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Saturday, November 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 43.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily


Freddy Valentine's Public House is a hearty and homey dining option in Spring Green

One of the best things about living in Madison is the fact that we're day-trip close to ethereal Spring Green. Even that ripe name has a pastoral whiff to it. And if one of the Midwest's artiest villages wasn't already alluring enough, given American Players Theatre, Taliesin and the venerable General Store, it now flaunts something Madison doesn't. That's Arcadia Books, which is everything a perfect bookstore should be and a reminder of what we lost when Borders closed. The only thing that's been missing from Spring Green has been ambitious restaurants that live up to the area's blooming frame of farms. >More
 Isthmus in the Kitchen: Grilled trout from Metcalfe's Market and Garden To Be (video)

We step outside the kitchen this week with a trip to Garden To Be for some grilling with Metcalfe's Market Chief Food Officer Leah Caplan. >More
 My eat-local challenge: Four weeks of exclusively regional food

Over the last decade, food has become a national pastime. It's even become a spectator sport. Television shows like Iron Chef and Chopped captivate millions of viewers, turning once obscure chefs into full-blown celebrities. An entire generation is growing up "foodie," dining out constantly, reviewing restaurants on blogs and taking photo after photo of it all. >More
 Three books for the locavore cook

By far my favorite book for reproducing the flavors of Wisconsin's terroir is Brett Laidlaw's beautifully written Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager (Minnesota Historical Society Press). In it he forages, fishes and finds paradise while living in a little cabin in Dunn County. I stayed up late reading this edible homage to Wisconsin rivers and fields from cover to cover. >More
 Fermentation Fest a unique blend of art and agriculture

Fermentation Fest, which takes place in Reedsburg Oct. 12-21, is a unique combination of art and agriculture, set in Wisconsin's driftless region. "It's our mission to reintegrate art and agriculture," says Donna Neuwirth, executive director of Reedsburg's Wormfarm Institute, which sponsors the fest. She notes that culture is even inside the word "agriculture," and that the two are intertwined, even though modern society sees them as disconnected. >More
 Madison food cart 2012 rankings embrace FIB's, popcorn carts

The food cart rankings for 2012 have been compiled and Madison has a new name at the top of the charts: FIB's Fine Italian Beef and Sausage. Last year's #1 ranking cart was Ingrid's LunchBox, a long-time city favorite, especially for her Dane County Farmers' Market breakfasts. However proprietor Ingrid Rockwell announced her retirement from the cart last August. >More
 Jordandal Cookhouse is a unique takeout deli

Carrie Johnson said it, and it's true: This is not something most farmers do. Johnson, owner of Jordandal Farms (along with her husband, Eric, and business partner Matthew Walter), knows most farmers don't set up a storefront for selling frozen meats 30 miles from the farm. Most farmers don't make pizzas. And most farmers definitely don't open a takeout cafe to serve lunch and dinner to locals and nearby hotel patrons. >More
 The Cider Farm near Blanchardville is a dedicated hard cider orchard

With the resurgence of interest in hard cider, there's a return of interest in cider apples. Enter Deirdre Birmingham and The Cider Farm. Located near Blanchardville in southwestern Wisconsin, it is an organic orchard dedicated to growing apples truly meant for hard cider. Apples you've probably never heard of, like the Ellis Bitter, Tremlett's Bitter, Dabinett, Chisel Jersey, Akane, Redfield. >More
 Lane's Bakery to reopen at Villager Mall

People lined up out the door this morning for what they thought might be the last kringle they'd ever buy from Lane's Bakery. But it turns out that won't be the case. Chuck Lane, who has run the bakery with his brother, Mike, since their dad retired about 10 years ago, signed a lease Thursday for a new store just down the road at the Villager Mall. >More
 It could be time for Limburger to make a comeback

"Our customers are, on average, about 76 years old," says Myron Olson, "but they will swim a river and climb a mountain to get Limburger cheese." Olson is the manager of Monroe's Chalet Cheese Co-Op, the only cheesemaker in the United States currently producing the foil-wrapped, aromatic bricks known as Limburger. He was kind enough to lead me through a tour of the place, where approximately 450,000 pounds of Limburger is produced annually. >More
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