Settle Down (Madison, Wisconsin)


Alright, we’re almost at the end of the meal reports from our Madison trip in August. This was lunch on our second and last full day in the city. We’d spent the morning on a lake and once it got nice and hot—like really hot—we ventured forth in search of another restaurant with outdoor seating. Settle Down had been on the list—thanks to another recommendation in the comments from Todd who’d also recommended Ian’s Pizza—but after the non-appearance of the advertised outdoor seating at the Old Fashioned the previous evening we were taking nothing for granted, Thankfully, a phone call to Settle Down confirmed the existence of a lot of outdoor seating and on arrival we saw that it was indeed so. The entire street in front of the restaurant was closed to traffic and strewn with tables and chairs. We picked one and then another and then another before finally finding one that was completely out of the blazing sun. And then we ordered some food and got down to the eating of a pleasurable lunch. Herewith the details. Continue reading

Ian’s Pizza (Madison, Wisconsin)


And so now I am at the midpoint of my meal reports from our trip to Madison in early August and this is a report on our first non-Asian meal in the city (see my earlier reviews of Strings Ramen and Bandung). Ian’s Pizza—recommended by a commenter, Todd—was not originally on our itinerary but it was our fallback option when one of the places that had been recommended from multiple directions didn’t work out: The Old Fashioned. We’d planned to eat dinner there on this Monday evening but when we pulled up alongside we couldn’t see any sign of the outdoor seating that they were supposed to have. We called them from the car and were told they were not doing outdoor seating on account of the storm about to roll in. Now, while weather on our trip was not great, this evening actually was completely rain-free. The sky was blue, the sun was out. Indeed, after dinner we repaired to the Memorial Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin for ice cream and sunset by the water. Far more likely is that they didn’t want to deal with staffing outdoor seating with enough people willing to eat indoors. So we ate dinner instead at Ian’s Pizza instead. And a very good dinner it was too. Continue reading

Bandung (Madison, Wisconsin)


Our first meal in Madison on our brief trip there in August was centered on ramen. Our next stop also deviated from the stereotypical Wisconsin food itinerary. As you might guess from the name of the restaurant in the title of this post, it featured Indonesian food. I should say here that our restaurant selections in Madison were driven entirely by two factors: 1) Were they in fact open (for lunch) or answering their phones? 2.) Did they have outdoor seating that they were actually using. A few of the restaurants recommended to us were not open for lunch; others had no outdoor seating. Bandung was open for lunch and had outdoor seating and so they were right in our sweet spot. But it’s not as though we weren’t interested in it for its own sake. As far as I know we don’t have an Indonesian restaurant in the Twin Cities metro and so we were very glad to give Bandung a go. Continue reading

Strings Ramen (Madison, Wisconsin)


Here begins my series of reports on our meals in Madison a few weeks ago.

As I said last week, our trip to Madison was in many ways an inverse of our trip to Kansas City in July. The earlier trip was centered on the eating of barbecue and we didn’t find Kansas City to be so very compelling as a family destination beyond that. Madison on the other hand didn’t hold very particular food significance for us but there was a lot of outdoor stuff for us to do or there would have been (even more) if not for the weather. However, armed with recommendations from friends who know the city very well and some people who’ve lived there a while, we ate quite well anyway. That said, the list of places we ate at might possibly strike some people as surprising and perhaps not in line with what comes to mind when you think of food in Wisconsin. For example, our first meal there—a few hours after arrival—comprised ramen, at Strings Ramen, a hop, skip and a jump from our hotel. Continue reading

Three Days in Madison, Wisconsin


A couple of weeks after our short vacation in Kansas City—the last couple of meal reports from which are still to come—we hit the road again for a brief getaway. Not on Highway 35 this time. Instead we went southeast to Madison, a shorter drive of just about four hours from our house to the hotel we were staying in in downtown Madison. We decided to go with a hotel as we couldn’t really find any viable AirBnB options—and as it turns out it was a lucky break given the weather we experienced on more than one day (more on this below). This trip was in many ways an inverse of our Kansas City trip. Those days were organized largely around the eating of barbecue. Madison has no equivalent local cuisine to tempt us—which is not to say that we ate badly. For us, however, there was a lot more to do in Madison as a family. A quick sketch of the trip follows below and then over the next several weeks I’ll have reports on the meals we did eat. Continue reading