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Thursday, September 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 62.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

FOOD AND DRINK

Madison Restaurant Week reveals city's culinary scene

The distance from edge to edge of the Madison Restaurant Week map paints an impressive picture. Indeed, the offerings are diverse; fewer than half of the participants are offering a steak dish, and entrees like marlin, roasted fennel, carne asada and escolar (an unusual variety of mackerel) keep things interesting. Upon closer inspection, however, the scope of the Restaurant Week lineup becomes spottier and less encompassing. >More
 Southwestern on the west side

By now, Pasqual's qualifies as a Madison icon. Founded by Tim and Libby Guilfoil on Monroe Street as a funky little Southwestern salsaria, it has in its 23 years gone through several expansions, contractions, and incarnations. In 1994, a new Pasqual's opened in Parkwood Plaza, Middleton. Four years later came another Pasqual's, on Atwood Avenue next to the Barrymore. These two folded. >More
 Screening for cheap eats at State Street Brats

State Street Brats is well known as the spot to get brats on a Badger Saturday or to watch games on their gazillion television screens. It's the home of the classic red brat, although you can get a white brat there, too. For the extra-patriotic, there's also the "Red, White and Bleu" brat -- a red and a white brat, under one bun, indivisible, with liberty and bleu cheese crumbled over all. Comes with a defibrillator on the side! >More
 Breakfast and beyond

The first two Dane County Farmers' Market breakfasts of the year confirmed that the weekly event is meeting its objectives. Among the goals set five years ago, when the Taste of the Market meals began, were to showcase a range of local crops, farmers, and cooks (check); create a community-wide social gathering around good food (check); and teach shoppers how to utilize the bounty (check). >More
 Changing of the guard

At a restaurant known for fresh, local ingredients, January is the ultimate test for the chef. "Nothing's growing outside right now," laments Derek Rowe, who later this month will take over as executive chef at Harvest, the fine-dining eatery at 21 N. Pinckney St. on the Capitol Square. >More
 Electric Earth Café is plugged in to downtown Madison

Electric Earth Café has its heart in the right place. A penned sign at the front counter states that they regret that due to rising fuel prices, the food menu's prices are all rising as of today -- but not the drink prices. The cafe's vivid blue walls, jazzy soundtrack, extensive chalk-on-blackboard menu, and veggie and vegan selections give the place that mid-'70s, northern California coffeehouse vibe. I find the blue walls alarming, but they're growing on me. >More
 Bitter harvest

If you enjoy bitter beers, it might not be a very -- forgive me -- hoppy new year. A worldwide shortage of hops may mean higher prices for some favorite local microbrews. Hops, a perennial vine, provide beer's bitter flavor. >More
 JJ Fish & Chicken has food fit to be fried

It was with perhaps unwarranted optimism that I placed my order for fish at J J Fish and Chicken on East Washington. There's nothing wrong with fried seafood per se. Fish and chips is perhaps Britain's most famous culinary export. In Wisconsin, the Friday fish fry is social bedrock second to nothing, not even Packers games. And some of the best seafood I've ever eaten came from a little fried seafood shack in Menemsha, Massachusetts, called The Bite. >More
 Carnivore's delight

Apparently it's no longer enough for a restaurant to simply serve food. The growing trend among restaurateurs is to throw a full-blown fiesta, and nothing exemplifies the fashion better than Madison's own recent trifecta of big new openings: the west-side Tex Tubb's (think Latin Mardi Gras), Icon (tapas gone wild) and now the Brazilian grill-cum-performance space Samba. >More
 My top ten Madison food finds of 2007

The real draw for me at the annual Lakeview Lutheran Church lutefisk dinner -- said to be one of the best in at least Dane County if not the state -- was the second banana: the Swedish meatballs. But I did try the lutefisk, which looks like a pile of sauerkraut and tastes a little like finnan haddie. And now I can say I've eaten lutefisk. They say it's an acquired taste. And heck, maybe I'll acquire it. I'll be back at Lakeview Lutheran next year... for the meatballs. Here's a recap of some other of my favorites from the year just past. >More
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