Open Thread

Looks like I will be heading to the People’s Republic of Madison again in August (not telling you when, and no I do not want to meet you for drinks/dinner/a round of hookers. No offense. I’m just an agoraphobic misanthrope and the fact I am traveling is stressful enough. I’m sure you are very lovely people, with sparkling wit, a generous spirit, a deep intellect, and a flair for casual banter. I just have no desire to meet you. I apologize.).

I intend to go to the Tornado Room again, because it really was the best filet mignon I have ever had. And the Coquille Saint Jacques will make a grown man cry.

At any rate, I’m not really looking for iconic locations in Madison- I can find those on my own. I’m looking for hidden gems that others might miss.

And I must once again state, on the record, that Madison, WI, Athens, GA, and Austin, TX, are the greatest places in the US (besides my back porch). Y’all can have your NYC and San Fran and LA and the other places. I’ll take those three and not think twice about it.






164 replies
  1. 1
    Steeplejack says:

    I’ve never been to Madison, but I can attest that Athens and Austin are both terrific places.

  2. 2
    Don says:

    Dunno about Athens, but the other two are fantastic cities. Madison is a junior version of Austin, while Austin is considered Madison with (too much) Sun.

  3. 3
    Rafer Janders says:

    Looks like I will be heading to the People’s Republic of Madison again in August (not telling you when, and no I do not want to meet you for drinks/dinner/around of hookers. No offense. I’m just an agoraphobic misanthrope and the fact I am traveling is stressful enough. I’m sure you are very lovely people, with sparkling wit, a generous spirit, a deep intellect, and a flair for casual banter. I just have no desire to meet you. I apologize.).

    We won’t be IGNORED, John.

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    How tiresome.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    Never been to any of them, even though I’ve been told many times I need to get my butt to Austin. I could transfer there if I wanted to. I dunno. I love Seattle too much.

  6. 6
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    I just have no desire to meet you. I apologize.).

    Pretty much my position on these things. The virtual and real worlds, never a twain shall meet, that might cause some kind of matter/anti matter reaction, or something like that.

    No need to apologize though.

  7. 7
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Yup, Austin is nice to visit in the winter. I am not so sure about being there in the summer.

  8. 8
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’m sure you are very lovely people, with sparkling wit, a generous spirit, a deep intellect, and a flair for casual banter.

    There’s only one of me, and I ain’t in Wisconsin.

  9. 9
    Jeff Spender says:

    Honestly?

    I like Ann Arbor and the surrounding environs (not Ypsilanti though–fuck Ypsilanti).

  10. 10
    Suffern ACE says:

    The Olbrich botanical gardens, mainly the Thai Pavilion. I grew up in Wisconsin and had no idea there was such a place until I went last year, so I am counting it among the hidden gems.

    You will be there too late to go to the national mustard day celebration, which will be August 4.

  11. 11
    Constance says:

    Except that two of them are in Georgia and Texas.

    I don’t want to meet you either but would love to meet your sister, Wiley Ford (loved his book, thank you) and Walt.

  12. 12
    himahamma says:

    You should check out Durham NC sometime… similar feel to those cities with lots of phenomenal food, fresh and local, as well as great local brews. The music scene can’t compare with the other 3 but is coming along as well.

  13. 13
    lamh35 says:

    hey, NOLA is pretty damn awesome and being a drinker it might just be up your alley, but that’s my hometown bias of course :-)

    Anyone watching the WI debates?

    We Are Wisconsin ‏@WeRWisconsin

    LINE OF THE NIGHT – @Barrett4WI: “I have a police department that arrests felons; he has an administration that hires them.” ‪#WIdebate

    ETA: I’m actually way better in person than online. I’ve been told that I’m very personable.

  14. 14
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Constance:

    I don’t want to meet you either but would love to meet your sister, Wiley Ford (loved his book, thank you) and Walt.

    I don’t think Wiley is his sister, although they’re both kinda hot.

  15. 15
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Speaking of Wisconsin, looks like the gubernatorial debate is getting a tad heated:

    “He’s running a commercial right now that shows a dead baby. He shows a dead baby — this is Willie Horton stuff,” said Barrett. … … I’ll tell you right now. I had nothing to do with that. Look at that commercial. You should be ashamed of that commercial, Scott Walker.”

    TPM doesn’t give details, but it involves a criminal death/investation in Milwaukee. It doesn’t say if it was murder or neglect/abuse.

    Barrett retorted: “I have a police department that arrests felons. He has a practice of hiring them.”

    Anybody on the ground? think this might move people?

  16. 16
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I think Madison will be Pyongyang of the Midwest if Scott Walker wins. Kochs will have posters of Kim Jong Scott all around. Then again I hear Camp Randall stadium is a rocking place when football season is in session.

  17. 17
    Cacti says:

    @Constance:

    Except that two of them are in Georgia and Texas

    Athens is nice as far as college towns go.

    I’d never intentionally make a trip to the state where beef is considered BBQ, and public buildings are named after the Bush family.

    Being stuck in AZ is punishment enough.

  18. 18
    handy says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What the feigned misanthropy? Yeah you bet.

  19. 19
    Marcellus Shale, Public Dick says:

    i think this post is john’s way of begging to be glitterbombed by a bj reader in madison.

  20. 20

    @Jeff Spender:

    Ypsi does well now. Especially old town. I did not like it when I went to EMU, but now it kinda nice. not the Washtenaw corridor, but the old downtown. Great annual beer fest, corner bar is cool.

