The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010!

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BuddyRoadhouse
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2010/02/21 14:54:32 (permalink)

The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010!

New Contingent member starlady recently started a thread here, asking questions about our tours and get togethers.  Her questions were answered and then the thread evolved into a discussion of a future tour of Madison, Wisconsin.

Since the last couple of Eat & Greets (the WTMJ tour and the Mykonos dinner) were missed by several members due to misplaced and mis-titled threads, I thought it appropriate to start a fresh thread in the right forum with a title that will alert all members that something is going on.

So, here's the skinny: Contingent member Brad_Olson has expressed an interest in putting together a tour of Madison.  Those of us who have already chimed in on starlady's thread have suggested May 2nd as a strong potential date for the tour.  Suggestions were also made for possible stops on the tour.  Now that more members of The Contingent will (hopefully) see this thread, let's nail down the date and pick our stops.

Brad, I started the thread but this tour is your baby.  We're putting our Roadfood fates in your hands.  We're all counting on you.  Don't let us down.

But no pressure, dude.

Buddy
#1

214 Replies Related Threads

    Davydd
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/21 15:27:50 (permalink)
    You just might get a Minnesota gate crasher to this one. May 2 falls right between our first RV trip to Texas Hill Country mid April and setting out for Indianapolis and east Mid May. It should be warm enough to do a little bit of RV camping in south central Wisconsin.
    #2
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/21 15:42:52 (permalink)
    I don't mind helping out when possible but I'm not exactly sure why my name's on the masthead:

    JRPfeff

    So I will hijack this thread and suggest a late April Eat & Greet for THE CONTINGENT somewhere other than Chicago.  Which leads me to Brad_Olson's righteous dining experience at Doug's Soul Food in Madison.  I think Madison would be a great change of pace for us and I can think of dozens of place to eat.  The Farmers Market may be running by then, too.

    Are you in?


    JRPfeff

    Brad_Olson
    I was stumbling around the Web and came across this blog:

    http://www.madisonatoz.com/

    I admire their determination!

    Brad

    After going to the great blog Brad linked to above, I knew we had to get JM & Nichole to join us for our May Eat & Greet in Madison.

    MadisonAtoZ.com
    What is it?
    They say Madison has the most restaurants per capita of any city in the U.S. JM likes lists and Nichole likes to eat, so we decided to eat at (nearly) every restaurant in Madison in alphabetical order.

    Here's our method: from Isthmus' (a local free weekly) "Eats" list, we print the list of restaurants beginning with the next letter, and go to each place in order, one time.


    How Roadfoodie is that?  I contacted them by e-mail with an invitation to join our Eat & Greet and received an enthusiastic response.

    I also asked N & JM for advice on our stops on May 2.  Here are their thoughts.
    Now for some recs. We saw these places in your discussion and heartily second them:

    Vientiane
    Chautara
    Doug's Soul Food
    Cottage Cafe
    Papa Bear's BBQ
    Poppa Coronofoulos

    We'll throw these into the ring, as well - though we haven't checked hours of operation:

    Corner Store (crouching grocery, hidden curry)
    Curve (best greasy spoon in town)
    Greenbush Bar (Italian workingman's fare with a little more style and no pretension)
    Luckenbooth Restaurant (a bit far afield, in Blark Earth, but great pie and Scottish breakfast)
    Lucky Seven (divey homestyle Mexican OMG good)
    Mediterrranean Cafe (cheap, fast, and line out the door most weekdays)
    Michael's Frozen Custard (small local chain, in 4 rehabbed gas stations)
    Mickey's Tavern (half off drinks Sunday afternoons if you're playing board games)
    Nick's Restaurant (legacy downtown bar/diner)
    Pat O'Malley's Jet Room (apparently we wrote so highly of this place that the local paper picked it up, and wrecked the secret for the regulars)

    And here are some we haven't posted on yet, but know are good:
    Anna's Pizzeria (Sun Prairie but dang good pies)
    Carnival's (new soft-serve and hot dog place, they win the ballsy award for opening in the middle of winter)
    The Haze (as fancy as we're going to recommend - lunch $8. Asian fusion BBQ, most value-driven of local culinary star Muramoto's ventures)
    Smoky Jon's No. 1 BBQ (self-explanatory)

    This is a great list to start from (Corner Store - Can you say Dining ala Trunk?), but we can keep looking. 

    I would also like to include at least one stop at a Madison A to Z review location.  N & JM expect to be in the R's by early May and they think Rising Sons Deli is probably the best bet.  We'll keep in touch as the tour gets closer to finalize this stop.

    If you haven't yet, go to Madison A to Z and explore. 


