Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It's not about winning or losing...'s about the Secret Stadium Sauce. At least, when I go to a Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park, a big part of the experience is having a hot dog with the SSS. I usually try to wait til the 3rd inning, let the game get off its feet a bit.

This past Sunday, my parents and I went to see the Brewers play the Cincinnati Reds, and while the Brew Crew man-handled the Reds on Saturday 11-0, the score was exactly the opposite for the game we saw. Ahh...the Brewers! But, the redeeming part of the day was retro weekend, with $1 hot dogs and $1 sodas, and seeing my brother, too, who works there and hooked us up (as always) with seats behind home plate. Because, really, baseball is better when you can see facial expressions and such.

Here is a snapshot of the condiment stand, with the aforementioned Secret sauce -- which is a tangy tomato sauce that can't quite be called BBQ but isn't as pedestrian as ketchup. I loaded up on relish and sauerkraut too, but bypassed on onions, for those of you keeping score at home. (ha!)

And, another part of the Miller Park day, is the Sausage Race, here it is as it flys past me. I think Polish Sausage made a big come from behind victory.

Gotta love the American pastime, and my decision in the bottom of the 9th to have my second hot dog of the day.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Homecoming, in the truest sense

Stars aligned and brought home to Madison some of the best and brighest of friends, namely Rosa, Lucy, and Laura. And most wonderfully of all, Rosa's brother, Carlos, a Marine who just spent 6 months in Iraq. Now that is a homecoming.

So it was basically a matter of time before we all wound up at a bar together on State Street. One of my favorite haunts, Paul's Club, the bar with the tree in it and a great jukebox, was obnoxiously full. Shouldn't college kids go home for Easter or something? But Rosa came and corraled us all and we ended up at Frida with its dancing and "canopy of lasers" as Uz described it. The dancing bug hit some more than others, check out Lucy's smooth moves on the dancefloor.

Laura, Uz, Lucy, Kathie foreground; Wisconsin state capitol background.

There may very well have been one more drink on the way home with Laura that night, but sadly no pics to document as it's not the kind of place to whip out the digital camera. We went for the purely sublime kitsch and comfort of Le Tigre Lounge, which seriously has to be the wierdest and coolest bar in any strip mall in America! It's all tigers and very circa 1962, at least that was the last time the jukebox was updated. I think you push buttons on it to select songs.

Saturday was back on the bike, this time with an excellent riding partner in Kathie and we cruised through the Arboretum and then on to Rosa's parents house for the party for Carlos. Nothing but good vibes, old friends, drinks, food, food, and more good vibes all around.

Ro, Lucy, and Tara:

Ro and Car (even without red eye reduction, they're an attractive family!):

Little friends on the kitchen mural:

Me and the homemade enchiladas!

Good times.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Let's ride bikes

Springtime in Madison means a few things: windows down in the car, claritin allergy medicine, and bringing the bike up from the basement and pumping up the tires for a ride. That's what I did a couple of days ago when it was in the low 70s and pretty near perfect out. I hit the Captial City bike trail, a rails-to-trails path and one of my favorite things in all of Madison, and cruised down to Victor Allen's on Monroe for coffee and a soup. The African peanut stew was more like a boring Tortilla soup but the coffee was outstanding. They aren't brewing iced coffee just yet, so the barista made me an iced americano instead. Good idea!

I continued on my ride and here are some pics from Vilas Park.

We've got Lake Wingra:

Wingra Lagoon, when frozen has been a training place for many an Olympic Skater:

And a polar bear at Vilas Zoo, enjoying the day:

Twas a lovely day. Today is another sunny wonder of a day, so I think it's time to get off the computer.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

All over the map

After doing a bit of battle in the rain and wind today, I'm a bit weary. All in the name of hanging out with my pal Dave. Wind, rain, sleet -- we're like the postal service, weather can't bring us down. But I have some pics to document things that have been going on, so here we go...

Thursday night was the Martha Wainwright and Neko Case concert, wonderful voices, a crowded hot Webster Hall, and lots of dudes. The night kept going when Sam and Gregg and I headed to Midtown to meet up with Melissa and co. at McGee's Pub where the music was good until the reggaeton just got outta control and the dj did not take kindly to requests of turning it down.