  21. 21
    Jeff Spender says:

    @The Other Bob:

    Ypsi does well now. Especially old town. I did not like it when I went to EMU, but now it kinda nice. not the Washtenaw corridor, but the old downtown. Great annual beer fest, corner bar is cool.

    I know. I actually like Old Ypsilanti. But…it’s reflexive, you know?

    It’s miles better than Lansing, where I grew up.

  22. 22
    piratedan says:

    @Cacti: cmon now…. there’s a lot to love about AZ, currently not much of it is political… but maybe Barber wins in two weeks and Carmona takes the senate seat and the tide of crazy slowly recedes. but there are enclaves of blue and there is the rumblings of activism everywhere…. Arpaio under investigation, hispanics and native american activists are out there… we may be witnessing the last gasps of the get off my lawn crew… lord knows I’m working for it

  23. 23
    ruemara says:

    So why announce it? Other than that, have a nice trip and you can have it. Rather have NYC.

  24. 24
    bk says:

    No Chapel Hill???

  25. 25
    Mark S. says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    Hey Stuck, has this fire affected your neck of the woods?

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @handy: Yeah, I mean there’s trips and then there’s trips.

  27. 27
    handy says:

    @bk:

    What’s the big idea you trying to give Burnsie a sad?

  28. 28
    martha says:

    John, we’d love to buy you a cold beverage of your choice. But if you want to explore on your own, that’s cool. Maybe Omnes and I will meet and have one in your honor :)

    The Old Fashioned (on the Square) for great “supper club” food, kicked-up a notch, and all WI-microbrews on tap.

    Lazy Janes for scones, Batch Bakery for pastries, El Dorado for Tex-Mex dinners, and Umami for noodles/pork buns, all on Williamson Street. I also like Weary Traveler on Williamson St. too–their West of the Andes sandwich is my go-to meal (with tenderloin and avocado, of course).

    A food cart called Banzo on Library Mall right by the UW has the best falafel, hummus, etc.

    I’ll think of more options and add to this thread later. I’m falling asleep now…

  29. 29
    Suffern ACE says:

    Oh, and the Monona Bait and Ice Cream Shop. The ice cream is very good, although there is plenty of good ice cream around. The reason to go there is so that you can say you ate at a bait and ice cream shop. There can’t be that many of those around.

  30. 30
    Cacti says:

    @piratedan:

    cmon now…. there’s a lot to love about AZ, currently not much of it is political… but maybe Barber wins in two weeks and Carmona takes the senate seat and the tide of crazy slowly recedes. but there are enclaves of blue and there is the rumblings of activism everywhere…. Arpaio under investigation, hispanics and native american activists are out there… we may be witnessing the last gasps of the get off my lawn crew… lord knows I’m working for it

    I’m grateful for the muckraking of the New Times, and their smothering the national political career of Paul Babeu in its infancy.

  31. 31
    Mike S. says:

    Misanthropes do not write/run lefty blogs.

  32. 32
    Punchy says:

    Maybe at some point, before you die, you might want to meet a few of us. We’re regular people and youre nothing special. A beer between commentors is harmless. Christ.

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    Ugh. Poor G has an employee with a crazy wife who likes to accuse the company’s female employees of sleeping with her husband. Mind you, the guy is a grandfather in his mid-50s, but apparently he’s so irresistible that even the pregnant girl in her 20s must be fucking him.

    She has gone to the extreme of blocking people into their parking space with her car and screaming at them to leave her husband alone, and apparently there’s not a damn thing the company can do to stop her. They don’t own the property where their office is, so they can’t get a restraining order.

    Best part is, this crazy woman drove down to the company’s corporate offices in Orange County to complain about the person she was threatening to try and get her fired. Good times, good times.

  34. 34
    Bnut says:

    You’d like Nashville John. A bright blue spot in a big red state ala Austin or Athens. Amazing music and bar scene. Walk through downtown and pass 50 bars with 50 different music styles playing. And because of the influx of people coming from so many places to try to get noticed in the biz, the food scene is awesome as it must appeal to a wide base. Largest Kurdish population in the US, too, so good ME food. Nashville is the first place I have lived that I actually truly enjoy living in, and that includes my time in NYC.

  35. 35
    handy says:

    Wait isn’t one of your stalkers Little Boots something or other from Madison?

    not telling you when, and no I do not want to meet you for drinks/dinner/a round of hookers

    Suddenly this is making sense.

  36. 36
    Bob Esler says:

    My recommendation for a hidden gem- one that serves a variety of great beers on tap, many from Belgium, and has excellent food at a good price is Brasserie V, 1923 Monroe St, a few blocks southwest of Camp Randall Stadium. If you like cheese, go to Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., across from the state capitol building. Madison is the best.

  37. 37
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mnemosyne: Hmmm. Sounds like a future episode of “Who the hell did I marry” on ID.

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    @Punchy: Shit. We’ve all met that nothing special cracker before:
    John Sausage Finger Cole

  39. 39
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @Mark S.:

    Hey Stuck, has this fire affected your neck of the woods?

    It is about 40 miles north of here, and the only effect is getting some smoke, to a lot of smoke, depending on wind direction. Yesterday was awful, today not so bad. But it is bone dry in the Gila Forest/wilderness, and there will be more fires, until the rainy season starts, in about a month.

  40. 40
    PeakVT says:

    Some Krugman on the Beebe.

    It wasn’t an America-style shoutfest, but the UK wingers still had their Republican talking points down pat.

