Sunday, May 16, 2010

Biking in SE WI

wow... the last post in here was in September of 2008 --- step it up people! Surely we didn't run out of things to do/see/know about in WI ..... did we?

A couple of weeks ago, we braved a new (new for us) biking trail in southeastern WI:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Random mannekin head has a new hairdo!

Hey .... so that post about Random things seen in rural WI from ~2 weeks ago? I drove past there again this weekend and they have put a blonde wig with ponytails on the mannekin head! (Sadly, I did not have a camera with me to capture this.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spring biking!

Waaay back in June, we went biking around Lake Monona with brunch at Lazy Janes as the reward at the end...
Atmosphere - casual. I'm a sucker for places that still look & feel like the places that they were rennoavated from. In this case, a two-story house where the kitchen is on the first floor and seating on both floors.
Food - Soups, sandwiches, baked goods, coffee, tea. There are a good number of vegetarian options. I've never had anything I didn't like there. If you go on the weekend, you should know that they only serve breakfast foods.
Service - is fine, the people have always been friendly and cheery. You pay up front, they call your name when it's ready to pick up at the window, and you shoudl bus your own table when you're done. If you go on the weekend, be prepared to wait in a long line going out the front door....
Overall - Lazy Janes is a great place. I recommend it whether you walk or bike or drive there.... and I like it better on weekdays when it's less crowded.

I thought I had more pictures, but I can't find them at the moment.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random things seen in rural WI....

On my way to my aunt's house heading East on Hwy 12.... What's that dot in the middle-right-hand-side of this picture?

Check it out --- it's a mannequin!

And a very large rubber duck floating around, too:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pesto fest!

Reasons why we love Vermont Valley's CSA

11 frogs at the farm with two different kinds of basil:


OK... technically this next one is at the tree farm, but that's because due to wonky summer conditions plus high demand, we couldn't get any of our usual tomato fix at the CSA this weekend:

(Thanks a lot Live Without Regrets for creating a couple of tree farm produce buying monsters.)

11 frogs checking out of the tree farm. That's 55 lbs of tomatoes you see there on the scale:

Wintersnowgypsy's kitchen with her share of basil:

I now have many, many cups of pesto in my freezer. 2 cups w/ pine nuts, 2 cups w/ toasted walnuts (my favorite this year, I think), and 2 cups w/ cashews. All in ice cube trays at the moment, of course.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Second annual WI River canoe trip

Last year, we had our first canoe trip, and this year we decided to do it again!
We swapped Todd for Rick and got Katie instead of Witty, but it was another great time.

Starting the trip off right:

Lucia winning, again, as it even fun for her anymore? :P

W, rockin the 70's child-molester 'stache:


Rick, playing towel-head:

Vavra and the infamous blue kool-aid:

Me & D:

Some people spent time in water willingly.......

......some a little less willingly ;)

Tasty, tasty sangria!

The fish that D "caught" (aka it landed in our canoe):
D showing off the perfect clam shell he found, in front of the same campsite that we camped at last year!

This picture is the essence of the camping trip - relaxing in the river, drinking booze, and hanging out with friends:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Polka Cults

Polka is the state dance of Wisconsin and last Friday I attended my first Polka Fest in Wisconsin - it was over in Concord, between Madison and Milwaukee.

It was what I had expected - parking in the grass, lots of cute old couples in matching outfits, $6 pictures of Miller Light.

What I didn't expect was to find that Polka and Polka Boosters may be a cult.

We were sitting at the bar when we were approached by a nice old man who attempted to sell us on joining the boosters. It started out innocently - he told us about the club, the fees, the newsletter. Then he kept talking...and talking...and talking...and talking...then he tried to impress us with name dropping of random people who worked in the state...then he told us many people had asked him to run for president...then he talked about how he knew governor so-and-so and senator whats-his-name and 10,000 other people in the state...and how the residents make the laws and not the politicians...and talking...and talking...and talking...and then he tried to get $13 out of us for a CD.

It just got awkward and uncomfortable and he just talked and talked and talked.

So, do go to a polka fest. DON'T join.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Crazylegs 2008

Yesterday was the 2008 Crazylegs Classic, a Madison Tradition. Where else could you run 8K/walk 2 miles and then congregate to drink beer?

Witty, earthbane, K and I walked. All the others did the run. And they all came out with fabulous times! I think most of them did better than last year. I was happy because usually I stay behind to cook, but this year that was handled by Gypsy and Lucia (with muchas help from B&M, as always!). This year we also had enough people to form a team, and so we were The Alpha Contingent! We all sported t-shirts with this awesome design by Gypsy.

Now for the pictures of everyone after the race:

A record-setting 17,296 participants!

