Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One reason I love Madison

Photo is from the Graze website
For some reason, on Saturday, I got a craving for a good hamburger. Maybe it was because we were having chicken again. For the fourth day in a row. Maybe.

So, Sunday we went after church to a place we hadn't been to before but was sure to be good: Graze. It's the pub owned by the same people that own the fancy schmancy restaurant that John and I went to on our first date in Madison years ago. Its concept is hands down one of the top reasons I like Madison.

And I quote from their website:
We chose the name Graze because grass-fed animals and rotational grazing are important to us... The food we serve is literally inspired. It is inspired by the people who grew it and this land where it was grown. It is inspired by the wonderful meals that we have eaten in locales near and far, quaint and exotic. It is inspired by our love of people gathering over food and drink to spend some time together.
Graze is one of the many Madison restaurants that buys their food from local farmers. You will see the executive chef on Sundays at the farmers' market hand-picking his produce from the tables and filling his wagon with food for the week. He can tell you which farm each and every item in the kitchen came from. {You may or may not have seen him and his wife in your birthing class one weekend in 2010 like we did.}

You really can't beat that.

Like I said, there are a good number of Madison restaurants that follow the "eat local" mantra, but what made John and me leave Graze on Sunday and say to each other, "That was good," is what happened not only on our plate and in our bellies but rather what happened outside of it.

The atmosphere was casual. Open. Airy. Welcoming. Un-snooty. We felt like the staff was happy we were there and not just because LE was cute as a button.

We were seated next to another table with young kids. As LE munched on her goldfish at our table, I overheard the little girl at the table next to us place her order to the waiter. Not able to hear her squeak voice, the waiter squatted down and asked her to repeat. She wanted to order goldfish like LE had.

I leaned over and poured about 15 of LE's goldfish on their table, and they all thanked us for them. It wasn't just goldfish that I was sharing-- it was toddler meltdown prevention.

When our check arrived, our waiter let us know that our beignets were comped due to our kind deed of sharing a few goldfish. The $4 they picked up didn't set Graze back much, but it did give them a big boost in the now-that's-how-you-show-customer-appreciation category.

Even before they did that, we were planning on going back. We liked the atmosphere, that there were families there, and that John had a hard time picking out what to eat. All of those are good signs in our book.


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