Marigold Kitchen, Madison, WI

So, you know brunch is a pretty awesome part of the weekend, right? And you NEED to have a solid, go-to brunch spot where you live. Well, I think I've found mine in Madison. It's not exactly close to home, but not really far either. It's downtown, off the Capitol Square, a little out of the way, but also centrally located if any out-of-towners care to take in a Capitol tour after brunch or walk all the way down State Street. So, I probably won't walk to this place, but it's a short drive or ride away and a good location, imo.

Not only that, but once you're inside (or seated outside), this place brings it. To be clear, they're only open for breakfast and lunch, so they don't get distracted by dinner malarkey. This is also not a full wait-staffed set-up - rather, you place your order at the counter, receive a number for your table, then go hunt for a spot to sit. They bring your selections out to you as they're made. I think it's a fine system for brunch and seems to fit this place well. I've sat at a table and at the bar, with really no trouble getting a seat. It is busy on the weekends, and by no means a secret spot, but I think they do well at getting people in and out, in my experience.

They have a varied, American brunch menu, with some hearty, South-Central WI staples and offerings for the experimental college crowd too. They have great pastries & coffee drinks available, so sit down, grab a paper, sip on something -  don't rush the meal, take your time.

There's no question that it's a bustling place on the weekend, but isn't that part of the fun of brunch on the weekend? See some oddballs, eat some good food, have a drink at breakfast (they have that too).

This visit was in the fall, so they had some great fall decor and Pumpkin Pancakes on the menu. I can't say no to these, so I didn't this time. I did get a short-stack though (2 instead of 5), and a side order of a local breakfast sausage (which was very good).

To be clear, those a hearty Pumpkin Pancakes with Whipped Cinnamon Butter and local maple syrup on the side (soon to be on-my-pancakes).

When you're in town, we'll go, you'll love it. 


Stubby's Bowling Alley, Waterloo, WI

Thanks to a work event, I got to see firsthand that cool little bowling alleys still exist in America. I fondly recall memories from childhood of walking into a bar (and pretty quickly) into the back of the establishment, which had 8 beautiful bowling lanes snuck inside.

Stubby's is a lot like that place. Just 6 lanes inside, with a bar on the left. Balls seemed to have become fancier (finger-tip type abound) and the shoes were fine if you got a new pair... so-so if you got an old pair (like me). They were all dolled-up for Halloween and you couldn't miss it. Otherwise, I'd say this is a pretty no-frills kind of place, where people definitely go for the bowling.

Finally, the beers & pizzas came fast & furious, just like I like 'em. I'm pretty sure we tried all the pizza options - "Deluxe" was good, but the clear winner was "The Porker". Just give me all the meats, with bacon, please (last pic).


Dane County Fire Chiefs Association, Fire Truck Parade, Madison, WI

Did you know the week in October with the 9th in it is usually reserved for National Fire Prevention Week? Well, to kick it all off, the fire departments in the Madison area get together on the Capitol square to show off their trucks and meet the public. It was a really cool thing to notice from above (while outside on Capitol tour) and then walk down and see up close.

Everyone was really friendly and kids and adults alike could sit in some of the trucks and check out the equipment. They had 26 vehicles from 23 area cities in attendance and it took up about 1.5 blocks of the Square.

Awesome event for anyone and everyone that's easily impressed by the commitment and service of our nation's fire personnel.


UW Volleyball @ The Fieldhouse, Madison, WI

What to do on a Thursday night when someone says they have an extra ticket? Go! This was one of the best college sports atmospheres I've ever been a part of. They also have a pretty good team, and put out some effort in taking down their opponent that night. Finally, I'm pretty sure tickets are cheaper than a latte.

It's hard to explain how fun this event was. I found myself with goosebumps during the matches multiple times. I'm not even an alum and they sucked me in.

They also had one of the cooler "fan cam" ideas I've seen in a long time - Simba Cam. Hold up your kid like in the Disney classic. Parents and the kids really got into it.


GLEAM: Art in a New Light @ Olbrich Gardens, Madison, WI

I don't know what to say for this one, except - "GO!"

It costs a modest amount of money for entry, but that money goes to the gardens, which are normally free (outdoors) all year round. The amount of interesting things done with lights, some not even showing up on "film" well and some not captured below, is pretty incredible to see in person. I would absolutely recommend this event, they have evening hours through much of the fall.

Right from the get-go, it draws you in. I'll bring you through as I walked it, though they hand you a well-done map for the whole event as you enter, suggest a route, and have guides posted all over.

This is also above a pond, so if viewed at the correct angle, you see the reflection of the lights as well.

Not sure I snagged the description of this one... I liked it...

This one was easily the hardest to capture in film or video as most of the light is red (I presume), but it was pretty special and interesting to see with the naked eye...

More lights as you walk through, though I may have missed the descriptions...

These are the Orbs...

This was on the way to the next installation, pretty neat...

And finally was, as I went through it at least, a large walkway filled with disco balls in the trees, with a large light source behind the "viewer". As you walked through (don't look behind you!) the lights changed colors and reflected all along the path. It was very interesting. Kind of like snowing light...

Don't look into this light...

That was pretty much it for my trip, I found the Gleam exhibit well-done, plenty to see and walk to, and well-worth my money. I did miss one or two installations in the arboretum, but I was done for the night. I can also go back if I'd like to.

Again, if you're in the area, make a plan to see this this fall. Here's the Olbrich link:



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