    Brad
    #3
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/21 18:19:46 (permalink)
    Davydd, it would be a real treat to have you and Nancy join us in Madison.

    Brad, I didn't mean to thrust anything on you that you didn't want, it's just that your posts on this subject indicated a desire to take the helm on this one.  Plus, Madison is your territory, so I just assumed (rightly or wrongly) you would be our tour guide.

    JRPfeff has also taken some steps toward structuring a tour.  I don't know what JRP's intent was and I certainly didn't mean to take away his leadership role if that's what he wanted.  I also suggested some Madison stops, but I promise, I don't want to be the team leader on this one.

    My sole intent in starting this thread was to make sure that as many Contingent members as possible would be aware of this tour and could participate in same, both by providing their input and joining in on the actual trip.  Whoever ends up organizing and leading the group, I will be there to follow.

    Buddy
    #4
    X1
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/21 18:40:12 (permalink)
    Good chance I'll be there. 

    JRPfeff's schedule, due to recent events, may be bolloxed, and he may not be able to lead a tour, let alone join us. 
    He's on a nice vacay right now, and probably unable to access the 'net, so we'll let him chime in when he gets back.

    On that list, I'd say that Doug's Soul Food, and/or Smoky Jon's #1 BBQ and/or Papa Bear's BBQ look like places I'd want to try.


    #5
    carolina bob
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/21 22:15:38 (permalink)
    May 2nd?? Good grief, you folks are sure putting me on the spot. That's the weekend that I'm supposed to be in North Carolina ( yeah, I know... I was there just last week. ) Now I've got a decision to make. The Tarheel State or the Dairy State? What to do, what to do. Actually, there's no reason why I can't postpone the NC trip by a week, so I guess you can count me in for the MadCity event. BTW, I had a very good lunch at Smoky Jon's last summer, and I recommend a stop there.    
    post edited by Carolina Bob, ex-nocarolina - 2010/02/25 10:14:59
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    stricken_detective
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/22 00:09:32 (permalink)
    Brad_Olson I don't mind helping out when possible but I'm not exactly sure why my name's on the masthead:


    Soooooo many places to go with this.

    1) I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. (X1 knows).

    2) It's your punishment for skipping McBob's.

    3) Um, because you live in the 608 & we don't? Trust me, if I made up a Mad City tour, we'd all get our cars washed by a blue octopus, followed by a lunch of macaroni & cheese & make your own fruit salad in the basement of the UW Hospital. Then we'd eat Chinese food at a gas station & go to the video store downtown that has...uh...films...mixed in with the regular movies. *cough* Not that I wouldn't enjoy it, but those are the only places I know in Madison besides Ella's Deli. I have never actually eaten there, I know it because that is where we turn left to get to the Hospital.

    #7
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/22 08:54:45 (permalink)
    Well, it's true about 608 but there's more to it than just Madison!

    The problem is that in the 20 years I've been here I've actually spent very little time in Madison.  I work on the southern edge and almost never venture northward; I'll bet I can count on 1 hand the number of times I've eaten in the city.

    Now if people want to look at the A-to-Z list and come up with possibilities I might be able to help with non-downtown logistics, and if someone mentions a place where I've actually eaten I can give my opinion.  But there aren't going to be many!

    Brad
    #8
    Tastytoo
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/22 14:06:31 (permalink)
    Is there a deadline on when you need to know if someone can make it? This is too far in advance for me. Thanks.
    #9
    stricken_detective
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/22 14:12:40 (permalink)
    That sounds reasonable.

    Contingent: How many places do we want to try & hit? I think we should shoot for 4 because YOU KNOW there will be 2 more added by the time the day actually comes. Don't forget we need to sprinkle in some ethnic grocery stores or sightseeing to make sure everyone's tummies have time to recover before the next stop. Unless we agree NOW that we are doing a tasting, not an actual meal, at all the places we go? (Like a progressive dinner? Yes? No? Maybe?)

    Who are the top 4 contenders for where we want to go?
    #10
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/22 14:19:13 (permalink)
    Tastytoo,

    No worries.  Contingent affairs are very casual.  Other than to confirm or challenge the tour date, I don't think anyone who has responded so far is absolutely locked in.  Life happens and people's plans change between the announcement and the actual tour.

    We don't make reservations at any of the places we visit and we don't count on specific numbers.  Our ranks for our tours can range from six or seven to twenty plus.  We've had people make or break commitments right up to the moment a tour starts.

    We've had some members join us in the middle of a tour.  Some will even start a tour, leave in the middle and then join back up with us at the end of the day.

