Critiques, Cravings and Conundrums From the Madison Food and Dining Scene
Small Dishes

April 2011

Dining Detour

04/23/11

Dining Detour

 There hasn’t been such commotion on Willy Street since 1976. That’s the year when a prefabricated box was dropped at the corner of Brearly Street, flaunting the Taco John logo. Public sentiment soon led to its removal and a reflection about any future development. Much has changed since then, but the neighborhood hasn’t lost any of its quirkiness or charm.   In the intervening years, though, it has rightly earned a reputation for being the city’s Restaurant Row … and now … Bakery Boulevard might be appropriate as well.   This year the upheaval is the result of our annual summer reparation, road construction.  I hope this inconvenience will deter few from enjoying some of the city’s most interesting and...

Posted at 01:32 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

That's Eye-talian!

04/17/11

That's Eye-talian!

I love modern Italian cooking—Lombardino’s and Nostrano are two of my favorite restaurants. But just like sometimes I’d rather have a burger than a steak, sometimes I can’t face another pizza with arugula and truffle oil or pasta whose name I can’t pronounce.  When that happens it’s time to return to the red sauce circuit.  Italian-American food is a cuisine in itself—not just in Madison, but around the country. All Italians that came here brought with them a rich tradition of food and eating—but not always the same tradition since they came from numerous regions with remarkably different tastes and cooking styles. Over time, traditional recipes changed, as an accommodation to both the availability of ingredients and local...

Posted at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

Spring Cleaning

04/10/11

Spring Cleaning

Since I’ve been writing this blog—since June, 2008—I’ve received many requests for recipes for dishes I’ve written about or mentioned.  So, I thought now was a good time to share a few of them. Overwhelmingly, the most requested recipe is for jambalaya. There really isn’t a “best” recipe since it can be made several ways and I do and love them all.  What follows is probably my day in, day out favorite. The original version served a church basement so I’ve scaled it down for home consumption.  To make really good jambalaya requires really good andouille—and in this case, tasso.  Both can be difficult to find in this neck of the woods.  Both can be ordered from the Cajun Grocer. Seafood...

Posted at 09:26 AM | Permalink | Comments

Green Eggs and Ham

04/05/11

Green Eggs and Ham

It’s obvious that pastel colored eggs and chocolate bunnies at Easter are pagan symbols, long part of the celebration of spring.  Like many holiday icons—including the Christmas tree—they predate Christianity. How the ham got to be popular at Easter is a little less clear, at least for many of us today who think of it as that pink stuff sold refrigerated at the supermarket. First of all, a ham is the thigh (upper portion) of the hind leg of a pig.  Today, most are cured with brine injected into the meat.  Sugar or honey is usually added along with nitrites to produce the nice Porky Pig color.  Better quality hams are smoked over hardwood—hickory and cherry being the most popular—but sometime just sprayed or injected with liquid...

Posted at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

About This Blog

Dan CurdI found my interest in writing by accident. My training and first job was as a graphic designer. Unemployed, the only employment I could find in advertising at that time was as a copywriter. Somehow, I convinced Richard Newman & Associates to hire me. Later I learned they were desperate. Madison has been my home off and on since 1957 (nonstop for the past 31 years). I write about food, which I love. – Dan Curd

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