1201 Williamson Street

On the corner of Williamson Street and South Few Street is home to one of Madison’s best local eats. The group of friends operating this eclectically decorated establishment stocks the kitchen and walls with local ingredients and items allowing them to support a long list of farmers and food purveyors. Their breads are crafted in the lower level allowing them to provide the freshest accompaniments to their outstanding sandwiches. If ordered a few days in advance Chef Joey may even let you take a loaf home, as I have gotten away with a couple of times.

Madison Magazine named one of their burgers, Bob’s Bad Breath Burger, as one of the best in 2011 Burger Madness competition. The pairing of cream cheese, caramelized onions, garlic along with green goddess dressing and a mild pickapeppa sauce sounds intimidating but upon your first bit you wont want to turn back. The pan-fried Yukon gold potatoes as a side to any dish are coated in garlic that give it a bit of a kick and make it hard to share, with anyone!

Beyond the award winning burger the rest of the menu is nothing but well crafted pairings of amazingly fresh ingredients. A few more recommendations for any traveler stumbling through the doors is the West of the Andes sandwich, with tuna! I, myself, am not a huge fan of tuna but the combination of the other flavors strike gold.

There is also a large variety of vegetarian or vegan options that would satisfy any tastebuds and all menu options are available for a reasonable price. When dining at Weary Traveler you are among the best Madison has to offer an in the heart of our local scene located in the middle of Willy Street. Just a block away is Willy Street Co-op if you dare to eat anymore and the couple of blocks that make up this neighborhood are perfect for a summer, spring, fall and even brisk winter stroll.

Try not to get too lightheaded and weary when you sample the food but rather grab a seat and bon appétit with the best.

923 Williamson Street

Upon first appearance you may be worried you pulled up to someone’s quaint summer home but notice that the added cars and pairs of customers meaning you have reached your destination. Umami Ramen and Dumpling Bar opened this fall and has had great success minus a small kitchen fire that postponed business for five days. But have no fear they are again up and running and ready for you!

After venturing through China this summer and sampling each cities delicacy I was craving some good asian cuisine that was hopefully nothing like the endless supply of Chinese buffets scattered all over the U.S. My first experience at Umami was with my father who like me has a craving for good food, especially ethnic foods that truly follow their roots. A few of our favorites that had me back weeks later with my summer traveling friends were the pork buns, traditional miso and the green tea crème brulee. The chef offers specials and alters the menu every few weeks to keep up with the local seasons but it is rare you will leave disappointed.

The pork buns are like tender cuts of pork on sweet pillows that do not come close to comparing to an average “bun”. The pickled vegetables also add a nice crunch. The miso is stocked full with vegetables and traditional ingredients that is not as salty as many other ramens found in the U.S. Finally the green tea crème brulee is absolutely outstanding. Like many other crème brulees it is not overly sweet and the green tea adds an earthy flavor that isn’t found in most deserts.

The rest of the menu is very good and there is a well crafted selection of beer and cocktails. Just a few blocks from the Capital square so head over to enjoy its unique flare any season, bon appétit.