October 2009 Archives

I swore that I was going to eat "well" this weekend... no fried foods, no donuts, no popcorn - nothing "bad." I didn't need to scarf down 300 pieces of fish and half-a-dozen donuts and an order or three of cheese curds, no sir. I was bound and determined to eat like a good boy.

Well, Friday came along, and before you knew it, the clock was reading 3:00pm, and I hadn't eaten anything... I was in meetings most of the day, or on the phone, and time just flew by. Starving and well aware that if I didn't eat something immediately, I'd be pigging out in a matter of hours, I gulped down my very favorite new treat: 1/2 cup of Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Yogurt with 1/2 cup of Fiber One Cereal mixed in. Oh man - it's so delicious, and it's only 115 calories. It'll keep you full (and regular) for a long time, too.

That snack kept me perfectly content as we made the drive up to Schaumburg's Dinner Club, which is located exactly in the "middle of no where" - just outside of Randolph, Wisconsin. It took about 1.5 hours to drive there, and the drive included some roads that may not have seen traffic in quite some time.

We arrived at the Dinner Club and made our way into the crowded, smoky bar area. We put in our name for a table and took the first available seat we could find, which just so happened to be at the bar. The bar is a bit odd; there's not much to look at, but what few things are hanging from the walls, they're primarily Dallas Cowboys items... not sure what that's about... but here's a photo of the bar area:

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The place looks vacant in that picture because literally about 3 seconds before I took the picture, a group of about 15 people were seated. The empty seats that you see in the above photo were quickly occupied by other people who were waiting for their tables to become available.

The bar was smoky - dreadfully so... I can't wait for Wisconsin to go entirely smoke-free. So, to help cut the smoke, we ordered the customary Old Fashioned:

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It was: not muddled, wasn't made with cherries in the mix, didn't use Squirt, and had a ton of really cheap whiskey. So, not a winner. I took a single sip of it and called it quits. I browsed the menu and spied all sorts of goodies - cheese curds, onion rings, potato wedges, hamburgers, cakes... My "good eating" nerve was growing weak and frail...

After about forty-five minutes of waiting, our table was ready. At Schaumburg's, you're seated in what appears to be the living room of an old house - the place is pretty large, and it's pretty cool inside. It also has an interesting "back story" - more on that in a bit. For now, here's a shot of one of the dining areas:

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We ordered the french onion soup, which was wonderful. It featured a full, beefy flavor, with a hint of saltiness, and just enough of that onion "bite" to keep you honest. The soup was complimented by a nice rye bread that was soft and flavorful. I'm told the coleslaw was excellent as well.

Just as we were finishing our soup, the fish arrived - deep fried cod, served "all you can eat."

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The fish was absolutely spectacular. Better than almost any fish we've had to date. What made it so good? It's hard to put a finger on "exactly" what it was about it - the breading was perfect. The texture and crispiness of the batter was perfect. There wasn't a hint of grease anywhere. The flavor and texture of the fish was perfect. Light, delicate, meaty, moist, flaky; more than capable of standing tall on its own, but complimented perfectly by the batter. And the batter wasn't "over done" - the fish didn't need the batter to be great.

The fries were equally excellent; we also tried the broasted potatoes and they were superb.

Several plates of that fish were consumed, and every piece from every plate was as good as the next. There wasn't a single bad thing about any portion of the dinner - it was all incredible. So much so that my "good eating vow" went right out the window - I must have had 15 pieces of fish.

So, with the commitment to eat good trampled and forgotten, we decided to try the Schaumtorte desert - a meringue of sorts, topped with fresh strawberries.

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The torte was good, but not stellar like the fish was. The coffee, however was incredible as well - Cetavo-brand (exclusive to Sysco); it's so tasty - smooth and delicious.

