The Livingston Inn | Madison, Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast

A French Cafe to Call Home

 

14370184_526749524197862_3460531701552715854_nThis past Thursday evening, we had the opportunity to try one of Madison’s latest restaurants, La Kitchenette. Located at 805 Williamson Street, La Kitchenette is a French cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the former location of Chez Nanou. One of our French-speaking friends recently started working there and encouraged us to stop in soon for a meal. We were very glad we did!

The menu seems small at La Kitchenette but everything they serve is nearly a meal in itself. So there is much more variety as you start to sample everything. Plus there were a number of specials when we went there. We started with an appetizer special called a Cake Provencal. If you’ve never heard of Cake Provencal, like we hadn’t, it’s a delightful little bread baked with some tasty vegetables and herbs. Ours was made with tomatoes and was an excellent choice to split among three people to start a meal.

We followed the Cake Provencal by ordering the Tartine Florentine, Tartine Acidule, and the French onion soup. Of course, you’d expect really good French onion soup at a French restaurant, but the soup at La Kitchenette was out of this world. It was the perfect amount of cheese, bread, onions, and broth, and then broiled just enough to get that little crust on top. It’s one of those things you eat and keep thinking about the next time you can get there to order it again.

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French Onion Soup and Tartine Acidule at La Kitchenette

The tartines were outstanding as well. Both were very generous portions that also came with a fresh green salad. The Tartine Florentine is served warmed and a great vegetarian option with spinach, shallots, tomatoes, sauce, and Swiss cheese. The Tartine Acidule is served cold and features smoked salmon, radish pickle, cucumber, and mayonnaise. The radish pickle was particularly tasty and an ideal complement to the salmon.

For entrees, we tried the quiche entrée special, a tomato tarte entrée special, and the Poulet a la Normande. The quiche and tarte were delightful and everything you’d expect and more from a French bakery. But, the Poulet a la Normande stole the show. The dish features chicken legs cooked with cider and mustard served with persilllade potatoes and a very nice green salad. The chicken was so tender and flavorful that we savored every bite not wishing for it to end. Again, the portions on everything were generous but not over the top.

We came to La Kitchenette partially to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Our server became aware of this, so we received for dessert three small, finger-sized cakes with raspberries along with enjoying the French version of singing “Happy Birthday”. A couple of appropriately-sized and delicious cappuccinos wrapped up the evening for the perfect end to our meal.

Before we left, we had the opportunity to meet the owner Virginie Ok. She was charming and gracious with her French accent – someone perfectly suited to this cozy restaurant. It was like she was welcoming us into her home and sharing the joy of what she was making in her kitchen.  We will definitely be back both for her hospitality as well as for all of the delicious food she offers patrons at La Kitchenette.

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The Best Spot Around

We don’t normally write restaurant reviews, mostly because there are so many reviews out there plus an abundance of fabulous restaurants in Madison. However, this week we’d like to make an exception because we have become so fond of a neighborhood restaurant. More than anything, a local establishment you can walk to for a great meal from a place you call home is really something special.

524c5efff363e.preview-620The Spot, a restaurant at 827 East Johnson Street, opened just a couple years ago. It took the place of Mildred’s, a sandwich shop in business there since the early 1970s. From the beginning, we’ve enjoyed The Spot because it goes about its business without pretention, offering excellent food at reasonable prices. It’s simple but with an eye toward the palate of our “foodie” nation. Week by week and month by month, The Spot becomes more inviting the longer it’s there. After all, the restaurant survived the nightmarish Johnson Street re-construction, emerging last fall as one of the places to be when the street re-opened. The street re-reconstruction now allows The Spot to have front patio dining in addition to its delightfully cozy back patio. The interior is equally inviting with a neighborhood feel – a small but functional bar in the back and tables nestled around an open kitchen. But let’s get to the food.

