pig in a fur coat

Sticking with our Friday the 13th tradition, we went out for dinner at a fancy restaurant. Last Friday we picked A Pig In A Fur Coat. (It’s apparently named for a dish from Kazakhstan, in case you’re wondering.) We’ve been there once before and liked it a lot. It’s got the kind of frou-frou foods that appeal to us: small plates of food so we can order a whole bunch of different things and share them. Last night we nibbled our way through a plate of olives with our cocktails, then ordered a charcuterie platter of three thinly-shaved meats, two cheeses (one hard, one soft), a dollop of foie gras, another dollop of mustard, and some jam, all with four slices of toasted baguette slices (I thought they could’ve added at least two more slices). After that, we split a raviolo, which is the singular of ravioli, which blew my mind because it never occurred to me before that there’s a singular form, but of course there is. Why just one? It was a big raviolo, about the size of a tea saucer. We sliced it in half and shared. And we finished off with a serving of duck-fat french fries, which we didn’t have enough room left in ourselves to finish eating even though they were astonishingly yummy.

tornado room

Tornado Room, Madison WIFor our last Friday the 13th dinner of the year we decided to dine at the Tornado Room on Main Street in downtown Madison. This was our first time at the Tornado despite having heard nothing but good things about it and telling each other for the past six years that we would have to eat there sometime soon. Don’t know why. Wasn’t trying to avoid the place. Just kept slipping our minds. But we had to come up with a legendary restaurant to eat at this Friday and for some reason the Tornado popped to the top of our list, so I committed by making reservations Thursday afternoon.

And a good thing I did, too, because the place was booked solid. I’ve heard that it was a hugely popular place to eat, and it was Friday besides so there were probably a ton of people there for fish fry, which tempted even me. You can’t tell me you’ve got pan-fried perch on special and expect me not to show at least a little interest, but I went there for steak & potatoes, and steak & potatoes is what I had for dinner. After I gobbled up some of the warm, fresh bread off the bread plate, scarfed down three jumbo shrimp from the shrimp cocktail I shared with My Darling B, and finished off a bowl of French onion soup. Good thing I decided against the 14-ounce cut of sirloin and went with the 8-ounce cut instead. I did a respectable job of eating a bit more than half of it and all of the potato. Poor B was nearly full even before she took her first bite. Doggie bags all around.


Last Friday was the thirteenth! It was the thirteenth, and we didn’t realize it until after we were both at work! WHERE WERE WE GOING TO EAT?

Back in January, 2006, we started a tradition of eating a really good dinner at a really nice place on Friday the thirteenth, when we decided, on a whim, to check out Peppino’s on Hamilton Street. We had dinner there every Friday the thirteenth for almost four years until, sadly, they closed up shop in 2010. We’ve been searching ever since for just the right restaurant to take its place.

Last night, again on a whim, we stopped at Bellini, an Italian restaurant just three blocks off capitol square on East Washington, and our experience put Bellini on the short list of places we’ll consider as a replacement for Peppino’s. I had spaghetti with meatballs and sausages. My Darling B tried shrimp in cream sauce with big, flat noodles. Both dishes were delicious. And the bar served the frou-frou drinks that B just loves. Their wine list wasn’t bad, either.

We still miss the cozy, intimate setting of Peppino’s, but the food might call us back next Friday the thirteenth.

Alas, Peppino’s

restaurant, Peppino'sPeppino’s closed up shop in December, and the place is nearly empty now. I used to have dinner here with My Darling B every Friday the Thirteenth (November was the last). Now it’s waiting to become an entirely different Italian restaurant. I miss Peppino’s.