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Friday, September 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 73.0° F  Partly Cloudy

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Hard cider is sometimes beer and sometimes wine, and worth exploring

Once an infinitesimal part of the beverage market, hard ciders have seen great increases in sales over the last several years and are starting to register in the consciousness of American consumers. Much of that growth has been with women. But more aggressive marketing campaigns are attempting to lure millennial men to the alcoholic apple juice party. >More
 Rare Steakhouse gets the meat right, but service and sides waver

Rare Steakhouse, the newest offering from Noble Chef Hospitality (Capital Tap Haus, Buck and Badger, Ivory Room), looks like the prototypical steakhouse. There's the beautifully appointed mahogany dining room, the opulent red leather booths, a tedious wine list full of big Napa cabernets, doting waiters in white jackets, and exclusive private dining. >More
 Madison Meat Matrix

Sure, there's more to consider in choosing a steakhouse than "value," but how do the cuts at various venues compare in terms of price? Madison Meat Matrix lays it all out for you. >More
 Are you ready for some Bucky?

After opening this weekend against the LSU Tigers in "neutral" Houston, the Wisconsin Football Badgers will spend three September Saturdays at Camp Randall before their Big Ten conference schedule begins at Northwestern Oct. 4. Bucky will welcome Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska and Minnesota to the near west side in October and November for a total of seven home games. Madison is ready. >More
 The new wave of Aussie wines

Australian wine has built a bad reputation for itself over the past couple decades. It certainly doesn't help that ginormous bladders of industrial hooch cross the Pacific to be bottled on our shores as a watery and wretched thing called Yellowtail. Even the better stuff is often bred with heavy-handed hedonism to be big, jammy explosions that a Crocodile Dundee might enjoy out of a Solo cup. >More
 Noodle nirvana at Hong Kong Station

Hong Kong Station is pinched into the unassuming 1400 block of Regent Street, the strip of small buildings across from Camp Randall that houses a tattoo parlor, a biryani joint, a key shop and now a noodle bowl sensation. >More
 Bartender bye-byes: Stalwarts of the Madison cocktail scene are moving on

Madison is saying goodbye this summer to a number of bartenders who have contributed to the city's flourishing drink scene. With growth comes change, and some longtime mixologists are leaving the stick behind to pursue big opportunities in the hospitality industry locally. Others are leaving for different cities altogether. >More
 Forget the naysayers -- wine and booze can blend to good effect

The 12th annual Tales of the Cocktail happened in New Orleans last week, and a number of Madison bartenders and beverage professionals made the trek to the Big Easy to attend seminars, volunteer at events, hobnob, and generally contribute to the mayhem that occurs when 40,000 alcohol industry folks descend upon a single city. >More
 La Taguara's outlet at the Cardinal Bar is a great success

When the Berge brothers opened Cortadito Express inside the former coatroom of the Cardinal Bar, the walk-up Cuban bites/coffee stop didn't fully connect with customers. There was the host bar's hours to work around, an issue with getting inside to eat without paying the club's cover, and the bigger hurdle of accustoming Madisonians to a not-quite-restaurant-not-quite-cart concept that, even though its footprint was small, had a lot of moving parts. >More
 Peter Reinhart visits UW-Madison: An interview about bread, spirituality and the gluten-free craze

Peter Reinhart co-founded the famous Brother Juniper's Bakery in Sonoma, California, in 1981. One of the world's most respected bakers, he's since gone on to pen multiple award-winning books, including the enduring modern classic The Bread Baker's Apprentice. >More
 Ten great restaurant patio spaces in Madison you may not have considered

Madison is still short on outside dining. While the options have improved dramatically with the recent sidewalk expansion around King Street, the city lags behind in the waterfront and rooftop scenes developed by other cities in the past decade. There are high hopes for the renovated Edgewater Hotel, which promises beachy enjoyment beyond the beer and college vibe of the Union Terrace. >More
 How to pick wines made by the stars

Celebrities think they can do anything. Models get delusions they can sing, actors are convinced they can be politicians, and directors believe they're artists. But the worst offense might be when famous folks think they can make wine. >More
 Short Stack Eatery comes up short

Mismatched chairs, mason jar glasses, a chandelier made out of whisks, vintage envelopes, local purveyors listed on one chalkboard, ironic quotes written across others, Sriracha on the menu as an ingredient and a backstory involving the restaurant's concept originating on bar napkins in Guatemala. >More
 Haveli Indian Restaurant does dinner right, but buffet is lacking

The address at 5957 McKee Rd. in Fitchburg has a tortured history. It's been home to Fitch's Chophouse, Good Times, Kickshaw and Jimmy's American Tavern -- all in just eight years. After Jimmy's closed, the enormous space was wisely parceled out into smaller units. Chef Dan Fox of Heritage Tavern snapped up the large basement kitchen and now uses it for catering and a heritage pork wholesale business. Another section became a nail salon, another a software company. The remaining piece is now Fitchburg's only Indian restaurant, Haveli. >More
 Jeff Ford of Cress Spring Bakery to launch pizza on the farm

Jeff Ford of Cress Spring Bakery is launching a pizza farm. Ford, who sells his nationally recognized brick oven-fired bread at the Saturday Dane County Farmers' Market as well as at the Hilldale market, plans to offer from-scratch pizzas at his facility near Blue Mounds every Wednesday evening starting mid-July. >More
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