IB-Sandwich-TheSpot-jpgThere has been some turnover in chefs at The Spot but we’ve not seen it affect the quality of its food. The menu still features a broad range of items starting with its already famous saltimbocca-wich – a chicken sandwich with prosciutto, sage, arugula, mozzarella and aioli. There’s also the gorgonzola chips as a tasty way to start a meal along with well-prepared salmon, pasta, and sirloin entrees. Everything is made with fresh ingredients for both the meat-eater and vegetarian along with homemade desserts and a nice selection of cocktails, wine, and beer.

lsJust this week, Peggy and I went for dinner, a welcome date after a busy fall at the inn. The cioppino is some of the best you can find anywhere, and I was happy to discover it as delicious as ever. We started our meal with the vegetarian trio, which Peggy had the week prior. Served with pickled green beans, each spread of sweet pea hummus, spinach saag, and muhammara was perfectly seasoned and light, ideal as an appetizer. While I savored my cioppino, Peggy enjoyed an impeccably cooked salmon fillet with mashed potatoes and green beans. It was the ideal comfort food on a cold, snowy evening in Madison. We each complemented our meal with a very nice, and reasonably priced, glass of Pinot Noir. To finish, I tried The Spot’s homemade citrus sorbet. I’m not a big chocolate fan when it comes to dessert, and the sorbet was a superb way to end the meal, refreshing my palate with something not too sweet or heavy.

There are a lot of restaurants in Madison and many new ones making a splash lately. It’s exciting to see, but when it comes down to it, we are so happy to have a place like The Spot just a couple blocks from The Livingston Inn. Even though the restaurant is still in its first few years, it’s somewhat like its predecessor, Mildred’s. It’s a place you can count on despite so many changes around you. The Spot has found the simple things you need in a great restaurant: excellent food with friendly service and a place that welcomes everyone. Whether you live here in Madison or visit us sometime soon, we highly recommend you include The Spot in your dining plans.

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The Farm-to-Table Economy

In our last blog, we celebrated the many successful farmers’ markets around Madison and their foundation to the growth of organic and sustainable farming. Now that farmers’ markets are the norm for the daily and weekly needs of a household, we are starting to see other industries develop and succeed as part of the farm-to-table movement. In Madison, restaurants have really hit their stride in this area, and recently at The Livingston Inn, we have also found a new grocery delivery service that is doing an incredible job at bringing local products to our doorstep.

There are many fantastic restaurants in Madison that support local, organic producers and farmers. Many of them shop directly at the farmers’ markets mentioned in last week’s post, reducing trucks bringing in product and keeping “food miles” to a minimum. It would require a very long list to describe all of them, so we’ll feature just a few that are near our B&B and frequent spots for our guests.

Heritage Tavern3Heritage Tavern. Opened in 2013 by Chef Dan Fox, Heritage Tavern has quickly become a favorite spot among locals and visitors. The essence of this restaurant starts with Dan’s involvement in raising heritage pigs at his Fox Heritage Farms, becoming part of a growing movement away from factory pig farms. With his colleagues, he also orchestrates the annual Slo-Pig festival, an event that celebrates a better and closer relationship to the food we eat. Dan’s commitment to heritage pigs has led to many local restaurants purchasing pork from him such as Hamilton’s on the Square and The Madison Club. But his restaurant is more than just about the meat. Many of his dishes also feature the local produce at our farmers’ markets. Recently, Peggy and I went there for dinner and ate incredibly tasty beets and tomatoes, fresh and full of flavor since they came from Dane County and not halfway around the world. We have never had a guest disappointed with Heritage Tavern and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an excellent farm-to-table dining experience.

ForequarterForequarter. Amid the growing little business community around The Livingston Inn, Forequarter opened in 2012. Only one block away at 708 ¼ Johnson Street, the restaurant has also been a guest favorite for the phenomenal food, with the enjoyable walk to get there as an added bonus. Like Heritage Tavern, Forequarter’s roots are in its commitment to local produce and meats. The restaurant is one piece of the Underground Food Collective where the organization processes its own meats, sells its product in a butcher shop, and operates a catering service. A recent Madison Magazine article noted the Underground Food Collective business model has returned $1.5 million to local producers each year. The creativity of the menu at Forequarter and the intimate setting create a very special dining experience, and we are very happy to have them in the neighborhood.

