March is a turning point. Winter gives way to spring, coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb. The Ides of March mark, in both history and literature, the beginning of the end of tyrannical regimes. Stuff happens in March--big stuff.
And so it was with the continuing drama of Wisconsin's labor movement. While I wasn't downtown quite as often as in February, I still spent a good bit of time in and around the Capitol (more around than in, as the building itself has seen unlawfully restrictive access policies since the first week of the month). The month falls away conveniently on either side of the March 18th issuance of a temporary restraining order blocking the implementation of the collective bargaining bill.
The bill is not law (3/1-3/17)
Savvy readers will recall that I let slip a fine bowl of guong chow noodles from Wah Kee; they started off the month on a fine, pleasantly oily note. A trip to Sushi Muramoto resulted in quite a few new tastes. The salmon skin roll is particularly nice, and the shrimp tempura lived up to the guilty pleasure hype that had been lavished upon it by friends.
There were, of course, a couple trips to King and Mane for PBR tacos, though throughout this month the level of service at K&M continued to decline. They really need to have more staff at the ready for busy periods, and to cover the physically-divided space. But the real discovery on the Square was the Blowin' Smoke BBQ cart. Their sliced pork sandwich was cheap, appropriately sauced, and endowed with a smoke ring sadly not seen often enough 'round these parts.
The bill is still not law (3/18-3/31)
Like Madison's weather, dining this month reversed the aphorism; coming in like a lamb, my March-in-Food went out like a hard-charging, hungry-for-antelope lion. It was, of course, completely pitch-perfect that Kristine and I were at The Victory Cafe when the TRO was announced by Judge Sumi. Their cherry and cocoa nib scone was a fine accompaniment. And were it not for PBR tacos, Underground Kitchen's pretzel dogs might have become the official protest food of #wiunion; as it is, co-owner Jonny Hunter tells me they're likely to never leave the menu at the rate they're being ordered.
A first trip to Umami Ramen and Dumpling Bar was very positive; Merchant's first impression was mixed--good food, decent drinks, and service that varied from nice (ours) to haughty (adjacent table). A return to our old Willy Street neighborhood for The Weary Traveler's infrequent and wonderful pork kee mow special very nearly came up empty; Eldorado Grill's brunch succeeded as it always does, though the service here was unusually weak.
The best thing I ate
This was the hardest call I've had to make in Kyle Ate Here's brief history. That salmon skin roll was great, and PBR tacos are like Michael Jordan: the greatest ever, but only winning MVP for six of 15 seasons to give Magic and the Mailman a shot. Ultimately, though the Hit the Trail pancake at Eldorado was pretty flawless, and the Blowin' Smoke 'cue hit the spot, there are two clear contenders: the Brussels sprouts with lemon at Merchant, and the hot link sandwich at Papa Bear's BBQ. Both were spectacular--the Brussels both rich and bright together; the hot link smoky, sweet, and massive. I'd order both right after finishing the first, but since the Brussels wouldn't kill me if I did, I'll give them the nod.
Now, off to the rest of the internet to watch election results come in.