Wisconsin

Weekend happenings: Mother’s Day in Madison

This past weekend my family and I took a mini-vacation to our home-away-from-home: Madison.

We lived here for three years when I was a kid so every once in awhile we take the two hour drive to the capital of the cheese state and get our farmers market on (because Madison holds one of the greatest Saturday morning markets in the country).
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We ended up with some asparagus and tomato plants, plus my own personal loot:

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Lemon poppyseed bread, honey sticks (a childhood memory from this market), and six-year-aged white cheddar cheese. I tried just about every cheese sample in the place and settled on this. It will definitely go well with the fig jam I have waiting for me at home.

I was disciplined enough to hit up the hotel treadmill in between the market and church. This is a rarity for me when I’m on vacation, but it just goes to show that I’ve been bit by the running bug hard again. A quick four miles where I increased my pace slowly from 9:13 to 8:20 every mile or so.

Me and all my friends!

Me and all my friends!

On Saturday night we went to my mom’s favorite restaurant, Louisianne’s, a lively cajun restaurant hidden below a quiet Madison street. The minute you descend down their dark velvet staircase you’re transported to New Orleans, live music and all.

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It was quite dark inside, but we split a bottle of sauvignon blanc, crab puffs, and all sampled each others entrees: crab cakes and cheesy artichoke toasts for me, steak for Steve, Cajun andouille and seafood pasta for dad, and Hawaiian swordfish for mom.

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Dessert was a dream. We all got different dishes (indulgence at its finest…) and shared. Normally I’m not a fan of sharing food, but when everything is equally delicious, I absolutely love getting to try it all. And this is the case at Louisianne’s–everything is outstanding. The highlights for me were the frozen peanut butter and key lime pies.

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Mother’s Day itself was all about Sue, so we slept in, enjoyed a slow continental breakfast at the hotel (aren’t those the best?) and did a little more casual driving down memory lane throughout Madison. We walked around our old preschool (correction: I was carried)…

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…ate some insanely delicious Mexican food at our old stomping grounds, Pasqual’s:

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And ended the trip, of course, with a trip to the best custard stand of all time: Michael’s. Their turtle sundaes are topped with salty, roasted pecans, a taste I remember distinctly even though I ate them regularly decades ago. I’ve been unable to find a turtle sundae just as good ever since so every time we’re in town we stop by.

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All in all it was a quiet weekend spent with my family and nonstop eating, two of my favorite things. We’re lucky that even though my brother and I are both 24 years old, we’re still able to take family vacations together once or twice a year. Not to mention I should have no problem running my butt off this week with all the sugar I consumed! Good lord. (Worth it).

Question:

  • How did you celebrate Mother’s Day?
  • What’s your favorite part about hotel breakfast buffets? I’m a sucker for a good make-your-own omelet bar 🙂
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Memorial Day 2014: Girls Weekend in Lake Geneva

Good morning guys! Anyone else crazy confused about what day it is? I’m sure most people have gotten over the novelty of the holiday weekend but man it was so good that I just can’t move past it! How could I complain, though, about a fast-moving week? I’m basically in the express lane to the weekend!

It’s rainy and humid here in Chicago on this foggy morning but it seems like summer is finally here to stay. I’m going to take what I can get and not mention how sad I am that we skipped spring, one of my favorite seasons growing up. Considering it was snowing in the suburbs just weeks ago, however, I should really count my blessings that June seems to be right on schedule.

Okay enough with the chit-chat. I have to tell you about my trip!

First things first, if you’re in the Midwest and need an escape, look no further than the beautiful Lake Geneva. I’m not sure if it was the weather, the quaint little shops, our animated hotel Concierge named Chad, or the excitement of all being together, but my friends and I had an absolutely incredible trip.

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I woke up early Saturday morning to get a quick run in before my friend Jordan picked me up for the trip. Sidenote: I love the suburb where I’m from. I always make fun of the suburbs of Chicago and how happy I am that I now live in the city, but there’s something so comforting about being able to go home. It’s safe, slow, and has beautiful running routes.

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I could just keep running for days…

Anyway, after a quick run to Trader Joe’s to pick up beach snacks we were on our way! I was particularly excited because it was the perfect excuse to use my new picnic basket. There’s a smidgen of 50s housewife in my blood so this made me way too happy.

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Snacks included Trader Joe’s greek yogurt kale and spinach dip (it really is as amazing as it sounds) alongside carrots, chopped celery, and whole wheat pita crackers. Oh and homemade “sangria” – white wine, Fresca, and frozen berries. Don’t knock it til you try it!

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Best news of the weekend: I didn’t burn! Besides a little redness on my chest I didn’t leave Lake Geneva a hobbling lobster like I usually do. Point, Lauren.

Because I know you’re curious, we definitely ate our way through the city. Between the best ice cream in the country from Kilwin’s (toasted coconut with chocolate shavings) to the slow roasted, pulled chicken sandwich from a lakeside joint called Popeye’s, it’s safe to say I left Lake Geneva stuffed and satisfied. Oh and did I mention they have the cutest Starbucks I’ve ever seen? It was adorable!

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I was almost too embarrassed to put the following picture up, but, CRAB CAKES and garlic dressing. Does it get any better than that?

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Oh and just so you don’t think I went to Lake Geneva alone… 🙂

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I can’t tell you how great it was to have a girls weekend with my friends. It’s been a year since we graduated and even though it seems like our lives are going in all different directions, we’ve done a pretty good job of staying friends. These girls mean the world to me and I’m so lucky that we all lived on the same dorm floor freshman year. I remember leaving for my first year of school and my mom telling me how important it would be to make girlfriends in college. I always had a few girlfriends but mostly guy friends in high school thanks to having a serious boyfriend at the time. I didn’t know if I would make new friends, let alone a group like this. But it happened and now I have friends for life thanks to these lovely women. I really can’t express enough how great it is to have a loving, supportive group of friends like this and it was wonderful to take a three day vacation with them. Oh and did I mention we got friendship bracelets? 23 going on 12 🙂

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Questions:

  • I know I’m late to the party but tell me about your weekend!
  • Are you still close with your friends from college?