We left the place impressed. Yes, it's true - Schaumburg's Dinner Club is hosted in what was once a brothel... ok, so yeah - that's odd. But the place has character - natural character, and that counts for a lot. Even without any character, the fish is so good that you could sell it from a cart on the corner of East Wash and Blair and you'd have a winner.

As we were trying to figure out the overall "rank" of Schaumburg's, we came up with this conclusion - Schaumburg wins overall because it IS a supper club that has superb fish. It's not a place that's TRYING to be a supper club and serves mediocre fish with artificial character... So, for that reason, Schaumburg's may have taken the #1 honors from The Avenue Bar. We may have to visit The Avenue again for the sake of direct comparison... oh bother. :-)

Field Trip to Taliesin

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The company that now employs me is a pretty cool place for a number of reasons, but perhaps one of the best things they do is place a big emphasis on the importance of maintaining a proper "work-life balance." They do a great job of recognizing people's hard work and efforts, and are extremely supportive of everything, especially team-building exercises.

So, each department is allowed a budget for team-building activities, and as the "new guy," I was tasked with planning a group outing/event for our department. After floating several ideas out to the group, we decided to tour Taliesin, which is Frank Lloyd Wright's home, studio, and school - it just so happens to be located in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

We selected October 21 as our "outing day," booked tour tickets, made lunch reservations, called "dibs" on some of the company vans, and cleared our calendars. The 21st came, and off we went. We started the day with some donuts, bagels, coffee, juice, and milk at the office, then hit the road.

The weather wasn't too cooperative at first; it was warm (mid-50s) but rainy... and we were all a bit scared by the general condition of one of our vans - it looked a bit "urban" to say the least.

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That's Phil in the front seat; he's inspecting some of the van's safety equipment. I'm not sure if he did that because I was driving or if because the van didn't do much to bolster our confidence?

The drive to Spring Green is relatively short - it took about 40 minutes to travel there, and thanks to the fall foliage, the scenery was absolutely beautiful. I forgot how lovely it is when the trees are changing color. Here we are at the entry gate to the Taliesin visitor center.

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Taliesin is pronounced "Tahl-EE-ess-in" and it's Dutch for "Shiny Brow." Mr. Wright's parents were Welsh, and he apparently knew a few words here and there, so he selected Taliesin as the name for the 600 acres on which he built several homes (for himself, his parents, and a few of his aunts), his studio, a farm, and eventually a design school.

Contrary to popular belief, he did NOT build "The House on the Rock." That structure, while located within close proximity to Taliesin, was actually built by Andrew Jordan, Jr, and is an interesting story by itself... You can read more about the story over at Wikipedia.

We spent some time in the gift shop, then headed over to the school. The tour folks don't allow anyone to take photos of the inside of the facilities (probably because the place is quite rundown and in dire need of restoration), so the photos that I took are all from the outside.

Here's the school facility, as seen from our tour bus:

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The school features a large social/gathering room with an upstairs study/library, a theater, a dining hall, a design/learning studio, presentation rooms, and dorm rooms. Believe it or not, the school is still in operation today... I say that, only because none of the buildings are heated, and none of the buildings have doorways with any type of threshold.

FLW was big on incorporating nature and surroundings with his work, so he did things like source all of his building materials from local resources (local to the property), and to really focus on making the structure be "one" with the landscape - his buildings followed the landlines; he didn't clear a site and build on "flat" land. He also liked to carry outside elements to the inside, and that's why there aren't any thresholds on his doorways - he felt a threshold created a dividing line... so, as such, there are gaps of an inch or more under every door. He also liked to use unrefined rock as flooring, on both the outside and inside - hence, no "sealing" under doorways.

Here we are, about to enter the school's entertainment hall:

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The students were all in Arizona, which is where "Taliesin West" is located; it's a satellite school where the students study during the winter months. The interesting thing about this school is that it's more of a "community" - the students are required to contribute efforts as laborers for the community by assisting with farming duties, cooking, cleaning, and caring for alumni members who come to visit or may still reside at Taliesin. Interesting concept, to say the least.

