Barnaby’s Cafe

May 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

A modern corner bistro with floor to ceiling windows, with a view of Market Square Park. It’s a lively, sit anywhere atmosphere. The staff is welcoming, friendly, and attentive. Casual attire, great lunch spot. 

Hickory BBQ Burger
A beautiful handmade patty, topped with two seared slices of ham, cheddar cheese, diced red onion and BBQ sauce. The bun maintained integrity to the last bite, a sure indication of quality. A heaping pile of french cut fries filled the plate, with a ramekin of BBQ sauce.

801 Congress St • Houston, TX


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


A.J. Bombers

December 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

This theme restaurant/bar has a casual and relaxed atmosphere with a friendly staff. They’ll turn on the sound to the big game, if you want, on any of the numerous big screens. Going on the “Bomber” theme, the restaurant is pimped out with tracks running along the ceiling on which the “bomber” canisters slide and deliver peanuts to tables and stations. It’s clever, entertaining, and compels you to eat your peanuts faster just to see the mechanism in action.  This could be my new favorite place to watch Monday Night Football, since I could get a front row seat with no waiting, and could actually hear the game-  St Louis vs Seattle.  Go Hawks!

Milwaukee Burger
This is the burger that won the Travel Channel’s Food Wars champion, so I had to try it. Quarter pound beef, double Wisconsin Colby, double Nueske’s bacon, and Schlitz onions. It comes à la carte, so make sure you order your choice of sides. Yummy burger, well grilled. I would have preferred a better bun, but the filling was quite good. It’s a pretty good burger for a pretty good price. Next time, I want to try the Barrie Burger- a burger with peanut butter.

201 W. Gotham St. • Madison, WI • 53703
Hours: Sun-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-2am


Weary Traveler Freehouse

October 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Originally a refuge for travelers back in the day, this is a traditional cozy Wisconsin tavern with rustic wooden tables and chairs that look like they’ve been around since the city was built. The Weary attracts the hungry throngs of Willie St. It’s a casual, seat yourself, squeeze in where you can, dining experience.

Bob’s Bad Breath Burger
Also known as the “Weary Burger”, a half pound of hand-packed fresh ground Lange Farms organic Wisconsin beef with cream cheese, green goddess dressing, caramelized onions, garlic, tomatoes and Pickapeppa Sauce, and a side of Yukon Gold potatoes & mixed greens. This burger has a cult following for a reason. It’s one of the best burgers in Madison, if not, the world.

Drink: The Catfish
Seltzer and fresh lime juice. You have a choice between Rose’s and fresh, but I always pick fresh. Add a shot of your choice spirit to make it adult.

1201 Williamson Street • Madison, WI • 53703
Hours: Opens 4:00 pm Monday • 11:30 am Tuesday through Sunday.


The Old Fashioned

October 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Traditional Wisconsin pub with a great menu and impressive beer menu, featuring hundreds of Wisconsin brews. There’s seating at both bars, bar booths, and cafe tables. In warm weather, the outside is open for seating as well. It’s a cozy, casual, relaxed atmosphere, where you can watch the game or hang with friends. Even though the store is usually slammed, the service is great: fast, friendly and efficient. This is an easy go-to place. Check their website for nightly specials, which are actual deals.

Cheese Curds No. 13
Beer-battered cheddar cheese curds, served with an option of sauces- get the Tiger Blue and get two cups of it. It’s a blue cheese dressing with horseradish. Two great tastes in one.

Sandwich No. 35
Grilled eggplant, portabella mushroom, wood-roasted red pepper and zucchini, with goat cheese and black olive tapenade on toasted country bread.  There’s a choice of fries or, my choice, tossed green salad with amazing house dressing. This is one of my favorite things on the menu.

Burger No. 30
The Old Fashioned House Burger-grilled over a live fire and topped with fried onions, Bavaria’s hickory-smoked bacon, aged Cheddar, garlic sauce and a soft-cooked egg on a buttered and toasted roll.  When I need a Top 5 in Madison burger, this ranks, no question.

