|André Darlington on food, wine and dining in Madison, Wisconsin.|
129 Articles foundMineral Point's MP Dining Company is unexpected, and accomplished
Chef Charlie Socher's restaurant, Café Matou, was a well-regarded part of the Chicago dining scene for over a decade. While it didn't have big-name flash or follow trends, the bistro-y spot attracted the attention of knowledgeable diners with its solid French-centric fare. From eating there in its early days, I remember two comfortably appointed rooms, good service and relatively inexpensive dishes that had moments of flavor-combining greatness. >More50 Mad City food experiences you should not miss
Some food and drink experiences are so spot on, so repeatable, so of their specific locale, that they become iconic. It's not necessarily just the substance and quality of the nosh that makes them so, although that helps. Sometimes it's the whole package, including atmosphere and history. These are experiences we miss when we're away. They're what we like to show visitors. For the newcomer, they constitute part of the initiation into all things Madisonian. In no particular order, here are 50 standout, quintessential Madison sips and bites. >MoreWinning wine lists: These restaurants have some of the best bottles in Madison
L'Etoile's wine program was recently nominated for a James Beard Award. The prestigious national prize is given to a restaurant that "serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff and efforts to educate customers about wine." >MoreHandy Valentine's Day champagne chart!
When you buy and consume champagnes like Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot or Krug, you're foremost drinking and paying for a brand, a label. These big houses source grapes from all over the Champagne region and then bottle them into homogeneous products. The factory-made result is more akin to soda than wine. >MoreMadison's latest cocktail sensations: Late winter warm-ups and tropical fantasies
It isn't easy enticing customers out of their warm lairs this time of year, but bars and restaurants around town have been rolling out winter cocktail menus that are sure to do just that. A surge in creativity -- warm tea infusions, house-made bacon tincture, vermouth, allspice drams, tobacco tinctures, barrel-aged classics, bottled cocktails and soon-to-be-available fermented sodas -- means it's time to head out into the elements for some cabin-fever-busting tipples. >MorePair a syrah with bitter cold weather
The market for syrah has gone sour for a while now, the noble varietal's reputation damaged by schlocky inexpensive Aussie shiraz. There's a tired joke in wine country that it's easier to get rid of pneumonia than a case of this once hot grape. >MoreWhat is Madison's #1 Reuben?
The origin of the Reuben sandwich is contested. Some say a Lithuanian grocer in Omaha, Neb., created it. Others argue that it came from Reuben's Delicatessen in New York. Of little doubt is that corned beef has a fabled history among the Jewish and Irish immigrants who populated Manhattan's Lower East Side. >MoreChocolaterian puts heart and soul into its confections
Chocolaterian Cafe, the new Schenk's Corners patisserie, has two entrances. The one facing Winnebago Street has an enormous window that looks directly into the kitchen, where chocolatiers are busily making treats; it's like peeking into the Madison branch of Santa's workshop. A floor-to-ceiling glass wall affords the same view inside, and it smartly opens the space as well as connects customers to the inner workings of the business. >MoreA Muscadet, a bivalve and thou: Options for wines when dining on oysters
It is during the holidays that oysters are at their best. The little bivalves have stored up food all summer, growing plump and succulent. On the East Coast, they'll now go dormant until April, becoming ever leaner until they feed again in spring. This is the time to visit Tempest, Sardine or Graze and sample some of the ocean's greatest gifts. >MoreA look back at Madison's special dinners in 2012
Many of the best Madison bites of 2012 weren't on regular menus or even necessarily inside the hosting restaurant. They were at special events or pop-ups that dotted the culinary calendar with alarming frequency this year. Almost weekly there seemed to be yet another not-to-be-missed dinner promising an epic culinary adventure. >More