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Madison, WI Weekend in Instagrams

What to do when you have a $200 voucher from Frontier Airline that you need to use in a few months? Well, if you are anything like me, you look for a nonstop flight. The only few nonstop flights from DCA that Frontier offered were to Milwaukee and Madison. After polling a bunch of friends and weighing the pluses and minuses of each city, I decided to whisk myself away for a long weekend to Madison, WI.

Once the flights were booked, my next step in any travel planning is finding a hotel. What I usually look in a hotel is 1) proximity to Downtown 2) preferably free wifi 3) cleanliness 4) extras (breakfast, etc).

Guess what perfectly fit the bill? Madison Hyatt Place! Not only did the hotel offer a free shuttle to and from the airport, it had free wifi, free daily breakfast, and courteous staff. At first I was disappointed by the lack of a bathtub, but the shower had excellent water pressure, which I find hard to find when staying in hotels. The only thing I did find lacking was the selection of TV channels. Yes, even when I travel I still want to be able to watch Bravo, FoodTV, and HGTV. Instead, I watched TLC and a few of my favorite shows on hulu.

{below: gorgeous lobby, my room, breakfast options}

Although the hotel was only a few blocks away from the Capitol, I took its shuttle a few times to restaurants and salsa dancing. {Salsa dancing in Madison, in case you are wondering, was rather disappointing...but at least I tried!} Overall, I would highly recommend a stay at Hyatt for anyone visiting Madison.

Once the hotel was booked, all I had to do was to decide on where to eat and what to see. Luckily, my good friend Jenny grew up in Milwaukee and went to school in Madison. Plus, Jenny's sister Emily still lives in Madison and agreed to hang out with me a few times. Yay!

Add a few suggestions from the Twitterverse (special shout outs to Amanda and Lori), my own research, and my plan was complete.

My first night in Madison, Emily and I went to dinner at Quivey's Grove Stone House. The restaurant has a huge barn and an attached house with multiple rooms, each set as a dining room.

For the appetizer, we shared Madison Mushrooms stuffed with Westphalian ham and served with Madeira cream sauce.

Although this was Friday, and Wisconsin is known for its Friday Fish Fry, I went for meat: boneless short ribs braised in dark beer and served with garlic mashed potatoes and root vegetables. Each dish at Quivey's has historical significance which you can read about here.

I also had my first Old Fashioned! It was sweet and potent :)

We ended the night with chocolate custard!

The next morning I woke up super early (7:30 am!), grabbed coffee at the hotel and headed to the Farmers Market.

Later that day, Amanda drove to meet up with me and we took a walking tour of Downtown Madison which included a few stops at different restaurants. We also checked out the Capitol: gorgeous!

On my own, I visited The Chazen Museum where I bought a gorgeous ring and saw Bicycle Thieves, a wonderful black and white Italian movie.

Turns out, this was a popular weekend to get married! I saw several wedding parties taking photos on the steps of the Capitol and then HAD to take a photo of this fun car:

For dinner, I took myself to Graze. I sat at the candle lit bar, sipped on the Supernova cocktail, slurped on oysters and then had rainbow trout with roasted poblano hash, shaved radish & onion salad and dark chocolate-pepita mole. It was incredible! The rich mole flavors were well balanced with the bright radish and onion combination, and I had no problem finishing the entire dish. 

I even took a slice of plum cheesecake to go :)

My other dinner {on a different nigh!} was at Nat Spill:  New Glarus beer, shrimp/sausage/water chestnut shu mai and a beef/noodle soup. The place was really dark and unassuming, and I wish the shu mai dough was thinner, but it was a fun and different place to try out. {Thank you Eating in Madison A to Z for the recommendation.}

For Sunday brunch, I joined Emily and her husband at Sardine. The day was gorgeous, and we had a table overlooking the lake. We had plenty of time to chat and look at the view because the service was quite slow, but the food was worth the wait!

I started with a Mimosa, had the Crab, bacon and rock shrimp cakes with chipotle beurre blanc, two poached eggs, and a mixed greens salad with sweet corn, green beans, and tomatoes as my main course {AMAZING} and then shared a slice of rich chocolate cake with Emily and Brad.

This was a fantastic getaway! I have one more Madison post coming up, so stay tuned.

Disclosure: I received a discounted rate from Hyatt Park, but paid for everything else. All opinions are strictly my own and I was in no way compensated for this post.

Have you whisked yourself anywhere lately? Where? How did you like it?


Belinda @zomppa said...

What a great weekend!! It sounds like a whirlwind full of fun and food.

Catherine said...

Madison is such an awesome city! I have been hoping to make it back there for the cheese curds, but now I have a few other ideas, too. :-) said...

I could totally use a whisking away right now. The hotel is beautiful!

discojing said...

looks so fun! i'm so glad you got a smart phone!

DeliciousDish said...

Oh my gosh chocolate cake! Looks phenomenal. That hotel breakfast also looks really good... much better than the hotel breakfasts in Italy.