Monday, February 20, 2012

In other news, we went to Madison last weekend for our mini-vacation from Matt's parents. They gave us a two night stay at our choice of four hotels in various cities in Wisconsin. We picked Madison, and had a great time!! The hotel was a Clarion Suites, so our room was more like a living room, bedroom, power room, and bathroom. It had a mini-kitchen with a dishwasher even! The hotel had a free breakfast and a social hour with drinks/snacks. It also had a pool which we made sure to use while we were there.

On Friday, we got there and just lounged until social hour. Then we took a 'nap' ;-) and then a real nap. After that we went to the Great Dane Pub in Fitchburg. We ordered their pretzel appetizer which comes with two different mustards. I ordered their Brown Ale Onion soup which is essentially French onion soup except the onions were cooked in the ale. I also had an amazing salad that had two kinds of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, asparagus, fire roasted red peppers, and pita all tossed in an olive oil dressing on a bed of spinach. Unfortunately, this was one of those stupid nights when my stomach decided it wasn't going to hold food. I ate one pretzel, about a dozen sips of soup, and half a dozen bites of salad. And that was it. If I even thought about eating more, that thought was followed by the thought that I should really get to the bathroom in case I puke. It was awful, and Matt felt really bad. But the leftovers (salad on Saturday for 1st lunch, soup on Sunday night for dinner) tasted even better than it did the first night so it all worked out. We didn't have to pay for this dinner; we used money sent by my parents for Christmas.

We pretty much went back to the hotel and crashed. Watched some TV and passed out. It was lovely.

What was even lovelier was not waking up to a whining cat at 6:00AM.

Free breakfast, more 'napping', and another nap in the morning. Then lunch at a cute little place in Madison proper called Mildred's. Very counter-culture, as Matt would put it, where the guy making your food wearings a beanie inside. Great atmosphere. I had the hummus platter (a ton of hummus, a whole what pita, at least half of a slice cucumber, and a beautiful sliced tomato), a pickle and a lemonade while Matt had the Gramsci (pepperoni, mozzarella, pickled sweet red peppers with mustard and mayo), some chips, and Sprecher root beer. I ate those leftovers while on the phone with my mom on Sunday when we got home.

Saturday afternoon we just chilled, played on Matt's computer, watched TV, etc. Nothing exciting. Hit the social hour, picked a new restaurant for dinner (The other part of the gift was dinner out at the restaurant of our choice. We had picked out one restaurant but changed it at the last minute.), and then got ready to go.

We were way under dressed, but it worked out. Fleming's was amazing. The atmosphere was all grown-up and lovely with slightly subdued lights. The menu had two pages of food and four pages of wine. Matt ordered wine and I ordered a virgin Bloody Mary. It was pretty good, although a little pulpy.  For the salad course, Matt ordered the Fleming's Salad which was a basic salad made way more exciting with cranberries and walnuts and a citrus vinaigrette. My salad was the tomato/mozzarella salad. It was amazing: nothing more than slices of tomato layered with slices of fresh mozzarella drizzled with a balsamic glaze and topped with  chiffonade of basil (basil that has been rolled up and sliced). Amazing, simply amazing. We both order the petite fillet mignon, which was an 8 oz steak that was seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper, seared in a 1600 degree broiler then topped with a small pat of butter and sprinkled with parsley. It was fantastic. I also ordered a baked potato with all the toppings on the side. I ended up just using the butter and sour cream. But it looks the potato had been rolled in butter then salt before being roasted. When I ordered it, I made the comment that I couldn't eat steak without baked potato. Matt responded by saying that a baked potato was a baked potato anywhere. He took that back after trying this one. I took about two-thirds of it home because I wanted to finish my steak. It tasted great on Sunday night with dinner. Finally, we ordered the cheesecake and split it. It came with a blueberry sauce and white chocolate curls, topped with fresh whipped cream that was obviously real cream that had been whipped. It tasted like what I would imagine Giada De Laurentiis' whipped cream would taste like. Awesome. Light and fluffy with a hint of vanilla, but not too sweet. I ate about a third of the cheesecake and more than half of the whipped cream including the bowl they leave for you on the table. It was an amazing meal.

After returning to the hotel, we lounged in the pool. We even spent about five minutes in the hot tub. I didn't actually get in (it's on the no-no list), but I dangled my legs and it was just enough. Then more sleep. I will admit that as much as I don't miss the cat in the morning, I do miss him at night when we're getting snuggled in to bed.

More free breakfast then we hit the zoo. I should pull the pictures and add them to this post. My camera is at work so I'll have to do that later. It's a sweet little zoo, and I just wish I'd brought more granola bars so we wouldn't have had to leave so soon. I just got too hungry.

So we went to a place called Egg and I. Cute place, akin to Egg Harbor if you've ever been there. I'm not eating hot cooked eggs these days, but I knew it would totally be Matt's kind of place. And I figured I could find something to eat. Matt ordered the Mexican skillet which was chorizo, black beans, green chiles, tomatoes and onions on ranch potatoes with salsa, all topped with pepper jack cheese and eggs with a tortilla. He said it was great. I had the soup/sandwich lunch. I ordered the Sante Fe Beef and a Reuben. I hardly touched the Rueben, the soup was so good. I ate all of the soup and ate the Reuben for dinner on Sunday night with the rest of the leftovers.

The drive home was uneventful. It was nice to get away for a few days. We talked about the baby, we had sex, we slept, we ate. It was great and I can't thank my in-laws enough for it.

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