  41. 41
    Hill Dweller says:

    The twitter machine is telling me Bill Clinton went on Piers Morgan’s show and pulled a Cory Booker. He allegedly praised Romney’s time at Bain, and said we shouldn’t criticize it.

  42. 42
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Punchy:

    Maybe at some point, before you die, you might want to meet a few of us. We’re regular people and youre nothing special. A beer between commentors is harmless. Christ.

    You made Punchy cry John. I hope yer happy.

    Asshole.

  43. 43
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    has an employee with a crazy wife

    Sounds a little fishy like, “I have a friend who…”

  44. 44
    GxB says:

    I’ll second Olbrich botanical gardens and throw in Vilas Zoo – they did good with the limits they have. Also it should be Velvet Hammer time at the Great Dane brewpub, give it a shot.

  45. 45
    EmanG says:

    It might spin a little young for you but if you’re out with friends you can’t beat the Safe House. Spy themed bar cool vibe fun surprises. Also I can’t find the freakin comma button on my new kindle…

  46. 46
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone: Yeah, sounded autobiographical to me as well.

  47. 47

    see a Beefus show.

  48. 48
    Gozer says:

    Your list fails without Burlington, VT on it.

  49. 49
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    I’m sure you are very lovely people, with sparkling wit, a generous spirit, a deep intellect, and a flair for casual banter.

    Clearly, you’ve never read any of the comments on your blog. And apologies for being number n+1 for posting this same comment.

    BSoS +4

  50. 50
    daveNYC says:

    Myles Teddywedgers Cornish Pasty. Pick up a bunch and pack them back with you. Frozen, of course.

  51. 51
    lacp says:

    Really like Austin; if Athens and Madison are in the same category I’ll definitely have to pay them a visit.

  52. 52
    BGinCHI says:

    Anyone suggest New Glarus yet? Just hopped onto the thread.

    It’s a little town 20 or 30 miles from Madison. Beautiful part of WI, it’s a little Swiss town with the best brewery in the state. Worth a day trip for brewery tour and beer tasting. Their cherry beer makes Belgian cherry lambic or kriek (which I’m fond of) pale in comparison.

  53. 53
    Librarian says:

    Speaking of college towns, I highly recommend Charlottesville, Va.

  54. 54
    suzanne says:

    @piratedan:

    there’s a lot to love about AZ, currently not much of it is political

    I’ll be canvassing on Saturday (in hundred-degree weather with broken AC in my car) this weekend for David Schapira here in District 9. Anyone wanna join me?

  55. 55
    suzanne says:

    Oh, and as far as college towns go, Tempe is freaking awesome. They just elected Harry Mitchell’s son Mark to the mayorship. (Harry Mitchell was the Congresscritter who sent JD Hayworth packing).

  56. 56
    RadioOne says:

    Of course every city in America has it’s charm. But I agree with Dave Eggers when he said that “every city in America licks the spit of Chicago, Illinois.”

    Land of Lincoln.

  57. 57
    handy says:

    @RadioOne:

    Of course every city in America has it’s charm.

    Irwindale, CA says Hi.

  58. 58
    kindness says:

    John misunderstands. We don’t want to get to meet and know him. We want to get him drunk, take pics & post them on failblog & facebook (depending on the ‘quality’ of the shot).

  59. 59
    Jade Jordan says:

    I finally figured out why you and Rosie didn’t get along at first. You both have the same dysfunctional anti-social behavior issues. Rosie = John Cole.

  60. 60
    Kiril says:

    So John, you’ve never been to New Orleans?
    You’re missing out on a full life.

  61. 61
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    “I don’t think we ought to get into a position where we say this is bad work,” Clinton said. “This is good work.” […]
    Clinton characterized Romney’s career as “sterling.”

  62. 62
    amk says:

    WI, Athens, GA, and Austin, TX, are the greatest places in the US

    Fucking wingnut.

  63. 63
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Well, when served a chestnut about whether his wife would go down as the best Sec. State Ever, he kind of got all modest and wouldn’t go that far. (It’s o.k. Bill, you’re actually allowed to put the blinders on when it comes to your own wife).

  64. 64
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Suffern ACE: Speaking of Secs of State, I heard somebody say on the TeeVee today that Henry Kissinger is withholding his endorsement cause he doesn’t like all of Romney’s posturing on China and “the Soviet Union”. Even before I thought how odd it is that anyone would think K’s endorsement would matter, I thought, Huh, that old fuck is still with us?

  65. 65
    piratedan says:

    @suzanne: I’ll probably be working the phones for Barber myself

  66. 66
    BGinCHI says:

    @RadioOne: This is so obviously true we don’t taunt with it. Can’t have everyone moving here all at once.

    Suck it, Peoria.

  67. 67
    cbear says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: @Corner Stone:

    So you two crackers decided to both get together in the same thread—and conveniently “forgot” to give your old chum, cbear, the lowdown on the hoedown?

    WTF? Is the Bat-Signal broken? Was it something I said?

    Nice, real nice, assholes.

  68. 68
    jl says:

    @kindness:

    ” take pics & post them on failblog & facebook (depending on the ‘quality’ of the shot). ”

    Most of the commenters have made it very clear that they are not lovely people, without sparkling wit, with no generous spirit, no deep intellect, nor a flair for casual banter.

    And that we wish to plan ‘meet ups’ so we can track him and plot his destruction.

    But Cole just doesn’t listen.

