A curry recipe for every type of
GUIDE DINING HALL
DO’S and DON’Ts
Chocolate Shoppe flavors
What is it like to own a food cart in Madison?
DISH TABLE OF CONTENTS
06 The Dish & team
16 piña colada muffins
bananas foster pancakes
apple p&b’s cinnamon smoothie
in the kitchen
a curry recipe for every spice
i think that possibly, maybe i’m falling for the froth house
dining hall do’s and don’ts
pop some (nutritious) flavor into your popcorn
Chocolate Shoppe: 32 flavors and Extra Thick Shakes
texas roadhouse: chicken vs. ribs vs. pork?
i heard it through the grapevine
food for thought
La Guanajuatence Restaurant & Bar: Madison’s #1 taqueria
Where the Little Black Dress Still Reigns
What is it Like to Own a Food Cart in Madison?
Bellini: A Restaurant and Family with Rich History
Interview with a Chef: Jack Yip of Red Sushi
A Day at the Farmer’s Market: a User’s Guide
THE DISH & TEAM Cailly Morris EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Eric Lynne IN THE KITCHEN EDITOR
Brittany Johnson Valerie Klessig NO RESERVATIONS EDITOR
FOOD FOR THOUGHT EDITOR
LAYOUT & WEB EDITOR
HEAD COPY EDITOR
COPY EDITING ASSISTANT
PRINT LAYOUT EDITOR
| PHOTOS BY FANGDI PAN |
COVER PHOTO BY JENNIFER BETH
In The Kitchen writers Christiania Hittner Abby Siwak Chelsea Schlect Andrea Nabak Emily Wessing Ali Loker Allysha Heenan Eric Lynne Maddie Martini Kim Gebhardt Michelle Czarnecki
Photographers Jennifer Beth
No Reservations writers Megan McDowell Joseph Shaul Keenan Lampe Brian Zapp Kelly Larson Sam Stepp Sam Zipper Katie Van Dam
Food for Thought writers Hope Carmichael Kimberly Barclay Jenny Bauer Shifra Rothenberg
“Tacos, Enchiladas and Beans” By Doris Day
I have always had a great love for tacos, and no song captures the true essence of my love like Doris Day’s song “Taco, Enchiladas and Beans.” While preparing for my last issue here at The Dish, I realized I would miss my many weekly Madison traditions – but none as much as my weekly taco tradition. My roommate is as passionate about taco cuisine as I am, and for about a year now every Tuesday and Wednesday has been taco night. On Tuesday, it’s homemade taco night so we cook up some ground beef and create a smorgasbord of hearty black beans, crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes and creamy avocadoes. On Wednesday, our taco-eating extravaganza continues by going to taco night at Chasers in downtown Madison. Each taco is only 50 cents and is freshly made to order. Love ‘em, dozens of ‘em I consume them by the score And when I’m through, what do I do I stamp and holler for more I was saddened by the thought of leaving behind this weekly tradition so when Epicurious came out with “The 10 Best Tacos in America,” my taco-lovin’ light bulb went off. I realized that many more restaurant gems still wait to be discovered beyond Madison, and I would now have
| PHOTO BY EVAN BENNER
a chance to find them myself. You can have the fourth position on my list Must admit your kisses would be missed But how in the world could I exist Without tacos, enchiladas and beans No matter where you call home or what your favorite summertime cuisine is, The Dish has got you covered. This month, The Dish provides you with your “Food hits of the summer” playlist, and pairs your favorite songs with a perfect dish for all your summer dining needs. Whether you’re in the mood to “Spice up your Life” with a great summer curry, enjoy some great “Chicken Fried” entrees at the Texas Roadhouse, or you’re going “Down to the [farmer’s] Market” on a beautiful Saturday and need an insider’s guide, The Dish covers it all. As always and forever, Happy Eating Foodies,
Cailly Morris Editor in Chief
A WORD FROM
Philosopher, poet, and essayist G.K. Chesterton once put forth that “music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.” Nicely said, Mr. Chesterton—but part of me thinks you might feel this way because you have never experienced breakfast in bed while listening to the relaxing strums of Jack Johnson’s guitar. I also have the feeling that you never felt tempted to dance along to the rhythms of popping popcorn. And since you died in 1936, I doubt you never were attracted to the idea of drinking Piña Coladas while getting caught in the rain, or spicing up your dinner with the pop stars of the ’90s Look, G.K. Chesterton, think what you wish. But for me, I cannot imagine a more perfect coupling than music and food. So for lovers of both food and music—and especially the combination of the two—please enjoy the sounds and tastes of this issue! Eric Lynne In The Kitchen Editor
PHOTOS BY PATI MO
By Eric Lynne Photos by Fangdi Pan
Song: “Spice Up Your Life” by The Spice Girls
et’s say you have to plan a dinner party for the Spice Girls. If you’re a diehard Spice Girls fan like me, you know this is no easy task. These five beautiful women may all be members of the same sensational late ‘90s powerhouse pop group we all know and love, but their tastes are as unique and individual as their personalities. How are you supposed to accommodate the tastes of Scary Spice, Ginger Spice, Posh Spice, Sporty Spice, and Baby Spice at the same time!?
