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It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Town

26 Mar

Madison, Wisconsin. I always knew of this town as a big party town, because of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. When I was in high school, it was known as a really good school, a hard one to get in to if you are from Minnesota, and full of PARTY. I have been here a good handful of times, mostly passing through to Chicago. With this gig I now stay here a couple times a year, so the time has come to start exploring the food scene.

It all starts in Minneapolis

I have a thing about doing events. I have to have my hair blown out so I can hide the tattoos behind my ears (this is a me thing, not a work thing) so I was in Minneapolis at 8am to get that done. Beforehand I stopped at  Patisserie 46 to grab a danish (yum) a soy miel (changing it up!), and some pastries for my shoe-girl in crime Chelsea. Man, that lemon blueberry danish I stuffed in my face did not make me sad. Got my hairs all did and then I was off to Wisconsin.

I had a lunch date with Chelsea, whenever I got to her. Chels lives in Janesville, WI which is about 30 minutes south of Madison, and I had one of her boots (it’s a #shoedog thing). I got to meet her crazy adorable dogs (3 pugs!)  and she lead me to a Janesville favorite.


The Italian House is in an old Hardee’s on a busy intersection by the high school. Chels told me that it was in a smaller location, but they expanded some years ago. They have a drive through as well as sit down. It is very much an American-Italian place: sandwiches (called Gondola’s) and basic pasta dishes. We both got mostaccioli with meatballs. Cuz why not? It is a dreary day in Wisconsin, a girl needs some comfort food. This came with salad and garlic bread.


Salad: from a bag with a big ol’ handful of cheese on it. Why cheese? Because Wisconsin. Italian dressing, totally respectable.

Mostaccioli: Now let me first say my idea of mostaccioli is probably incorrect: but it is all from Cosetta’s. I have been eating it since high school, and it has a real hold on what I think of as mostaccioli. Is it right? I have no idea. But I love it. The mostaccioli at Italian House was good! From scratch meatballs, a nice thick red gravy, and al dente penne pasta. I wouldn’t call it life changing by any means, but filling and lovely.


In summation: Janesville is FULL of chains. Go to The Italian House for some hometown cooking.

Rollin’ up on Mad-town

So stupidly lunch was pretty late in the day (my fault, I didn’t get to Janesville until about 1:30pm). So by the time I got to Madison and all checked in to my hotel, I was still feeling really full and a little out of sorts (Side note: everyone in my life that I see on the regular is sick. Husband Ben Crew has tonsillitis, my in-town colleague had the flu as did/do both of her little ones. YIKES!). Needless to say I didn’t feel like driving around looking for something to eat. Thank Godzilla for Grub Hub. I just wanted some soup and something small. FOUND IT!



I got delivery from Flaming Wok: Chinese-American type that we all know from childhood. Hot and Sour soup, dumplings and some chicken fried rice. The fried rice had zero flavor, so that is sad. However, the soup and dumplings were EXACTLY what I wanted. Hot and sour soup, not hot hot but had nice spice and was warming and healing. Chock full of tofu and mushrooms, which I love. The dumplings had that too thick outside but the filling was nicely spiced and very familiar. YAY for eating in the hotel in my jammies. It is one of life’s great pleasures.

In summation: you don’t want to leave your hotel and want to eat something salty and that you know is bad for you while watching Law & Order SVU? Flaming Wok gets it done.

I swear I will do better, Madison. This is not the last you will see of me. Maybe tomorrow we can make something happen that isn’t pizza (my guess it’s gonna be pizza. ugh.).


Heems: Eat Pray Thug

Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life (OMG. SEEING HIM ON SUNDAY. CANNOT. WAIT.)

The King Khan & BBQ Show: Bad News Boys

The Smartest Man in the World Podcast



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