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Madison Restaurants (baby friendly)

Sorry I came late to this thread, but you were right to go to Graze. In general, Madison high-end dining is quite informal and there are only a few places I wouldn't feel comfortable taking a kid; but Graze is one of the places where you really see a _lot_ of kids (especially around early-bird dinnertime...)

Aug 29, 2012
Machaca in Great Lakes

Mexican and New Mexican in Madison, Wi

El Pastor and El Guanajuantence are my choices for straight-ahead casual Mexican; Los Gemelos is almost as good if you're on campus or downtown. I thought the tortas at Pastor was just fine but sounds like others downthread disagree. El Bolillo, way out in Monona Drive, makes a cemita, which is Puebla's version of the torta on a big soft seeded bun. La Mestiza is great for a more upscale, complicated dinner (i.e. more mole, less torta.) Casa de Lara is bad, Tex Tubb's is silly, Pedro's is vile.

Apr 12, 2012
Machaca in Great Lakes

Chow in Fall River Mass.?

Was in Fall River yesterday with time for just one meal, lunch. We got to Sam's Bakery about 45 minutes before they closed at 2, and it lived up to the love it gets on this thread -- we got a huge feast of Middle Eastern goodies for about 25 bucks all told. The meat pies with leban are the star of the show -- but, for the vegetarians in the crew, the cabbage pies are almost as good. Terrific homemade hummus and a very vinegary, aggressively seasoned taboulli. And don't mix the little baklava sticks -- they don't drown them in honey as most places do so you can really taste the spices.

Jun 12, 2011
Machaca in Southern New England

Best chocolate chip cookies in Madison Wi

The Graze cookie -- notable for having a small sprinkle of salt on it -- would be my choice.

Mar 13, 2011
Machaca in Great Lakes

Madison International restos and markets?

Here's my take. First of all, I too chose to move here for a great job and have never regretted it. Everything they say about high quality of life here is true. Foodwise -- this is not Chicago, to be sure, but there is vastly more on offer here than you might expect from the city's size.

East/SE Asian food: the predominant Asian ethnic group here is Hmong, so you have great Laotian/Thai food (esp. Lao Laan Xang) but not so great Chinese food. Fugu is the best downtown place -- it has a long list of Chinese-only specials, and a reasonable selection of Sichuanese dishes on the English menu. But dim sum, sadly, we do not have. Bahn mi is another weakness -- the ones at Saigon Noodle are good but take absurdly long to get!

Mexican: trucks we don't have, but there are good, easy-going taquerias aplenty -- Guanajuato and el Pastor seem to be universally well-liked. For slightly more elevated Mexican, I've had good luck at La Mestiza on Odana-- those guys just opened a new place on Capital Square, which I haven't tried.

Indian: As people say, a lot of "good enough" places. Maharani has some Indian-Chinese dishes if you're into that. Maharaja has a big Indian grocery attached.

Arabic / Middle Eastern: Lulu's and Shish Cafe are the two main players here -- both are quite good.

Korean: I agree, New Seoul is the way to go -- perfectly good, nothing special. Lee's Oriental is a friendly, very small Korean grocery.

Other Latin American: There are three Peruvian places in town: the best is Inka Heritage on Park Street. They have an uneven but often interesting Latin American sandwich shop next door, which makes a lot of Central American stuff (but I think is run by Peruvians.) Pollo Inka, on the far west, is also pretty good.

For a town without a huge Italian population, the Italian scene here is very good, led by Osteria Papavero -- but a new place, Nostrano, is supposed to be great, and of course it's a great pizza town (whether Pizza Brutta or Porta Alba makes a better pie is a subject of much discussion.)

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Osteria Papavero
128 E Wilson St, Madison, WI 53703

Lao Laan Xang Restaurant
2098 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53704

Central American Restaurant
3757 N Post Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46226

Lee's Oriental
3240 University Ave Frnt Frnt, Madison, WI 53705

La Mestiza
6644 Odana Rd, Madison, WI 53719

Inka Heritage
602 S Park St, Madison, WI 53715

Pizza Brutta
1805 Monroe St, Madison, WI 53711

Jan 11, 2011
Machaca in Great Lakes

Wisconsin Cheese

Lots of good responses already, so I'll just second the recommendation for Hook's aged cheddar and Blue Mont's bandaged cheddar (of these two, I'd take the Blue Mont -- I think it's more special to Wisconsin, while the Hook's is more of a "classic" cheddar.) Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve is massively hyped but I think deserves it. Carr Valley, to me, has ups and downs, but I really like their Mobay. And for anything goat, Capri Cheesery is indeed superb.

Jan 08, 2011
Machaca in Great Lakes

Two nights in New Orleans, near Sheraton on Canal Street -- want food I can eat only in NO.

Further (brief) update. Lunch at Galatoire's on Friday. Not as grand as I remembered. The turtle soup was superb, but the trout amandine which I remembered as glorious was -- well -- ordinary. To be honest, the trout was a little mushy. Dinner with the vegetarian at Bayona, which was a little more in that "cosmopolitan style" and less New Orleans. My rabbit was very good, but I felt that for all the big noise they make on their web page about being vegetarian-friendly, there were few vegetarian options on the menu, and what the chef made for my friend based on a few questions from our waiter was -- well, it was fine, but not at the level of the menu dishes. So Cochon was the big winner of the trip.

