A pretty decent weekend, actually.

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Happy to report that this past weekend was quite enjoyable - got to do a bunch of fun things, ate some great food, and generally had a good time.

Kicked things off with fish fry at The Avenue Bar.


The Avenue Bar is located on East Washington Avenue, near Ingersol Street, and has been around for quite a while - I want to say since the 1960s. It has become a bit of an institution; on any given weekday, you might find the local politicians having lunch alongside mechanics and housewives. On Friday nights, the place is absolutely crazy - it's not uncommon to find people waiting 2-3 hours for a table.

Despite having reservations, there was still a 20+ minute delay/wait. But the wait was worth it - upon being seated, cheese curds were ordered and they arrived promptly. I'm not sure if I mentioned this earlier or not, but I'm becoming a bit of a cheese curd snob... battered curds are worlds better than breaded curds. The Avenue features battered curds:


I had heard and read a lot about The Avenue's fish fry, and to be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. Some people raved; others said it was greasy. From what I had seen on the plates around me, the fish looked solid, so I decided to order a few extra pieces of fish - the only downside to the Avenue is their fish is not "all you can eat" - $11.50 gets you 2 pieces of fish with sides; extra pieces are $2.50 each. Not cheap, but that's the price you pay for good fish, I guess.

And I'm happy to report that the Avenue does indeed have good fish. In fact, I'd place it easily in my "top 3" fish fry places. Absolutely fantastic fish:


The beer battered, deep fried cod was thick cut, perfectly fried to a golden crisp, and delicious. The fish was flaky and fresh, very mild, very "meaty" thanks to the thick cut, and spectacular. I could quite easily stop searching for "the best fish fry" and just settle in to The Avenue Bar. But, alas, I owe it to myself (and my fellow blog followers) to keep searching.

After fish, it was over to The Greenbush Bakery for a....


Apple fritter. Check out that monster. So good. But, it gave me fritter poisoning - I ate too much on Friday night and wanted to die. It definitely made it very difficult to get up and go for a bike ride on Saturday morning, but with 5500 calories of food sitting in my gut, I had to do something, so I forced myself out of bed at 6:30am and hit the road.

60-ish miles later, I was feeling a little better, but I was also freezing. It was unbelievably cold on Saturday... when I hit the road at 6:30am, it was 51-degrees. When I got back at around 9:00 and went for a quick run, it was still below 60. And it was July 18th!!! That's unreal.

A small group of us went to see another production of Michael Feldman's Whadya' Know show, and I actually got on the air. I asked the question, "It's July 18 and I'm wearing long underwear. Why?!" Michael asked me if I was wearing long-johns or just a long top - I confessed it was just the top. Nothing too exciting, but fun, nonetheless.

From the radio show, it was down to State Street, where Maxwell Street Days were taking place. Fought the crowds and eventually landed in Dotty Dumplings Dowry, where I had an ostrich burger and a "fried sampler."

The burger was great! I'd never had ostrich before, but it was super good. Tasted just like beef, but with a fraction of the calories. 6oz of grilled ostrich is 160-calories.


The sampler included fried mac-n-cheese, onion rings, cheese curds, mushrooms, and fries. I tried a couple of each, mindful of my Friday night binge...

Bummed around Madison the rest of the day and then hit La Bamba for dinner. La Bamba is known for being an uber-cheap restaurant that caters to the late night, drunken university crowd, but for some reason, they closed their State Street location (which perfectly fits the bill for the above mentioned crowd) and now have only east side and west side locations. The west side location is about 5 minutes from the apartment, so it made sense to stop there for a late night dinner.


Steak burrito with lettuce, tomato, onion, and hot sauce. Yummo. And just $5. Not bad.

Woke up Sunday morning and went for another long ride - 60-ish miles. I've found a good set of roads that run from the apartment up to Waunakee, toward Mazomainee, and back. There are some killer, killer hills, and the traffic is fairly light, so it's a good ride. I got a bit of a late start on Sunday morning, and wanted to go to the Come Back Inn for breakfast, so I rushed back, hopped in the shower and then raced over to the CBI for some grub.

Turns out there was no need to hurry; they serve breakfast until 2pm... oh well. Ordered "The Big Breakfast" - 2 pancakes, 2 eggs, 4 slices of roasted bacon, and some breakfast potatoes. Washed it down with some fantastic coffee and was absolutely in heaven:


Went back to the apartment and felt so guilty about breakfast that I hit the road for a run. I don't normally like to run after having ate something, but wow - I had a fantastic run. Nearly 8 miles at an average pace of 7:11/mile. I've never done that before; maybe before my next race I should "fuel up" with some CBI breakfast!

With the better part of the day done and not wanting to sit around the apartment, it was over to Warner Park to watch a Madison Mallards game.


For $12 a seat you can get into the "Home Plate Club" - the first two rows of seats located directly behind the catcher - and it's quite a good deal. You're literally 5 yards from the catcher/batter/umpire, in a reserved seat, and it's only $12!!


The camera angle didn't really do the seats justice; I had to sneak the lens between the chain links on the fence, so the angle is wrong - trust me when I say the seats were close!! It was Susan G Komen day at the game, which is why the Mallards were in pink jerseys and hitting with pink bats. They auctioned the bats and jerseys after the game, with all proceeds benefiting the Susan G Komen organization.

Started the game off with some pork nachos (I'm a glutton, I know it!!!):


And they were superb. The chips were crisp, the pork was slightly sweet and perfectly smoked, and the nacho cheese was spicy but not out of control. And, they were reasonably priced at $4.

The Mallards have a nice little set-up, actually. Just behind home plate is a food court area that features several different food venues, a couple of drink venues, a souvenir stand, and a bunch of picnic tables:


Sat and watched the game for a bit - I'm not quite sure what division of baseball the Mallards are in, but it was a fun game to watch. Yeah, there were a few errors here and there, but it kept things interesting. Only one inning ran "long" - I think it was the 4th or 5th. Otherwise, things moved quickly and the Mallards did a great job of keeping the crowd entertained. Here's the Quench Gum truck driving around and shooting t-shirts:


Bad picture, I know - the sun was in the wrong spot... I did score a decent picture of one of the mascots, Millie:


While the nachos were good, you can't really go to a Wisconsin game (of any type) and not have a brat... so, it was back out to the food court for a garlic brat and some hand-dipped cheese curds. They looked great:


And, I'm happy to report, they tasted as good as they looked. I love having long arms, because I can take pictures like this without any assistance:


That's a happy (but getting fatter by the inning) me, enjoying that brat and curds. I really, seriously, need to stop binge-eating on the weekends. I'm completely out of control. But everything is so good... it's hard to sit at the apartment knowing that there are places like the Greenbush, Culvers, and so on all within a stones' throw... I'm hoping that I'll get my fill of these places and then settle down.

So that's it for now. Lots of food this weekend, lots of miles on the bike and by foot, lots of calories, and lots of good times. Rumor has it this Friday's fish fry will come by way of Palmyra, so stay tuned.

Oh yeah, almost forgot - the Mallards won - they beat the Eau Claire Express 9-7. There was even a home run.

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