Saturday, May 14, 2011
Mad-town: Part 2
To these points: We went to a bar / restaurant around 3 to have a drink. The owners started the Slow Food movement in Madison and word on the street is that the fried cheese curds are amazing The place had 50 WISCONSIN beers on TAP! They had another 75 bottled beers. This is where people, including the waitress and 4 of Izzy's friends started speaking in "beer" . I am not fluent in beer and had no idea what they were saying. I said "dark, please" and Izzy's friend, Gino, told us what kind of beer we should order, based on my crude and un-nuanced description.
For dinner, at 9:00, we went to a true hole in the wall - The Greenbush Bar. This is the kind of place that someone on the Lower East Side of Manhattan would KILL to own - or recreate. There is NO sign outside. It is in some funked up building called the Italian Workmen's Club. You will see photos here. Inside, you walk down into a basement and the place is packed - but not so loud you want to run screaming into the night. The service was really friendly and the pizza and salad were divine. Isabelle claims it is her favorite pizza crust ever - coated in corn meal on the bottom. The homemade sausage was flavored with anise and the salad was simple and fresh with lemon and oil. Izzy's comment on the place? "One great thing about Wisconsin...everything is genuine." I couldn't argue in this case.
The beef dishes were made with local grass fed beef. This didn't look like that kind of place. "Farming is Wisconsin. They support the local farmers," she said.
As I looked at the appetizers she'd purchased for earlier in the evening, sure enough - all the amazing cheeses were local including a lovely fresh goat cheese made yesterday - even the crackers - Potter's Crackers were made in Wisconsin. This pride reminded me of Italy...so much commitment to sustainable local food.
The weather sucks, the view out my window isn't great, people have funny accents, but you gotta love a place that knows how to make great cheese and celebrate.