Formerly Moe’s Tavern, Diego’s Mexican Bistro updated its multilevel downtown location with a new chef and a new menu of traditional Mexican favorites that focuses on simple, fresh, flavorful ingredients and combinations. The meat, for example, avoids standard preparations: Guests can choose to pack smothered chimichangas or cornmeal-dough huaraches with chipotle roast chicken, Michoacán-style roast pork, or housemade mexican chorizo. The chef’s recipes also include mole—a gluten-free poblano sauce used to douse a vegetarian or chicken dish or a stumped game-show contestant, and customers can wash it all down with a bloody mary.
These changes are the result of giving the people what they want. “We’ve received a lot of feedback from customers who want quality Mexican food downtown," Mohammed Barketallah, owner of Diego’s and the former Frida Mexican Grill, told Madison.com. "So we’re bringing the most popular dishes from Frida’s while enhancing the entire menu.” Along with the menu updates, the decor also underwent some touchups. Frida’s iconic murals were unpacked along Diego’s sprawling, castle-esque space of exposed brick and skinny dining balconies. Flat-screen TVs and a pool table keep the restaurant lively during sports action, and an outdoor patio is tucked under the towering trees and lampposts that line State Street.
Budding artists of all ages can begin to imprint their creative legacies in two-hour printmaking workshops that consist of stamp-making and hands-on card-making with cards on colored paper stocks. Professional artist Aliza Rand draws on more than 10 years of teaching experience to guide small groups of students through the creative process, demonstrating how to whittle stamps with finesse and strap them securely to feet before using monkey bars to cross gooey fields of ink. Holiday-themed workshops spread the season’s cheer with step-by-step instructions for fashioning festive Christmas cards or stamps in the shapes of fir trees to remind Santa of home during his circumnavigational blimp ride.
Atticus, a designer boutique, lines its fashion-forward racks with distinctly original apparel that can become the building blocks of a timelessly savvy wardrobe. Many of its labels are exclusive (you can't get them at another store or beneath an overturned canoe), and many are eco-friendly (made with sustainable materials or manufactured responsibly). Women can soak up the late summer sun with Loomstate dolphin T-shirts ($62) or prep for the leaves to quit the trees with Plush fleece-lined arm warmers ($35). Gents can garb in Friend or Foe vinyl T-shirts ($45) or sufficiently sophisticated Steven Alan skinny ties ($60). Beyond fashionable fabric, Atticus offers premium body products such as a Leila Lou fragrance ($38) for her and Malin+Goetz geranium body wash ($18) for him.
The Kitchen Gallery features around 2,000 products in its diverse and expansive store. All manner of kitchen utensils and accessories are available from TKG to aid chefs throughout all stages of food preparation and consumption. Practice your speedy onion dices with a Kershaw Shun Wasabi Santoku knife ($34.95) on a brand-new bamboo Hana grooved cutting board ($12.99), both ideal for menacingly polishing in a front-porch rocking chair. Mix and mash to your heart's content with a Duralex Lys nine-piece nesting-bowl set ($25). Use the 11" barbecue wok/stir-fry non-stick pan ($9.50) for Asian-infused meals or as a highly ineffective canoe paddle. Finish your fabulous feast with a chocolate-dipped delicacy made with a 12-piece Fest chocolate-fondue set ($28), along with some after-dinner caffeine from a Chambord 32 oz. French press ($39.95).
Since 1979, Westfield Comics has been a staple of the regional comics scene, stocking an array of tomes and collectible goods. Aficionados of the illustrated narrative arts can pick up the latest iteration of fan favorites such as Batman or the Green Lantern Corps ($2.99), opt for stylish stories such as Vampirella Crimson Chronicles Maximum ($17.95), or nab a copy of Berserk ($11.99), Oh My Goddess ($9.30), and other manga titles. A broad selection of lifelike action figures and statues invite common folks to protect cubicles from cyborg sales managers.