Have no fear about this highly likely hypothetical situation! I have your back. I have found the perfect recipe that will make each one of these lovely ladies “Wannabe” your lover: my Peach and Squash Curry recipe. Here’s how it will please each one of these superstars. So “Spice Up Your Life” and try out this Peach and Squash Curry recipe. You’ll be better for it… and probably find yourself with five new British babes for friends.
PEACH AND SQUASH CURRY Ingredients
3 tablespoons olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 tablespoons curry powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated 2 hard fresh peaches, pitted, pealed and cubed 1 cup chopped squash (butternut preferred) 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 cup peach yogurt 3/4 cup coconut milk 1/2 lemon, juiced 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. - Sauté onion until it begins to brown. Then, toss in the squash. - Add garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, ginger, sugar and salt. Stir until onion and squash pieces are evenly coated. - Add the tomato paste, yogurt, coconut milk, and peaches. - Cover the mixture and bring it to a boil for a few minutes. Reduce heat and let it simmer for a good 20 minutes. - Uncover and add lemon juice and cayenne pepper. - Simmer for five additional minutes. - Serve with rice and enjoy with a good tune by the Spice Girls!
posh spice This goddess isn’t going to settle for McDonald’s or Burger King. To convince her to come stateside, you have to class it up— and what better way to do that than making exotic food from scratch? Move over, David Beckham; your rock-hard six-pack is no competition for this sweet and spicy combo!
ginger spice In 1998, Ginger Spice threatened the integrity of the Spice Girls by leaving the group for a solo career. So, in order to bring her back around, you’re going to have to entice her with an intriguing scent. This Peach and Squash Curry not only tastes great, but its tantalizing scent will also draw Ginger Spice to your dinner like hipsters flocking to a campfire serving PBR and free MIA mix tapes. (Plus, the recipe even calls for a little ginger spice!)
baby spice Unlike Scary Spice, you have to make sure this innocent Spice Girl doesn’t feel too intimidated by the food you serve. The word “curry” is already almost too spicy for her angelic taste buds. But, with the sweet peaches in the mix, she’ll find herself at home in the comfortable sweetness of this dish. It’s also a vegetarian meal, which means she doesn’t have to worry about someday coming to terms with the fact that meat is actually the flesh of her favorite animals.
sporty spice Sporty doesn’t just have to watch her figure—she’s got butts to kick and athletic events to win! She will be drawn to the fact that this curry goes well with a heap of rice, which is the perfect carbohydrate for taking down that lame David Beckham on the soccer pitch. Bring it!
scary spice You can’t be too adventurous with this chick. She doesn’t want to be safe in her life choices— and why should she? She’s as intimidating and reckless as an ornery, blind rhinoceros that’s just been stung by a bee. For your dinner, you’re going to have to be a little dangerous, and Scary Spice will love the unusual sweet and spicy flavors of this Peach and Squash Curry.
Pop Some (Nutritious) Flavor into your Popcorn By Christiania Hittner
oil has approximately 700 mg of combined EPA/ DHA fatty acids – very close to the daily recommended dose of 1000 mg!*
Instead of butter, try a drizzle of flax seed oil. High in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, flax seed oil is a great substitute for butter. You still get that rich buttery taste as well as the added bonus of a heart-healthy oil. One tablespoon of flax seed
Maybe your family has a similar popcorn night tradition. Or, you could start a new tradition with your roommates. Either way, these two powerhouse ingredients make it easy to add some extra nutrients to your next popcorn night!