Madison ClubThe Madison Club. Farm-to-table and support of organic products isn’t just for the new and up-and-coming in our city. The Madison Club, an inviting private club on Lake Monona, has been in existence since 1909, and Chef Andrew Wilson has beautifully incorporated local organic produce into the menu over the past couple of years. Besides purchasing from Fox Heritage Farms, The Madison Club regularly shops at the downtown farmers’ market just steps from its front door, creating fresh menu items incorporating the bounty of the seasons. The Madison Club also dedicates a page on their website to their Food Philosophy – fresh, local, incredible – and provides a list of all the local farms from which they purchase ingredients and products. We are always very impressed by how The Madison Club respectfully embraces giving back to the community, and its support of organic farming does so wonderfully while also creating an outstanding dining experience.

Square HarvestBeyond our excellent farm-to-table dining scene, we’d also like to mention a new business that has grown out of the local food movement. A few months ago, one of our fellow innkeepers mentioned a company she had been working with called Square Harvest. Square Harvest is a grocery delivery service with a focus on bringing local products to your house. We gave it a try, and with our first order, it has been an instant hit for us. While we have been able to purchase organic items such as dairy and eggs from the supermarket, we now have the ability, through Square Harvest, to get them delivered from local producers, reducing the food miles for our business and household. We’ve enjoyed quality and affordable products such as eggs, milk, half and half, cheese, vegetables, and fruit – all critical menu items for a B&B. We’ve also bought bread, tortillas, meat, pasta, and veggies burgers for our family’s lunches and dinners. It’s easy to order online with Square Harvest and their deliveries are always timely (even getting through Saturday Badger games around here). And every week it seems they have new items added to their selection. We are thrilled to include them as part of our operations at The Livingston Inn and hope they enjoy many successful years supporting our local farmers and businesses.

We hope you enjoyed our recognition of all that is organic and sustainable in Madison over the past thirty years. It is quite an accomplishment when you see how far we’ve come. It seems just a few years ago that organic food was something found in the far corner of the grocery store, but we are happy to see it has taken center stage among the many markets and restaurants in the community.

 

Taste of Madison Top 10

4a18240c1edabb5fdfdefbdbe223eef9The Taste of Madison is upon us this weekend! Our restaurant culture in Madison is fabulous and what better way to celebrate it than by sampling food all weekend long.

Starting at 2pm on Saturday, restaurants, caterers, and other vendors will surround the Capitol Square for a fun two days of food, live music, and a festive finale to another beautiful Madison summer. To add to the fun, participants vote for their favorite food in a variety of categories with a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to a participating restaurant. The Taste of Madison supports local charities as well with volunteers working at over 26 4dd7b4d73a682b25735e8c200ec93507beverage stands.

With over 80 restaurants and caterers at this year’s event, with anything from tamales to RumChata cheesecake, there’s a lot to choose from. Reviving a tradition around here at The Livingston Inn, I’ve asked each family member to pick their top two restaurants that might help our readers narrow down their list.

Peggy’s Picks
Bonzo – menu: falafel, chicken skewer, beef skewer
Lombardino’s – menu: fried calamari, eggplant fries, butterscotch panna cotta

Dave’s Picks
Lao Laan-Xang – menu: crab rangoon, coconut shrimp, vegetable spring roll
Rare Steakhouse – menu: steak slider with horseradish cream, duckfat French fries with citrus aioli

Daniel’s Picks
Lombardino’s – menu: see above
Tipsy Cow – menu: truffle fries, beer battered cheese curds, PBR fish taco

Joanna’s Picks
Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream – menu: ice cream and root beer floats
b110a6e712f5717cdef2c463a9f8d3beSai Bai Thong – menu: pad thai, squash chicken curry, yum ta wai shrimp, pad chu chee catfish

Luke’s Picks
Taj India – menu: chicken tikka masala and rice, mixed veggie curry and rice, channa masala and rice, samosa
The Old Fashioned — menu: mac & cheese, beer battered cheese curds, Wisconsin ring bologna, spicy pickled egg, brandy old fashioned ice cream

Admission is free, and this year’s Taste of Madison features over 30 diverse music acts performing on three stages. The event ends on Sunday at 7pm, so you’ll still have plenty of time for that Labor Day barbeque on Monday.

