It's a known truism: when you're trying to give up something that at least part of you doesn't want to give it, it helps to have a distraction. A space-filler. It's usually at its truest with oral habits; smokers chew gum when they try to quit, babies get bottles and pacifiers as they wean. This last week, my wife and I had two craving distractions: numerous trips to the veterinarian for our sick pug Monty, and the Wisconsin Film Festival. Guess which one was more fun. (I will say, though, that Monty in his little belly band half-diaper drip guard thing was pretty cute.)
I tried to pick a month for this project with the fewest food temptations, and April's a really good month for that -- but man, try reminding my wife that we can't grab some Dumpling Haus dumplings before a Film Fest show at Sundance. It's not pretty. Hell, it's not pretty for me either. I love those things. It's a bit of a cheat (though less so than Forequarter in Week 1), but the breakfast slices at the new Whole Foods Neapolitan (-ish) pizza counter were a good start to our matinee Sunday. I liked the veggie slice more than the hammy, bacony one, though neither was disappointing. The crust was all right, but I'd never mistake this pizza for the truer-to-style Neapolitan pies at Porta Alba or Brutta.
The whole pug thing worked in our favor in terms of strapping us to the metaphorical detox bed and working out the sweats; we didn't want to spend too much time away from the sick little dude in case he needed prompt attention. Cuco's Mexican Restaurant isn't too far from home, so we gave takeout a shot. It didn't go well. Our food came out lukewarm at best, despite the dining room being nicely filled and bustling. The ground beef was a little paste-like, though the chile poblano was big and cheesy. I think the takeout model isn't best for the food at Cuco's.
But hey! In addition to Wisconsin Film Festival Week and Fix Monty's Little Peeper Week, it was also Eater National's Burger Week! I mean, we weren't exactly observing it as a holiday, but it provided handy coincidence for a couple of burger meals. On Masters Sunday, we landed at the Village Bar -- which I understand is the unofficial clubhouse for the adjacent Glenway golf course. Legendary brick burgers all around, as juicy and gooey as I'd been expecting. I did catch Kristine adding a little salt but I didn't think they needed it. (If we'd gotten fries, we'd have had plenty of salt. Just jokes honey!)
The very next day, looking for something quick and cheap and low degree of difficulty, we took the opportunity to head east young man and visit 1855 Saloon and Grill for its buy one get one burger night. Unlike the heavily-attended burger night at the Old Fashioned, 1855 has plenty of open seats and makes all of its burgers available for the BOGO, not just the basic black. I had the BLT Burger (one pale leaf of iceberg lettuce is not enough, 1855, I must have two), while Kristine had the O-Ring burger. Both came piled with unannounced onion straws, which were being doled out by the hotel pan-full in the pass. I think maybe they just got a little overenthusiastic. But the burger patties themselves were excellent. I don't know about y'all, but I think my household has a new default Monday burger deal.
Our Wisconsin Film Festival week ended on very high notes -- The Russian Woodpecker on Wednesday and Meru on Thursday -- and now we enter that long dark third week of April when the rush/relief/release of the first outdoor Dane County Farmers' Market on 4/18 has worn off and the interminable anticipation Dark Lord Day on 4/25 is at its zenith. Pray for Mojo.
Don't forget to check out my annotated map of the Month of New, clickable right here. Follow along on Twitter at @kylenabilcy, or with the hashtag #monthofnew. Two more weekly updates to come later this month.