Isthmus food contributor André Darlington has returned to Madison from a February visit to Napa Valley, Calif., damn near euphoric. He had been chosen to attend the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at the gracious Meadowood resort, as previously reported in this column, and it was an inspirational experience for him. It seems that Darlington has found his muse in the persons of the distinguished wine and food scribes at the event.
We reap the rewards of this enthusiasm in our supplement this week, our annual Dining magazine. Darlington has contributed the article "50 Mad City Food Experiences You Should Not Miss," the content of which is obvious from the title. He is joined within the pages by the rest of Isthmus' food writers and reviewers. Marcelle Richards goes beyond pizza in "Stuck at Home and Craving…," informing us of a greater variety of home delivery choices. Adam Powell charts pork's rise above prejudice as a culinary star in "Serious Pig." Kyle Nabilcy clues us in to little-known gems at local spots in "Hidden in Plain Sight." In "12 Months of Meals," features editor Linda Falkenstein joins the crew in a review of eating experiences in the last year.
As for Darlington, he is invigorated by his Napa experience, rubbing shoulders with the cognoscenti of cuisine and making valuable contacts for his writing. It didn't hurt that he won the "poetry contest," an intramural affair among the attendees. His hip-hop-inspired send-up took the honors, which meant he was required to read it to the assembled at the grand dinner that wrapped up the affair.
We're happy that Darlington was recognized, and we are especially happy that he has such fertile territory for food writing in Madison's bustling restaurant universe. It helps in putting together a magazine like Dining to have such a vital restaurant industry in town and the knowledgeable people to write about it.