We hope to see you out there at this weekend’s festivities!

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Love is in the Air

After years of raising kids and taking family vacations, Peggy and I recently were able to get away and celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.  We spent some time on the west coast, and the weather, attractions, restaurants, and accommodations were wonderful.  Despite all that, though, the time away heightened our appreciation of Madison.  It’s not a sense of superiority, but more an awareness of all this small city in the Upper Midwest can offer both residents and visitors.

So, in celebration of Valentine’s Day, we’re presenting the many things we love about Madison.

Madison Winter Tenney ParkThe Change of Seasons.  While we had sunny, warm weather in the high 60s on our vacation, we discovered we would miss the change of seasons in Madison if we lived in a warmer climate.  While winter is often the most cursed season here, it is also a very special time when there is a quiet and calm beauty walking around our city during and after a snowfall.  And even when it gets really cold, there’s a warmth to visiting our neighborhood outdoor skating rinks in the evening, such a Tenney Park, and joining with the skaters and hockey players for a little exercise and fun.  Besides winter, we also enjoy the hope and rejuvenation of spring, the fun provided by our lakes and parks in summer, and the color and romance of fall.

Madison Opera in the Park2The Performing Arts.  When compared to larger cities, Madison has an impressive assortment of performing arts venues and performance groups.  We have ballet, opera, orchestras, and many theater and music groups.  This leads to opportunities year-round and for all interests, including several events that are free.  Annually, patrons can enjoy Opera in the Park, Concerts on the Square, Live on King Street, concerts at Olbrich Gardens, or dancing at the Monona Terrace.  We’ve seen live theater ranging from Shakespeare at a neighborhood park to Broadway shows at the Overture Center.  As we overheard one busy afternoon this winter at The Overture Center, “the arts are alive in Madison.”

Madison RestaurantsThe Restaurants.  A commonly heard fact is that Madison tops lists of the most restaurants per capita. Whether that claim can be proved, we are very impressed by the growing number of top-notch restaurants just around The Livingston Inn.  We are very proud of our city when guests check-in and the talk turns to restaurants.  There are so many options just within walking distance and all with a commitment to a unique and memorable dining experience.

Madison Accessibility3The Accessibility.  While we may not match some larger cities’ assortment of dining and things to do, we’re pretty close, and what certainly makes Madison more attractive is the ease of getting around.  Despite this funny way of moving through an isthmus and around some large lakes, it doesn’t take long to get from point A to B in this city.  Rush hour is usually over by 6pm, and even though things get a little crazy around UW games, it’s short-lived and infrequent.  We have to give special praise for our accessible city to the intrepid commuters, both by bike and bus, we see on the roads year-round.  They are definitely a significant contributor to fewer vehicles on our streets and highways.

Madison Wisconsin People3The People.  I distinctly remember two things when we moved to Madison many years ago.  First, how several neighbors came over when they saw the moving van and jumped right in to help out.  Second, how easily people struck up a conversation with me in our neighborhood and around the city.  To this day, Madisonians remain the most friendly and open-minded people I’ve met in any city.  Yes, they have lots of opinions and often steadfastly seek to do the right thing, but they will also engage you with an interest in your background and life experience.

While the preceding are the top things we love about Madison, we could go on with so much more – its farmer’s markets, political history, museums, galleries, and breweries as well as the recreational options on the lakes and bike trails.  It would be hard to know when to stop, but like a relationship, that’s what love is all about.  It’s what makes the person or place special at one point in time, yet knowing that as you grow and your life changes, your feelings won’t change because there is so much depth to the relationship.

We believe love is in the air in Madison because so many people we encounter daily have the same feeling.  So we wish Happy Valentine’s Day to our fine city!

