September 3, 2008

Labor Day is the first holiday for most people I know who just started working. Given the long weekend, two friends from Cornell came to Madison to visit. It was their first visit to Wisconsin, which inevitably means they get to experience as much Midwest culture as I could find. This included the farmer’s market, a brewery tour, a German bar, and a food festival.

For the brewery tour, we headed into Middleton to visit Capital Brewery. It was much smaller than I expected, which resulted in an extremely short and somewhat unsatisfying tour. I had expected more given it was 49 in the top 50 craft brewing companies (according to the Brewers Association List). Either way, the tasting they gave at the end was quite good.

We stopped by the Essen Haus after our dinner at the steakhouse. People love this restaurant/bar, and truth be told, I’ve only been in there once before. It had been a Tuesday night just before they closed, so we got cheap pints and headed into the Come Back In. This time, it was completely different. We walked into a nice crowd being entertained by a very loud polka band. To top things off, people were dancing and singing along with the music. It was beyond stereotypical Wisconsin, but quite amusing and good for a laugh. To top things off, it was my first time seeing a woman with a baby in a bar.

Last for the weekend was Taste of Madison, an annual food festival when the restaurants around the area offer “tastes” of their food. It was fun, although heat and crowds never make for the best time. While a lot of the food was pretty standard, I did get to try a couple of interesting things. Probably most interesting was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Eggrolls and Butterfinger Wontons from Bluephies. And of course, deep fried beer battered cheese curds (from the Old Fashioned) were a must and very delicious.


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