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Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Bayona
430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Galatoire's Restaurant
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Jan 08, 2011
Machaca in New Orleans

Two nights in New Orleans, near Sheraton on Canal Street -- want food I can eat only in NO.

Hi everybody -- just got back from Cochon, which was superb, and exactly what I was looking for. My friend and I shared a variety of small plates and sides: black-eyed pea gumbo, boucherie plate, alligator with chili aioli, fried boudin, green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, wood-roasted oysters, smothered greens. Everything was terrific (with the boucherie plate a special standout) and with a couple of beers and tip it was $120 for two. Thanks for the guidance!

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Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Jan 05, 2011
Machaca in New Orleans

Two nights in New Orleans, near Sheraton on Canal Street -- want food I can eat only in NO.

Hi hounds,

I'll be in New Orleans the next two nights. Staying at the Sheraton on Canal Street. Two dinners, two lunches: where to eat? Here are the criteria.

1. I want food that's special to New Orleans -- I've read about a lot of great restaurants on this board, but a lot of them (Cochon, Domenica) seem to be in a more cosmopolitan "fine dining style," perhaps with New Orleans influence, and I'm more going for full-on Cajun or Creole (or other special Louisiana food I've never heard of!)
2. Don't mind spending money within reason
3. Won't be wearing a jacket (but also won't be wearing flipflops and shorts.)
4. Won't have a car, so walkable from Sheraton is a big plus.

E.G. it looks like K-Pauls fits my bill, and from what I read on this board it's not only famous and a tourist destination but actually really good -- true?

UPDATE to my question: Just learned I'll be having dinner with a vegetarian one of these nights. What's suitable?

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Domenica
123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

Jan 04, 2011
Machaca in New Orleans

Anything worthy in South Bend, IN?

Just came back from a weekend in South Bend. Another vote for JW Chen's here. Mrs. Chen will sit right down at your table, ask you what kind of things you like, and bring you what she thinks best. We got a delicious, very spicy appetizer of squid and cilantro, then a couple of dishes which were relatively standard but well done: a fried fish with scallions and pork with greens. The place was packed; had to wait about 15 mins on a Saturday night at 8. Recommended.

Nov 08, 2010
Machaca in Great Lakes

Madison--Good west side carry-out options for dinner?

Too late for this weekend but we always like takeout from Sa Bai Thong.

Sep 20, 2010
Machaca in Great Lakes

Madison favorites

And one more change: Magnus is closing in January 2011, to be replaced by a bike-themed restaurant, Velo Bahn.

Sep 20, 2010
Machaca in Great Lakes

Driving from La Crosse WI to Milwaukee WI, lunch along the way?

This is fast food in a manner of speaking, but when we're on I-94 on the way to Milwaukee we always enjoy a stop at Kopp's in Brookfield for burgers and custard. Of course, this is almost at the end of your trip!

Aug 22, 2010
Machaca in Great Lakes

Non-Chain Recommendations in Champaign-Urbana, IL

I was at UIUC a few months ago and was really impressed by Manolo's -- nothing fancy, but they had very good, inventive slices and the pairing with empanadas worked surprisingly well. If I worked at UI I think I'd have lunch there a lot.

May 08, 2010
Machaca in Great Lakes

Ice cream in Madison, Wis., but (gasp) not Babcock Hall ice cream?

Yeah, Chocolate Shoppe is the best in town. I've never dared try the Blue Moon but the Zanzibar Chocolate is the chocolatiest chocolate ice cream you'll ever try. I like Fat Elvis, too.

May 08, 2010
Machaca in Great Lakes

Three dinners in Palma de Mallorca

Just spent a few days in Palma for work. Capsule reviews here. First night: tapas place on Calle Riera very near the theater. Aimed at tourists with menu in English/German/Catalan, but perfectly adequate. Next night: out with a colleague who doesn't eat Spanish food, against my instincts went to Tokio, a Japanese place on Calle de Miquel Marques. Run by Chinese folks. And you know what? Not bad! If for some reason you're going to eat sushi and udon in Palma, I'd recommend this place. Third night I got to pick, and we went to Forn de Saint Joan, which lived up to expectations; except for the prices, which at 60E per person with lots of wine were not as high as I'd been led to believe. The tapas here were the standouts; we had a dish of perfectly grilled padron peppers, a baby squid and artichoke salad, and -- best of all -- foie gras, shredded, with salt and caramel. The main dishes were very good, but if I went here again I'd order all tapas and share. And for dessert, order Alex's Special (or, in Spanish, la pequena locura de Alex.) It is rare that a dessert can be described as hilarious.

May 08, 2010
Machaca in Spain/Portugal

Madison favorites

A note about Magnus if you haven't been there for a while: they've completely changed their menu, switching from Nuevo Latino to Scandinavian fusion. It remains quite good but I can never convince myself to go there when Papavero's right next door.