    One caveat: If you're going to be providing your own transportation you'll have complete freedom to stay or break with the group at any time.  If you're relying on someone else in the group for getting around, you'll want to make a commitment about a week or so before the tour and make contact with whoever you're hoping will drive.

    Buddy
    #11
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/22 15:05:03 (permalink)
    I have trouble if there is more than one stop...
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/22 15:42:55 (permalink)
    If CSD comes along perhaps we could do an Oscar Mayer tour.  I'm thinking a photo of him inside the Wienermobile would be a good thing.

    Brad
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    quijote
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/22 23:22:10 (permalink)

    I like the idea of doing 4 (or so) places with some grocery/other activities thrown in for good measure.

    My four top contenders? Well, I'm flexible, of course, but I can envision something like this:

    Doug's Soul Food
    One of the BBQ places
    Whatever is on the schedule from the A-Z site
    Something "ethnic" (Asian? Latin American?)

    I ate at Vientane once and had an absolutely amazing Squash Curry there--perhaps even Buddy, our resident curcubitophobe, would like it.

    But there are many ethnic places in Madison that I haven't been to--I hear there's a really good Peruvian restaurant near campus, for example.

    I like the idea of doing the A-Z thing with N & JM. It sounds like a fun way to try something kind of random, and to talk to Madison foodies.

    What non-meal stops to make? Dunno. There are some artisanal cheese shops around there. There's also a chocolatier (or two) in town that makes nifty flavors. We could always stop at the Great Dane for a beer..... A stop for custard somewhere seems more than reasonable....
    #14
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/22 23:59:13 (permalink)
    I've been called a lot of things in my time, but never a curcubitophobe.  Gotta say, that one hurts.

    I am a big fan of Vientienne Palace although I've never had their Squash Curry, apparently because I am that thing quijote called me.

    I did write up a list of Madison suggestions on the "other" thread which I will copy and paste below:

    I just got home and checked my Madison folder and found a couple of menus ( I keep records of every place we visit when traveling for Roadhouse and save as many menus as I remember to grab) for places that might be worth checking out.

    First up is Vientienne Palace, describing itself as a "Lao-Thai Valley Restaurant".  Dad and I have eaten at Vientienne a couple of times and had excellent food both times.  Plus, this place is just shabby and run down enough that, if they served Barbecue, it would be an instant Roadfood classic.  Huge portions, almost dirt cheap prices and wonderful flavors make Vientienne Palace a worthwhile stop

    From another corner of Asia is Chautara, a slightly upscale Nepalese restaurant.  This was the first place that Dad and I had ever tried goat.  Very tasty, a bit like lamb, but slightly gamier.  Nepalese food is influenced by Indian cuisine, although there is no prohibition on beef here.  Lots of wonderful finger food apps served with a smorgasbord of dipping sauces.

    What's interesting about Chautara is that it is owned by the children of an older couple who own
    another Nepalese restaurant, Himal Chuli, just a few doors away.  The parents' restaurant is a real Roadfood find.  Looking in the front window you'd think you were looking at the all-American malt shop.  1940's style fixtures with a handful of low slung booths, a soda fountain area with classic counter stools; even neon signs in the front window, although, instead of showcasing triple thick shakes, they glow for momos and samosas.  Himal Chuli is a true vegetarian joint, unlike Chautara which is aiming for a more middle of the road patronage.  We haven't eaten at Himal Chuli but would love to give it a try.

    There is Dotty Dumpling's Dowry, one of Mad City's best known burger joints.  I have to admit that we haven't been there since they relocated, so have no idea if the burgers are still any good or if the atmosphere is the same.

    Finally, for dessert, there is The Daily Scoop located in the UW/Mad Student Union (a building well worth visiting even without the promise of ice cream).  Ice cream served at The Scoop comes from the UW agricultural program and is hand crafted on campus.  Yup, this is university ice cream made with milk from educated cows!

    Just my suggestions.  I'm sure there are others who are more familiar with the city who can build on this.

    Vientienne Palace

    151 Gorham
    Madison  WI  53703
    (608) 255-2848

    Chautara
    334 State Street
    Madison  WI  53703-2021
    (608) 251-3626‎

    Himal Chuli
    318 State Street
    Madison  WI  53703-2021
    (608) 251-9225‎

    Dotty Dumpling's Dowry

    317 North Frances Street
    Madison  WI  53703-1970
    (608) 259-0000

    The Daily Scoop

    Memorial Union
    800 Langdon Street
    First Floor Commons Area
    Madison  WI

    I just spoke to a Chicago friend of mine who was familiar with both Chautara and Himal Chuli and says that Himal Chuli serves up a more interesting menu and more flavorful food.  The thing about both Himal Chuli and Vientienne Palace is they're both fairly small.  Depending on the size of the group, we could easily knock them for a loop if we walked in without giving them a heads up ahead of time.