Here we are, surely enjoying my Kanye West "Gold Digger" request:

Tara and Sam, doing our best to be photogenic:

I visited the Nonesuch offices Friday afternoon to have Sam make me a coffee with the new frother, her little coffee tool that whips up the milk to a light, delicate froth. Until it is microwaved and then it gets a bit tougher. But, it definitely kicks up the k-cup coffee experience to another level. Sam is the barista of the 24th floor.

Josh, Sam, Eli hard at work with the multiple cd burner. I think Eli actually was burning CDs and not just posing!

Tara and Mel, taking a pause from

The evening was spent at Half King in the company of friends and family. Cousin Abe, Lori, Lauren, Lucy, Gregg, Barker, and Tahra. Tahra and I can share tales of woe of our names' (mis)pronounciation. Her name is the more Aussie/Euro pronounciation, mine is American. Tahra, Tara. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe. Others shared woes about working for crazy people. But onion rings with a chipotle mayonaisse make all those things rather insignificant.

And nearly all of us ate fish n chips!

Gregg & Barker:

Group pic:

Cousin Tara & Cousin Abe:

time to head back out in the elements...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Snow falls in April

I must say, I'm feeling more like a beach-y girl at heart lately. I did love the big, clumpy snowflakes that inexplicably fell this afternoon making an NYC snow globe, but I miss flip flops and cotton dresses to wear over your swimsuit.

However, I'm loving the energy of being here...I'm not tired yet, and in fact am writing this after midnight in my old kitchen on Bedford Street. Love this old kitchen, and for those who have visited me here...good news, Lucy and Shannon simply tucked away the odd collection of knick-knacks that populated every nook and cranny. This place has its own little history, for sure.

So, I've been hanging with the old crew -- Gregg, Lucy, Shannon, and Lauren. I've been wandering around the city and cut through Central Park and the sun was shining, the snow was an old story by then. I went to Doma for tea and the scene and like always everyone is bumping into your chair bc it's so crowded and the music is always good. It's such a "Felicity"-esque place. Why wasn't Scott Speedman there reading scripts?

Central Park, in spring:

This is across from my former apartment building at Bedford & Commerce:

There has been Mexican food in SoHo, a great salad bar at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital (the fine institution Lucy works at), and a pasta dinner here at the apartment. Gregg and Lucy, steadfast Unitarians, were very thankful for their meal. Lauren and I were too, really we were.

See some of you tomorrow!


Monday, April 03, 2006

Boston marathon

When Ann and I get together, it's pretty much like being with yourself x2. We agree on the course of the day, don't really adhere to many schedules unless there is some kind of reality show on in marathon form that we need to get home for -- for this visit it has been the Lisa Loeb show "#1 Single" altho as I write it's a Sunday morning of "8th and Ocean." Oh and of course later there will be the Masterpiece Theatre marathon on PBS. I swear.

I arrived Weds and here are some highlights. We finished a bag of Cheddar N Sour Cream Ruffles within the first two hours here, and usually that is saved for breakfast. Thurs was wandering thru Brookline with a stop at a really good Thai place for the $6.50 lunch special. Check out the cool platter they serve the meal in.

I couldn't bear to take a picture of my massive plate of linguine with meatballs from Friday night, simply bc it is visually belly-filling.

Saturday we took on some old-timey goodness at Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe. Note the "ppe". Charlie's dates back to the 1920s and is renowned for their turkey hash. That's what the waitress said, "We're famous for our turkey hash." It was diner food of the highest caliber and a bit of the diner regret that can come with massive portions.

I had a crazy omelet listed as "Cajun or Spanish Omelet." I ordered it as Cajun, but not really sure if that makes much of a difference. A big omelet, then really thick salsa is ladeled onto it and it's folded in half, a pretty good idea if you ask me. Ann opted for the turkey hash, and she had to admit she wasn't quite sure why it is the thing that makes them famous. Nonetheless, the atmosphere and the Red Sox bric-a-brac, make it a highly memorable place.

But we do like to balance things out, so we headed to the library after brunch. And Ann made a very heart-healthy redeeming meal last night of broccoli and tofu stir fry.

And a scene from Ann's neighborhood, a great place for wandering with coffee and petting the local dogs on walks.