Song: “Popcorn” by Hot Butter
opcorn night has always been a tradition in my family. Every Sunday night, we would watch a movie together and eat popcorn. I’m not sure how the tradition started, but I do know that it’s one of my favorite family gatherings. My dad is the pro popper. He even has one of those old crank-style popcorn poppers. And in typical Hittner fashion, we found a way to add extra nutrients to a snack that is often doused in butter. Here are a couple of substitution suggestions.
You could also try a sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes in place of powdered cheese. The flavor profile of nutritional yeast is very similar to cheese, so much so that many vegans use nutritional yeast flakes as a substitute for cheese. Nutritional yeast flakes are also a great source of B vitamins. Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, and pantothenic acid.**
Freshly popped popcorn Drizzle of flax seed oil (I use Barlean’s Organic Oils brand – you can find this at co-ops and health food stores) Sprinkle of sea salt Sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes (I use Now brand – also available at co-ops and health food stores)
Drizzle fresh popcorn with flax seed oil. Sprinkle popcorn with sea salt. Sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes on top. Stir to combine.
*Info from http://www.omegascience.org/product_ingredients/flaxseed_oil.aspx ** http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Nutritional-Yeast-Flakes-10-oz-284-g/688?at=0
Photo by Christiania Hittner
Story and Photo bySarah Dreifke
PIÑA colada muffins
I was tired of midterms Same old work, different class Papers, projects and deadlines Wonder when is my last So while finals drew nearer I read a food blog in bed And in the ‘bake something’ section Was this recipe that said: If you like Piña Coladas And sipping drinks by the pool If you’re through writing essays If you’re ready to leave school If you like making food that tastes good And you’ve had all you can take These are the muffins you’ve looked for Bake them now to escape!
Song: “The Piña Colada Song” by Rupert Holmes
So I waited with high hopes As the timer ticked down I knew that smell in an instant It turned my whole day around Forget the projects and papers I found a new study tool Something to get me through finals To summer days by the pool… If you like Piña Coladas And sipping drinks by the pool If you’re through writing essays If you’re ready to leave school If you like making food that tastes good And you’ve had all you can take These are the muffins you’ve looked for Bake them now to escape!
Got a recipe to share? Send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
1 ½ cups of flour ¾ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¾ stick of butter 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 2/3 cups of sugar 1 large egg 2 large very ripe bananas ½ cup crushed pineapple ¾ cup shredded coconut plus more for sprinkling on top of each muffin Recipe adapted from For The Love of Cooking, http://www.fortheloveofcooking.net/
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray. - In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until well combined. - In a large bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, and vanilla together until well combined. - Add the melted butter to the wet mixture. Stir until combined. - Use a fork to smash the bananas. Add smashed bananas, pineapple, and coconut to the wet mixture and stir until combined. - Combine the dry and wet mixtures. Stir just until the ingredients are combined. Don’t over mix the batter! - Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of coconut. - Bake muffins for 21 to 23 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!
By Abby Siwak
Song: “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson
ike the mood of Jack Johnson’s song “Banana Pancakes,” spring is all about rainy days, laziness, and of course, delicious food. My feelings of senioritis and impending graduation could be summed up with his lyrics:
“This song is meant to keep you from doing what you’re supposed to / waking up too early, maybe we could sleep in / I’ll make you banana pancakes, pretend like it’s the weekend now.” Since I’ve already taken to sleeping in much later than I’m supposed to, it seems appropriate to start making banana pancakes, too.
This recipe for Bananas Foster Pancakes is incredibly indulgent but really easy to make. In other words, these pancakes are perfect for a morning of procrastination.
2 cups all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar 2 eggs 2 cups buttermilk 4 tablespoons butter, melted 1 banana, finely sliced
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and buttermilk together. Add melted butter and continue whisking. Pour liquid mixture on top of dry ingredients. Using the whisk, mix batter just until combined. Gently stir in the banana slices. Heat a skillet over medium heat and grease lightly. Ladle batter into skillet and cook pancakes one at a time. Flip when bubbles begin forming around the edge. Cook the pancakes for about 2 additional minutes. Set aside. When all pancakes are done, top with Bananas Foster Topping (recipe follows).
