Wisconsin-palooza Day 2 was Badger football in Madison. Blair, one of my ALSD partners in crime, does my job at Wisconsin. So although he and his wife joined us for the Garth concert the night before, Saturday was all work for him. On the plus side, Reg’s neighbors Ben & Jen drove up Saturday to meet us for the rest of the weekend. We got to Madison early afternoon (after a quick stop at Kohl’s to buy Wisconsin & Packers gear), checked into the hotel, and then headed out for funtivities.
Our hotel was walking distance to campus and the stadium, which was absolutely perfect. We didn’t get to experience gameday tailgating, but the walk to State Street was entertainment all on its own, with all the house parties we saw going on. State Street is kind of the main downtown drag, where many bars and restaurants are.
On the recommendation of one of Kerrie’s friends, we decided to try State Street Brats. It’s got a prime corner location, and was absolutely packed when we arrived. The restaurant is a pretty good size, with both an upstairs and downstairs. I never made it upstairs because it was so crowded, and once we were seated I didn’t want to mess with trying to move around too much. From the outside, it looks like an old Bavarian house. There’s a big outdoor patio on one side. Of course it’s awesome in the summer and fall, but pretty sure you would never catch me out there in the middle of winter. I guess if you live in Wisconsin you would get used to it. But since I have no plans to ever live in Wisconsin, I’ll never find out
We got very lucky, and snagged a tall table about 5 minutes after we arrived. Of course, our first requirement was a pitcher of beer. I very rarely drink beer because it’s so bloating. But the day before we discovered Spotted Cow, a local Wisconsin beer. It’s really good, so I kept with the crowd and drank it. After we got the pitcher I saw that they had these really cool boot pitchers. I was kinda bummed we didn’t get one, but oh well.
As you can see behind Kerrie, they had the OSU football game on a couple of the TV’s! I was really excited, and quite sure I was the only one in the building who even cared.
The only thing we had eaten so far for the day was bagels in Milwaukee, so we were hungry. Many places have a gameday menu that is more limited, but it seemed like we could order anything from the regular menu. However, we decided to just do appetizers for the table.
The cheese curds were good, but I have to say not as good as the ones at AJ Bomber’s. But these were also very different, as they were fully breaded and deep fried.
You can get boneless wings in an order of 10 or 20, and you can choose from 5 different sauces ranges from naked to habanero. Naked would be boring, and we were smart enough to avoid habanero. So we agreed to do 10 sweet heat and 10 BBQ.
The sweet heat wings were delicious. I don’t normally do boneless wings, but they’re definitely less messy to eat. And you usually get more meat on them than traditional wings. This place wasn’t kidding, as the wings were huge. They were a little spicy, but not overwhelming at all. We had ranch, but I didn’t need to use it at all.
The BBQ wings were really good as well. Honestly, it was kind of a toss-up between the flavors. Since Kerrie and Reg didn’t like spicy, I only tasted one of these, and stuck to the others sweet heat.
I have to say, I was really disappointed in the fries. They looked so delicious when they came to the table, but they were cold. I don’t do cold fries. We picked at them because we were hungry, but had it been less crowded I would have asked for a new batch. I was actually really surprised they were cold, for how much food they were turning out of the kitchen.
The best part of the experience? The Shriner’s bagpipes that came in and played!! Kerrie was beyond excited. She has a very special place in her heart for the Shriner’s due to her grandfather. It was really fun to hear them play.
I wish we had gotten there earlier so we could experience more of the fun atmosphere. Because by the time we arrived we were so focused on food, and it was already so crowded. Also, I’m extremely bummed that we didn’t get to take a picture with the monkeys outside the front door
I honestly didn’t even see them until I was out walking the next morning, because we walked in a side door, and as we were leaving there were a lot of people right there.
Will I go back? Next time I’m in Wisconsin, definitely. I want to try a regular entree, get a pitcher of beer in a boot, and get some hot fries.