A close up of the backs of our group shirts:

Group picture #1:

Chowing down afterwards:

Our intrepid chefs:

Group picture #2:

The CRAZY picture:

The "look thoughtful" picture (changed by Lucia to "look thoughful or sexy"):

Fun times in all. Can't wait to do it again next year :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

the best place to spend the summer

I don't have a final answer for this one, but here are my thoughts:
1) Madison - clearly, given the joy of the lakes, the Union Terrace, Olbrich Gardens, concerts on the square, etc
2) Milwaukee - I am sure they do more in Milwaukee, but I could spend the entire summer doing festivals and beer gardens. that is reason enough to spend the summer there.
3) Madeleine Island/Apostle Islands - sure, we haven't been there in the summer, but something tells me that the joy of the fall is even more so in the summer.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

best place for picking up men

the best place for picking up men in Wisconsin might be Osseo. Let's just say that the women have great odds and the men aren't that bad looking.

best places in Wisconsin for....

new feature on this blog. We pick a theme and then try to figure out, of the places we have been, where are the best places for the theme. Comments with additions or desired deletions welcome.

best places in WI for a bachelorette party - Stoughton and Appleton.
we didn't actually have a bachelorette party in Appleton, but I can tell, it would be good.
Stoughton's downtown string of bars that vary from upscale middle aged (Stella's Speakeasy) to dirty drug addict (either the Nevermind or the one across the street from the Nevermind, I can't recall the names) to community college kid dance clubs... it has it all.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Appleton, WI

While showcasing in Appleton last weekend, we ended up at Park Central on Saturday night. I feel strongly this bar was created for me and my people.

It's actually a complex, not a bar - there is a Country Western bar with line dancing, a pool hall, a retro bar with a caged dancing area, a karaoke bar, and a dance club (playing current hits).

We did a little hip hop, had a dance off, drank some beer, moved to the retro club, did some cage dancing, whipped out some ballroom, picked up the most lame guy in the state of Wisconsin, got a free pitcher of beer, watched my instructor mount the cage with a running start from across the room, meandered to karaoke where we heard the most awful rendition of "18 and Life" ever performed (possibly ever to be performed - I couldn't be this bad on purpose) and closed the place down with Madonna's Material girl.

This place might be my new Mecca.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Yet another East side Madison business I want to kiss

Along with Greg's Guitar Shop, my management company, my new mechanic, and the Best Hardware Store in the Wide World (Ace on Willy Street), I have added another business to my list of Over-the-Top Ridiculously Good Customer Service Providers Within Walking Distance of My House: Burnie's Rock Shop.

A couple years ago, I purchased the perfect pair of earrings. They're silver, dangly (but not too dangly) reversible teardrops with a golden brown amber stone on one side and a green amber stone on the other. They are absolutely beautiful in the light, perfectly proportional to moi, and they also match 95.5% of my primarily green and brown wardrobe. I absolutely love them. I'll post of photo this weekend. (I'm wearing them in my profile pic on my blog if you can't possibly wait to see them.)

Anyway, I lost the green amber stone from one of the earrings last September. I was sad. I took them in to Burnie's, where I bought them, because they've repaired silver rings, earrings, and chains for me multiple times before at reasonable prices. They said they would look for a matching stone and replace it for me. So they looked. And looked. And looked. I called them every month, and, every month, they apologized profusely that they couldn't find a matching stone and told me where they were looking and when the next gem show was where they might find one.

After six months, I was pretty much ready to give up and just ask for them back so I could at least wear the earring with the brown stone out. But, they called yesterday and said: No, we didn't find your stone. However, the designer that originally made the earring you bought came back through to show us her new stuff and we bought a couple pairs of earring just like yours. We will give you a replacement pair at no charge.

So, I went in, not quite believing that a) these replacement earrings could look like my favorite perfect+ pair, or b) they would give them to me for free. But, yup, they look like my favorite pair (perfect!) and they gave them to me for free (perfect!). I still can't exactly figure out why they gave them to me for free. I was the one who lost the stone, and I was planning to pay them for the new stone and repair costs. But, I guess they felt bad about not being able to fix them or something, so they didn't charge me. When she said, "No charge," I even asked, "Are you sure? Really?"

Have I mentioned lately that I lovelovelove where I live? Have I mentioned lately that this is impeding my attempts at rational, financially based decision making about which grad school to attend? But that's another story entirely.

Anyway, go to Burnie's. They have pretty things, including all kinds of rings that I want, even though I wear two of the same three every single day. And they are nice.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Restaurant Review - FlatTop Grill

I got denied on Monday trying to fly to Dayton. The connection from Milwaukee to Dayton would have been missed because of the delay from Madison to Milwaukee flight.

To console myself, R and I went shopping to buy things we have been needing, like a frying pan that isn't TERRIBLE. apparently our current ones are terrible and R was getting shrill about it. I insisted we buy quality, so we went to Macy's at Hilldale.

While we were out there we decided on dinner, and Flat Top Grill it was.
A group of us went there on New Year's Eve, so I was familiar but R had never been.

The schtick is this: you get a bowl and a salad bar style line to put things in bowl. cover with sauce and pick some meat. Then, you hand it over and they fry it all up on a big, get this, flat top grill! They then bring it back to you at your table.