    If the Daily Scoop is open it could be the Madison equivalent of our "end of the tour" Kopp's stop in Milwaukee.

    Buddy
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    quijote
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/23 07:17:48 (permalink)
    Buddy, just razzin' ya; I hope I didn't misrepresent your take on the squash family. Perhaps you like some of them, but not all of them.

    In any case, I mistyped the word: should be "cucurbitophobe." Maybe that means you're off the (squash) hook.

    Any of the choices you listed sounds good, especially the ones that can accommodate a group our size.
    #16
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/23 09:49:12 (permalink)
    quijote

    I like the idea of doing 4 (or so) places with some grocery/other activities thrown in for good measure.

    My four top contenders? Well, I'm flexible, of course, but I can envision something like this:

    Doug's Soul Food
    One of the BBQ places
    Whatever is on the schedule from the A-Z site
    Something "ethnic" (Asian? Latin American?)

    I ate at Vientane once and had an absolutely amazing Squash Curry there--perhaps even Buddy, our resident curcubitophobe, would like it.

    But there are many ethnic places in Madison that I haven't been to--I hear there's a really good Peruvian restaurant near campus, for example.

    I like the idea of doing the A-Z thing with N & JM. It sounds like a fun way to try something kind of random, and to talk to Madison foodies.

    What non-meal stops to make? Dunno. There are some artisanal cheese shops around there. There's also a chocolatier (or two) in town that makes nifty flavors. We could always stop at the Great Dane for a beer..... A stop for custard somewhere seems more than reasonable....


    Some logistics:
     
    Doug's Soul Food is located in what's basically an industrial park but it does have the Mexican restaurant right next door.  Plus I can give you a tour of the Caterpillar dealership where I work, and if you're nice I'll let you sit on a machine and make engine noises while you pretend to steer.
     
    If Doug's winds up on the itinerary then the logical choice for barbecue is Fat Jack's in Monona, as it's just north of the Beltline and everyone will be coming into town that way.  Plus it's next to a Japanese steakhouse (the name escapes me) and a Mexican market.
     
    Heading south on Fish Hatchery Road from Greenway Cross takes you the shopping plaza at Post Road, where there's a little Hispanic market run IIRC by Tomas, the former owner of La Paella.  There's also a very good liquor store right next door if anyone wants to buy some craft beers or wines not found in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas.  One of the Pizza Extreme locations is also right here and Buddy will undoubtedly want to get a foot-long chili-cheese dog from the Dairy Queen.
     
    Going further south leads to Casa Del Sol, which used to be the "other" Casa De Lara (the original's on State).  I've eaten there and the food's OK, but I also know very little about authenticity when it comes to Mexican.  There's also a "fast sushi" kind of place and one of the Great Dane locations, but once you get to McKee Road you're just a stone's throw from Liliana's, which is one of our favorites (Abita Turbodog on tap - yay!).  However, it's also more upscale and it's frighteningly easy to spend a lot of money there.  Further down Fish Hatchery is The Continental, which is another classy place.  2 places that aren't really Roadfoody but if anybody's ever looking for more of a "dining experience" while in Madison they're definitely worth considering.
     
    Brad
    post edited by Brad_Olson - 2010/02/23 10:28:12
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    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/23 10:18:10 (permalink)
    I do a mean engine sound with my new and improved gravely voice!
    #18
    irisarbor
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/23 10:46:40 (permalink)
    It all sounds good to me- we will try and make it, although it is a little early for me to commit Mr. Irisarbor to anything...
    #19
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/23 13:55:30 (permalink)
    Brad_Olson
    Doug's Soul Food is located in what's basically an industrial park but it does have the Mexican restaurant right next door.  Plus I can give you a tour of the Caterpillar dealership where I work, and if you're nice I'll let you sit on a machine and make engine noises while you pretend to steer.

    Doug's sounds like a good option to me.  Plus, how can you pass up an opportunity to act like a five year-old and make vrooming noises in front of a large group of your friends.
    Brad_Olson
    Buddy will undoubtedly want to get a foot-long chili-cheese dog from the Dairy Queen.

    You bet!  Because everybody knows it's not what goes into a Hot Dog that makes it good, but how long it is!
     