    Edit: I still think the CA BJers let the cat out of the bag with ‘local gems’ in SF that were clearly rip tides that would help Cole visit the Farallons on the cheap.

  69. 69
    handy says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Even before I thought how odd it is that anyone would think K’s endorsement would matter, I thought, Huh, that old fuck is still with us?

    No one’s figured out yet how to get him to the Hague?

  70. 70
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Why would anyone want to tell a misanthrope about his or her favorite hangouts?

  71. 71
    t jasper parnell says:

    Go to Dexters corner of north and johnson. Also Alt n Bachs for the Saturday night ribs.

  72. 72
    suzanne says:

    @piratedan: Barber is awesome. I’ll probably get involved in that campaign, too. I’m excited that I live in the new district, though, and I’d like to help it get blue-ified from the get-go.

  73. 73
    BGinCHI says:

    @Quaker in a Basement: Stockholm Syndrome with a twist of irony.

  74. 74
    Ed Dane Defender of Donuts says:

    What John Cole is really saying is that he wants those pesky neighbour kids to “Get off his lawn.” How many times does he have to say it? And don’t get him started on those kids in the Mystery Mobile …

  75. 75
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @cbear: I was just settin here looking at lousy internet pr0n* wondering where the hell ol ceeb was.

    *I’m old fashioned and believe some things are best left to the imagination so none of this high-def shit for me.

  76. 76
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Quaker in a Basement: Because we want to change him. We figure if he goes to nice places, he’ll be less misanthropic. It’s o.k. if it doesn’t work out. We don’t actually know him, or use our real names, so if by chance he gets extra misanthropic and the owners of these fine establishments say “who the hell told this asshole about us?” we can just stare at the ceiling and whistle.

  77. 77
    texascowgirl says:

    @Hill Dweller: He did.

    CLINTON covering for His Friend Booker-

    President Bill Clinton veered sharply off message Thursday, telling CNN that Mitt Romney’s business record at Bain Capital was “sterling.”
    “I don’t think that we ought to get into the position where we say ‘This is bad work. This is good work,’” Clinton said. “The man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.”
    Clinton also went on to say that Romney’s time at Bain Capital represented a “good business career.”
    The Obama campaign is in the third week of an all-out assault on Romney’s time as a corporate buyout specialist — accusing the GOP nominee of bankrupting companies and laying off workers all while pocketing a profit for investors.
    But the negative tenor of their attacks on Wall Street have made some Democrats uncomfortable. Clinton is the highest profile Obama surrogate so far to show discomfort with the attacks on Bain, with Clinton even praising the company and Romney’s record. Newark mayor Cory Booker and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also both declined to press the attack against Bain.
    In Booker’s case, he released a YouTube video clarifying his comments after calling the Obama attacks (and Republican counter-attacks on Obama) “nauseating” — all while being publicly chastised by top Obama staffers.
    Clinton went on to predict that Obama would carry the day in November, and would beat Romney handily.
    “I still think the president will win by five or six points. I’ve always thought so,” Clinton told guest host Harvey Weinstein, filling in for Piers Morgan.

    Really Bill? “Sterling”? Seriously? And on camera? I’m sure the Rmoney camp will appreciate you giving them a video soundbite for their ads along with Booker. This shit is unforgivable.

    Is it just me or is Obama really out there by himself? It’s just sickening the extent to which Democrats can’t support their presidents.

  78. 78
    ponce says:

    Looks like Romney’s biggest donor is an enviromental nut judging by his company’s website:

    http://www.melaleuca.com/

  79. 79
    jl says:

    @jl:

    To be clear, I think most BJ commmenters actually are nice, witty, generous, intelligent people with a flair for banter.

    Except, Cole has been warned not to expect any of that if we run into him. At least that is my memory of the response to his blegs for the abortive SF trip (that, Cole chickened out of, BTW).

  80. 80
    BGinCHI says:

    @texascowgirl: Ass covering by rich people will never go out of style. If politics and money are indistinguishable you have a broken system. That’s what we have. Once the state exists to serve the money, it’s not going to be surprising that people shill.

    It’s morning shilling in America.

  81. 81
    NotMax says:

    Fresco Rooftop Restaurant and Lounge, upstairs at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 227 State St.

    Late night $5 tasting menu on certain nights.

  82. 82
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I heard somebody say on the TeeVee today that Henry Kissinger is withholding his endorsement cause he doesn’t like all of Romney’s posturing on China and “the Soviet Union”. Even before I thought how odd it is that anyone would think K’s endorsement would matter, I thought, Huh, that old fuck is still with us?

    Old Irish saying: Hell doesn’t want him, and Heaven won’t have him.

  83. 83
    cbear says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    WHAT?
    You were….”looking at lousy internet pr0n* wondering where the hell ol ceeb was.”

    Look, dude, I haven’t made one of those films in over 20 years and the only reason I even got involved in the industry was because I was homeless and hungry at the time.

    And, I deeply resent you sharing something I told you in the strictest confidence.
    How would you feel if I violated your trust and started telling people about you, a bottle of Jack Daniels, and the unfortunate incident with the pygmy goat?

  84. 84
    Mark S. says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Not that I really care who Henry K endorses, I do find it surprising because I thought he always endorsed the GOP candidate no matter how stupid they were. The few times I’ve heard Mitt say anything about foreign policy, it’s sounded like recycled garbage from the American Spectator.

