Madison has a lot going for it, that’s for sure. In addition to the zoo, you have the State Capitol, site of massive protests earlier in the year and ongoing protests by what appears to be a group of homeless men who have nothing to do other than yell RE-CALL-WALK-ER as loudly as possible at passers-by. There’s the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin system, complete with 42,000+ students who had not quite returned to campus when we were there.
Sandwiched between these two institutions is State Street, a pedestrian mall, hippie haven, and pretty much the coolest place I could possibly imagine when I was 18. Two Himalayan/Nepali restaurants on one block – and Afghani, South African, and Turkish restaurants a few blocks away. Half a dozen bookstores, including one that formerly had a Canterbury Tales-themed bed and breakfast. A fabulous farmers’ market surrounding the Capitol on Saturday mornings. The fantastically crunchy Community Pharmacy. At least half a dozen little boutiques selling anything a hippie or hipster girl might want.
We were lucky enough to find an airbnb spot right on State Street – inconvenient for parking, but pretty much perfect for everything else – especially eating. I’m realizing as I write this that I have more food memories and photos than I really should put in just one post. Stay tuned for the rest – I promise you won’t have to wait long.
Dinner, day 1: Coopers Tavern
Photo by Josh Puetz
Excellent beer list, decent food. Our server was new and overly enthusiastic about taking our drink order before we’d even picked up our menus. I really enjoyed the Irish Cobb salad – house-cured corned beef, oven-dried tomatoes, asparagus, hard-boiled egg, Dubliner, and scallion-mustard dressing – but we were disappointed in the beer cheese pretzels, as the “dip” was more like soup. If we lived in Madison, we’d definitely give this place another shot.
Drinks, day 1: Great Dane Pub
Pretty underwhelming, though I did have a delicious beer and chocolate pairing.
After dinner and drinks, we walked down to Monona Terrace and looked at the water for a while. Good views make for good digestion, I think.
Photo by Aine D