Bananas Foster Topping recipe Ingredients
½ cup butter ¼ cup brown sugar ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg ½ cup maple syrup 4 bananas, cut into small slices
APPLE peanut butter
- In a nonstick skillet, mix butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. - Reduce heat to medium and add bananas. Cook for another 3 minutes or until bananas are coated with sauce. - Drizzle topping over individual pancakes or an entire stack. Garnish with chopped nuts, if desired. If you’re feeling especially indulgent, try a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Recipe adapted from BettyCrocker.com
By Sarah Dreifke Song: “Sugar, We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy
t can happen anywhere, anytime, anyplace. That undeniable, insatiable craving. Sugar. You can’t ignore it. Your body suddenly has its mind made up that it wants sugar and it wants sugar now. Let’s face it—a sweet tooth is a hard thing to ignore. But who says indulging your sweet side has to be such a bad thing? There are a lot of great options you can turn to in order to satisfy that alltoo-familiar craving while leaving the guilt on the sidelines. Grabbing a high-fiber snack is one easy alternative. It keeps you fuller longer and will work to kill those sugary cravings. You can get fiber by eating fruits (especially apples) and vegetables (the crunchier, the better). You can also get fiber from whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Dietary fiber has been shown to help lower cholesterol and aid in the control of blood sugar levels, thus lowering an individual’s risk of heart disease and diabetes. In addition, fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals, so you’re getting some nutrients from of your snack rather than the empty calories of a candy bar. My other suggestion is dark chocolate. The richer the cocoa, the better. Not only is it a to-die-for treat, but it’s actually good for you. One ounce (with at least 70% cocoa) is enough to satisfy your sugar craving and packs quite the nutritional punch. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, which help protect the body from aging caused by free radicals. One of my favorite ways to curb an unhealthy craving is with a nutrient-packed smoothie. Making them yourself not only saves you money, but
it also saves you calories! Another benefit of making your own homemade smoothies is that you can customize them with your favorite ingredients. You can also easily adapt recipes based on what you have on hand. Sometimes I like a little break from the typical strawberry-banana route, so here is a great alternative that packs some protein and will help keep your sweet tooth at bay!
Ingredients Directions 1 cup low fat yogurt ½ tablespoon peanut butter ½ cup applesauce ¼ cup skim milk 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1-2 teaspoons honey
- Combine all ingredients except honey in a blender - Blend ingredients on high until desired smoothness is reached. - Taste and add honey if desired. Blend again if you add honey. - Transfer smoothie to a large glass.Enjoy!
Dearest readers, Summer is nearly upon the isthmus. Soon, colorful towels will form a patchwork quilt over the grass at James Madison Park, as the whizzing of Frisbees and waves of Lake Mendota blend with upbeat beach jams to create Summer’s preferred symphony. If you’re craving a cold treat on an upcoming balmy summer evening, follow writer Brian Zapp to the Chocolate Shoppe, where he chooses from 32 flavors of ice cream to create an Extra Thick milkshake. For a quick break, writer Keenan Lampe would direct you to QQ Express, hidden underground on campus. Stop by the Froth House with writer Katie Van Dam, and perhaps you will fall in love with the charming coffee house. Lastly, don’t miss out on Sam Stepp’s advisory piece on some DOs and DONTs when eating at dining halls! Inspired by one of her favorite summer songs, writer Kelly Larson engages in a little investigative reporting at Texas Roadhouse: fried chicken, ribs or pork? And, after turning the city upside down and inside out, writer Sam Zipper lets readers in on his secret: La Guanajuatence is home to the best tacos in Madison, not to mention an unlimited supply of free chips and unparalleled salsa bar. Intrigued by the thought of Spanish tapas? Joinwriter Joseph Shaul at The Icon, which he so brilliantly describes as “a luxuriously appointed nightspot of the sort where the little black dress still reigns supreme.” And, for those of us who are aspiring wine connoisseurs, Elite Three writer Megan McDowell’s lovely piece illustrates in elegant detail how to buy a bottle of wine, order wine with food and drink wine like a cheesehead. Wherever you go, remember to sample every number on The Dish’s delicious summer playlist! Eat, drink and be merry, Valerie Klessig No Reservations Editor PHOTO BY JENNIFER BETH
