I arrived in Madison, Wisconsin last night from New York at close to midnight. I had been travelling all day and made it in to my fancy hotel thanks to Visit Madison, and made my way up to my gorgeous big suite. It was lovely to sink into my big bed after a day of travelling.

I woke up this morning and had to go to work. It was pretty tough. It was a brunch at Sardine, a gorgeous homey wooden venue on the shore of one of the lakes here in town.




I showed up and there was a 1 hour wait for a table, but went to the hostess station who then told me they had set aside three tables for me to pick from. I felt pretty guilty as the people in front of me had been waiting, and I had too many tables! I picked one in the window, where it was lovely and sunny, and started with coffee.


When I was about to order, I looked up and out over the frozen lake.



Off in the distance, something had caught my eye – it was a cyclist, riding across the lake precariously looking like he could fall at any minute.


I ordered the Norwegian Salmon on beans, the pork sausages on saffron zucchini risotto, and a crisp and fluffy waffle with macerated strawberries.




The eggs were perfectly poached:


After brunch we head to my friends house, where I had a couple of presents waiting for me and a big birthday cake. Very spoiled. I was saying I think this is the first time in about 4 or so years that I haven’t cooked my own birthday cake!



After cake and some coffee, it was time to head to my second work appointment of the day, dinner at The Old Fashioned. But first I head back to the hotel, and found this beautiful gesture in my room. Champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries – this girl is very spoiled.




As I felt necessary, I ordered an Old Fashioned with locally made Apple Brandy.


For dinner, beer battered Wisconsin cheese curds, spicy jalapeno burger, and a brat. The cheese curds are incredible. They are a fad in Arizona at the moment, but I refused to have them until I got to Wisconsin and could have real ones – and I loved them so much I could become quite large off them.




Afterwards, it was time to meet up with some friends and head to the Nitty Gritty, Madison’s Official Birthday Bar. I came in, the bouncer said Happy Birthday, and then tied a helium balloon around the handle of a big glass mug, and I had to take my birthday mug to the birthday part of the bar and I got unlimited free beers (they have a lot of local beers on tap). All night.



Power hour was finishing so we stocked up on beers to drink by the end of the night.



We hung around until the place closed and then head over the road for some more birthday shots and $1 PBR.








It was a very different birthday from all my others, but it was still pretty darn excellent. On the walk home back to the hotel, I wandered down the middle of the street. Most streets downtown point diagonally inwards towards the capitol, so you are able to see it from most spots downtown. I tried to take a photograph, but my balloon kept flapping in the way.


Every knows the Nitty Gritty around here, and a car driving past wound down their window to the blistering cold for everyone to yell out the window ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY!’ at me.