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Sunday, April 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 73.0° F  Overcast


Brews Brothers pairs an ample tap list with big burgers

The corner bar doesn't have to look like Cheers. Heck, it doesn't even have to be on a corner. What it has to have is a welcoming vibe, staff who make an effort and at least a decent tap list. Brews Brothers has all of these things, and the big menu of burgers doesn't hurt, either. >More
 O.S.S.'s Wisconsin-centric menu goes way beyond bratwurst

There are sausage ghosts in this town. Recent wiener-centric operations " Mad Dog's, Dog Bites, Bison Jack's, Diggity's -- didn't stick around for long. So you'll excuse my initial grimness regarding the stealthy early February opening of O.S.S., an all-encased meat restaurant on Regent Street. >More
 Dawn of a homebrew winner: Monolith IPA set to pour at One Barrel Brewing

There was a point during the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest back in January when all of us judges in its homebrew contest -- brewers, writers, drinkers all -- gathered in a circle and ended up expressing our awe over one particular thing: the Monolith. >More
 Best bets for a midnight meal when you're not right downtown

Like luck, inspiration and fate, craving is a fickle visitor. It holds to no schedule; it respects no existing meal plans or even a decent hour of the day. Put another way: Sometimes you need -- like, need -- a stack of pancakes at one in the morning. >More
 Chicago beer fans come to Madison: Playing host to WBEZ's Strange Brews

A few weeks ago, I led a group of Chicagoans on a tour of some of the best eating and drinking the north and near-east sides of Madison have to offer. Though it could have been old classmates or visiting relatives, this particular group happened to include the hosts of Strange Brews, a podcast produced by WBEZ public radio. >More
 SloPig 2014 pairs chefs from Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago with heritage pigs

Yes, there are participants from Milwaukee and Chicago, but at its heart, the SloPig food and drink festival (exhibition? open house?) is really a Madison event, and you can learn a lot about Madison just by walking the three floors of the Madison Club after the crowd starts to file in. You can learn about Madison's casual, welcome-all-types vibe. >More
 Blowin' Smoke dominates the barbecue scene from Waunakee

If a dance studio and a karate dojo don't seem like the most natural neighbors for a barbecue joint, the families that appear to be driving a lot of Blowin' Smoke Barbeque's business are making it work all the same. The new Waunakee brick-and-mortar location for Blowin' Smoke is already a part of the neighborhood traffic, doing a brisk takeout business and filling up with people from all over the greater Madison area. >More
 Get an old-school fix at Nonno's Ristorante Italiano

Traditional Italian/Italian-American is a style of restaurant few appear interested in opening in Madison. What new kitchen has dared to trot out your grandfather's Bologneses and Parmigianas and Alfredos? If you speak Italian, you know nonno is the word for grandfather, and there's your answer. >More
 A view from behind the taps at Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest 2014

The crowd was thirsty that day, my friends -- though, at Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest, put on since 2010, the crowd's always thirsty. And as bustling and eager as the event floor is from the perspective of the drinker and eater, there's a unique kind of press that the folks behind the tap handles experience. >More
 Savor the sour: Enjoying the wild and funky beers of Wisconsin

If I'm out in the world, expounding on the merits of a particularly mouth-puckering sour beer, there is likely to be more than one person nearby whose first question would be, "So, did you dump it out?" Sure, beer can go bad, but sour beers -- intentionally sour beers -- can be drinks of complicated beauty and simple refreshment. >More
 That BBQ Joint on Willy Street hits highs and lows with good cheer

That BBQ Joint -- and yes, if you're unfamiliar with it, that's the proper name -- opened at the beginning of October 2013, with what appeared to be a measured approach. Initial hours of operation were just four days a week, and there are fewer than a dozen seats for dining in. >More
 A new way of looking at Midwestern eats in James Norton's The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food

There's some contention about whether the Upper Midwest needs rebranding as the "North Coast," largely around the precise coordinates. Schools in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania comprise the Division III North Coast Athletic Conference, and Brookings Institute scholar John Austin wrote a paper in 2007 about preserving America's North Coast, though he never really defines the term. Enter The Heavy Table, a Minneapolis-based online food magazine. >More
 Taqueria El Jalapeño is a big Mexican restaurant in an intimate space

So many Mexican-American restaurants, in Wisconsin at least, are sprawling temples of the combo platter, warehouses that can seat 150 in front of vats of complimentary salsa. Good service in a place like that is often undercut by the scale, creating the impression that it's all polish, no intimacy. >More
 Next Door Brewing's homey vibe

Jim Koch, founder of Samuel Adams beer, recently told CNBC that he feels "there is room for two, three or maybe even four thousand more craft breweries" in the United States. Despite the industry's recent growth, he thinks we're far from capacity. >More
 Can't find a beloved beer? Try these Wisconsin-made brews

In literature, the white whale was the beast that taunted Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick. In the craft beer community, the term "white whale" refers to beers that are limited by production quantity, geography or high sale price. They're the hard-to-get beers that certain people will spend years hunting. >More
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