The students also help with designing commissioned projects, which turns out to be a good thing. FLW, while a talented designer, placed a preference on "form" over "function." As such, many of his structures haven't aged real well; although many have. It seemed to be hit-or-miss... this particular building appears to have held up well - check out the date on the cornerstone:

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From the school, we headed over to his residence, which incorporated his living quarters, his primary design studio, his entertainment areas, and a farm - all in one building. The building survived (well, portions of it did) three fires; that's another interesting story to say the least... it's massive and very cool, but alas, very rundown.

Here's part of it, as seen from our bus:

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And here's the parking area - the architecture is so cool:

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We spent a good hour and a half inside of his home, and then wound-up in the backyard, where we were allowed to take a few pictures. This is a photo taken from the mezzanine of FLW's bedroom:

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Pretty spectacular, eh? FLW was big on having "uninterrupted views" of the surrounding nature - he didn't want to look out from any window and see another structure. I'd say "mission accomplished" in this case.

Here's a view of part of the house and the back courtyard:

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And one more:

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The tour came to an end, and we made our way over to The Old Feed Mill in Mazomaine, where we enjoyed a nice group lunch. After lunch we drove back to Madison and called it a day.

For those that may be interested in learning more about Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin, check out the Taliesin Preservation website, and if you have a chance, take a tour. It's really quite interesting stuff.

The 15K that was... but wasn't...

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Greetings!

This is the first of three new entries that will be published today; I figured it would be best to create three smaller, more targeted entries than to create one massive entry.

I registered to run a 15K race this weekend, but thanks to a hamstring injury that snuck up on me late last week, I decided to not run the race. I was really looking forward to it - 15K is a nice distance, and the weather was looking like it would be good, but alas, my legs had other ideas.

I've been increasing my run distances over the past few months and now regularly run 7-10 miles each day; the running is going well - no issues to report, no drama, and no trauma. I like to run first thing in the morning because I can get it over with, and it helps the 'ole metabolism stay efficient.

Well, on Thursday of last week, I missed my morning run because the weather was dreadful - pouring rain and barely 30-degrees. So I went at lunch, but thanks to some meetings that went longer than expected, I was short on time. So, I skipped my stretching and went for a run.

About 10 minutes into the run, I felt a "pop" in my hamstring (left leg), followed by an immediate sense of tightness and pain. I limped along for a bit, but had to stop running. I stretched the leg (in hindsight, not a good idea) for a bit, and tried to run again, but nope - no go. So, I walked back to the apartment, took a shower, and went back to work. The funny thing is the leg felt fine while walking, but as soon as I tried to run, it became obvious that something was amiss.

I went online and did some quick reading about hamstring injuries, and the general treatment includes RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). So, I threw some ice on it, wrapped it in a compression bandage, and took it easy. Anxious, I went for a brief run on Friday - it was still quite painful, but I managed to get 6 miles in.

Didn't run on Saturday, but did ride the bike on the trainer for a good 1.5 hours, then did some introductory Yoga, which helped loosen things up a bit. Sunday morning came around, and I didn't feel totally comfortable with doing a 15K on the leg, so I skipped out.

Upsetting, to say the least. But, the good news is that the RICE technique seems to be working - my leg feels better, and I was actually able to run a good distance today, with just a hint of pain.

So, let this be a lesson to me and to anyone else - always stretch first! I'm not 100% certain that my injury came as a result of not stretching, but it probably didn't help... :-(

What a week. Work has been absolutely crazy; didn't have much time to do anything all week, so when Friday came along, no one had to twist my arm to lead the way to a fish fry.

Decided to head down to Belleville to check out Borland's Tavern. I had been to Borland's about 15 years ago and really enjoyed it; I hoped it would be as good as the 'ole memory bank made it out to be. Belleville is about 15 miles south of Madison - about half way to New Glarus, and aside from Borland's, there isn't much else in the town, so if the fish wasn't decent, we'd be hiking it back toward Madison for dinner.