    Buddy


    post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2010/02/23 13:56:32
    #20
    MilwFoodlovers
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/24 07:54:56 (permalink)
    Asian Midway Foods
    301 South Park Street
    Madison, WI 53715-1514
    (608) 255-5864
    should certainly be considered for a stop.
    I've been at this pan Asian grocery several times and always found something neat and new.
    It has a central location and a fairly good sized parking lot.
    For those unfamilar with Madison, it is at the intersection of Park Street (Hwy 151) and Washington (Hwy 30) not far from both the State Capitol bulding (great visit stop too) and the beltline xway.


    post edited by MilwFoodlovers - 2010/02/24 08:43:56
    #21
    X1
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/24 08:11:20 (permalink)
    I'd be down with Asian Midway Foods.
    Yay, shopping!
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/24 08:38:57 (permalink)
    A few blocks south of Asian Midway Foods is The Curve, which is probably about as traditional a Roadfood place as any you could find in Madison.  Poking around on the Web turns up some wildly varying reviews, though, and it's only open until 1 on Sundays.  And it's a small place.

    I forgot that MFL is (like JRPfeff) a Madison native.

    Brad
    #23
    MilwFoodlovers
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/24 08:44:55 (permalink)
    Brad, I'm a Milwaukee boy but both my mom and my sister live in Madtown.
    #24
    X1
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/24 08:47:48 (permalink)
    For not knowing anything about Madison, Brad, you're doing just fine.
    #25
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/24 08:57:22 (permalink)
    MilwFoodlovers

    Brad, I'm a Milwaukee boy but both my mom and my sister live in Madtown.


    Aha...that must be why I thought you grew up here.
     
    I have a fair idea of where things are and how to get to them (excepting downtown) but actually having personal knowledge of a lot of them...not so much.
     
    Incidentally, the Meriter Hospital cafeteria is within walking distance of The Curve if Stricken_Detective wants to compare it to UW.
     
    Brad
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    cjucoder
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/24 21:43:52 (permalink)
    I'm still in. Love the idea of shopping at Asian Midway Foods. BBQ and Soul Food. Yup. Also that liquor store, yeah, craft beer I can't get at home? So there.

    What do you guys think of stopping at Taj Indian Restaurant? It won best ethnic restaurant on Madisondining.com for 2009 (not sure what that is worth, really). Looks really good to me.

    I'm open for just about anything, not picky at all just want an adventure.

    I really just want to pretend drive a Caterpillar! I love machines. I can crawl up on it!? *faints* Should have been a farmer: animals + big machines = :-)  Wait, rising before the sun? Actually working before the sun is up? Oops. farming is out.
    #27
    ScreamingChicken
    Sirloin
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/25 09:33:14 (permalink)
    Looks like the actual name is T A J.  It's on S. Park St. and just north of it is Oriental Food Mart, and I know nothing of either.

    If you like machines we have plenty of new and used ones available.  Perhaps a nice skidsteer (think 'Bobcat') to impress your friends and neighbors and make earthmoving and snow removal a breeze?

    Brad
    #28
    JRPfeff
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/26 22:16:39 (permalink)
    BR & The Contingent - Thanks for getting this rolling without me.  Looks like a great start.

    One place on the Madison A to Z list that caught my attention is The Corner Store.  From their report:

    We're glad Linda reviewed Corner Store for her Cheap Eats column, because we might never have stopped in otherwise. We certainly wouldn't have known they serve such good Thai food, and that you can even eat in the minimalistic dining area if you'd rather not let your curry get cold on the way home.

    Corner Store is essentially a convenience store with a slightly larger-than-average line of groceries...

    It felt good to eat at a family-run place that's so comfortable being itself, yet somehow feels like it's been transplanted from the east or west coast. Now, we're still curious about what Corner Store's take on burritos and tacos is, but the mixed-up menu just seemed authentic in its own funky Willy Street way. If Madison is ever going to rival Milwaukee, we need more Corner Stores.  A lot more.


    The Corner Store has a lot of things going for it.  Family run.  Ethnic food as a sideline to a grocery.  On Willy Street.  And most importantly, a prime opportunity for Dining ala Trunk.  Unfortunately, I read in comments that they are moving and becoming a stand-alone restaurant, which loses some of the charm.  We can play it by ear as May 2 approaches.

    Regarding my availability, I expect to be around for the Eat & Greet.

    Jim
    #29
    quijote
    Double Cheeseburger
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    Re:The Contingent will invade MadCity on May 2, 2010! 2010/02/26 22:32:40 (permalink)
    All of these sound great--the Corner Store, T A J, whatever....

    And I'll be delighted to sit and pose in a Caterpillar vehicle, as long as it's not moving!  I can barely drive a car properly.

    Sitting in--or beside--a caterpillar. Kind of like "Alice in Wonderland"!
    #30
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