Madtown Micro-Tour

>> Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I spent a lovely weekend in Madison, WI spending time with friends, eating really well, floating down the river (good minus the inevitable sunburn), and enjoying my old neighborhood. Walking around reminded me of just how awesome it is to be able to walk just a couple blocks to wonderful places. I whipped out my camera and grabbed a few shots of what you encounter just a couple blocks from where I used to live.

There's ye olde co-op, with all sorts of local, organic deliciousness. The grasshopper brownies -- which come 3 ways, regular, gluten-free, and vegan -- are quite possibly the most delicious things on this planet. I recommend buying one, freezing it, and eating it. Also, the fire-roasted jalapeno cream cheese is most fantastic. Joel gave me 2 for my birthday; I froze them and snuck them through airport security. The coop also sells Gotham Bagels, which is very important because they make the best pumpernickel bagels I've encountered in the Midwest.

St. Vinny's is a crosswalk away from the co-op. Occasionally I've found good fabric there, though not on this trip. They have an excellent array of stuffed animals perfect for buying for your favorite dog who will destroy them in short order. On Friday I went in and bought Max a gorilla. The ten-year-old girl watching this transaction expressed some dismay at my selection of a "good" animal for the dog. She thought a hard, ugly doll-thing would be better but I explained he would choke on that so the gorilla it was. The gorilla was gone by the evening's end.

Moving right along, Lazy Jane's Cafe offers scrumptious breakfast, brunch, and lunch options in a delightfully eccentric (mismatched plates, cutlery, chairs, etc + local artists' art on the walls) environment. It's ridiculously crowded on weekends, so I recommend stopping by mid-week.

Just in case you need to get a clock repaired, there's a place for that too. Admittedly, I'm not sure I've ever seen it open regularly, but, hey it might serve a need.

Ha Long Bay is new since I left. But Jenny and I are there on Sunday night and I give it my stamp of approval. I love Thai food and my go-to dish is Panang curry. They make it well, in huge portions, without fish sauce (which some places sneak in to their curries making them inaccessible to my vegetarian self). The service was a bit slow but the food -- which is quite reasonably priced -- made up for it. Elsewhere on Willy St, Laotian food awaits at Lao Laan-Xang. The pineapple curry is no longer on the menu but they'll still make it for you (I always add broccoli).

Also new to me is Batch Bakery which has all sorts of pastries, bread, cookies, and treats. The monkey-bread muffin is stellar.

Although Hans' Sewing and Vacuum closed a few years ago, Gayfeather Fabrics remains. It's a tiny local fabric store with a variety of quilting cottons, canvas, wool, silk, and the like. They seem to be carrying more modern lines and patterns now -- the window display on the left had aprons and bags from Amy Butler patterns. They also offer sewing classes which, alas, I learned about too late for my partaking. And although they are not cheap, I couldn't leave without picking up a little something.

I opted for 1/4 yard cuts of Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley and Tanya Whelan's Dolce. I'm not sure what I'll use them for, but I think they look quite fine together and thus will try and design something around them.

That covers about 5 blocks of Willy St. If you're ever in Madison, I recommend spending some time there.


Abby and Stephanie August 3, 2010 at 9:34 AM  

Thank you for the fun tour. Lazy Jane's sounds fantastic. And I also love Thai.

Carla August 4, 2010 at 5:47 PM  

Thanks for taking us along! I'm sure you'll find a good use for those new fats.

Sarah K August 5, 2010 at 11:20 AM  

Oh Willy St! Nice highlights.

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