After three days of “roughing it” we were ready for regular hot showers and a soft bed again, so it was great to pull into our favorite motel near Madison, the Village Inn Motel (www.littlebedder.com) in Mt. Horeb. It’s our favorite place to stay. We took it easy. We went into Madison Sunday afternoon to check out the shops (although I was disappointed that Community Pharmacy was closed) and we had lunch at Porta Bella (www.portabellarestaurant.biz) which has standard Italian fare and a decent wine selection as well as the best local brews on tap (New Glarus and Capital included). I had a spaghetti Bolognese that was really good (surprising since I have exacting standards with this dish) and a minestrone soup that was way over salted and husband had a spicy sausage Panini. Sunday night we had dinner at the Grumpy Troll (www.grumpytroll.com) – the food and beer were awesome as always, but we had an awful waitress. She was distracted, mean, rushing us and inattentive. She was so awful that the manager took over helping us, apologized profusely and explained that she was a sour girl (behaved that way with everyone) who’d be going off to college shortly and they would be rid of her. Wow. I know what’s it’s like to grow up in a small town and want to move on to bigger things, but seriously – no one is forcing you to waitress if you don’t want to! Anyway, like I said, the meal was good and we were very excited to learn that they are now offering some of their brews in 20 ounce bottles. We of course bought three – a Spetsnaz stout, Baltic Porter and Eric the Red ale. The Spetsnaz is a brew I hadn’t yet tried and I had it at the restaurant with steak, sautéed mushrooms and fries, and it was great.
Monday we woke up late and had brunch at some non-descript place that was overpriced because the Marigold Café literally turned us away (“We’re between breakfast and lunch right now, sorry”) and then we went over to the Henry Vilas Zoo (www.vilaszoo.org), which is small but nicely done, and they seem to be refurbishing a lot of the exhibits. It’s also a free zoo, which is nice for a city to have. Monday afternoon we checked out the shops in Mt. Horeb and relaxed at the motel – reading, chatting and enjoying a little red wine while sitting outside our room in brightly-colored vintage metal patio chairs. It was great to just be outside relaxing together, and the experience finally convinced husband that the next apartment has to have outdoor space for sure (victory!). Monday night we celebrated our anniversary (a day early) by having dinner at the Eno Vino Wine Bistro (www.eno-vino.com). It was good, but not marvelous. The wine list was stupefying – probably 20 pages of wine, mostly from the United States. We started with a prosecco, which I loved but husband found too dry, and then we each got a flight of wine (three sample glasses) – husband did white and I did red, so we got to try a bunch. Eno Vino is a French-influenced tapas-style restaurant so the concept was interesting, and the ambiance (dark wood, low lighting, comfy banquets) was great. And the food was good – we shared a salad and three dishes. The first was a shrimp cocktail duo (one in an avocado/lime/cilantro sauce and the other’s sauce was a twist on the classic shrimp cocktail, flavored with ginger) served with fried wontons. The second dish was lamb chops served with tiny potato fries and grilled asparagus, green beans and squash with a spicy tomato sauce flavored with just a bit of mint. The final dish was half a roasted chicken and both of us forget entirely what it was served with. It was good, but we’re not sure if we’ll go there again.
Tuesday morning we had a filling breakfast at Schubert’s in Mt. Horeb and then hit the road. We stopped at New Glarus at a little antique store I like there (unfortunately I didn’t find anything good this time) and of course at New Glarus Brewery. We came home with two and a half cases – one of Spotted Cow, one case of Fat Squirrel and a mixed six pack of two Organic Revolutions, one IPA, one Totally Naked, and two Uff-Das. And ten bars of beer soap. It’s not all for me! Some will be gifts at Christmas this year. After New Glarus, we took the scenic route driving home. We stopped at a couple of farm stands to pick up groceries for the week – potatoes, a green sweet pepper, a few apples, a zucchini. Driving through Walworth, we stopped at my favorite antique mall there (yes, I do have a favorite antique mall nearly everywhere I go) and found an amazing deal – a set of six milk glass spice jars with red lids in perfect condition for only $10.00. Of course I snatched them up and brought them home. Back in the city we stopped for a very late lunch at the Super Dawg drive in (www.superdawg.com) because you can only truly enjoy Super Dawg in a car – it’s one of the last bell-hop drive in restaurants around. And their hotdogs are some of the best in the city. And then we fought the city traffic and drove home – a perfect vacation perfectly ended.