Become Unhinged With Forward Theater

Last week, The Livingston Inn had the honor of hosting part of Feast Forward, an annual city-wide fundraiser benefiting Forward Theater Company. The theme for this year’s event was “Feed Me a Story”, aptly describing the excellent food and wonderful people who came together at our inn. “Feed Me a Story”, though, was inspired by Out of the Fire: Banned Books Monologue Festival coming up this season at Forward Theater. Feast Forward, therefore, was a celebration of “our freedom to consume stories of all sorts in delicious ways!”

dsc03429Among the dinner parties happening all over the city for this event, Forward Theater organized a party at The Livingston Inn featuring The Great Gatsby as the themed book. It’s hard to believe it’s been 90 years since the Roaring Twenties, but guests coming to the party looked the part, dressed in period attire expressing the decadence and freedom of this significant decade in American history. We were also thrilled to share our space with Dan Fox and Fox Heritage Farms, who provided food for the event. We have had an excellent partnership with Dan at previous Livingston Inn events, and his team did not disappoint again. The food was outstanding, adding all the more to this fun event.

dsc03402The evening wrapped up with all dinner party guests across Madison coming together at the Overture Center for a Vaudeville show. The fundraiser was certainly a success and it launches Forward Theater into its sixth season called “Unhinged”. The lineup of plays “features characters that tread a little too close to the edge – characters that are dangerously close to coming unhinged.” In our opinion, this is the essence of great drama, and Forward Theater embraces this with plays that range from mystery to family drama to comedy.

Forward Theater LogoThe Forward Theater season starts on November 6 and will continue through April. All Forward Theater plays are at The Playhouse in the Overture Center. The Playhouse is an excellent venue – intimate in its space tucked away in the Overture Center but still accessible and exciting as part of this downtown performing arts center.

One of the reasons we love Madison is that, although it gets dark and cold during the winter, the quality and range of theater and other performing arts is quite amazing this time of year. The Livingston Inn is pleased to offer packages for all plays during Forward Theater’s sixth season. Please check out the plays on the Forward Theater website and call us for more details about “unwinding” with a B&B stay after the thrill of becoming “unhinged” with outstanding theater in downtown Madison!

All photos courtesy of Stephanie Kluz.

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Summer’s Not Over Yet, But…

I read an article last week about summertime things to do with the implication that the season is almost over. Maybe some people plan so much in their summers that it feels that way by the beginning of July. Nevertheless, I and other readers replied to the article with exclamations not to wish summer away, and that for some of us, the season is just starting.

With that in mind, though, every summer around this time I have to tell myself there are a couple of happenings here in Madison that if you wait too long, you’ll miss them. So, while I won’t proclaim summer is almost over, here are three things you might miss out on if you don’t plan for them soon.

concerts-on-the-squareConcerts on the Square. This wildly popular event has been a Wednesday evening tradition in downtown Madison for over 30 years. Featuring musicians from the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Concerts on the Square offers free outdoor chamber music on the steps of our beautiful state Capitol. Concert goers bring a blanket and often a picnic dinner and sit on the Capitol lawn to enjoy a summer evening with beautiful music. The streets around the Capitol Square are closed, and as I’ve observed before, the vibe before, during, and after the concert is just amazing. It reminds me of those summer nights when I was a kid, hanging out with friends until the sun goes down late in the evening.

Whether you’re seeking to attend for the first time, or have joined the festivities in years past, the important thing to remember is that WCO only schedules concerts through the end of July. So be careful not to put it off too long or think you’ll see something in August. Get a date planned today!

madison-mallardsMadison Mallards. Madison’s collegiate summer baseball team has to be one of the most entertaining and fun activities around town. Whether watching the game or checking out the antics between innings, I have always enjoyed every minute of every game I’ve attended. Played at Warner Park on Madison’s northeast side, the Mallards offer a very accessible venue with plenty of great seats, always an entertaining announcer, and some equally amusing vendors selling their wares, including beef sticks (regulars will understand this reference…one of the team’s quirky traditions!).

Similar to Concerts on the Square, anyone interested in seeing the Mallards should be aware of their schedule. Because the team consists of college players, the season ends early so the students can return to school. The last home game this year is August 6, so get your tickets now to “Play Ball”!

madison-restaurant-weekRestaurant Week. Offered only in January and July, Restaurant Week allows food lovers to sample cuisine at many of Madison’s well-known independent restaurants. Organized by Madison Magazine, participating restaurants offer a special $25 prix-fixed menu with 3 courses and 3 options of each course. The summer Restaurant Week is July 20 to 25, and The Livingston Inn every year offers a $25 nightly room discount, essentially paying for one prix-fixed menu each night. So don’t let the opportunity pass you by this year for a memorable evening out on the town!

