The Spot

August 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Cozy and just right on the commercial middle of Johnson St. It’s a small local joint, with big booths that scream “comfort”. The staff is friendly and personable. This is an easy place to go for an impulsive night out, or a regular go-to Spot.

Grilled Salmon
Delicious sweet bourbon glazed salmon, cooked to perfection.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Whatever you do, stay for dessert and order anything off the menu.

827 E Johnson St • Madison, WI
Website

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Great Taste of the Midwest 2012

November 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

It was perfect weather for the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild’s Great Taste of the Midwest, hosting 142 midwestern craft breweries this year at Olin Park. There are a few standards I have to pay homage to, but I always try to find new and interesting beers to fall in love with.  Here is an alphabetical listing of the beer tried and responses.

Ale Asylum Madison, WI
Happy Ending: This is a 7.7% abv, Belgian Abbey Ale.  This is a fine beer, but not as full flavored as I want an Abbey Ale to be.  It’s light-weight and easily drinkable.  I’m still looking for my Ale Asylum beer.

Bell’s Brewery Galesburg, MI
Cherry Stout: I don’t generally like fruit beers, but this one was surprisingly good. The cherry really blended nicely with the stout, making it a compliment, not a competition.
Raspberry Wild One: Yikes, very fruity, almost like a wine cooler.  If you like really light-weight beer that doesn’t taste like beer, this is yours.  Sorry, Bell’s, not my beer.
Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout: Still awesome.  They tapped the keg at 4:30pm, and you can better believe I was in line. 

Destihl Champaign, IL
Barrel-Aged Cherry Chocolate Imperial Stout: This is dessert in a glass.  Really, it’s like a slice of cherry chocolate cake.  I really wanted to try this beer, since the last time I was at the brewery, I was unable to sample.  This is a special release, which I think they should add to the rotation.  Well done, Destihl!

Founders Brewing Co. Grand Rapids, MI
KBS: Founders is a great brewery. I’ve been to their brew pub in Grand Rapids, it’s a fun place, lots of atmosphere and yummy food. The beer is solid, and a sure bet.

Right Brain Brewery MI
Chipotle Porter: spicy, smokey, solid porter. Found in the Real Ale tent.

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
Website

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

Website

Taqueria Guadalajara

June 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Don’t let the peeling paint and crumbling exterior fool you.  Taqueria Guadalajara is has the best mexican food in town.  Get a table in the back dining room, and prepare for a culinary trip south of the border.  The staff is friendly and obliging. The decor is typical comfort meets hole-in-the-wall, pink walls and diner furniture, complete with soccer matches on the tv.  I adore this place.  One of the family opened another restaurant: Francisco’s Mexican Cantina on E. Main St, equally great! 

Burrito Mexicano
A fantastic giant burrito beautifully topped with guacamole, sour cream and red sauce.  I usually end up getting this, because it’s so completely satisfying and delicious.  The steak is cooked perfectly tender, the tortilla is soft and chewy.  It’s a full meal, so come hungry.

1033 S. Park St • Madison, WI • 53715
Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 10pm • Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 10pm • Closed Mondays

Website

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque

May 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

In the beautifully reclaimed Freight House, Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque is arguably the best bbq in Kansas City.  A lot of people can fit into the expansive dining room with vaulted ceilings and raw wood beams.  Jack Stack’s has glossy wood tables and cloth napkins, not your typical paper towel roll on the table bbq joint.  The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable, even during the busiest times. If there’s a wait for a table, try snagging a seat in the bar area. The lighting is primarily candle light, so bring a penlight if needed. I loved this place so much, I came back for seconds the next evening.

Lamb Ribs
A mouth-watering slab of fall-off-the-bone lamb ribs slathered in sweet and tangy sauce. The ribs come with a choice of sides. The coleslaw and grilled vegetable kabob are definite favorites.

Mom’s Carrot Cake
Warm, luscious square of spiced carroty goodness covered in melting cream cheese icing. If you have room for dessert, it’s big enough to share.

101 W 22 St • Kansas City, MO • 64108
Hours: Sun 11am-9pm • Mon-Thur 11am-10pm • Fri-Sat 11am-10:30pm

Website

Iowa River Power Restaurant

May 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

On the banks of the Iowa River, this repurposed power house makes a unique and relaxing eatery.  The main dining area is floor to cathedral ceiling windows overlooking the Iowa River.  Machinery from the building’s former days hang overhead and decorate the walls.  The staff is pleasant, friendly, and speedy.  Dress is casual, the prices are very reasonable, and the portions are perfect.  Make sure to get a table by the window for river viewing and take a stroll afterwards to the bridge over the dam for excellent photo ops and a little bit of history. 

Flannigans’ Reuben
This is a fantastic reuben sandwich. There is an option of corned beef or turkey, I chose the corned beef.  The swiss cheese is a nice addition to the full flavors of the sandwich on marbled rye. I was very happy with my selection.  If I’m ever passing through Iowa City again, I’m definitely going back.

501 1st Ave • Coralville, IA • 52241
Hours: Dinner Monday – Thursday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. • Friday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. • Saturday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. • Lunch in the Lounge • Monday – Friday 11 AM – 2 PM • Sunday Brunch 10 – 1:30 , Dinner 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Website

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