Madison Eats, part 3

Honestly, I’m surprised I had room for breakfast after eating all the toast at Merchant on our last full day in Madison.  As we walked to breakfast, rubbing the sleep and mild hangovers out of our eyes, Shane teased me about the stack of toast which somehow grew from 3-4 slices of crusty farmhouse bread to a stack of toasts all the way up to the ceiling that I consumed Cookie Monster style.  I don’t deny that I ate all the toasts.  Just not that many.

Breakfast, day 3: Bradbury’s



We’ve traveled a lot this year, and as a result, have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to interpret Yelp reviews in order to find good coffee. The problem is that definitions of ‘good coffee’ are highly subjective: for some, it’s a 32 oz sugar spectacle from Starbucks; for others, it’s Blue Bottle. The best strategies I’ve found so far involve searching for words like crema, siphon, flat white, ristretto or gibraltar – one of which led us to Bradbury’s.

And Bradbury’s was exactly what we were hoping to find: seriously good coffee made by people who care. Shane had a traditional cappuccino – no more than 8oz, perfect microfoam – and a crepe with Nutella and bananas. I had a piccolo – indistinguishable from a gibraltar or a cortado, but then what do I know – and a scone. We left caffeinated and happy, wishing we’d found Bradbury’s earlier in our stay.

After breakfast, we wandered around the Capitol Square to Fromagination, a cheeseshop on par with Cowgirl Creamery in my book. The store was in a state of minor disarray as a Food Network crew was in the process of filming a spot for a new show focused on cheese, but that didn’t deter us from sampling a number of fancy and delicious Wisconsin cheeses. I especially enjoyed the display of local beers and recommended cheese pairings, and wish we’d had the opportunity to try more of them! Regardless, we left with our dinner in hand – three different cheeses to be paired with co-op takeout – and a recommendation to check out the National Mustard Museum on our way out of town.


Photo by Susie Foodie

Lunch, day 3: Brasserie V

100 World Class Beers

Photo by beautifulcataya

We split a delicious lunch at Brasserie V, located near Camp Randall Stadium amongst a bunch of boutiques on Monroe St. Shane was excited about the Belgian beer list, but I was more into the cool and creamy pea soup that we shared for lunch, along with a half Croque Monsieur and a towering cone of frites. We tried to avert our eyes as a couple at the bar gratuitously made out between sips of their Kwak, served in authentic Kwak glasses. We wished we had more appetite so that we could eat and drink more delicious things.

Off to New Glarus! But first, a stop at the Mustard Museum, which was everything we hoped it would be: weird, esoteric, and full of ridiculous mustard things. What possesses one to make mustard – collecting, not making – one’s life’s work? A question for the ages.

King of Condiments!


1121 Leftover Galettes

A quiet and laid-back day today. We slept in, then went to Comet for cappuccinos and a shared raspberry-almond pastry. Shane took advantage of the nice weather and unstructured time to do assorted moped errands and projects. I ran, then spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch with knitting and MI-5.

Neither of us were particularly hungry for most of the day – a side effect of last night’s dinner – so instead of making something new for dinner, we made the most of fantastic leftovers by using them to fill buckwheat galettes. I wanted to try this recipe months ago, but while I got around to buying the buckwheat flour, I didn’t get to making the galettes until today. The main reason? You have to make the batter an hour or two in advance. That’s really not a good reason, but it’s the best excuse I’ve got. Regardless, they turned out to be an excellent vehicle for such luxurious leftovers as thin slices of Broadbent ham with minced stuffed mushrooms or pumpkin risotto. I’m not sold on the galette recipe – I think I’d prefer a little less buckwheat – but I am sold on this dinner.

Breton galette and cider
Photo by Anina2007

Buckwheat Galettes from Simmer Down!

Saturday Night in the Mission

We were in and out of so many spots in the Mission that I feel like it might be easier to just give you a far-from-exhaustive list. We went back to the Mission later in the trip, so if you don’t see your favorite spot on the list, fear not! We probably visited it and have either forgotten to include it here, or will be talking about it later.

