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"Stuck" in south central Wisconsin w/two free days


dimsumfan
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I'll be in Madison and Ripon in a couple of weeks with a couple of days off between business obligations.

I'll be far from home, and I'm trying to figure out what to do with that time. The foodie in me would like to do something interesting, perhaps in conjunction with something relaxing/retreaty. Food tours? Farm stays? Anything food-related that's amazing to see/taste?

Any suggestions? I'm willing to drive a reasonable distance, but I don't want to spend an extravagant amount of money, and I think I'd rather not go into Chicago (unless you can convince me otherwise...I'm sure I can have a feast there).

I realize this is a pretty wide open request, but I'm hoping someone can come up with something fun for this foodie!

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foodie, eh?

here're a few ideas for the Madison area...

Fountain Prairie Farm & Inn

http://www.fountainprairie.com/

Harvest Restaurant

http://www.harvest-restaurant.com/

L'etoile Restaurant

http://www.letoile-restaurant.com/

Uplands Cheese Company

http://www.uplandscheese.com/

if you want a few more ideas, please don't hesitate to contact me through "pm".

cheers.

trevor williams.

-a proud cheesehead living/working in Chicago-

eGullet Ethics Signatory

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Hi,

If you want a casual and fun day, New Glarus, a small touristy but fun village is about 30 mile south of Madison. Great swiss food, beer and a wonderful bakery. The New Glarus Hotel serves kalberwurst, roesti, swiss onion soup and other wonderful food in an appropriate setting. And, polka dancing in the evenings.

The local sausage maker and bakery are worth the trip.

New Glarus

Certainly not cutting edge gourmet, but really fun....

Tim

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In New Glarus, don't forget New Glarus Brewing. I consume massive quantities of their Spotted Cow every time I visit Wisconsin.

In Madison later in the spring, should you be there then, the Dane County Farmers Market starts its season around capitol square.

If you've got to choose between Harvest and L'Etoile, pick L'Etoile. A fun restaurant on the square would be the Old Fashioned; get the sausage platter, which features Miesfeld brats from Sheboygan. As info, the Old Fashioned is the Wisconsin State Cocktail, which helps account for why Wisconsin consumes more cheap brandy than any other state, since cheeseheads usually make it with Korbel rather than bourbon or rye.

About a two-hour drive from Madison is Racine, which at one time was home to more Danes than any city in Denmark except Copenhagen. I think it's worth the drive just to try and acquire kringle, the ultimate Danish pastry. It's just a coffee ring, but the best one you'll ever try. Comes in a variety of flavors, though the pecan is the classic, and raspberry is a big seller, too.

My favorite kringle bakery is Bendtsen's, which has the best old-time flavor and texture (because they use butter and lots of it; the other kringle bakers don't appear to use butter, or as much of it.). I'm partial to Bendsten's almond, which derives its flavor not from sprinkled sliced almonds, but from almond paste. Down the block and across the street is Larsen's, which also makes a fine kringle, but I think particularly excels in their cakes. The third recommended kringle emporium is O&H Bakery which has a couple of locations. The kringle is good, but my wife will kill for the sweet poppyseed rolls. The Durand Avenue store is also known as Danish Uncle and features some other Danish foods, including one of my favorite cold cuts, rollepolse, a brined, herbed, rolled and pressed mix of either lamb, beef or pork flank, or any combination thereof.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Don't forget Mt. Horeb - home to more trolls than any town I can think of, including a very good brewpub - The Grumpy Troll --which is right next to the "trollway." Also downtown is the truly unique "World Famous Mustard Museum," by itself worth a trip.

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State Street is at the East end of the UW campus. A stroll down State will show a number of restaurants including ethnic ones that you can chose from reasonably priced.

Ripon is out of the way and the only place I have eaten even near Ripon is Chili Johns' in Beaver Dam which makes great chili (what else) and burgers along with home made meals.

As far as driving 2 hours for kringle, its certainly not worth it. I live south of Racine and I NEVER eat the stuff.-Dick

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