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Monday, December 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 36.0° F  Light Rain Fog/Mist

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Layla's Persian Food serves distinctive and singular dishes

Layla's Persian Food is a cheery, quirky basement space appointed with eclectic odds and ends -- mirrors, rugs, mismatched furniture and bright French blue chairs. It's hidden away under the Madison Hostel, and the small room holds a scant handful of tables. >More
 Don't bog yourself down with a big wine on Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, think light. The meal is big, and it's often a slog, lasting for hours. What you're looking for is something to lift you along through the green bean casserole and inevitable uncomfortable political conversations. >More
 Cocktail contenders: Madison ups its mixology game for good

This year, Madison's cocktail scene reached a crucial tipping point. Two of the biggest restaurant debuts, Rare and Cento, both have a serious craft focus to their bars and are significant new contenders. >More
 Red wines for leaf piles

Wine is as seasonal as the food we eat. In the summer months, we consume a lot of bright, high-acid foods such as fruits and tomatoes. These are perfect for white wine with bracing acidity. As harvest brings its rich flavors and we start to eat more root vegetables and heavier sauces, we naturally turn toward robust reds. >More
 Hip pan-Asian joint Sujeo is on everyone's mind

Asian food has boomed in the last decade. There are not only simply more Asian restaurants in the U.S., but high-profile chefs have found inspiration in Asian flavors to create newfangled fusion cuisines. >More
 Eating on the UW-Madison campus for under $8

State Street is synonymous with UW-Madison, and some all-time favorite Badger hangouts have been on University Avenue. But when Isthmus asked our food crew to reveal their favorite campus eats under eight bucks, the choices turned out to be largely along Regent Street from Park to Monroe. >More
 Asian Sweet Bakery offers more than just pastries

Chinese baked desserts are less sweet than Western-style ones. There's no immediate sugar rush the way there is when you bite into, say, cupcake frosting or doughnut glaze. This can be a surprise for Americans, who are used to syrupy toppings and an instantaneous jolt that crescendos into a blood-sugar rush. At the same time, Chinese savory pastries can skew a bit sweet, and if you're not accustomed to honeyed meat or candied curry, the flavor combinations can short-circuit binary expectations. >More
 The Wisconsin supper club cocktail

Supper clubs are a Wisconsin birthright. The ritual of relish trays, wedge salads, prime rib and fish fries on Friday is part of the state's unique culinary and social heritage. Often family-run for generations, the establishments have a timeless quality. Much of their appeal is that the clock, suspended in an atmosphere of relaxation and tradition, is frozen at some point before the 1960s. >More
 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
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