Marcelle Richards


Nick Berard

The no-frills east-side gym is a crucible for change. Marcelle Richards and photographer Nick Berard take a closer look at those who train and coach there. Read more

Isthmus Cover Stories 1 Comments

An outdoorsman with a culinary bent hand-crafts beautiful blades. Former Madison chef Dan Almquist has a new part-time profession. Read more




Humble Crossings wood caskets are eco- and person-friendly. Designer and builder Gene Delcourt wants to make burial simpler and more meaningful. Read more


Recreation-LeafPeeping-Arboretum-crJeff MillerUW-Madison-10082015.jpg

Jeff Miller, UW Madison

You don’t have to go far to reconnect with nature. Here are six spots to check out within 30 minutes of Madison. Read more

A & E


Giovanny Lopez

When seafood is good, it can be divine: boiled crabs, raw oysters, fish chowder. And when it's bad, it's really bad: chewy mollusks, odiferous fish. Seafood rarely falls somewhere in the middle. It's either fresh or it's not, and I get it: We're in Wisconsin. A few topnotch restaurants fly in their seafood catch. Elsewhere, compromises must be made due to geography. Read more



Carolyn Fath

I'm a sucker for strange, and there couldn't be a better place to fulfill my macabre window-shopping fantasies than Afterlife Antiques & Oddities. Read more


Don't get too close; I may have spring fever. I've ditched my gloves before it's warm enough, and I feel like the Very Hungry Caterpillar, ready to mow down near-east-side vegetation. Even the flowers in my kitchen are looking good. Read more

Isthmus Abode


Chris Collins

I'll admit that I was annoyed when I saw the sign for Cheba Hut's "toasted" subs go up in January. "'Toasted'"? I thought to myself. "Those quotation marks are totally unnecessary." And then I felt chagrined, and square, when I checked the place out and saw the menu. Oh. "Ohhh". It clicked. Nugs, pinners and blunts (4", 8" and 12") are the sizes of the subs; they're named after the many incarnations of Mary Jane. Read more



Ryan Wisniewski

Let's play a quick word-association game. I say "delivery." How many of you thought "pizza"? Or maybe a certain late-hour burrito joint? Delivered foods can often be too much of a good thing. I still have days when I resign myself to staying in my comfy pants, and I dial up my local pizza parlor for an order of cheese breadsticks with marinara and ranch. Read more

Isthmus Dining


Eric Tadsen

Recent UW-Madison grads Doug Hamaker and Henry Aschauer are entering the area dining scene with what could be a wise concept: a convenient hangout for campus-area diners looking to eat from-scratch and local, yet on a student's budget. Roast Public House is the type of place anyone could go with friends or even a visiting mom or dad. Or to have dinner with a date, after a few rounds of ping-pong in the basement (one of my favorite surprises at Roast). Read more



Marcelle Richards

There's no question that not all pork is created equal. We're lucky in Wisconsin to have such a thriving commitment to heritage hogs. Willow Creek Farm stands out among the best. Sue and Tony Renger raise purebred Berkshire hogs on their land near Loganville in Sauk County. Read more



Kelly Doering

Bring your appetite and a sense of adventure to Soga Shabu Shabu, a Chinese, Sichuan and Japanese restaurant in the cavernous upstairs space at 508 State St. that used to be Nadia's. From tame lo mein to fiery Sichuan cuisine to the namesake Japanese shabu shabu, the menu is ripe for playful palates. Try something new here, because why not? If you can dig a pork casing filled with spare bits (ahem, a brat), how much of a leap is a fish ball, really? Read more


Brussels sprouts may be one of the most loved and most hated vegetables. I'm in the love camp, but I've met a number of people who abhor them. And I'm proud to say I've won a number of those people over. Read more



Marcelle Richards

The North American Biodynamic Conference on Sacred Agriculture: Creating a New Relationship with the Earth, hosted by the Biodynamic Farming and Garden Association, held at Monona Terrace last week showed all the signs of a traditional conference: name tags, visitors having traveled from New York to Hawaii and in between, and those like me who came from only a bus trip away. Read more


The holidays are upon us. Along with the merriment of family, friends and food, there's a certain level of anxiety that sets in. Here are a few ideas to help novice or nervous hosts finesse festivities with less stress. Read more

Isthmus Giving

For those who have ever sensed the pulse of the Earth, or felt a sense of awe even in their own backyard, consider the 2012 North American Biodynamic Conference, Nov. 14-18 at Monona Terrace. This year's theme, "Sacred Agriculture: Creating a New Relationship with the Earth," centers on the idea that the Earth needs to heal from the effects of industrialized agriculture and that working with the land can be a sacred act. Read more


A full house is a good sign. A packed patio on a late September night is even better. Welcome to the Free House Pub, which makes a convincing argument for being the place to be in Middleton. The Free House warmed me in many ways. I was already in love with the historic brick building when I walked up. A garrulous group of outdoor diners broke the ice. Read more


I wait 11 months of the year to touch noses with October. There's nothing like the shiver of turning leaves and the chilling kiss of the air to reset my internal clock and draw me indoors to the literal autumnal fire: my hearth. I light candles, I rev up the stove. There's something inside that's urging me to shake off the old and prepare for new growth. It's the beginning of a season that brings many opportunities to hunker down indoors and entertain with close and comfy company. Read more


It's fall, when many of us crank up our stoves and ovens as the weather cools down. Just as there are decisions to be made about what to put in this casserole or that pie -- is it local? is it organic? is it humane? did it really have free range -- there are certain ethical concerns edging into what we're cooking with. Read more

Isthmus Abode

"Weed" is such a strong word for poor dandelion. Although its pernicious growth leads to a bad rap in gardens, its culinary and medicinal gusto precede its infamy on manicured lawns. Dandelions are edible in their wild and cultivated forms; they're bitter, though not ferociously so. The cultivated varieties are less brazen than their wild neighbors. Read more