsin (but they also ship in the US--click on this Babcock link for ordering info). This is really exceptional ice cream. Thick, rich and creamy.

Two Scoops of Famous Babcock Ice Cream: Rocky Road and Caramel

  • La Taqueria Guanajuato: This was an amazing, unexpected treat. A Mexican restaurant located pretty much next to a gas station, serving absolutely authentic and incredibly flavorful and complex home cooked-style Mexican food. Matt and I shared the chicken taco and the chicharones (pork rind) taco. They were soft, corn tacos, filled with meat, shredded lettuce and chopped onions and tomatoes. We had sampled a number of sauces from the self serve "salsa" bar (something every restaurant should have), and topped the taco with the spicy cilantro sauce. It was the perfect little snack. We washed it down with a very refreshing glass of Horchata, a sweet beverage made from rice milk, sugar and cinnamon. Horchata differs from culture to culture--see what Wikipedia has to say (WIKIPEDIA--Horchata)

Chicken and Pork Rind Tacos at La Taqueria Guanajuato

Assorted Sauces from the self serve Salsa Bar

  • Woodman's, a glorious supermarket with a liquor section about the size of a football field. There is an endless selection of beer, really good beer, and liquor. There's really no place like this in NYC. In Wisconsin, they do things BIG.

Beer, beer, beer, as far as the eye can see

  • Frisbee golf! Basically a golf course, but instead of playing with clubs and a golf ball, you hurl a frisbee-like disk across long distances. It was great. Gotta love the Midwest.

Me hurling a disk for some great Frisbee Golf action

  • La Baguette: An amazing authentic French bakery in the middle of a strip mall. I went here with my friend Jen, who I studied abroad with my Junior Year of college in West Africa, and her adorable son, Will. Will had his first chocolate eclair. He liked it, though he preferred the filling and the glazed top to the actual eclair pastry. A wise man. I had a fabulous sandwich of ham, butter, gruyere and cornichons which was really, really great.

Ham, Butter, Cheese and Cornichon Sandwich from La BaguetteWill indulging in his first Chocolate Eclair. Ahhh, to be young again....

  • Madison Farmer's Market. This is a damn good farmer's market. It's huge and full of all sorts of goodies, from baked goods to garlic to 30 year old aged Wisconsin cheddar.

Stand selling about 20 different kinds of Garlic at Farmer's Market

  • Nick's restaurant: Go here and get the Patty Melt. It is a juicy burger on toasted pumpernickel bread, topped with swiss cheese and sauteed onions. I LOVE it. I like to season it with ketchup and a liberal dosing of Tabasco....

Nick's, Home of the Patty MeltUp Close and Personal with Nick's yummy juicy Patty Melt

  • The Original Pancake House, known to us as "OHOP." This is a chain restaurant, but it sure doesn't feel like it. It is truly the best breakfast you can have. Their thick sliced bacon, sweet, chewy, crispy, is the best bacon on the universe.

Indescribable Apple "Pancake" yummy monstrosity from OHOPCheesy OHOP hash browns. Heaven"Pigs in a Blanket" OHOP style: Sausage wrapped in pancakes, dusted with confectioners sugarThick sliced bacon and Eggs from OHOP. Simple perfectionWe had a great weekend in Wisconsin. And the wedding was a blast. The bride and groom, true to their Mid Western heritage, served bacon cupcakes. Yup that's right. Regular old vanilla frosted cupcakes sprinkled with crispy bacon. Super combination. And there were also the most amazing Oreo truffles. They were so good that I got the recipe, and took a picture with the Truffle Chef.

Me with the Mastermind behind the Oreo Truffles. Make these for your next party. Everyone will love you.

Whenever you travel, whether it is 30 minutes from where you live, or across the ocean, I encourage you to try new foods whenever you can. It's what traveling is all about. And it is the only way to pursue the Search for your ultimate Delicious.

 Beautiful Madison Captial Building at Night

 

 

 

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