Madison is such an incredible place to spend a summer, and there are so many things to do and see all summer long, including sometimes simply sitting in a park and enjoying the lakes. There is still plenty of time to do all that you’ve planned, but if you intend on some outdoor chamber music, a ballgame, or sampling Madison’s food scene, get out your calendar and make your plans soon!

Turn On Johnson

east-johnson-street-2We promised to follow up our winter blog post on new developments along the East Washington corridor with an article on neighborhood businesses a couple blocks closer to home on East Johnson Street.

For years, East Johnson has been one of those smaller business districts, just a few blocks long, that may go unnoticed among all the great Madison neighborhoods. But since we moved to our home and opened The Livingston Inn over three years ago we have discovered the East Johnson business district is quite a gem. There are just enough of the right things to make it convenient yet quirky without a feeling of being “too hip”. Neighbors and visitors can find locally unique places for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and coffee as well as a tavern with some of the friendliest bartenders in town. Shopping can range from clothing or a special gift to a great selection of beer and wine or groceries to stock your shelves. To top it off, East Johnson offers services like yoga, hairstyling, bike and instrument repair, and dog training.

If you’ve been down East Johnson Street lately, you’ll see what is often an unpleasant site during the summer: an extensive construction zone. East Johnson was scheduled for street and infrastructure repair this summer, and it is well underway. But thankfully the City of Madison and our Tenney Lapham Neighborhood Association have teamed up to make sure the construction doesn’t unfairly hurt the local businesses.

photo-1The promotion, called Turn on Johnson, features a website, Facebook page, and yard signs. Both the website and Facebook page have helpful construction updates and great photos and suggestions about patronizing local businesses. The concept is to tell residents and visitors that the few minutes extra effort to navigate the construction or find parking are worthwhile to support a truly great community. We hope you will do so now and in the coming weeks this summer and fall.

east-johnson-streetIn the meantime, here is a list to help you plan your visit to the best little business district in Madison:

Pinkus McBride
Caribou Tavern
Forequarter
Iona
Fontaine Interior Designs
Good Style Shop
Jewel In The Lotus
Dog Haus University
Wilke Chiropractic
The Spot
Sophia’s Bakery
Upshift
Spruce Tree Music Repair
Cork ‘N Bottle
U-Frame It
Madison Food Mart
Burnies Rock Shop
Johnson Public House
Madtown Pizza
Old Town Cycles
Studio 924
Newport Wooden Furnishings
Affiliated Laundries

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900 block of East Johnson now occupied by bike shop and hair salon

 

 

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I believe I’ve always been a person open to change.  There’s a certain excitement to change and its combination of unpredictability and desire for improvement.

We’ve seen several changes in our Tenney-Lapham neighborhood over the past year, namely several new businesses that will be a very nice enhancement to what we already offer.

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The Constellation building on East Washington Avenue

In August, a long-planned apartment complex called The Constellation opened on the East Washington corridor. The building is part of several planned for the area that seek to replace some abandoned and vacant lots and buildings.  The Constellation is a beautiful building and is quite dramatic together with the Capitol as you head up East Washington to the square.

The Constellation features a decent amount of retail space and we are very excited to note some of the following tenants who have opened or will soon do so:

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Star Bar in the Constellation building

The Star Bar – a cocktail and craft beer bar that seats about 50 people with another 40

people on the patio during warmer weather.  The bar aims to be casual and welcoming, the opposite of pretentious, featuring a soft look using barn wood, maple and other types of wood.

The James Beard award-winning chef, Tory Miller, will be opening a yet unnamed casual Asian restaurant also in the Constellation building.  Chef Miller has earned a deservedly excellent reputation for his restaurants L’Etoile and Graze on the Capitol Square with his commitment to farm-to-table menus.  Planned for a June opening, the new restaurant will serve lunch and dinner as well as a late-night noodle bar.

