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Wisconsin, Iowa Road Trip


rickmartin
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If you're traveling I-94 between Chicago and Milwaukee, Racine WI has to be visited. Since for many years Racine had a larger population of Danes that any city in the world outside Copenhagen, get off the interstate, head into town and go for the Danish pastry, particularly kringle.

I favor Bendtsen's Bakery on Washington St. (SR 20 at Grove), which has the best "old time" flavor, probably because they use a lot of butter.

Down the block on the other side of the street is Larsen's, which also makes good kringle, though what they really excel at are cakes and all sorts of other pastries; Larsen's has a much wider selection of goods than Bendstens; my wife particularly goes for their poppyseed sweet rolls.

The third baker of choice is O&H Danish Bakery on Durant Avenue (SR 11 just west of Lathrop). It's ensconced in what appears at first to be a convenience store, Danish Uncle, but in essence is a wonderland of Danish and other Scandinavian goodies including rollepolse, my favorite cold cut in the world (basically brined, herbed and pressed flanks of pork/lamb and/or veal). I believe O&H has its main bakery on the other side of town, on Douglas.

Bendtsen's has an adjacent cafe, so you can pick out your pastry at Bendtsen's and eat it there with some coffee.

Bendtsen's and Larson's are just a five or six minute drive of the interstate. O&H is another four or five minutes from them.

Whatever you do, DO NOT try Lehman's kringle, or anything marked as coming from "Racine Kringle" bakery (which isn't in Racine).

Oh, yes, you may ask what is a kringle. It's the pluperfect Danish pastry, an oval of multitudinous buttery pastry layers (the oval is about 18" long, and the "sides" are about 4" wide and 1/2" to 3/4" thick) and either topped with nuts (pecan is the gold standard) or filled with one of many different fillings, mostly fruit. The raspberry is good, but doesn't travel well, whereas the pecan does. Among the non-traditional flavors, I particularly enjoy the almond macaroon at Bendtsen's.

Links:

Bendtsen's Bakery

Larsen Bakery

O&H Bakery

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Here are some search results for Madison:

Munchin' in Madison

Madison, WI report

What's Wisconsin about food in Madison?

Madison WI suggestions

Madison, WI report

And here are a couple for Iowa City:

Eastern Iowa Favorites

Iowa City

BTW, I doubt that Racine is on your way to Madison or Iowa City, but if you are going up along Lake Michigan, I can give you some suggestions in Milwaukee as well as Sheboygan... :wink:

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In Madison I would recommend The Old Fashioned on Pickney Street, which is right on the capitol square. Its an inexpensive bar/restaurant with excellent food celebrating Wisconsin traditions. The source their ingredients from independed Wisconsin producers and the results are outstanding. I recommend the homemade potato chips with Tiger Blue Cheese dipping sauce, the walleye sandwich, the chicken sandwich with braunschewager, and the mac and cheese with ring bologna. http://www.theoldfashioned.com/

If you want a fancy meal, try LEtoile which is next door (and shares some ownership interest with the Old Fashioned). It was named one of the top 50 restaurants in the US http://www.letoile-restaurant.com/

For a great casual meal and some awesome beer, try the Great Dane Brewpub. http://www.greatdanepub.com/

Edited by repoman (log)

Explore the food, beverages, and people of Wisconsin EatWisconsin.com

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Hi,

New Glarus is located about 30 (county highway) miles south of Madison. It is a small Swiss community with wonderful bakeries and sausage makers. The New Glarus Hotel in the center of town has inexpensive food (it used to be excellent) including kalberwurst, roesti, Swiss onion soup and a four filet special.

You can dance to old fashioned polka music in the main room. The local wives dance with each other while their men drink Augspurger Dark in the GlarnerStube. Lots of fun.

Tim

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Since I don't know what you're going for:

breakfast - Lazy Jane's

pizza - The Roman Candle

bar/supperclub - The Weary Traveler (for anything) or Dotty Dumpling's Dowry (for burger)

brewpub - The Great Dane (very english pub)

asian - Morimoto

fine dining - L'Etoile

dessert - Cocoliquot (nine textures of chocolate)

In Madison I would recommend The Old Fashioned on Pickney Street, which is right on the capitol square.  Its an inexpensive bar/restaurant with excellent food celebrating Wisconsin traditions.  The source their ingredients from independed Wisconsin producers and the results are outstanding.    I recommend the homemade potato chips with Tiger Blue Cheese dipping sauce, the walleye sandwich, the chicken sandwich with braunschewager, and the mac and cheese with ring bologna.  http://www.theoldfashioned.com/

If you want a fancy meal, try LEtoile which is next door (and shares some ownership interest with the Old Fashioned).  It was named one of the top 50 restaurants in the US  http://www.letoile-restaurant.com/

For a great casual meal and some awesome beer, try the Great Dane Brewpub.  http://www.greatdanepub.com/

I'm all about the Old Fashioned. It has a great beer selection, and their food is great for the price.

The Old Fashioned is co-owned by Tami Lax, who also owns Harvest.

The Great Dane's beer is absolutely world class. And while their food is good, I have a bad feeling Sysco has a hand in their kitchen...

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Like those above I dunno what you're looking for, but in Iowa City I can confidently make these recs:

pagliais: unique, tasty pizza

Thai Flavors: outstanding food, though service can be spotty

La Reyna: The best chicken tacos on the planet, and killer tamales too, when they have 'em

Motley Cow: an up-and-comer with great "new american" food and a loyal following

Soleil's: A quirky place with great African and Carribean cuisine

Old capitol Brewworks: Top-notch beers, good burgers and pizza, and addictive fried pickles

India Cafe: Best Indian in town and a cheap lunch buffet

Jimmy Jacks: real good BBQ

Oyama: freshest, most creative sushi

Oh, and a little place called Devotay that I have a admitted bias for :biggrin:

Peace,

kmf

www.KurtFriese.com

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Hi,

New Glarus is located about 30 (county highway) miles south of Madison.  It is a small Swiss community with wonderful bakeries and sausage makers.  The New Glarus Hotel in the center of town has inexpensive food (it used to be excellent) including kalberwurst, roesti, Swiss onion soup and a four filet special.

You can dance to old fashioned polka music in the main room.  The local wives dance with each other while their men drink Augspurger Dark in the GlarnerStube.  Lots of fun.

Tim

Take a tour of the New Glarus Brewery, one of the best small brewers in the country. Their beers are unique and exceptionally well made. It's a mistake to miss this if you're a fan of good beer.

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Forgot to mention, along highway 1 north of Iowa City (and on the most diret route to Madison) are Redhead, in Solon, and Lincoln Cafe in Mt Vernon.

Kim at Redhead is doing creative stuff with local ingredients.

Matt at Lincoln Cafe is perhaps the area's best chef, with 3 years as sous to Ben Barker at Magnolia Grill in Raleigh-Durham under his belt. Matt too is a great "locavore"

Peace,

kmf

www.KurtFriese.com

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