Closing Out September - Michael Pollan & Christys Landing

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Can you believe that September is almost behind us? It seems like just yesterday when we were celebrating the 4th of July... it's incredible how time literally flies by.

Speaking of time, I'll keep this entry brief; for those that are keenly aware of my blog and past entries, you may recall a post or two about a book and author that I stumbled across some time back while listening to Michael Feldman's radio show. The book was called The Omnivore's Dilemma and it was by Michael Pollan. The book was amazing; everyone should take the time to read it because it really will open your eyes about food - where it comes from, how it impacts us (economically, environmentally, nutritionally, and so on), and how there are responsible and irresponsible ways to produce and consume food.

Anyway, Michael Pollan has a new(ish) book, and he stopped by Madison to promote it. He spoke to a group of about 7,000 people at the Kohl Center on Thursday night, and as luck would have it (and time allowed), I was able to stop by and check him out.

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The "show" was free - just had to park, walk in, and find a seat. It lasted for about 2 hours and it was really interesting, as you can likely imagine. Apparently the new book, In Defense of Food has caused a stir - it's got people taking sides for a number of reasons, which is probably good because it ultimately means that people are reading the book, digesting the message(s), and feeling strongly about it. I managed to score a copy of the book at the show - autographed and all - for $9. A nice find, for sure, and I've just started to read it so I'll report back on it when I finish it.

Having spent Thursday night with Mr. Pollan, Friday night was just around the corner, and that meant another fish fry was in order. The crew decided to try Christys Landing, which is located on the western "coast" of Lake Waubesa. It's a tricky place to find by car; by boat it would be quite easy.

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Christys has an unusual layout - it's similar to The Stamm House; you enter at the "bar level," with all dining taking place upstairs. There's a hostess who waits at a makeshift hostess station near the bottom of the stairs, and when you're ready to eat, you walk over and request a table from her. She takes you upstairs, where there are about 10 tables and just two waitresses.

Upon being seated, we ordered some onion rings and cheese curds - the crew was starving, and the service was a tad on the slow side, so we "over-ordered" in the interest of staving off our hunger as quickly as possible.

Here are the curds and the rings:

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As you can tell from the photos, the appetizers weren't anything special by any means - just your standard "from the freezer to the fryer" Sysco offerings. But, they were cooked well, and being as hungry as we were, they did a fair job of satisfying us. We placed our fish orders - cod all around, and also ordered an Old Fashioned (as is tradition).

The Old Fashioned wasn't muddled (strike one), and didn't come with olives (strike two). Despite these two strikes, it wasn't bad - the crew thought it was a decent effort, but definitely not noteworthy.

We also sampled the chicken chili, and were pleasantly surprised - it was extremely hardy, with huge chunks of pulled chicken and just the right amount of zing. Despite the great chili we were still a bit nervous about the rest of the dinner... the service was slow, and with the exception of the chili, nothing really "stood out" as spectacular.

But alas, our concerns were for naught - the fish arrived, and it was outstanding. Here's the fried cod with cheesy home fries (red potatoes with onions) - sorry for the bad photo... iPhone... you know how it goes...

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And here's the cod with curly fries:

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The fish was easily top three quality fish - huge, thick cut portions of cod with a perfect beer batter, all flawlessly executed - no grease, no odd taste, just fantastic fish, plain and simple. Served nice and hot, the fish was delicate, "meaty," and flaky without being crumbly. Excellent job on the fish, for sure.

The curly fries were delicious as well, but the final pleasant surprise were the home fries - boiled and grilled red potatoes, mixed with onions, peppers, and cheese - yummy. Very good.

The bread basket was also great; the first round of bread included mostly wheat and potato buns; the second round featured Asiago cheese-enhanced rolls.

Value was great - the plates of fish were $10.95 and included salad/soup. We'll definitely go back to Christys.

Have a good week, everyone. We're still working on the new site (wisconsinsupperclubs.com); it'll be a few weeks before it's up and running, so until then, you'll have to suffer through fish fry reviews here at geekysteve.com... :-)

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