Here are my opinions:
1) I can't give them any credit for my bowl being delicious... I put it all together.
2) there is a scary chance that my bowl could have been sucky... if I were the restaurant I wouldn't want to take this chance. People aren't likely to come back if their food sucked. even if it was their fault. (my issue with places like the Prime Quarter is the same - I am not qualified to properly cook an expensive steak.)
3) I think their drink selection sort of sucks. I had the Horny Monkey at New Years Eve (and sort of appalling with a banana sticking out the top) and it just wasn't very good. They only have about three other kinds of specialty drinks, no bourbon selection to speak of, and a limited bottle beer selection.
4) darn it, that bread is good. it is a fried, greasy flatbread. mmm.

Overall - the dinner is 12 bucks, and I assume this is primarily for the experience. One bowl is way more food than you probably need, but you can get unlimited for a dollar more.

I will go back, but once again, probably for the experience more than the food.

Friday, February 8, 2008


In other news, there is a contradancing event in Madison this week. I want to try contradancing one of these days. Unfortunately, I can't this weekend as I'm roaming in Illinois instead, but just in case you are looking for something new to try this weekend, here are the details:

Contra Dance
at the Grace Episcopal Church
on Saturday night (02/09/2008)
Starting @ 8:00pm
With caller Steve Pike & music by the Last Gaspe Band

Here's a short sumamry of Contradancing, since you probably aren't familiar with it:

Contra dance (also contradance, contra-dance and other variant spellings) refers to several folk dance styles in which couples dance in two facing lines of indefinite length. Contra dances can be found around the world, though they are especially popular in the United States. Contra dance is also referred to as traditional New England folk dance.

ALthough my favorite definition is this one:

"A contra dance is like an amusement park ride we make for ourselves." --Unknown

And here's a link that can give you even more details. Also, if you go to YouTube and search for "contra dance" you'll find some videos. I thought about pre-screening some for you loyal readers, buuuut.... what's the fun of that?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A sweater and a new haircut... LR#5

To make up for my previous sweater Thursday that was missing a head, now you get a sweater Thursday that's... uhhh.... mostly head.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Restaurant Reviews

This blog about Madison cuisine is making me feel bad. It is more complete and comprehensive than my posts and what I simply can not forgive: wittier.
It also includes pictures.
I feel bad inside.
Perhaps I will just link to theirs.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fresco Review

Fresco is located at the top of the Overture Center in downtown Madison. A group of us went there for Madison's Restaurant Week. (Folks that attended are also contributors to this blog, so it would be great if they contributed and heck, even contradicted me!)

Atmosphere - think modern. glass walls, interesting shapes for the bowls, clean lines, minimalist. This makes things pretty loud when the joint is hopping.

Food - most of us chose from the fixed price menu, but many were on their standard menu:
  • the seared sashimi grade scallop was prepared well (and pretty delicious), but I felt the dish as a total lacked something - the polenta, sauce, bacon just weren't "there" for me.
  • Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Micro Grilled Cheese - just okay. Not a soup I was going to tell anyone about and the grilled cheese was a nice crusty french bread with cheddar, but once again, not that special.
  • Salmon - the salmon was well prepared (moist, flakey and delicious), but it was just salmon with mashed potatoes. Once again, nothing extraordinary.
  • Sheep's Milk Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi - this was the standout dish of the night for me. It was small, but outstanding. The gnocchi were light and fluffy, the sauce creamy and rich.
  • Cinnamon Creme Brule - I don't know that there are a lot of crappy creme brules out there in the world and this was no exception to that rule.
  • Beignets - Unlike Creme Brule - beignets are easy to fuck up. But, these were delicious! I haven't been to New Orleans, but I have had beignets at a restaurant in Chicago that could stop my heart. These were heart stoppers too. all light fluffiness with deliciousness.

Service - fairly good, except that she dropped a knife on my friend's head. but the waitress tried to make that right and she was appropriately upset about it.

Overall - there are a lot of fancy restaurants in Madison that would get my money before Fresco.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ice skating in M-town!

Olbrich was closed due to thin ice on Monday but I can only hope that tonight's bitterly cold weather will re-open those skating rinks around town. I'm sure that there are a couple more in the Madison area that I'm forgetting... but if you are looking for a place to skate outdoors, try these places:

- Olbrich Park (east side)
- Tenney Park (near east side)
- Elver Park (west side)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Folk dancing extravaganza!

Check out the schedule for Folk Ball 2008. There's a whole lot of interesting stuff going on in downtown Madison this weekend!

If I survive snowboarding, I am considering going to this tonight:

Saturday January 26
7:00pm-1:00-am in Great Hall -- The Legendary Folk Ball Dance Party
Orkestar Bez Ime [international] -- Twin Cities
Maritza [international] -- Decorah
Sloboda [international] -- Milwaukee
Reptile Palace Orchestra [eclectic ethnic] -- Madison
brief early evening performances by:
Viata Romaneasca [Romanian / Milwaukee]
Madcity Tango [Tango / Madison ]
Oak Apple Morris Team [Morris mumming / Madison]