  85. 85
    rda909 says:

    Ah, Madison! I go there for work from time to time, and go out of my way for this must – Weary Traveler restaurant and get the Bob’s Bad Breath Burger. You can thank me later.
    http://www.wearytravelerfreehouse.com/food.html

    And I agree about Tornado Room too, so we must have similar tastes. Bad Breath Burger, buddy.

  86. 86
    NotMax says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist

    Brent Scowcroft also pointedly not endorsing Romney.

  87. 87
    amk says:

    is Obama really out there by himself?

    Yup, he has been always.

  88. 88
    lol chikinburd says:

    If you’re looking at mid-month, you may need to be wary of the 14th and 15th when all the residential leases turn over, and the chaos attendant to everyone moving house at once. Traffic’s a mess for a few days on either side of Hippie Christmas.

    Other than that…the whole Square is pretty much a sacred site by now. On State Street, Ian’s Pizza moved across the street into a bigger space in an old bank building, which is a bit of a shame given all the memories associated with the original place, but it’s still worth it if only to gawk at the unnatural slice experiments. The MMoCA usually has an exhibit worth an hour or more of your time. Someone should give a shout-out for Hawk’s Bar, about halfway down State — food’s just competent, but it’s both the “Democracy Addicts”‘ local home base and Futbol Central for major international competitions, so it deserves some love. Really, it’s hard to go wrong just picking a random restaurant either from the non-chain ones on State or within a couple blocks’ radius from the Square. Particularly the Great Dane (there are now four Great Dane locations in town, but they aren’t really created equal, and to my knowledge only the downtown location has cask-conditioned offerings).

    Away from the Square, drive down South Park Street, look for a skinny pink-painted building on the east side of the street called Taquería Guadalajara, and order a torta, any torta. Trust me on this.

  89. 89
    srv says:

    Austin is just too hot now. literally and figuratively, and it’s still my soul.

    John, you should really try Ithaca in the summer. Hit the finger lake wineries. Good peole, lotsa hippies to punch and all that.

  90. 90
    srv says:

    @jl: We should have a Fuck John Cole thing at Zietgeist every year or so.

  91. 91
    Jager says:

    @handy:

    Grab him off the street, put a bag over his head, strip him naked, give him an enema sedative, stick an extra large Depends on him, cuff him, put him on a rented G-8 and drop him off at the Hague. Expensive yet simple. Since we have the leased plane let’s grab Chaney and Rumsfeld too and save the extra trips.

  92. 92
    YellowJournalism says:

    Jesus, John! You put your picture out recently and now you mentioned what restaurant you may visit while on Madison? Don’t be surprised if you find BJ fanatics camped out, Star Wars nerd-style, in front of the place while dressed as Tunch and Rosie.

  93. 93
    kideni says:

    If you’re there on a Friday at noon, you might join the Solidarity Singalong, which after next week (and nearly 400 straight weekdays of gathering) plans to cut back to just Fridays, outside the Capitol on the State Street corner. You don’t actually have to talk to anyone there.

    If you’re in Madison on a weekend, there will probably be some sort of event going on either downtown or on campus (I think the canoe portage race is usually in August, maybe dragon boat racing on Lake Mendota; Pride Fest is usually in August, I believe), along with the Saturday morning farmer’s market at the Capitol.

    For food, check out Bandung at the beginning of Williamson Street for excellent Indonesian. Across the street there’s Sardine, which I haven’t been to since it’s out of my price range, but everyone I know who’s gone there raves about it, and they have a nice lake view. Graze (on the capitol square) and Merchant (a block or so off the square) have pretty good reps. If you’re into good chocolate, check out Candinas (on the square) and Gail Ambrosius (on Atwood St) for sublime truffles. The UW’s Memorial Union has a terrace on the lake side that’s made for kicking back on a nice summer day, and there’s often a free concert or movies on the weekend (but that probably qualifies as something you’d figure out for yourself). I don’t know whether you’ll have a car, so I’m just thinking about things close to downtown, which seems to have been where you were the last time around.

  94. 94
    kideni says:

    @lol chikinburd: I enthusiastically second the recommendation of Taquería Guadelajara — their food is sublime and oh so cheap. Make sure you have the address, because aside from the pinkness, it’s really narrow and easy to miss.

  95. 95
    ReflectedSky says:

    I enjoy that you feel you have to beat off your fans with a mighty blog stick. Perhaps when they reboot Twilight, you can be Edward. Those contacts are supposed to be a bitch, though.

  96. 96
    Steeplejack says:

    Wiley Cash’s novel got a good review in The New York Times Book Review on Sunday:

    There’s nothing like an old building with yellowed newspapers taped to the windows to stir a child’s imagination. Nine-year-old Jess Hall, one of the narrators of Wiley Cash’s mesmerizing first novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, gets up the nerve to spy on the religious services held behind those papered-up windows–and he’ll regret it the rest of his life.
    __
    It takes two more storytellers to fill in the narrative about the River Road Church of Christ in Signs Following and its charismatic pastor, Carson Chambliss, a man so evil he scarcely seems human. Adelaide Lyle, the elderly midwife in this Appalachian town, comes forward to reveal the truth about how Miss Molly Jameson died. (“The snake bites bothered me the most,” Miss Adelaide recalls of her churchgoing days.) The third narrator, Sheriff Clem Barefield, is aware of how Pastor Chambliss got those terrible burns all over his body. But only Jess knows why his autistic older brother died on the very day he was taken into the church, and it’s his voice that we carry away from this intensely felt and beautifully told story.

