Flyover Friday - Call-ups, callbacks

by Kyle Nabilcy


I've been listening to The X-Files Files podcast pretty well non-stop lately. The show triggered the same gene in me that comic books do; I love a long story, a mythology. I like references that pay off in three seasons. And thus, for its weaknesses, I like the podcast, too. Haven't been happy with the Wisconsin/Midwest references so far (dismissive and a little snide) but hey, we live with that every day. Not just on Flyover Fridays.

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Kyle Ate Here - 2014 at halftime

by Kyle Nabilcy


The second half of every year starts with a big summery Independence Day holiday kickoff -- Memorial Day may be the "official" start of the season, but it's always rainy that day and that's a total bummer for summer mood-setting. On top of the usual Fourth festivities this year, we had the World Cup to fill our afternoons. So in recognition of one half being in the books, I've got a few highlights of 2014 in dining so far.

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Flyover Friday - Middle East, Midwest

by Kyle Nabilcy


There's no sneaky theme to this week's post, no subtle through-line. There's just a relative shitload of Middle Eastern joints getting reviewed this week, including the same one twice by different papers. The area's one of my genealogical home teams, so it feels right to come back to Flyover Friday on this note. Flyover Friday on three...break!

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Flyover Friday - Depth

by Kyle Nabilcy


Not every city can support full-time, full-effort food criticism. Not every paper can afford to put the proper inches underneath a critic's name. Madison's a lucky town. St. Louis is a lucky town. The Twin Cities would be flush, too, if their critics didn't take so many weeks off. Other cities don't have the talent in the lineup, or the budget, to really dig into a restaurant review. Flyover Friday is a reference that implies altitude; let's measure from surface to core this week.

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Flyover Friday - It's about damn time

by Kyle Nabilcy


As you may have noticed, Flyover Friday disappeared for a couple weeks. I've been taking a little writing break, but break's over. A few glorious late-spring days -- I've taken to referring to that kind of day as "Wisconolulu" -- have me daydreaming about writing more, untethered by any office or desk, clacking away on my deck. Until then, Irony or Mayo continues apace. Flyover Friday is back.

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I <3 brunch

by Kyle Nabilcy


This is actually a post I'd been procrastinating on since March, when New York Times contributor and self-confessed joyless grump David Tanis wrote an article espousing anti-brunch, pro-lunch sentiments.

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Flyover Friday - Cultural reference points

by Kyle Nabilcy


This week's column touches on themes we've discussed before, like authenticity and cultural appropriation. I was thinking of these subjects again recently with the release of the trailer for Eddie Huang's new TV series; Eddie Huang, you may remember, is a fairly fierce defender of cultural culinary authenticity. His show, on the other hand, is airing on the very white, Disney-owned ABC network, is written by a second-generation Iranian, and has turned his Taiwanese family into a Chinese one. But: cultural culinary integrity, y'all. You ask me, culture is meant to be shared; there wouldn't be a point to noting our differences otherwise. Pass some more mile markers for cultural distinctions in this week's Flyover Friday.

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Flyover Friday - Spinoffs, mashups and a couple throwbacks

by Kyle Nabilcy


I was talking to a dude at a bar recently, and the subject swung around to Chinese food. He was blown away by the concept of the secret Chinese-only menu, and that Madison had at least one joint doing it. Or used to -- I seemed to recall hearing that the split menu was no more (to mixed reviews, if Yelp is to be believed). In the same conversation, Fugu was mentioned, a restaurant that'll be spinning off into a second, more sushi-centric restaurant in Waunakee. There's always something new to figure out, new to experience, or old to re-enliven, especially in this week's Flyover Friday.

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Flyover Friday - What makes the review

by Kyle Nabilcy


I decided when I started this column that I'd basically keep the coverage limited to print media. And while it hasn't always worked out that way, I select reviews that are reviews in the truest sense: multiple visits, four-week delay, etc. Sometimes these papers don't hold to the "rules" of the trade, but exposing people to the genre of writing is even more important to me than whether or not a reviewer sticks to the guidelines. And sometimes, it's as illustrative to see what gets into the review as what filter the review goes through before publication. Come, see how the sausage is made in this edition of Flyover Friday.

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Flyover Friday - It's my column, I'll do what I like

by Kyle Nabilcy


This one's a pretty self-centered edition. In addition to taking my sweet time posting it, I'm apparently all "it seems to me" this and "I guess" that, and while some of the reviews are decidedly negative, I felt as I was writing my commentary that I was deploying more sass than usual myself. But in the words of the judge on FuturamaI'm going to allow this. It's my Flyover Friday.