After the short drive south, we hit Main Street Belleville and there she was - the familiar Borland's sign. Shining like a beacon, beckoning us to come on in and sample the fish.

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We walked in and everything was exactly as remembered - the bar with the old fashioned stools, the fluorescent lights, paper placemat/menus, the paneling; this place had all of the ingredients to be fantastic!

The Borland's menu is fairly limited - it's first and foremost a bar - we didn't see any cheese curds on the menu, so we ordered an Old Fashioned Sour and the fish. Borland's offers one type of fish: deep fried cod. Take it or leave it, thankyouverymuch.

The Old Fashioned arrived and it was...... well, a good effort.

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Can you spot what's wrong with the Old Fashioned? That's right - no muddling, no cherries, too light on the bitters, and far too heavy on the whiskey. They did use Squirt, so the potential was there. Thankfully it was only $2.50.

Shortly after we finished sampling the Old Fashioned our plates arrived. I was starving, as I didn't have a chance to eat anything at all on Friday (thanks to work being ridiculously busy), so I went with the "double order" of fish.

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What you're seeing here is: six pieces of fish, a huge side of coleslaw, some bread, and an order of fries. But you came here for the review, so let's get on with it. The fish was absolutely great (or at least my plate was). Yes, it was breaded (loses points), but the breading was light and crisp and didn't overpower the fish. The fish itself was excellent - light, flaky, moist - all of the things you'd expect or want from great fish. My only complaint is that it wasn't all you could eat, although that's probably for the best - I would've probably run them out of business if it was.

I skipped the slaw (I'm not a slaw fan), so nothing to report there. The bread was great - most likely homemade, very soft, slightly chewy, and delicious. The fries were excellent as well - I have a feeling Borland's knows their way around the fryer because the fries were perfect.

With the belly full of fish, it was time to call it a night.

Saturday night brought a Badger hockey game - found some tickets via Craigslist and ventured over to the Kohl Center to watch Bucky do battle with the Colorado College Tigers. The seats were pretty phenomenal - right behind the goal.

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During the warm-ups, the players rifle the pucks toward the goal and a lot of them miss, which results in the loudest "WHACK!" noise you've ever heard as the puck flies into the plexiglass barriers at about 100mph. It was a bit unnerving to say the least, but sitting a few rows from the ice made the flinching worthwhile. Here's the Zamboni in action:

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The game started and it was pretty cool - the action, the speed, the tenacity of the game - it's quite a fun time. Got to see a few scuffles, including this little tiff... I wish I knew hockey rules a little better - the game would've made more sense.

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Here's Bucky during one of the "halftimes" - I'm not even sure what they call the downtime that takes place between the three periods.

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The Badgers wound-up tying the Tigers: 1 to 1. The game was a lot of fun, though - there'll definitely be more hockey games in the future!

Rather than fight the masses that were leaving the Kohl Center, it sounded like a good idea to hit the local watering hole for a beverage. Nothing to really report from here, other than I saw my first "stein" - check out this monster:

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That's a 5-liter stein, next to a "normal" 1-liter stein. There was a group of guys that staggered in to the bar and wanted to order a boot, but because the bar was so busy, they were out of boots and suggested the stein. All I can say is - WOW. The thing is massive. I'm not even sure how they picked it up, since it's ceramic and had to weigh 20 pounds empty!

Finally, had a chance to ride the bike outside today; the weather was gorgeous, if not windy. It was sunny, in the low 40s, and a perfect day to hit the road. 2 minutes on the trainer seems like an eternity; 2 hours on the road, on the other hand, feels like 2 minutes, even when it is cold and windy. I'm not sure how many more opportunities there will be to ride outdoors... and that makes me a bit sad.

So there you have it - not a bad little weekend. Oh, and for those scoring at home - there were actually 4 Bs (if you count the beer in the stein).