  97. 97
    Enceladus says:

    Try Ian’s Pizza and, if you want a good burger, Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry. Ian’s used to be next door, but it might have moved. Pasqual’s on Monroe Street has good Mexican food. And if you want to experience quiet neighborhood bars, try the Oak Crest Tavern, the Laurel, and the Village Bar. If you like stuff that’s more hipsterish, check out the near east side Williamson St. area and the Crystal Corner. But none of that comes close to drinking at the Union watching the sun set over Lake Mendota.

    (I spent most of my life in Madison and loved it, but I hated the three years I spent in Athens, GA. Unless you live in downtown Athens, you need a car to get everywhere. No sidewalks, very few parks, and horrible traffic for such a small town. I think I gained about 20 lbs. when I lived there and then lost it when I moved back north to a town with better infrastructure. Just wanted to get that off my chest…)

  98. 98
    BethanyAnne says:

    meh, Austin is a bastion of mediocre surrounded by Texas. I’ll stick with the East Bay.

  99. 99
    gaz says:

    Speaking as a misanthrope myself, I totally get Cole’s position. Sometimes I regret it, but then somebody invariably opens their fucking piehole and validates it. It’s really difficult to square my loathing of people in general with my faith, which is basically about loving people, but I guess we all have our struggles.

    =)

  100. 100
    Enceladus says:

    Also, if you have a car or don’t mind a long walk in Madison, check out the Longenecker Gardens and its surrounding collection of cool trees in an open area in the middle of the Arboretum.

  101. 101
    Jane2 says:

    IF you love those three, Duluth MN is another US gem.

  102. 102
    Burnspbesq says:

    @cole:

    And I must once again state, on the record, that Madison, WI, Athens, GA, and Austin, TX, are the greatest places in the US

    Those words can only be said with a straight face by someone who has never been to San Diego or Boulder.

  103. 103
    gaz says:

    @BethanyAnne: my blog FWIW.

    A much better blog, the proprietrix ;) of which more or less cajoled the inception of my own. She’s a wonderful writer, IMO, and a fantastic read.

    Just putting it out there (particularly ellie’s) so you don’t have to slog through all the pr0n on google to find something compelling (and of course, not pr0n). meh.

  104. 104
    gaz says:

    @ReflectedSky:

    I enjoy that you feel you have to beat off your fans with a mighty blog stick

    I would think the fans would be better served with a hand than a stick, but then again YKIOK,IJNMK

  105. 105
    eemom says:

    not telling you when, and no I do not want to meet you for drinks/dinner/a round of hookers. No offense.

    Good Lord, you are insufferable.

    I wouldn’t meet you at a fire hydrant outside my burning house.

  106. 106
    gaz says:

    @eemom: I’m pretty sure we all understand by now that you can’t stand Cole.

    We get it. You don’t have to keep trolling so hard. You’re starting to sound like mickey.

  107. 107
    Donut says:

    John, forget the Tornado and head around the corner to the Paradise. Trust me.

  108. 108
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @gaz: Countdown until you’re called her “personal troll” or “stalker” starts NOW.

  109. 109
    Bethanyanne says:

    @gaz: Cool, I’ll take a look. Only stuck in Houston for 3 more months, then is back to the bay area. Literally counting the days.

  110. 110
    gaz says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    in front of the place while dressed as Tunch and Rosie.

    I’m guessing that would take no less than 6 members of the commentariat to pull that off. and 1 for rosie.

  111. 111
    meander says:

    If I was traveling to Madison, I’d think about getting out of town for a day to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesan in Spring Green, a house he designed and where he worked for many years. Or I’d try to go to Racine and see Wright’s S.C. Johnson Wax building, a landmark in office design (in the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary, some architecture critic calls the interior of the Johnson building the most amazing interior space in America). They apparently offer public tours.

  112. 112
    tara says:

    I third the Weary Traveler (on Williamson, and my former neighborhood bar!) and second the Old Fashioned (fried cheese curds! Capitol Square) and Bandung (Williamson). Also, Chautara on State St has yummy Nepali food (as does it’s neighbor Himal Chuli). Good diner food if you head out to Olbrich Gardens at Monte’s Blue Plate Diner (Atwood). Across the street from Monte’s is a really good Thai place: Lao Laan-Xang (they also have a smaller location on Williamson, both are good). Greenbush Bar (Regent St in the basement of the Workman’s Club) is an Italian restaurant that has good food and fantastic pizza.

    For treats, Greenbush Bakery (Regent) makes fantastic donuts and is open until midnight during the week, 2am on the weekend (at least it used to be). Frozen custard is a big WI thing that you should get if you haven’t before. There are Michael’s Frozen Custard locations several places around the city. The Mustard Museum is in Middleton.

    And if the weather is nice, go hang out on the Memorial Union Terrace on the UW campus (Langdon). You technically need to be a student, staff, or WI Union member to drink there, but they offer day passes for visitors.

  113. 113
    gaz says:

    @Bethanyanne: Eck. Houston. Stay safe.

    I can’t even imagine how horrible that must be. At least it’s urban. I’m guessing rural texas is worse – but I wouldn’t know, because the only time I ever see texas is out of the window of a plane.

    I’d suggest giving it back to the mexicans, but they’d probably demand that we relocate all of our assholes first. Maybe we should build a fence around it. Seems the next best thing.

  114. 114
    Yutsano says:

    @meander: They do. They’re even free!

