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Discovering Delicious Madison

How Madison Captured the Palates and Changed the Address of the Food Travelists

 

COMING TO MADISON

As food bloggers, we travel the world looking for memorable food, drink and cultural experiences to share. So when we decided to relocate from our home base of Chicago, we had several outrageous demands.

We craved sophisticated urban culture nearby but desired little traffic and lots of nature. We hoped to continue enjoying four seasons in a place that offered activities year-round. Most of all, we had to have a lively food and beverage scene, preferably where friendly people care about ingredients and the land that produces them. Pretty tall order, we know.

Our worldwide search took over a year, but we kept returning to Madison. Just two hours from Illinois family and friends, this amazingly diverse and delicious city captured our hearts and never let go.

 

NEW PASSION IS OLD FASHIONED

One of our first stops in Madison was The Old Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant where we had the kind of soul-satisfying food we wish for wherever we go. We dream about their huge beer-battered Walleye sandwich. Speaking of Old Fashioned, we adore Madison’s reverence for this signature cocktail. When trying out recipes at places like Yahara Bay Distillers or Vintage Brewing, we discovered that Madison has amazing local spirits as well as wine, beer and cider.

 

FOOD TOO GOOD TO IGNORE

We need tasty food to go with great drinks and Madison is bursting with options. Classic hangouts like Essen Haus, Johnny Delmonico’s and Lombardino’s are plentiful. For comfort food, Hubbard Avenue Diner, Monty’s Blue Plate Diner and Ian’s Pizza are sure winners. Delicious ethnic tastes are easily found at spots like Sai-Bai Thong Thai, Liliana’s, Bel-Air Cantina and Dobhan Kitchen. And some places like A Pig In a Fur Coat, Cafe Hollander, Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry and Graze have something so special you just need to try it yourself. There are so many more places to enjoy. Whether fine dining from an award-winning chef or super casual local treat, you’ll find it in Madison. And then there’s the cheese...

 

FRESH AND LOCAL AND...

“Farm to Table” is a way of life in Madison. Craft brews, artisanal charcuterie, scratch-made breads and fresh roasted coffee are everywhere. You’ll smell in-house baked goodies when you have breakfast at Marigold Kitchen. And with a name like Harvest, you can easily guess what’s dished up there. For the ultimate expression of Madison’s food culture, treasures like Heritage Tavern and Quivey’s Grove bring it all together.

As part of America's Dairyland, Madison does it proud. Once we arrived, we went to the State Capitol to watch the World's Biggest Cheeseboard make a Guinness World Record. We've since discovered that Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream is a late night addiction and visiting Fromagination is like going to cheese heaven.

 

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

Mediterranean to Himalayan, fine dining to food carts, pizza farms, fish fries, supper clubs, tailgates and food fests are available all around Madison. You’ll also find America’s largest producers-only farmers market Dane County Farmers’ Market snaking around the entire Capitol Square. It's literally an attraction on its own.

Madison is rich in food but also in many other things we wanted in our lives. We have only begun to scratch the surface but Madison’s deep roots are taking hold within us and now we’re happy to call it home.

Diana Laskaris and Sue Reddel, Co-Founders of Foodtravelist.com travel the world in search of unique and memorable food and travel experiences. After a worldwide search, they decided to call Madison their home.