Road Trip: Kenosha - Frank's Diner

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I was watching the Food Network one night, when one of my favorite shows (Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives) stumbled into a little place from Kenosha, WI called "Frank's Diner." The show featured an unusual breakfast dish called "The Garbage Plate" and it looked, well, incredible. So with the fall colors starting to bloom, and nothing on the agenda for today, it seemed like a good opportunity to make the drive to Kenosha and to experience a garbage plate once and for all.

Woke up early - 4:45am - to ride the bike for just under 2 hours, and to run for an hour. With showering and transition time, the car was on the road at just about 8:30am. By taking the scenic route through Lake Geneva, it was nearly 11:00am by the time Frank's Diner rolled into view. Frank's is located almost literally on Lake Michigan, and it's extremely easy to miss. The place is absolutely tiny.

Figured the church crowds would either be finished eating, or still at church; it stood to reason that the wait would be short... well, so much for figuring.

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If you look closely in the glass of that photo, you can see a line of people... that line extended all the way into Frank's, and ran the entire "length" of Frank's. Frank's Diner is literally 10-12 feet wide by about 40-50 feet long. It seats perhaps 40 people at the most, and when you're lucky enough to score a seat, you're wedged between people waiting for a seat (behind you), and the cooks and waitstaff working directly (2 feet) in front of you.

Think I'm kidding?

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That photo was taken on the way out; after the place had died down significantly (they close at 1pm and stop taking orders or giving out seats 30 minutes prior). I'd say it was about 12:20pm when that photo was taken... but, you can see how small the place is.

Frank's got its start in the 1920s and was family owned until 2001. In 2001, two ladies bought it (along with the recipes), cleaned-it up a bit, put some money into the place, and built it into the mega-breakfast-mecca that it is today. They both work as cooks; one lady cooks nearly everything they serve (on the griddle); the other appears to work primarily at the toaster - they serve fresh, homemade toast all day, and it's nothing short of amazing. Here's a sort-of-blurry photo of the area where all of the magic takes place:

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After browsing the menu for a bit, the "half garbage plate" sounded good, as did the pumpkin pancakes. Within 10-15 minutes, the plates arrived, and, well - here's the garbage plate:

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That's a mess of hash browns, with jalapeno peppers, mushrooms, onions, peppers, three eggs, and cheese, all mixed together and grilled to a crispy goodness. To say it was unbelievable is an understatement - it was magical. And the toast? Oh my goodness.

And, as good as the garbage plate was (keep in mind, that was a half-order), there were pancakes to tackle...

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Thick, fluffy, light (yet hearty), and chock full of pumpkin flavor, these could quite easily be the best pancakes anyone has ever made. They were dusted with a cinnamon sugar that when combined with the butter (only used about half of that butter), was sinfully delicious. Washed it down with some decent coffee and left feeling content, if not a tad full.

If you get a chance, take the trip to Kenosha and visit Frank's Diner. You'll be glad you did; just be ready to wait for a seat. Be patient - trust me, it's worth it!

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You can read more about Frank's Diner at their website - check out the menu and be sure to read their story.

Villa Tap

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This'll be primarily a fish fry update - was busy with work all week, despite the fact that I missed several days due to getting sick. Of all the times to get sick, I catch a nasty sore throat bug with a bad cough and body aches during the week where "phase one" of one of my projects is due to go live. I was completely out of commission on Wednesday, but managed to work from home on Thursday and Friday, and things are on-track for Monday's launch. At least all was not lost!

It not only stunk that I had to miss work, but that I couldn't run, ride, or swim at all during those days... I managed to ride the trainer for about 1 hour and 45 minutes today, and followed it up with a 1 hour run.

I also managed to hit a fish fry on Friday night; I felt pretty decent all day on Friday, but my manager said to stay home so that I wouldn't possibly get anyone else sick. So, with work wrapped-up for the week, it was time to take the crew over to The Villa Tap for some fish fry.