  115. 115
    Riilism says:

    @Jager: Ooooohh, Kissinger. At first I thought you were referring to our Mr. Cole…come to think about it….

  116. 116
    Bethanyanne says:

    @gaz: Houston is mainly big and boring. Deeply awful weather, but the vibe is like Oakland, but dull… Maybe Hayward, but big. Folk mostly leave people alone, and there’s a gay ghetto if you want a little sign of life. That’s actually my objection to Austin, and I bet it’s true of the other 2 places John mentioned. Austin is a walled garden? A bastion? Perhaps meanly a ghetto. It’s a place where all the outsiders gather to be safe. I spent long enough living in Montrose that I don’t want to be a place that has a background environment of awful. Not good enough anymore. Too much of the awful seeps in.

  117. 117
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Cole, if you’re ever in Minneapolis, we will definitely have to NOT hook up. From one misanthrope to another.

    @Hill Dweller: Clinton and Booker can both kiss my flat yellow ass. But, then again, what can we expect from them? I don’t trust Clinton to have PBO’s back, and as we discovered, Booker is getting paid by Bain.

    ::sigh::

    TUUUUUUNCHIE!

  118. 118

    Jolly Bob on Willy St. Get the Blackjack, hot, and have several drinks.

  119. 119
    Yutsano says:

    @asiangrrlMN: It wouldn’t shock me if Clinton had some kind of a tie to them as well. Both he and Hillary have a lot of cash floating around out there that is perfect for corrupting their perspectives. But that’s our political animal for you.

    Hi hon. Haz sweepy kitteh and border collie on my bed. Going back to reality is going to be tough. :)

  120. 120
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @asiangrrlMN: *shakes fist* from last year

  121. 121
    Linnaeus says:

    I love Madison. Got caught in the middle of a bar fight there, at a place called State Street Brats, about 20 years ago. Good times.

  122. 122
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    Things gainful employment has taught me: airline lounges in international terminals are awesome.

    Eta probably more awesome than some small college towns . Never been to Madison so can’t comment

  123. 123
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Go to the Cold Stone Creamery at Greenway Station in Middleton. Also, you might enjoy the Arby’s on Gammon Road, just off the beltway.

  124. 124
    Pat In Massachusetts says:

    Yawn. Whatever, John.

  125. 125
    Raven says:

    If you come to Athens again stay away from me but do go to the White Tiger!

  126. 126
    Raven says:

    @tara: “Memorial Union Terrace on the UW campus”

    I was up there a few years ago. I’ve been sober for 20 years and being out there on a summer day was one of the only times I’ve ever sort of wished I still drank!

  127. 127
    Rita R. says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Guess Hillary’s running in 2016 after all. Or Bill’s just keeping her options open for all that sweet, sweet Wall Street cash in case she decides she wants to. Clintons are for Clintons first, even if that means throwing a Democratic president under the bus.

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    snicker

  128. 128
  129. 129
    tjmn says:

    @Jane2:
    Sir Ben’s sandwiches.

  130. 130
    tjmn says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Surely there must be a Denny’s there to recommend. Or a Taco John’s?

  131. 131
    beatty says:

    Pooleys, Madison, has a chaos of tvs for watching everything sports related. The kitchen is run by Diggetys that offers The Best Bar Food you will ever eat. They know it’s not fine dining, but they are fiends for the fine details. I had the Italian beef and cheese curds, loved it. Perfect. Had the chicken sandwich too. I don’t eat hot dogs, but my friends who do swear by this place.

    http://www.pooleysmadison.com/

  132. 132
    p.a. says:

    Hey, thanks in advance for not coming to Prov. for NRN John. As I’m a former reader of the Horowitz ‘newsletter’ and AEI truthiness publications we wouldn’t have any common ground anyway.

    p.s. I got better…

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @tjmn: Haven’t been to the Denny’s here; can’t recommend one. Good god, according to the Google, there actually is a Taco John’s in Madison. I wonder if they still have Taco Tuesday.

  134. 134
    Barry says:

    @The Other Bob: “Ypsi does well now. Especially old town. I did not like it when I went to EMU, but now it kinda nice. not the Washtenaw corridor, but the old downtown. Great annual beer fest, corner bar is cool.”

    (local trivia warning) that was always the problem; EMU was located too far from the downtown of Ypsi, and the gap was always sorta meh. Unlike Ann Arbor (U Mich) and East Lansing (MSU), where there’s no gap.

  135. 135
    gravie says:

    I lived in Madison for 10 glorious years and it’s one of the happiest places on earth. Forget Disneyland. Unfortunately, we moved away in 1988, so any hidden gems I once knew about are probably long gone. Have a great trip! Visit the Farmer’s Market on the Square! Pet a puppy on the Capitol lawn.

  136. 136
    scooter says:

    Try Old Sugar Distillery on East Main Street. Graze is great for cheap, high quality eats. Thats on the square.

  137. 137
    scooter says:

    OH MY FUCKING GOD

    I TOTALLY FORGOT HA LONG BAY ON WILLY STREET. BEST THAI/LAO FOOD IN THE CITY

  138. 138
    delk says:

    I love Madison, had my gay honeymoon there a couple months ago. The best part was just walking around and reading all the anti-Walker stuff, EVERYWHERE.

  139. 139
    Pen says:

    A lot of great suggestions, but mine has definitely got to be a stop by the Ale Asylum brewery taproom. I. Make sure to stop there every time i’m even close to Madison. New Glarus is ok, but Ale Asylum blows them out of the water.

