Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dork Tower, Wednesday, August 13

Today's Dork Tower is up.

Click here, there or anywhere
to see it.


The Madison Mallards won the first game in the Southern Division playoffs, beating the Wisconsin Woodchucks 4-1 in Wausau. It's the first game that's really meant anything to the Mallards in a while (they won the first half of the season in the Southern Division, and have been out of the race for home field advantage for a some time, now, thanks to a second-half collapse that saw them lose two games for every one they won).

This is also the first game they've won all year in Wausau (the Woodchucks, similarly, haven't won in Madison), and it puts them in a position to win the Southern Division (and go on to the Northwoods League Championship series) tonight, in Madison. First pitch: 7:05 pm.

Go Mallards!


Dinner a couple of nights ago:

I found some lovely fresh egg noodles at Midway Asian foods, and couldn't wait to use them. So I picked up a half-pound of organic chicken breast from Artamos Deli, and pulled the string beans and carrots we had from this week's Farm Box out of the fridge, and came up with pan-fried noodles with chicken and beans, in a fresh garlic and ginger white sauce.

Unfortunately, we'd run out of sesame oil, a couple of dashes of which would have given it that lovely, smoky foundation I crave from pan-fried noodles. But the peanut oil did its job, and I was really happy with the results.

Though not one of the most glamorous cookbooks around, I find the Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook just a real solid companion, for its simplicity and ability to demystify Chinese cooking. Once you've gotten solid in a few of the recipes here, it's easy as heck to improvise a stir-fry. while I'm far from a master of Asian foods, but I do love this book. You can find earlier editions for it dirt-cheap at places like Half-Price Books. Worst comes to worse, you can throw it at people who don't appreciate your cooking, and do some real damage.


Speaking of Asian foods, I finally found myself on the West side of Madison for lunch, the other day, giving me the opportunity to try a Vietnamese sandwich (Bahn Mi) for the very first time.

Saigon Noodles on Odana Road does possibly the best bowl of Pho in Madison, and it's Bun Ka (a fabulous rice noodle dish with superbly grilled chicken, fresh vegetables, and a delectable sweet and spicy chili-garlic sauce) has long been a favorite of ours. Still, I'd always been intrigued by the sign in their window for "Vietnamese Sandwiches."

Partially inspired by Kevin Weeks' rather terrific article on sandwiches at, I tried one at last.

Holy cow, what took me so long to discover these? The bread was lovely - a fresh, crisp crusted (but not overly crunchy) mini-baguette that was perfectly chewy and delicately flavorful. I'd imagined there would be more fillings than there were, but what was there was great: grilled chicken, daikon, cucumber, thinly-sliced jalapeno, cilantro, carrot, chili-garlic sauce...and inexpensive, too, at $3.90.

I suspect this was not even a particularly great example of the genre - as far as I can tell, Saigon Noodles is the only place in Madison that makes these - but it blew me away. I can't wait to find the truly outstanding Bahn Mi in Chicago, New York, or wherever...


Hey. It's Gen-Con week, isn't it?

Yeah. Damn. Not gonna be there...



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