We'd heard good things about The Villa's fish, and it's not often that we make it to that side of town, so it seemed like a good opportunity to venture out and sample some fish.

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Got there sort of late (as you can tell from the darkness), and the place was plenty busy. It's a small - nay, tiny - bar with a handful of "tables" along the perimeter of the bar and approximately 25 seats at the actual bar itself. We managed to score one of the tables, and promptly placed our order with the bartender.

Started with the customary Old Fashioned:

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It lost points for not being muddled and for not using Squirt, but it wasn't too bad. Not one of the better Old Fashioneds we've ever sampled, but far from the worst.

Our appetizers arrived promptly:

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The onion rings were wonderful - cooked to perfection, sweet and flavorful, and the batter was excellent. The curds were standard "out of the box" curds, but they were cooked perfectly as well, so they were pretty darned tasty - no hint of grease, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. The ranch didn't win any fans... but, that's not a show stopper.

With the appetizers so good, we had high hopes (and expectations) for the fish. It arrived within 15 minutes of us placing our order:

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We'll start with the good stuff. It was cooked perfectly. The batter was light and didn't take any of the attention away from the fish. There wasn't any sign of grease anywhere, the fish was nice and hot, and the texture of the fish was excellent - moist, firm yet flaky, and decently "meaty."

Unfortunately, it was a bit fishy tasting... far too fishy tasting for cod - it tasted more like Ocean Perch; some bites tasted like Smelt (really fishy). It's a shame because the way it was prepared, The Villa Tap was in a position to become a top 3 fish fry experience.

Maybe they had an "off night" for the fish; we'll probably try it again, but for now, we can't strongly recommend The Villa's fish.

Some folks have asked for "rankings" - a Top 10 list, if you will - so, here it is:

1. Avenue Bar
2. Toby's
3. Christy's Landing
4. Norm's Hideaway
5. Esquire Club
6. Jordan's Big 10 Pub
7. Mid-Town Pub
8. Nite Cap Inn (Palmyra)
9. Flannery's Inn (New Glarus)
10. Villa Tap
11. Old Fashioned
12. Milford Hills Hunt Club
13. Stamm House

Until next week....

Oktoberfest - Starting off right

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Happy October, folks! Although I don't know how happy things can be when the high temperature so far has been about 50.000F! The past few mornings have been especially chilly - during one run earlier this week, the thermometer said 34F. Nice!

Work has been busy - my projects are in full tilt mode; phase one of one of the projects is due to launch next week and there's still a ton of things to take care of, so I kept my head down most of the week and focused on getting as much done as possible. We sent nearly 2700 "grid cards" out on Tuesday alone - that was an interesting day!

So, when Friday came and the opportunity to eat two - yep, you heard right - two fish frys came about, I jumped at the chance. First stop was to the local watering hole - Paul's Neighborhood Bar. We had heard the fish at Paul's was phenomenal, so we stopped in for lunch to check it out.

Unfortunately, the fish fry at Paul's doesn't start until 4:30pm... so, we were "stuck" with having to find an alternative. I spied a baked cod special for $6 and decided to give it a try. The fish was great - but the plate was doused in butter... argh.

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And as if covering the fish, the potatoes, and the beans in butter wasn't enough, they serve it all with a side of butter. You have to love Wisconsin.

The good news is that the fish was quite good. I sandwiched it between a few napkins in an attempt to soak up as much butter as possible, skimmed as much butter off the potatoes as possible, and enjoyed the lunch.

For dinner, the crew hit Norm's Hideaway Bar and Grill, which is located on Lake Koshkonog, just outside of Fort Atkinson and not too far from Busseyville.

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Some coworkers had told us about Norm's, and after checking with a few other sources, Norm's earned a shot at being reviewed/rated by The Friday Night Fish Fry Fanatics.