  140. 140
    Donut says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Beltway? You funny.

  141. 141
    martha says:

    @Bob Esler: Oh yes! Great suggestions. Love them both.

    Also, I third everyone else’s great suggestions, except for Omnes’ recommendation of Arbys. Come on now, Omnes, at a minumum, he needs to go to Culvers for butterburgers and custard if he’s going to do fast food don’t cha know?

  142. 142
    chopper says:

    @texascowgirl:

    Is it just me or is Obama really out there by himself?

    yes, and he always has been.

    It’s just sickening the extent to which Democrats can’t support their presidents.

    indeed. clinton of all people should appreciate this fact, he dealt with it himself.

  143. 143
    tjmn says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Taco John’s– Midwest’s idea of Mexican food. Taco Tuesdays will always be around for we want our monies worth. There’s one in Moorhead, Mn, to if Cole ever gets there. One in Brainerd, MN, too. After 11 years in San Diego, though, Rubio’s fish tacos rule.

  144. 144
    billiecat says:

    @Jeff Spender: dude, I grew up across the river from the Oldsmobile Plant, and it was great. I had a huge park all to myself most days.

    But congratulate me, after 15 years carpetbagging in South Carolina I am returning to the state where trees are the right height!

  145. 145
    tjmn says:

    @billiecat:
    Did you feel like you moved to another planet from MI to SC?

  146. 146
    rea says:

    @Jeff Spender: “Fuck Ypsilanti”

    Somebody has done that already

  147. 147
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @martha: Cole doesn’t want to run into us, so I am suggesting places that will further his goal.

  148. 148
    martha says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well, there is that. In that case, I recommend Ginos on State and the Perkins on University as well…

  149. 149
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I will take NYC over the cities mentioned above, also too, nothing beats Bar Harbor, Maine in summer.

  150. 150
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    @Jeff Spender: I like Ann Arbor, but don’t see the purpose in bashing Yipsi (I’ve never been there), but I’ve never lived in either place so maybe it’s a local thing.

    The only thing Madison has on Ann Arbor is the two lakes, but natural beauty is a pretty nice advantage. Ann Arbor is a fun little town.

    I have lived in Lansing (Grad School at MSU) and it really should be much nicer than it is, what with a major university and being the State Capital, but it just doesn’t have much to offer at all. I grew up in Grand Rapids, which is miles better than the Lansing area despite its lack of the aforementioned built in advantages Lansing has.

  151. 151
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    @amk: Yeah, it’s not enough that he has to fight off Wingnut insanity on his own, but then he’s got to worry about his “freinds” knifing him in the back at every turn. With friends like these . . .

  152. 152
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @YellowJournalism: I may have to go to Madison, just to see this!

  153. 153
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Yutsano: Hey, hon. Yeah, I wouldn’t be, either, or to a company similar to Bain. As you said, there’s very little chance money from our corporate overlords didn’t cross his palm at one time or another. I hope you slept well and ease your way back into work!

    @The prophet Nostradumbass: Believe me, I’m MUCH easier to take on the ‘nets than in real life!

  154. 154
    bumper says:

    @RadioOne: Challenge accepted: Aberdeen, WA

  155. 155
    gaz says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I’ve been planning to visit Minneapolis. I hear it’s wonderful – not necessarily the weather (YMMV) but the people. =). My wife spent a good deal of time there while “interning” for the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. We have a good friend from there, and have been sort of planning a visit for some time. Don’t worry, I’m too lazy to stalk anyone. (I’m wearing an eastlake st, Minneapolis tee right now, you betcha! hehehe)

  156. 156
    Nylund says:

    There’s a bar near me where you can buy beers for people who aren’t there. You pay for it and they add the person’s name to a list. That person can come in and get their free beer whenever they want.

    Does anything like that exist in Madison? I suspect that’s the only way one will ever be able to buy this man a drink at a bar.

  157. 157
    mazareth says:

    Hey John,

    Try Himal Chuli at 318 State St. They do excellent Nepalese food. The menu is heavy on vegetarian fare, but I’ve I’ve heard good things about from my meat eater friends about their chicken dishes.

    Also not exactly a secret, but if you’re in Madison over the weekend. Live music + beer on the Memorial Union Terrace is hard to beat!

    FWIW, I would road trip for Balloon Juice GTG…

  158. 158
    Lotze says:

    @Cacti: You and me both.

  159. 159
    A Deep File says:

    Fat Squirrel.

    “It comes in pints!”

  160. 160
    Rob says:

    Curious why you like Austin. I lived there most of the 80’s and didn’t think that much of it. Traffic is horrible, the people were not that friendly and the heat was unbearable.

  161. 161
    Lefty Lefty says:

    @Suffern ACE: Go to the Memorial Union, eat Babcock Hall ice cream. Use your military ID to buy the best beers from WI in the Rathskeller. (Only students, members, staff, and military served.) Go outside to Terrace. Enjoy the best day of your life.

  162. 162
    Lefty Lefty says:

    Also too, Le Tigre Lounge on the beltline. No swearing allowed and open late.

  163. 163
    Lefty Lefty says:

    Also for local food flair — Mickey’s Dairy Bar by Camp Randall for breakfast. And Ella’s Deli on East Wash. And at the end of your day–Parthenon Gyros on State Street. Try not to slip on the vomit.

  164. 164
    Lefty Lefty says:

    And the Plaza–Plaza burgers are awesome.

Comments are closed.