Interesting title, I know... but it sums up the weekend and might (?) make some sense... Had another busy weekend - with the weather being as nice as it has been, it only seems reasonable to try to accomplish as much as possible, even if it requires a finely-tuned schedule. It's only a matter of time before these beautiful 75F days are a distant memory, and brutal cold + tons of snow become a harsh reality.
The weekend started with the customary fish fry. This time our crew hit The Old Fashioned, which is located on the capitol square in downtown Madison.
The Old Fashioned is a bit of an institution - it's known for its huge selection of locally brewed beers, great drink menu, and diverse menu that features burgers by number. The bar certainly didn't disappoint; we arrived at around 6:00pm and were informed that the wait for a table would be approximately 30-45 minutes. So, we bellied-up to the bar - check out the numerous taps:
They have approximately 150 different locally made beers; 30 or so of which are available on tap. We tried a few offerings from The New Glarus Brewery, primarily because they were on special. We were also pleased to find that The Old Fashioned apparently knows how to honor the drink from which it's named - they muddle their cherries, which is key to a great Old Fashioned:
While waiting for our table, we decided to order the "Number 3 Cheese plate," which featured Ghost Chevre cheese, which is a nutty-flavored soft cheese, along with some 16-month Gouda and some 10-year Cheddar. The cheese plate was awesome:
We were eventually seated, and promptly ordered some cheese curds. Cheese curds are a yardstick by which we evaluate a restaurant and its fish fry "package." The Old Fashioned's curds were obviously homemade, but despite that, they failed to impress. Sure, they looked great:
But in reality, they were super greasy, relatively flavorless, soggy curds that oozed grease with every single bite. The batter barely even stuck to the curds - that's how greasy they were... Truly disappointing, even more so when you consider the cost: $7.
We ordered a round of old fashioneds to try and wash down some of the grease from those curds. And once again, we were disappointed. The old fashioneds were ok, but they weren't spectacular by any means. Average, at best. Cory from The Oakcrest still holds the honor of making the best old fashioned.
Soon after downing our old fashioneds, the fish arrived. Baked cod for me, and deep fried cod for the crew. We had high hopes for The Old Fashioned's food - it received good reviews from friends and from internet sources. But yet again, the result fell quite short of our expectations.
Here's the baked cod:
Notice how miniscule those pieces of fish are??? They're barely bigger than the lemon wedges. The flavor was ok, but it wasn't anything spectacular... it was also greasy (too much butter) and slightly overcooked. Definitely not worth $14, that's for sure! ARGH.
Here's the deep fried cod:
Notice how dark it is? Yeah - they way over-fried the fish, and as such, all you could really taste was the super-done batter. They also served far too many of those greasy onion strings with the fish; perhaps The Old Fashioned could go lighter on the greasy sides and focus more on properly cooking their main dish (and serving a more reasonable amount).
All-in-all, I would not recommend The Old Fashioned for to anyone looking for a good fish fry or decent curds. Truly underwhelming, overpriced, and simply not worth the long wait and high price.
At least there was a friendly little guy waiting outside as we ate:
And with the sun setting, the capitol building looked fantastic - picture perfect:
After the disappointing dinner, we called it a night. Good thing it was an early evening - with Saturday's forecast calling for calm winds, clear skies, and temperatures in the high 70s, I was anxious to hop on the bike and put some miles under my tires. Woke up fairly early on Saturday morning and hit the road for a 77-mile ride. It was absolutely glorious. I stopped at around the 65-mile mark and snapped a quick picture:
After the ride, I went for a quick 3-mile run, just to help loosen up my back and quads. I find that by running after a ride I feel so much better the rest of the day. If I don't go for a run, I tighten-up and feel really stiff the next day.
With 80-miles under my belt, it was time to head out to the Taste of Madison. This annual event attracts several thousand people, several dozen local restaurants, and several dozen bands from all over the country. In past years, I remember really enjoying the event - there were tons of local restaurants, good bands, and reasonable prices.
This year, there were too many chain restaurants (Red Lobster, Abuelos, Little Ceasars, and so on), the prices were too high (most "samples" were $4 each), and the bands weren't too interesting. Candlebox was there on Saturday night, and while they were interesting, it wasn't a "great" concert by any means. :-(
So... here are some photos from the event:
A bunch of people, for sure.
Tried some Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Toppers - it was ok. Nothing great.
Tried some Sesame Chicken from Hong Kong Cafe - meh.
Tried some fried mac-n-cheese bites from Bluephies - they were decent. The cookie dough eggrolls were also decent (no picture, sorry).
Enjoyed watching the cooks prepare food for the throngs of rabid eaters.
Tried some Bruschetta - once again, meh - so boring and tasteless.
Got a free hug from two really stinky (BO) kids. Had to give them credit for their ingenuity, though.
And wrapped-up by watching Candlebox play a mediocre show on the WJJO rock stage. At least the weather was gorgeous, and once again, had a chance to hang out with Jed and Jamie (friends from an old job), so it wasn't a complete loss. Although, speaking of loss... I managed to lose my very favorite sunglasses! UGH!!
Sunday was a relatively uneventful day - rode the bike about 25 miles, went for a run, and then ran errands the rest of the day. I've been craving waffles like nobody's business, and was lucky enough to find a "classic" waffle maker (non-Belgian) at Tuesday Morning. It made some really killer waffles:
Nice and crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside - perfect and delicious. The batter was a whole wheat/rolled oat combo that was fantastic. Roasted some bacon, scrambled a few eggs, and had a glorious Sunday night dinner (of breakfast foods). I'd normally worry about the number of calories associated with such a feast, but the fuel was put to good use - I ran a 10K race the next day in Randolph, to help benefit the Dodge County Humane Society.
Here I am (in the orange shirt), running my way to a 6th place finish, with a time of 45:21. That's one of my better 10K times - my previous best was over 50-minutes!
Upon returning home and resting for a bit - my legs were cramping like crazy during the race - it was over to the local triathlon supply store for a new watch. My Garmin GPS watch has been a bit unreliable lately - it doesn't want to "take" a charge, and it goes dead quite often, so I needed a back-up. I scored this Timex Ironman watch for a really reasonable price:
I really like it so far; it's nice and light, waterproof, and it allows me to "rest" my primary daily watch - the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean.
Finally, check out this other recent score:
Several stores were running crazy specials on Pepsi products this week, so I took full advantage of the deals. The sodas ranged in price from $1.77 - $4 per case. Made a few trips, but it was worth it - there shouldn't be any soda shortage for quite some time!