Cargo Coffee – Local coffee shop owner, Lindsey Lee, has recently opened his third location in the Constellation building.  The location features coffee, bakery items, sandwiches as well as beer and wine and is open until 10pm Monday to Saturday and until 9pm on Sunday.

Potential plans for 800 East Washington

Potential plans for 800 East Washington

On the 800 block next to the Constellation, the next phase of re-development on East Washington is about to begin.  Recently, the neighborhood learned Festival Foods will open a grocery store on this site, which hopes to break ground this spring.  The location will be Festival Foods’ 19th store in Wisconsin and its first in an urban-style setting.  Many residents sought a grocery store as part of the East Washington re-development and are looking forward to the convenience of a place to shop for food in the neighborhood. Festival Foods will be part of the 800-block building that will also feature other stores, restaurants, and a mix of housing.

Our entire family has been very happy to hear these announcements over the past couple of months about new places within walking distance of The Livingston Inn.  In our opinion, the change will be very welcome.

But the re-development of East Washington Avenue is not the only exciting development in our neighborhood.  The closer, and more intimate, East Johnson business district has also seen some new arrivals alongside already excellent, long-established proprietors.  In my next blog, I’ll feature what I think is among the best little three-block stretch of businesses in the Madison area.

The Livingston Inn resides in the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood in Madison.

The Livingston Inn resides in the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood in Madison.

Photos from madison.com, willystreetblog.com, and cityofmadison.com.

The Year in Photos 2012

Like many of you, we look back this time of year to reflect upon the events and experiences that filled our lives.  Here are some of the special photos that represent the wonderful memories among our family and guests at The Livingston Inn in 2012.

Despite a mild winter for 2011-12, our son took this photo at James Madison Park after a cold windy day blew waves onto the park.

Despite a mild winter for 2011-12, our son took this photo at James Madison Park after a cold windy day blew waves onto the park.

February brought a magical evening with the Century Dinner - eight courses with custom cocktails. Amazing!
February brought a magical evening with the Century Dinner – eight courses with custom cocktails. Amazing!

Spring came with a Norwegian get together of family and friends connected to Nils Haugen, the third owner of our house.

Spring came with a Norwegian get together of family and friends connected to Nils Haugen, the third owner of our house.

We welcome spring each year with the annual Wisconsin Film Festival. In 2012, The Entertainers film crew held a very fun and festive party at our B&B.

We welcome spring each year with the annual Wisconsin Film Festival. In 2012, The Entertainers film crew held a very fun and festive party at our B&B.

Our yellowwood tree bloomed this year, an event that happens once every four years.  Beautiful hanging over the wrought iron fence in the front garden.

Our yellowwood tree bloomed this year, an event that happens once every four years. Beautiful hanging over the wrought iron fence in the front garden.

May also graced us with the fragrance and beauty of the lilacs on Livingston Street. This photo was taken by Jacqui Harman, daughter of the Harman family who resided in our house for the latter half of the 20th century.

May also graced us with the fragrance and beauty of the lilacs on Livingston Street. This photo was taken by Jacqui Harman, daughter of the Harman family who resided in our house for the latter half of the 20th century.

Sunsets on our lakefront access didn't disappoint again. Here are a few of our favorites.

Sunsets on our lakefront access didn’t disappoint again. Here are a few of our favorites.

Like many of our other photos, our son takes most of the sunset ones.

Like many of our other photos, our son takes most of the sunset ones.

Many beautiful evenings this summer on the lake.

Many beautiful evenings this summer on the lake.

Fall colors are even more spectacular looking out from the cupola at the top of the house.

Fall colors are even more spectacular looking out from the cupola at the top of the house.

We love Halloween and this year was extra special with a wedding!

We love Halloween and this year was extra special with a wedding!

A special greeting at the front door this Halloween!

A special greeting at the front door this Halloween!

The beauty of Christmas seemed extra special this year.

The beauty of Christmas seemed extra special this year.

The Livingston Inn - December 2012 Snowstorm

The Livingston Inn – December 2012 Snowstorm

Our best wishes to everyone for a Happy New Year!

Our best wishes to everyone for a Happy New Year!