The place sits literally "on the lake" and has a great northwoods/rustic feel to it. The only downside is that they allow smoking inside, but thankfully it wasn't terribly busy and therefore it wasn't terribly smokey.

Here's a shot of the bar area - we sat here for a bit while waiting for a table to open up (it's first come, first served for seating, and you order all of your food/drinks/etc at the bar).

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The bartenders were friendly, fast, and helpful. We chatted with one of them for quite a bit - she gave us some tips about the food, and later shared some appetizers with us.

While waiting for our table, we ordered some appetizers - white cheese curds and mini corndogs. They were pretty tasty - the curds were good; not homemade, but good.

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A table opened up, and we ordered fish - I was the only one to go with baked fish, and decided to try the Fiesta Poached Cod. It was three pieces of poached cod, topped with a roasted garlic salsa and served with potato pancakes. It looks odd in the photo, but trust me when I say it was absolutely delicious. The fish was light, flaky, flavorful, and tender. The salsa and potato pancakes were great as well. The potato pancakes weren't as good as the ones from Palmyra, but they were a close second!

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Other fish orders included Walleye, which earned rave reviews (no photo, sorry!) and the deep fried cod, which was extremely tasty. The fried cod was served nice and hot; it was lightly battered, moist, delicately flavored, and not the slightest bit greasy - not even after it sat for a while, which is a great indicator of a well-fried piece of fish. And, it was $9 to boot - talk about a bargain!

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We'd highly recommend Norm's Hideaway - great fish, great location, friendly service, and outstanding value. It's definitely worth the 25-30 minute drive from Madison.

I woke up this morning to weather that was, well, not so great - low 40's and raining. So, it was time to break out the dreaded trainer. I don't hate the trainer at all; in fact, I really like it, but I don't enjoy riding on the trainer because it's quite boring. Nothing like riding on a bike treadmill for an hour or so.

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The other thing that scares me about the trainer is that I'm still not convinced that it's OK to use a carbon fiber bike on the trainer... the bike's bottom bracket seems to "flex" a lot while riding, and that makes me nervous - I'm afraid it's going to crack or become damaged. I really need to get a second bike for trainer/commuter use.

After riding for 70 minutes, I hit the road for a run, then went over to Oktoberfest at Quivey's Grove. Quivey's Oktoberfest is quite an event - they invite 35 microbreweries to their grounds (Quivey's is a restaurant) and for $30 you get a small tasting glass and the chance to sample as many of the microbrews as you wish.

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The event is quite popular - it sells out months in advance, and people arrive early to get in line - this is the line, nearly 30 minutes before the event was due to open, and with the weather not being real friendly (rainy and cold).

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Once inside, it was a madhouse. People everywhere, all eager to try the different microbrews. Tried a bunch of different offerings - some were really good, others not so much. Quivey's did a great job of thinking of just about everything - they had this ingenious little "washing station" where you could rinse your glass between tastings. So simple, yet so effective - a horse trough, some PVC pipe, and a garden hose.

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There was even a band that played a nice variety of music; mostly "rockabilly" type music, but they were pretty decent. The funny part of it was they kept stopping the band so that the Badger football game could be played over the PA (the Badgers won, by the way).

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Quivey's also had food offerings that included bratwurst, soft pretzels, pulled pork, chicken sandwiches, and cheese curds. Tried the pulled pork sandwich (absolutely phenomenal) and a brat (decent, but not amazing). But perhaps the coolest thing at the event were these pretzel necklaces. Here's Jed showing off his edible neck ornament:

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With nearly 1000 people crowded into the tent, a belly full of pork, brats, and microbrew, and the weather not giving any sign of getting any warmer, it was time to call it a day. Headed back to the apartment and am sitting on the couch, watching some football. Hope you're all having a good weekend - we'll see you next week.

Here's one final shot of the people inside the tent at Quivey's. If you look really closely, you can see some of the breweries around the perimeter of the tent.

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