Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Back to Mad-town: Fromag Nation and Underground Kitchen

The Brussels-esque exterior of Fromag Nation.

The enticing sandwiches.

Notice the dried magnolia decorating the perimeter.

A display of the unimaginable assortment of cheeses.

Well, life got in the way and I never finished my posts about Madison.

It must be said that Madison is an incredibly sophisticated food town. It is just crazy how hip it is given the size and, frankly, location in the middle of the Midwest.
I did not have a bad meal the entire weekend. I can actually say I had only great food all weekend. And I am a very picky critic.

The most impressive place was a shop called Fromage Nation. I just love the name. It is so grandiose in a funny way. It is honestly better than any cheese shop I have seen in NYC or Italy or anywhere, for that matter. Many of the cheeses are made in Wisconsin. Daily, there are samples. Voluptuous sandwiches are served. Swags of magnolia border the shop. The exterior looks like something you might see in Brussels. The whole thing is just ridiculously charming, all the more that no one is dressed in black with a cacophany of Prada and Hermes labels hanging around.
Instead there are sweaters and jeans and stocking caps and darling babies. It makes you want to part with your inheritance and load your refrigerator with cheese!

The other place we went that was impressive is a super hip place called Underground Kitchen. Well, even the name makes a slightly counter-culture person like me happy. Started by a group of 20 and 30-something foodies, the place makes its own TONIC, for god's sake!, charcuterie, bread, (natch) and the best hippie salad since the ones I made out of Diet for a Small Planet in 1973. I can eat the thing every single day. It is the new diet dish. I paid attention as best I could after the lovely ginger - gin drink and made the salad at home. Will post the recipe tomorrow. Salute! (as they say in Italian, meaning "to your health!")

Photos from Underground Kitchen:

One of the owners working the bar.

The hippie salad.

I love how these glasses look - filled with lemon zest, lime zest, olives, accoutrements for drinks!

Lee's goat stew. Yes, goat.

The gin and ginger drink. Refesh-alista!

The flannel shirt crowd. Hats allowed indoors.

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