RESTAURANT RANTS & RAVES
By Katie Van Dam Photos by Adam Schwartz
so I decided to try one of the specials on the menu: Sweet Chickpea Curry soup. Once again, I was pleased to find the soup had a fresh flavor, smooth texture and a bit of a spicy kick. The s busy college students, I think it’s Froth House should be praised for its willingness safe to say that coffee is an essento step outside the box and put a unique soup tial part of our daily diets. When I on its menu, and I’m here to tell you that it should drowsily walk into Humanities for not be passed up. my morning lectures, caffeine is really my only savior. But coffee doesn’t always The Coffee Bar side of the menu was certainly need to be a drink you gulp down in a minute not lacking in options, either. They offer everywhile running to class; sometimes it just needs thing from Chai Tea Lattes to Red Eyes, which, to be enjoyed. That’s why I’m so happy I made a for all of you caffeine addicts, consists of regular trip to the Froth House, a cozy coffee shop burstcoffee and a double shot of espresso. I decided ing with unique food, drinks and plenty of indie to avoid caffeine and go with the Hot Apple charm. Cider, which was sweet, warm and refreshing. My friend got an Iced Chai, which honestly was For those of you that have heard Landon the best Iced Chai I’ve ever tried (I’m Pigg’s Falling in Love at a Coffee not exaggerating, I promise). It was Shop, you would know how I felt creamy, rich and full of flavor. OK, about my experience at the that was a whole lot of raving Froth House. But instead of with absolutely no ranting, so falling in love in a coffee how could I give the Froth shop, I fell in love with the House anything less than a coffee shop itself. And I fell 5 (excellent) for food quality hard. Located at 11 North on the No Reservations rating Allen Street, the Froth House scale? is nestled in the residential area of Madison away from As I walked into the Froth House, the bustling UW campus. When I immediately took in the sound I got in line and perused the menu of the muffled guitar strums coming on the wall, I was pleasantly surprised from the other room and saw the pile of board by all of the food options. I decided to go with games sitting on a table. The guitar strums were the Formaggio, a sandwich consisting of fresh coming from musician Kelley McRae, who was cheddar and provolone cheese oozing out of playing live for an audience packed into a room a warm baguette. It also contained homemade with rusty red walls, silky curtains on the winherb aioli, which is a mayonnaise-like sauce dows and many bright and colorful paintings. traditionally made with garlic, olive oil and egg. The Froth House is flooded with artistic charm The aioli really added a lot to the flavor of the that the entire community can enjoy. In fact, it Formaggio, which was simple, delicious and the features live music every Thursday night from perfect comfort food fit only for a coffee shop as 7-9 p.m. and has Board Game Nights every cozy as the Froth House. Wednesday.
Summer playlist number: “Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop” by Landon Pigg
After finishing my sandwich, I knew that one go round with the menu was simply not enough,
Just when I thought my night couldn’t get any better, the band Whiskey Doll took the stage. I
later found out that many of the band members were Froth House employees who just wanted to spend some time playing for customers. And I’m glad they did. Everyone in the room could feel their energy, and it was impossible to resist smiling. The atmosphere of the Froth House was everything you would want a coffee shop to be: homey with just the right amount of quirk. I only wish that it had a bit more space because it became a little cramped, but I can only imagine that will improve in the summer when customers can sit on the outside patio and enjoy the warm weather. Once again, I can’t bring myself to give the Froth House anything less than a 5 for ambiance on the rating scale. The Froth House employees were friendly, smiley and willing to answer any questions customers had about their extensive menu. They gave us our drinks right away and found us in the crowd of people listening to the band to deliver us our food. We did have to wait a while for our meals, but it wasn’t much to complain about. For these reasons, the Froth House deserves a 4 (above average) for customer satisfaction. If you’re sticking around Madison this summer, I would definitely encourage you to venture to the Froth House and take advantage of everything it has to offer. I didn’t think one little coffee shop could fully encompass the festive side of Madison, but the Froth House does just that. Having earned a 14/15 on the No Reservations rating scale, you could say I’ve fallen quite hard for the Froth House.