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Flyover Friday - You do you, but at your own peril

by Kyle Nabilcy


Well, as you probably noticed, I had to take a week off last week. It's been some kind of spring, with kinds of stress I didn't think I'd ever have coming. Gotta look out for number one sometimes, though, and I'm glad to say I'm back and feeling ready to review some reviews. This week, consider how we -- writers, restaurants, just, y'know, we -- go about being ourselves. Welcome back to Flyover Friday.

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Glutwalk 2: Fish and old fash

by Kyle Nabilcy in


Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, or maybe just a straight-up glutton, but I've gone and done it again. I've gathered a group of friends to do a full-immersion tour of one of Madison's food ecosystems. Last March, it was fried cheese curd and Bloody Mary research on the Capitol Square and State Street. This year? A Lenten assault on Friday fish fry and old fashioneds down the Monroe Street corridor: the Laurel Tavern, jacs Dining and Tap House, and Gates and Brovi. We called it Glutwalk 2: Fishpocalypse, and the results are in.

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Flyover Friday - Tastemakers

by Kyle Nabilcy


Well, you can't fault me for being busy, what with the 2014 Wisconsin Film Festival in full swing, and me with five movies to see with my wife, over three days. Eight days of curated culture, laid out by folks who know a hell of a lot more about film than I do. But I betcha I got 'em when it comes to where to eat after the lights come back up. Let's all go to the lobby, it's a slightly late Flyover Friday.

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Flyover Friday - Wither, authenticity

by Kyle Nabilcy


Eddie Huang, the firebrand restaurateur always willing to get into the debate over authenticity, just recently started up a podcast. Called "Monosodium Glutamate," its very first episode was all about authenticity. I'm inclined to give it a listen, because I will listen to just about every food podcast, but haven't yet because I don't want to start pulling my hair out over who's allowed to make what food and where. I'd just as soon we focused on the equation of quality + history, and stop double-checking the math to see if it = authenticity. This is your real-deal Flyover Friday. 

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Flyover Friday - Combos and mix-ups

by Kyle Nabilcy


The idea behind Flyover Friday is, essentially, a desire to show that there's both interesting culinary activity in the Midwest, and also thoughtful, quality consideration of that food in the form of restaurant criticism. This is not to say that the equation is always balanced, or that the attempts are always successful. Whether it's a restaurant, or a review, there's always a lead balloon or two. Welcome to this week's Flyover Friday.

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My fascination with OREO

by Kyle Nabilcy


Yesterday (March 14) was the 102nd anniversary of OREO's first trademark. The product name was first used back on March 6th of 1912, and it's been around ever since, a burr in Hydrox's saddle but a joy in everyone else's hearts.

Sure, I'm waxing rhapsodic over these sandwich cookies with waxy creme filling, but come on. There's something for everyone. Chocolate, frosting, crunch, sweet, guilt, indulgence, and now: collectibility. Yes, in the last few years, OREO has followed (some might say "led") the trend of variant flavors, seasonal flavors, weird-ass limited edition flavors. I've become something of a connoisseur.

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Flyover Friday - Confounded

by Kyle Nabilcy


Remember how excited I was that last week's Phil Vettel review was on the free side of the Chicago Tribune's paywall? Well, Imma start calling him Punxsutawney, because he's back behind that paywall like a groundhog on February 3rd. I don't know how that paper gets away with doing that; I'd be pissed if my city's paper kept the general public from reading its restaurant reviews. But who am I to say what should work for Chicago? (And while I assure you this Chicago-heavy intro has nothing to do with my appearance on WBEZ's Strange Brews podcast this week, it certainly is a handy way to bring it up.) Anyway, on with this week's Flyover Friday.

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Madison, drink up and listen

by Kyle Nabilcy


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I've got the briefest of posts for you -- while I work up a couple for the weekend -- to announce that the Strange Brews podcast I appear on has just gone live on Soundcloud and iTunes. Hooray! 

Click whichever link suits your needs, and check out my very enjoyable day and a half showing Tim Akimoff, Alison Cuddy, and Andrew Gill of Chicago's WBEZ all around Madison. (Or at least as much of it as we could reasonably fit into that window.)

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/strangebrews/23-madison-wisconsin-beer

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/strange-brews-podcast/id682020277?mt=2