Dec 18, 2009
Machaca in Great Lakes

Madison, WI with a baby! Suggestions please!

Madison is a mellow town and babies are welcome everywhere, and common at all but the very fanciest places. For local/organic I'd try Cafe Soleil (daytime) or Marigold Kitchen if you're downtown. You'll see plenty of other strollers. Is there a particular part of town you're looking for?

Aug 05, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

Sardine in Madison

For what it's worth, I've been to Sardine many times and have never smelled the bathroom. It's possible some sort of horrific malfunction took place the day you were there.

Aug 05, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

Woodmans - Largest Grocery Store in the USA in Wisconsin!

Used to live in Princeton, now live in WI. Woodman's is great, a sight to behold; but as much as I've got Wisconsin pride, I have to concede that the supersized Wegman's are even better.

Jul 24, 2009
Machaca in Great Lakes

ROAD TRIP!!!

Not sure of your route from Decorah up to the Twin Cities, but the Norske Nook in Osseo, on I-94 a bit south of Eau Claire, is a canonical pie place. You also might go by Trempealeau, WI on that trip; on a similar road trip we had a great dinner at the Hotel Trempealeau, right on the Mississippi bank. Homemade root beer!

I've heard good things on this board about Old Europe, on I-94 near Kenosha, for old-fashioned Wisco-German food.

Jul 13, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

Madison, WI on the company dime?

Cafe Montmartre closed last week, alas.

Jul 13, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

Madison, WI on the company dime?

There are lots of good restaurants here, but I have to agree that when great food is your goal and price is no object it's really L'Etoile. Harvest is almost as good, some would say as good. For downtown dinners I also like Magnus (novo Scando) and Osteria Papavero (trad Italian), both of which are a notch down in price and food from the Big Two.

For nightlife, Natt Spil for hipness. For a real Madison evening of beer under the stars, the patio at the Great Dane, right near you (food is substandard, though), or the Union Terrace on campus, where you can drink your beer right on the lakeshore and eat ice cream made by UW's world-class department of dairy science. For music, the High Noon is my favorite; Tuesday nights they have "rock star Gomeroke" where you can sing your heart out in front of a live band that seems to know every song ever committed to vinyl.

Jul 13, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

Chow near Milwaukee Zoo: Peony, etc.

I just ordered off a menu, and the dishes came out at different times, whenever they were ready, I guess. But it may be that at traditional dim sum times (weekend brunch) they serve in traditional dim sum style (different dishes wheeled around on carts, you ask for whatever looks good to you.)

Jul 13, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

Chow near Milwaukee Zoo: Peony, etc.

Took my son to the Milwaukee Zoo today and was wondering where to eat afterwards. Yelp told me that there was a place nearby, Peony, that served dim sum -- this seemed worth a trip since I live in the dim sum dead zone of Madison.

Peony looked deserted and to be frank kind of closed at 5pm on a Sunday but was actually open and serving a full dim sum menu -- and when I say "full," I mean "long," with lots of choices I didn't recognize. I stayed mostly with the familiar, trying to pick out stuff my three-year-old would like. Siu mai and moist, interestingly crunchy shrimp dumplings were the best dishes. BBQ pork bun was BBQ pork bun. Turnip cake was a little overcooked but had sausage in it in addition to roast pork, which was a novelty for me. I only glanced at the entree menu, but it too looked like it featured a lot of appealing and non-standard dishes. I'd totally go here again if I were in the neighborhood -- except that actually my three-year-old didn't like anything.

So more generally, I'm curious -- if you were driving west from the zoo, where would you stop to eat? Of course there is Kopp's in Brookfield, which always works. I read good things about Edwardo's Natural Pizza (which apparently once had a location in Madison) and Bluemound Gardens, which from its menu looks like the kind of traditional overmenued Greek diner which Madison is sadly lacking; but is the food good?

And in general, where else is worth a stop before getting back on I-94W?

Jul 12, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

Sardine in Madison

I really like Sardine and we go there a lot. I would never call the food original or special -- but it's a good, reliable, casual, mid-priced French bistro in a pleasant room with a beautiful view. Contrary to some posters I've always had good service here. I tend to think they do meat better than fish. The salad with beets and duck confit is a standout. Very glad to have this place in Madison.

Jul 12, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

Artisnal Cheese in Wisc.

Seconding the recommendations for Blue Mont Bandaged Cheddar, Hook's Aged Cheddar, and Pleasant Ridge Reserve. I'd add to that list any kind of goat cheese from Capri Creamery.

Jul 02, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

the old fashioned in madison

I like the idea of the Old Fashioned, but I'd say the food is solidly good, not great. Certainly a cut above the Great Dane.

May 11, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

Feed Me: Strouds or Peachtree? (KC)

I too had an excellent meal at this Peachtree. In fact, I had two -- we liked our lunch so much we came back for dinner!

May 11, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive

duck confit in Madison

Sardine serves it, so you could ask them whether they preserve it in-house or have a source.

Jan 17, 2009
Machaca in General Midwest Archive