state street in Madison

Every now and then, someone asks me what I like about blogging: Is it the pictures? the food? the travel? And I always say the same thing, that while it is, of course, partly those things, it is much more something else. I like blogging for the people.

People like Jacqui and Caitlin. The three of us met up in Madison Saturday, because it’s only a 2.5-hour drive from Chicago and because Caitlin finds herself there every other weekend, visiting her fiance.

outside of capitol building

We did important things together—you know, like talk photography, both at brunch and at a local shop with the super nice staff that chatted with us about meeting famous people and calling 1970s cameras vintage and seeing the beauty of film:

jacqui with camera

caitlin and camera

jacqui and caitlin and cameras

Speaking of brunch, it was at Bluephies, because it’s Caitlin’s favorite, and don’t you love being taken to people’s favorite places?

The other girls ordered eggs Benedict (the artichoke and the crab), and I had a Popeye scrambler loaded with tomatoes and spinach and feta, all of us with breakfast potatoes on the side.

caitlin and eggs Benedict

jacqui and eggs Benedict

Popeye scrambler

Then we nosed around the capitol building, mostly because you just can’t miss that giant dome when you walk downtown, and it’s open and free, so why not?

capitol building

north entrance

inside capitol building

caitlin by flags

jacqui and cameras

And went to an adorable cheese shop/deli just across the street, where the air was warm and ripe and almost overpowering when you first step inside but then became pretty nice after a few minutes browsing the shelves:


artisanal cheeses

sign in cheese shop

inside fromagination

We walked through busy streets filled with college (and high school?) students, past random signs:

change sign

and popular restaurants:


and places that remind you you’re in Wisconsin:

Badger liquors

Eventually we settled into a little cafe, way in the back, at two tables pushed together, discussing weddings and Dutch ovens and the science of baking with different flours.

the cafe in Madison

Then, just like that, it was past 4 PM and there we were, still chatting, because time flies like that when you’re with people you like.

And Jacqui and I got back in her car (thanks again for driving, you sweet girl!) to head home, driving by fields and farms while the sun set, over Wisconsin, over us, over that good day.

sun setting in Wisconsin

Usually when I do posts like these, I give you recommendations, so while I linked to everything in the paragraphs above, here you go:

Bluephies: great breakfast (and you should see the cakes!)
2701 Monroe Street
Madison, WI 53711-1868

Capitol building:
2 East Main Street
Madison, WI 53702
Info on tours, if that’s your thing

12 S. Carroll St.
Madison, WI 53703
on Twitter
on Facebook

the cafe:
I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the coffee shop we sat in. Caitlin? Jacqui? Feel free to help out.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Caitlin

    That day ended, and all I wanted to do was have it keep going – I had so much fun chatting with you and Jacqui! Thank you so much for driving over and hanging out with me. You’re right, blogging is awesome mostly because of the people :)

  2. Kim Shenberger

    I have that exact Minolta! I ran across it just a few days ago, deep in a closet I was cleaning, and wondered if I should keep it, sell it, give it away, or try to use it again. I’m not sure I could ever go back to film and developing after the immediate digital feedback I get from my Olympus. (a photographer I am not; I’m a grandma who snaps pix of her grandbabies)

  3. Jacqui

    seriously, what a fun day! so glad we got sit down and really chat, and about important things too — light meters, runny egg yolk, pears! i believe that cafe was espresso royale, which is a popular college campus spot. next up: milwaukee, then north carolina! :)

  4. jen

    you’re inspiring me to go to wisconsin which is hard to do!

  5. Gemma

    Sounds like such a lovely day. It’s been too long since I’ve visited Madison. I hope to soon.

  6. Kelley

    Awww … you made me homesick! :) Wish I had known you were going — I would have sent you to Shakespeare’s, a fabulous used book store on the square. Glad you enjoyed your Wisconsin fix!

  7. kickpleat

    I remember a few years ago being on a roadtrip and we drove right through Madison without stopping. I was so mad because it looked like a great little city & I loved seeing all these red bikes which I assumed were just left around town free for people to use. Damn, now I’ll have to go back and check it out for real!

  8. Elizabeth

    I don’t think I’ll be able to get to Madison til the summer, but now I seriously can’t wait! One of my favorite spots used to be right on State Street but is now a bit more campus-y:
    Also I drool for bagels from here:

  9. lo

    So glad you had a good time in Madison! That breakfast looks awesome… and the pictures make me feel like I was right there with you.

    Next time you’re going to be in Wisconsin, let me know!! Kelly is right. Shakespeare’s was always one of my favorite shops! And espresso royale — so fun!

  10. heather

    you’ve made me very homesick — but in a good way. madison is only an hour and a half from my hometown, and we spent much time there. i get back every once in a while, but never enough. definitely could live there. it’s so unique and fresh and welcoming. looks like you had a great visit.



  11. Kim

    For a brief moment, I was transported to that afternoon. I could almost smell the cheese, feel the crisp air…how absolutely wonderful.

  12. Shannalee

    Caitlin, Aw, we had a great time, too! Thanks for showing us around and spending the day hanging out! So glad to know you!

    Kim, No way! You should see all the cool pictures Jacqui has taken with hers: There is something really beautiful about film.

    Jacqui, Me too! And hey good call on the cafe – I knew you’d remember!

    Jen, Ha! It has its good points. Like cheese.

    Gemma, Yeah, and it’s such a quick day trip, you know?

    Kelley, Next time, next time!

    Kickpleat, You know, I am so like that, too. I always want to stop at all the sights along the way on trips. :)

    Elizabeth, Cool, thanks for the tips!

    Lo, Oh, that breakfast was awesome. And another vote for Shakespeare’s? Ok! I’m sold.

    Heather, We were so blessed that it wasn’t snowing, too… I mean, February in Wisconsin!? So nice. Glad this post brought back good memories for you!

    Kim, Aw, you’re so sweet. Thanks, Kim! wish you could have come too.

  13. Jessica

    Yay you’re in my hometown! Those eggs benedict look amazing. I love that for brunch. What a fun time!

  14. Susan

    What a great day! That’s why I like blogging too :)

  15. Allison

    i really like the board stating that “no matter who you are…you have the power to change” i really really like that. thanks for sharing your madison day with us!

  16. mallory elise

    how pretty. so you are absolutely right; blogging for the people- but that feeling isn’t just blogging, it’s publishing in general. the feeling of someone enjoying your words, holding your words, seeing your photos…..ah i love it. the first time i felt that was when i wrote and photographed for my university newspaper, then blogging gave me that same feeling :)

  17. Shannalee

    Jessica, No way! If I’d known, I def would have waved for you or said hello to it or something, ha. Great day in your town!

    Susan, Right? It’s so the people.

    Allison, Me too. I am drawn to things that remind me change happens and that we can change and so on. It’s def been on my mind a lot.

    Mallory, Thank you so much! You get exactly what I’m saying. I am so thankful for the blogging community and for kind comments like yours.

  18. Hannah

    Aw, I really loved this. Y’all really need to come visit me here in Georgia! I’ll take you up into the mountains and make you biscuits (I won’t, however, make the biscuits in the mountains. I haven’t mastered baking over a open flame yet, haha!)

  19. TJ

    What a cool meetup! There is something about those capital domes. The light. The details. I remember the first time I saw one (in Lansing). Sigh. I love film cameras too.

  20. Shannalee

    Hannah, I cannot even tell you how much I would love that! Mountains? Georgia? Seeing all the beautiful places you take pictures of? Sign me up!

    TJ, You know, I totally said something similar on Saturday. It’s crazy how those domes/capitol buildings are so similar and fancy and regal… everything seems so important inside.

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