Fore Quarter

October 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Tucked in the artsy heart of Johnson Street, this local hotspot is a project of the Underground Kitchen collective. There’s no sign, just follow your nose. It’s a rustic, casual place with serious food. Go early, there’s always a line. Enjoy a beverage at the Caribou across the street while you wait for your table.

Seasonal Menu
The menu changes too frequently to recommend a specific dish, so I’ll recommend all of them. The cheese platter features an amazing local selection. Everything I’ve had has been out of this world. This is a must-try for people who enjoy food.

708 E. Johnson • Madison, WI • 53703


Malai Marke

July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Crisp, clean and stylish without pretense, one of the only restaurants open for lunch on Indian Row, this is a welcoming oasis from the bustle of the city. The sleek dark wood furniture is complimented by tasteful pieces of dark wood artifacts from the homeland. The staff is friendly and service prompt without feeling rushed.

Saag Paneer
My all-time favorite Indian dish, this is my litmus test of Indian restaurants. This preparation might be my all time favorite, so far. What ever the secret ingredient (I asked without success) in the spinach made it creamy and addicting without being rich. The paneer was firm, dense, and flavorful, the way paneer ought to be. The next time I’m in New York, I’m coming back for this dish.

318 E 6th Street • New York, NY • 10003
Hours: Lunch Mon-Thu 12-3pm • Fri-Sun 12-4pm • Dinner Mon-Thu 5-11pm • Fri-Sat 4-12am • Sun 4-10pm


Lime Leaf

July 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tucked between Amsterdam and Columbus in the Upper West Side, this hidden gem is a no-brainer for your Thai craving. White table cloths and live jazz mixed with friendly staff and comfortable decor gives and instant sense of familiarity. It would be easy to make this a regular stop. Take out & delivery available.

Mussels with Tom Yum broth
As good as it sounds. Lemongrass, ginger with hints of chili. I could eat this every day.

Pad Khing (Ginger)
With vegetables and tofu, or a variety of meat choices, the ingredients are sautéed in a delicious ginger soy sauce, rice on the side.

128 W 72nd St • New York, NY

Tap & Mallet

September 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Cozy neighborhood pub, covered in rustic wood booths and cafe tables, with good lighting.  It’s instantly comfortable, a place you could hang out for hours.  Big tables for lots of food, drinks and game playing or just conversation.  Friendly, helpful staff has great recommendations.

Delicious, amazing poutine and as good as it gets outside of Canada. Crispy frites smothered in gravy, cheese and awesomeness.

Patty Melt
Great classic patty melt, with white bean salad. Yummy and satisfying.  The portion size was just right.

Naked Dove Scotch Ale
Brewed in Canandaigua, NY, Naked Dove makes a full flavor, deep solid color scotch ale with a fruity layer reminiscent of pear or apple. Scotch ale fans won’t be disappointed. Check the menu for current draft listings.

381 Gregory St. • Rochester, NY • 14620
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11:30am – 2am, Sundays 4pm – 12am


One Barrel Brewing Company

July 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Becoming Madison’s first Nanobrewery, brewing one barrel at a time, One Barrel opened with a packed house Friday, July 6th.  The 100 degree weather didn’t stop the craft brew fans from crowding the bar and keeping the three bartenders chain-pouring pints.  The menu says they’ll always have The Commuter Session beer and #2 Strong Ale on tap.  They also have nine “Guest Taps”, featuring beers from around Wisconsin. It’s a promising start to a great idea. 

Strong Ale #2
The darkest beer they had today- a full-flavored, murky brown glass of deliciousness.  The complex, layered taste makes this one a winner, and keep in mind the 10% ABV.  My curiosity is peaked.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with in the future.

2001 Atwood Ave • Madison, WI • 53704
Hours: Tues. & Wed. 4pm-11pm • Thurs. & Fri. 4pm-1am • Saturday 11am-1am • Sunday 11am-11pm


Mickies Dairy Bar

June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tucked in at the foot of Monroe St, most tourists skip over Mickies Dairy Bar, but the locals know better. Mickies is all character from the peeling exterior, to the original diner tables and booths, and the aging soda fountain bar, filled with University types. It’s a seat yourself place, and you have to be assertive since space is limited. The menu is hand written on giant boards above the kitchen window. All the condiments, cream, syrup, butter, jelly are in bowls on the table. If you want something it’s probably there. The wait staff is all business and no nonsense. They are fast, efficient, and you’d better be ready when they show up. They are serving a packed house from open to close, and dawdling is frowned upon. It’s one of the best breakfast places in Madison, hands down.

The Scrambler
A layer of hash browns, a layer of your choice of filling, eggs and cheese. It’s enough to feed an army. You have a choice of toast and gravy (unnecessary in my opinion). It’s an intimidating plate full of food. I usually cut it down the middle and take half home. It’s fantastic.

Cash only, please.

1511 Monroe St • Madison, WI • 53711
Hours: Tues-Sat 6am-2:30pm, Sun 7am-2pm


Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works

June 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Nice looking, brushed steel and dark wood restaurant with easy access to the freeway.  From Interstate 74, take the Neil St exit and head south.  There’s a meter parking lot across the street.  The atmosphere is pleasant and relaxing, a modern business lunch place without the need for a suit jacket.  Brew barrels line the entry, and the steel vats gleam behind clear glass walls.  A chic glass-tiled host station greets you and a rough stone wall ushers you to the restaurant floor.  

Bison Burger
Completely delicious, lean bison surrounded by fresh lettuce, tomato and a thick bun.  It was perfect, not dry!  What I love about bison is that it doesn’t have the fat taste of beef, and this burger was no exception.  It comes with fries, but I opted for a side salad with the house dressing- a garlic vinaigrette.  It was a satisfying combination and well portioned.

My one complaint is the service.  There is one server who takes the order, one who brings the food without direction, and many who wander the restaurant without the initiative to look to see what customers might need. We were not checked upon, water was not refilled and no dessert or check offered well after our plates were clean.  The restaurant was not full, and I felt neglected.  It’s unfortunate for such a fine establishment to be hamstrung by this fault. The food is excellent and I would come back if the experience was better.

301 N. Neil Street • Champaign,IL • 61820
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11am to 10pm • Friday – Saturday 11am to 12am • Sunday 10am to 9pm