Mac & Cheese No. 51
Wisconsin sharp Cheddar & Sarvecchio, topped with crisp breadcrumbs. This is the ultimate comfort food, perfect for cold-weather hunger. Yum.

The Beers
Wisconsin is known for craft beer, and you can try them all here. The taps are all Wisconsin beers. The list of bottled beer from the Midwest is impressive as well. This is the great place to try something new from the region, something you won’t find as readily anywhere else.

23 N. Pinckney St. • Madison, WI • 53703
Hours: 7:30 am – 10:30 pm am Mon-Tues • 7:30 am – 2:00 am Wed – Fri • 9:00 am – 2:00 am Sat • 9:00 am – 10:00 pm Sun • Breakfast
7:30-11:00 Mon-Fri


Brasserie V

August 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Nestled in the bustling first stretch of Monroe St, Brasserie V is a sanctuary of Belgium beer and amazing food. Done up in beautiful polished wood, this bar restaurant is a classy blend of the european and american neighborhood pub, but don’t sidle up to the bar and expect to order a Miller Lite. 

Cooked to perfection and served the only way mussels ought to be prepared- butter, garlic and white wine sauce. If you are a fan of these delectable bivalves, you should order them.

Tuesday Sliders
Every Tuesday, at least in the summer, is the Slider special, a plate of three sliders made with three different recipes.  This Tuesday was first bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, smoky aioli, second caramelized onions, mushrooms, Gruyere, mushroom onion aioli, and third double cheeseburger, lettuce, pickle, onion, ketchup, mustard.  It would be worth going every Tuesday to see what Chef comes up with. I guess it would be good to order something else, just to try the rest of the menu, eventually.

The Beer
The beer list is impressive, especially if you like Belgium-style beer.  With over 150 rotating beers from around the world, taps and bottles, it’s hard to decide. The “house beer” St. Bernardus Abt 12 is the only one that is always on tap, and for good reason. It’s a full flavored, smooth brown ale with hints of caramel.

1923 Monroe St • Madison, WI • 53711
Hours: Mon-Thur 11am – 11pm • Fri-Sat 11am – 12midnight • Sun 4pm – 10pm


Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.

April 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

The downtown location of the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. is the original and the quintessential Wisconsin experience. This classic brew pub has a restaurant, bar, bar with pool tables and tvs with sports or politics, a lower level bar with restaurant seating, plus a bier garten-style patio open in warm seasons. It’s a casual atmosphere with rustic tables, booths, tall ceilings, and a view into the brewery. It’s packed on the weekends, so plan ahead. The Dane is a favorite among locals and vistors alike.

Fish Tacos, Sesame Seared Tuna Salad
A trip to the Dane always starts with a pint and an order of three fish tacos. Soft flour tortillas wrap a piece of deep fried fish, lettuce and tomato, squeeze of lime, and drizzle spicy bbq sauce. The orange sauce is a habañero nuclear hot sauce, use with caution. The salad is a large portion of sashimi-grade tuna, seared and dipped in sesame seeds, sitting on a bed of “romaine, red cabbage, carrots, peanuts, soba noodles, cilantro and snow peas painted with a Soy Peanut dressing”. Also popular is the Texarcana Burger for it’s spicy combination of bbq and haystack onions. You can ask to have a pretzel bun with any burger.

The Beer
This is a brew pub, so more about the beer. The Black Earth Porter is my favorite, preferred over the Emerald Isle Stout because of it’s thicker malty flavor. Scotch Ale is highly recommended for those who like amber style, full depth of flavors, not fruity and not heavy. The Crop Circle Wheat is divine on hot summer days. Anything you drink here will be great.

123 East Doty St • Madison, WI • 53703
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-2am • Fri-Sat 11am-2:30am


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