Pine Cone

No menueIn a word: What even?

The specs: #01014  
6162 US-51, DeForest 53532
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook

Latest Pine Cone news and reviews

JM ate the biscuits and gravy.
Nichole ate the strawberry pie a la mode with coffee.
The bill was $15, or $7.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Pine Cone a C; Nichole gave Pine Cone a D+ (see our grading rubric).

We are aware that the legendary Pine Cone in Johnson Creek, where they make ├ęclairs the size of small dogs, is the preferable location of this mini-chain, but that one is not in Dane County and the Pine Cone in DeForest is. So that's where we went.

Our luck at truck stops ranges from bad to weird. This one was a little bit of both. First off, upon arriving on a Friday evening in early summer, on our way up north to bring some Drug Free Fun, in the form of board games, to a family library event, we found the power had gone out at the Pine Cone and that they would not be serving any time soon. Not even the ice cream.

So we got a snack elsewhere, and stopped at the Cone (what what?) again on our way back. The power had lurched back on and the place was open again, and serving a steady stream of clientele. We joined them and slid into a well-worn booth.

A few minutes later, JM was eyeing a plate of biscuits and gravy laden with several kilograms of standard gravy over some starchy, but otherwise fine, biscuits. He should have opted for the half order. By the time he decided to leave a portion for the trash can, he was thirsty, overstuffed, and a little bored.

Biscuits and gravy

Nichole went just for dessert. The ice cream had survived the power outage quite well. The strawberry "pie" had not, or maybe it had other problems. The strawberries were crunchy golf balls in a canned Sysco-like glaze and the accompanying Sysco-style malaise. The graham cracker crust was - no. The whipped topping had us whipped. Boo.

Strawberry "pie"

We did pick up an ├ęclair on our way out the door, since they seemed comparable to the Johnson Creek ones. Maybe this Pine Cone is just a little backwards, but we probably won't go back.


Pig in a Fur Coat

In a word: That's a wrap.

The specs: #01013   
940 Williamson St., 53703
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook, Twitter

Latest Pig in a Fur Coat news and reviews

JM and Nichole ate the poutine, beets and ravioli.
The bill was $40ish, or $20/person, plus tip.
JM & Nichole gave Pig in a Fur Coat an A- (see our grading rubric).

Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of La Rocca's came Pig in a Fur Coat. The first thing to learn about them is that they offer something like a tapas version of Heritage, or perhaps an outlook that's like squinting at Eno Vino through Forequarter-shaded glasses. There's a relatively small menu of constantly changing seasonal food items (check), prepared with love by betattooed hipsters (check), served hot and fresh with haute cocktails (check) and priced for Epic unweds looking for a nice meal (check!). In other words, A Pig in a Fur Coat is 21st century Madison through and through.  The good news is that the food is really good; the bad is that the experimentation runs high and we weren't exactly expecting it.

We started, as red blooded Sconnies, with the poutine with foie gras. These were very good, and what's good for the goo... never mind.  The curds were the puffy battered variety, not quite to OSS-level but still very delicious, and the gravy was well-balanced between spices and cream.  The overall flavor was wonderfully umami and served as a nice opener.

Poutine and foie gras

Nichole was the primary consumer of the beets with goat cheese and pickled carrots. The pickling agent here was laded with spiciness, and there was also balsamic vinegar and pistachio malt soil with corn shoots. Fancy.  The corn shoots were an odd touch at first since they had such a grassy taste and were a little tough. Further bites, when combined with the earthy beets, were nicer.


JM's primary investment in our table was the duck egg ravioli, which was a bit of a shock. Instead of the duck egg being prepared atop the ravioli (as he envisioned) it was amid it. JM is not much for separate yolks and albumen, but nevertheless he tried mightily to consume what he could, especially since the asparagus had already been handed over to Nichole. The waitress saw our struggle and brought more delicious bread to help mop up the lake of brown butter, which was perfect. The bacon portion of the dish was simply divine.


Two people may be the wrong number of people to eat at A Pig in a Fur Coat. We left after three plates with a bill in the mid-$40 range and a larger group, which some of the tables accommodate, might give you a better lay of the land, so to speak. We didn't have time for dessert and that may have been silly to skip. In truth though, the food was excellent and the meals are designed to small so you can try more of them. If we'd been in the mood to loll, we may have liked it even more.

Two things about this place that aren't on the menu. One: Nichole swears that one of the iterations of the pig from the graphic looks a wee but too much like the Gilliam pigs from the chalkboard in the first episode of Monty Python. Two: JM found shades of his upbringing when "pig in a fur coat" seemed to him to be a mash-up of two different pages from his childhood favorite "Never Tease a Weasel." 


Madison Food coverOur book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is out. More about it here, and some bonus bits on Porchlight, Argus, Sunshine Supper, and Babcock.


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