Playing "catch-up"

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What a busy week. It all started a week ago, on Friday the 30th, with a trip to The Stadium Bar for lunch with a few coworkers. It was the day before Halloween, my projects were racing along at full speed, the weather was cold and dreary... the notion of a steaming plate of fish fry for lunch sounded too good to pass up. So, we headed down to Regent Street and into the infamous Stadium Bar.

The Stadium Bar gets its name from its close proximity to both Camp Randall and The Field House (both Badger institutions - football and basketball, respectively). Rumor has it that on a game weekend, the Stadium Bar will easily host 600-700 people at a time. It appears to have nearly 100 televisions along with a massive outdoor tailgating area.

Another fish fry website ranked the Stadium's fish quite high, so I was excited to try it out. Deep fried lake perch with fries was the only option, and for $8, sounded like a good deal. The fish arrived rather quickly:

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The result: underwhelming. The perch was just ok at best. It wasn't served very hot, it didn't have much flavor, the breading wasn't crisp - it seemed as if the fish had sat under a heatlamp or in a warming tray for a while prior to being served. I wouldn't go back for the fish any time soon.

We finished our lunches and headed back to work, and despite my pleas to stop at the Greenbush Bakery for a "quick donut" (it's almost across the street from the Stadium Bar), my coworkers kept me on track and drove straight to work.

So that brings us to Friday night... with a difficult week of work behind us, it was time to let the hair down and hit a serious fish fry. Plans were set in place to make a drive up to Poynette, but we called a last second audible and made the shorter drive to McFarland, where we found The Green Lantern.

McFarland isn't a "smoke-free" city, so that meant we'd be sitting in a smoky bar as we waited for our table. Imagine my surprise when I noticed my uncle walk past us; it was good to see him (and my aunt). We chatted for a bit, and then our tables became ready. Before we went to our respective tables, my uncle suggested that we order the shrimp - he said it was unbelievable, and well worth the extra cost.

The Green Lantern (or "the greenie" as locals refer to it) is a "rustic" supper club that sits on the eastern shore of Lake Waubesa, almost directly across the lake from Christy's. I have a feeling that on a beautiful day, this would be an ideal place to hang out and enjoy some spectacular lake views.

We started with an order of cheese curds and an old fashioned. The curds:

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As you can see, they were your standard "from the bag" curds. Nothing too exciting. And here's the old fashioned:

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Can you spot what's wrong with that old fashioned? That's right: no muddling, no Squirt, and way too heavy on the whiskey (once again). We didn't have much of a chance to ponder the old fashioned because our fish arrived shortly after the curds and old fashioned...

Here's the baked cod:

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It was absolutely superb - everything you'd expect from a top notch piece of baked cod. Mild flavor, steamy and moist, flaky and tender (but still firm enough to hold up to a fork). I could've downed a dozen pieces of the baked cod (skipped the butter; the fish didn't need it).

Here's the deep fried cod with hash browns:

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Just like the baked cod, the beer-battered deep fried cod was really solid. The fish was served incredibly hot, the batter was crisp and light, the fish was perfect. The hash browns were also quite tasty; maybe a touch greasy, but overall very good.

And... the real star... the shrimp:

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All I can say is "wow." I'm not normally a huge fan of shrimp, but this stuff was exactly as my uncle promised - nothing short of amazing. Perfectly battered monster pieces of shrimp that were crisp, light, and delightful. If you make your way over to The Greenie, be sure to try the shrimp.

In summary, The Greenie delivered a great fish fry experience. We kicked around rankings, and figure it should fall into the 6-7-8 range. It loses some points for the smoky environment and for the lackluster curds and old fashioned, but delivers on everything else.

After leaving McFarland, we ventured back to downtown Madison and into our new favorite watering hole, The Come Back In. They were having a "pre-halloween" party, and we spotted this cool costume:

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It was pretty crowded and very loud (there was also a band playing), so we didn't spend too much time at the CBI. Perhaps we'll head over there tonight to see what's happening...

So that's about it. Sorry it took so long to get this entry done... stay tuned for results from tonight's fish fry adventure - we may head up to Poynette, or we may decide to stay local... we'll see how things play out. :-)

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