826 Valencia
826 Valencia St (between 19th & Cunningham)
San Francisco, CA 94110-1737
(415) 642-5905

The front is a pirate store, with an entire wall full of mysterious but helpfully labeled drawers containing the sorts of things you might need or might encounter on a pirate ship. There’s a “take a boot, leave a boot” bucket by the door, and a periscope through which you can glimpse the horrific sea monsters that populate the Mission. The back is a renowned literacy center founded by Dave Eggers.

Candy Store Collective
3153 16th St (at Albion)
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 863-8143

Chic little boutique with a secret motorcycle room in the back. Shane tried on an UHmazing leather motorcycle jacket with no price tag – always telling – and had to leave it behind when it clocked in at around $450.

Little Otsu
849 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 255-7900

We both love Little Otsu, which is packed full of sweet stationery and other letterpress goodies.

Needles & Pens
3253 16th Street (between Dolores & Spencer)
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 255-1534

Heather’s review of Needles & Pens mirrors my experience: I’m glad such a store exists in a place where there is a market for zines and crafty goods, but I didn’t find anything I loved.

Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids
766 Valencia St (between 18th & 19th)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 252-9990

I missed this exceedingly cool toy store the last time I was in SF – a nice combination of whimsical and educational toys for kids of all ages. The grown up Paxton Gate is right down the street, though we didn’t stop in.

Princess Animal and Serendipity
803 Valencia St (between 19th & Cunningham)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Princess Animal: (415) 206-1036
Serendipity: (415) 401-8760

Like Little Otsu, Serendipity is full of sweet paper goods – with a BONUS YARN STORE in the back! We happened in as Princess Animal – the yarn store – was having their opening reception, so we had a glass of wine and kids’ snacks – Little Debbie cakes, jelly beans, licorice whips, popcorn – while I perused the yarn and commiserated with the owner about my fear of DPNs. I suspect I would’ve made a knitty friend on the spot if we were SFers. Alas.

Self Edge
714 Valencia St (between 18th & 19th)
San Francisco, CA 94110-1735
(415) 558-0658

If you’re a guy and you’re into high-end Japanese denim, I suspect that Self Edge will be your holy land. Shane falls into both camps – and is long-time Internet friends with the owner, who we hung out with later on our trip. Self Edge’s jeans will make your jeans feel inadequate in price, fashion, and function.

Ti Couz Creperie
3108 16th St (16th & Valencia)
San Francisco, CA 94103-3328
(415) 252-7373

Our last stop in the Mission – a light dinner of crepes and drinks. I had a lovely dinner at Ti Couz in 2008, and was eager to share the experience with Shane. We ordered buckwheat crepes – the ham crepe for me, and the Crepe Gourmande for Shane – with mushroom sauce added to both. Simple and flavorful, with a lush richness added by the mushroom sauce. I had a small bowl of pear cider, and Shane enjoyed the Ti Couz 10. I wasn’t as blown away this time, but maybe I was less hungry? Or maybe we’ve just had so much good food in the years since that Ti Couz didn’t measure up as well as I remembered. Either way, it was a nice dinner.

0305 Breakfast @SELMA, Roos-style

Between the holidays, starting a new job, and the fact that it’s damned difficult to get out of bed in the mornings, we managed to go four months without having breakfast at SELMA.  This week, however, we felt the first hint of spring in the air, and the combination of sunshine and the promise of crepes proved enough to get us out the door and into Jeff and Lisa’s warm kitchen, where John Roos and his wife were serving up breakfast.  Well, that and the fact that we were out of coffee.

I couldn’t have been happier with my breakfast – a buckwheat crêpe complète with local ham, soft cheese, and a barely fried egg, just the way I like it.  Shane had a gorgeous pile of scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits, and hippie gravy.  I’m not sure how hippie gravy varies from regular gravy other than the lack of meat, but it sure was tasty.  We both filled up our mugs with Roos Roast, and left with plenty of time to make it to work AND for Shane to find a parking spot on a beautiful end-of-winter morning.  So good, you guys.  Let’s not wait another four months before breakfasting at SELMA.