Monday, July 27, 2009

Madison, in parts: The Tractors

Last weekend, I went to Madison, Wisconsin with my family for the national meeting of International Harvester enthusiasts, aptly known as The Red Power Roundup (let me tell you, there's more to it than that damn Craig Morgan song).

While farm-implement shows may not seem like a steamy cup a tea to everybody, I find them pretty neat, and not just because the first thing I drove was a tractor. Much like a comic book convention or quilt show, this is a cultural experience, a microcosm of passionate individuals who never fail to exceed expectation and stereotype. Even when their thing is not my thing, I always enjoy the company of folks who love what they're doing.

There wasn't much in the way of food at the show though, not unless you count Kent's Big Bars, which are undeniably delicious homemade ice cream bars, and What My Family Made For Dinner each night, which also fell in the categories of ridiculous and delicious.

Madison, However, and It's crazy between-the-lakes, monster capitol squared in by one-way streets, bike-trails everywhere self had a lot to say on the subject. So, instead of giving you a novel on my trip to Madison, I will be writing about it in a series, a little trick I learned from trying to write one poem about ten different things. That poem wasn't very good, but I think these posts will be.

In the meantime, I'd like to show you a couple of pictures from the show, which I know, you're thinking I came here to see about food but I'd like to take this as a public service announcement opportunity and encourage you to think about where your food came from who grew it -- not just the pointedly local food you get at the market, but all of it-- and then, maybe, to share in some of the small joys of farmers, like using the same tractor your Grandpa bought new.

Farmall 1206 Turbos from the fifties and sixties.
International Harvester is just any ole tractor company; the founder, Cyrus McCormick, invented the horse drawn reaper that revolutionized the way the entire world farmed.

The Family Havanese, Asta, dressed for the occasion.

Our Truck, a 1966 Travelall, waiting to parade to the Wisconsin Historical Archives.

Me and Kent's Big Bar.

Art+beer= Fair

If you want to read what I had to say about the Shadow Art Fair, you should look here.
It includes beer but mostly is about Shadow Art Fair, thus it is an exclusive. Check it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Old News

When I am struck by long bouts of busy/ lazyness such as this, I always debate weather I should start back up with the thing i was going to post a month ago and never got around to, or if I should ignore what happened between my latest blog worthy experience and the last posted one.
Today I decided to give you news from June 1st anyway.
If you are just so over the Taste of Ann Arbor, well, then, I guess you should go read something else-- but maybe scroll down real quick and look at the pictures.

In case you missed it (or are just one of those sorts of people who like to have the same bedtime story read to them over and over again) Taste of Ann Arbor was a Sunday street festival that closed down Main street between William and Washington, borrowed the art fair booths and filled them with bite-sized tastes from local restaurants. In true festival/fair form, you bought tickets (see above) from a lady wearing a smock and sun visor and traded those for food.
Pictured with the tickets above is pulled pork from Connor O'Neill's, which certainly wasn't my first choice for either restaurant or food item. However, when you arrive half an hour or so before things shut down you can't really be choosy about what's left.

What you can do though, is get lucky: as we strolled around post pulled pork, a certain dessert caught my eye: Amadeus had one piece of iced apple torte left, which turned out to be exactly what I wanted. I have to imagine that the chilling was for outdoor food safety purposes and that indoors, it would be served warm, which would be fine-- adaptive, even-- because this was an apple masterpiece: tart and sweet, crunchy and soft with a hint of lemon. Apple perfection is no small honor around these parts: both Jason and my favorite pie is apple. He won't even let me bake him one he likes his mother's so much.

Jason got that piece of chocolate raspberry cake up there, which was soft and airy and moist and delicious, but it couldn't hold a birthday candle to that tart.

I'm getting off track. What I meant to tell you about-- or perhaps remind you about-- is Amadeus. Its not new or flashy or loud. It's menu doesn't contain wild caught rock shrimp with mango arugula chutney.
They do have kielbasa and pirogi though,and tradition and romance and old world charm a little like your grandfather, though their coffee is probably stronger than your grandfather would like it. You probably walk past it all the time, on your way to Arbor Brewing or Habana or the like. It's right there on Washington, dimly lit behind some curtains.
Next time, I recommend you poke your head in, at least for coffee and dessert, and just see if you can resist. I dare you.

This will be my last post before I *squeal* go "syndcated" and also post my blog at the Ann Arbor News' new online home,, which goes live Friday, July 24th. Check me out there too, I may occasionally post non-food things over there in the Duce section. Woot. End Broadcast.