RESIDENCE HALL DINING
Summer playlist: “Lunchlady Land” by Adam Sandler By Sam Stepp Photos by Jennifer Beth & Patricia Mo
e’re nearing the end of the year, which means it’s almost time for parents/grandparents/ guardians to come pick us up and take us home for the summer. Even if you’re not going home for the summer, chances are you’re expecting someone to come and visit to celebrate your graduation from one, two, three, four or (my condolences) five years of college.
food are with cash or money from your Housing Food account. Of these two options, the former is more expensive. When you pay in cash at the register, the price of say, a $1.39 bowl of chili is about ten cents more than it would have been if you had paid with your Housing Food account. Food Service Manager Jodi Bodnar explained to me via email this is because cash customers get charged tax on their food while Housing Food customers do not.
The question is, where should you bring your parents to eat? Some families avidly scour Yelp and Urbanspoon for the best possible Madison dining experience. Some unflaggingly resort to an old favorite like Granite City or Chili’s. Some just see what they can find on State Street. But I advocate for a different option: the dining halls.
However, the real kicker is for customers who don’t live in University Housing, who get charged 60 percent more for not living in the dorms. So, the moral of the story is: even if you don’t live in the dorms, let the student cashiers assume you do unless you want to get charged another 60 percent. Which means if your parents are oldlooking, you might want to purchase their food.
The number one reason being: it’s ridiculously cheap, if you do it right. Paying for food can be kind of confusing. First of all, they don’t accept debit cards, credit cards or Campus Cash (that’s only for other campus institutions, such as bowling at Union South or Babcock ice cream). The only two ways to pay for
Plus, your parents will appreciate the note of authenticity that eating in actual college dining halls adds to their visit. If they don’t hate the food. Which, as I probably don’t have to explain to you, is a big possibility.
where should you bring your parents to eat on campus? 24
Dining Hall DO’s and DON’Ts “Clouds made of carrots and peas...” DO go to the salad bar. The salad bar is fresh, full of variety and delicious. Grab some lettuce or spinach and load it up with tomatoes, mushrooms, croutons, carrots, black beans, chickpeas or goldfish. The best salad topper you never thought of. The condiment bars have a wide array of dressings as well, including reduced fat options for those actually trying to be healthy by eating a salad.
“And rivers made of macaroni and cheese...” DON’T get the pasta. Specifically anything with marinara sauce on it. I made the mistake, and I’m telling you now: the noodles are rubbery and the sauce is watery. It will go all over the plate, and it won’t be pretty. If you absolutely need to satisfy a pasta craving, go to Tutto Pasta on State Street. Not only do they make pasta better than the student workers, they do it right. Really right.
“Well I dreamt one morning/ That I woke up to see...” DO go to waffle morning. Check the internet and see if a nearby dining hall is having a waffle breakfast. If they are, skip the continental breakfast at your parents’ hotel and go there instead. Against all expectation, the dining hall waffles are perfectly brown, slightly grainy, and fluffy, making the ideal base for a pound of peanut butter drowned in a gallon of syrup (if you eat your waffles anything like I do).
“Got no clue what the chicken pot pie is made of...” DON’T get anything with chicken in it. I have five words for you: dry dry dry dry dry. And if you or your parents are vegan: DO get the vegan ciabatta sandwich with vegan cheese. DON’T get the tofu tikka masala. It’s a tease because it’s so close to being dairy-free...until they put whipped cream on it. When your parents come to visit, it’s good to coerce them into taking you out for dinner—after all, what are parents for? But, if you feel like doing them a favor, go easy on their wallets for a couple meals and eat in the dining halls instead. As long as you follow these rules, you’ll be fine.
Late Night Locale
Chocolate Shoppe: 32 flavors and Extra Thick Shakes By Brian Zapp Photo by Adam Schwartz Summer playlist number: “Milkshake,” by Kelis
ooking for some milkshakes that bring all the boys to the yard? Well, look no further than the Chocolate Shoppe on State Street. Now, you may be thinking, “It’s a milkshake, how much different or better can it be?” Very different. For starters, there are 32 flavors of ice cream from which you can make your shake and even combine into hybrid shake. Also, these flavors aren’t your average chocolate, vanilla and lame. They are Zanzibar Chocolate, Birthday Cake and other deliciously unique flavors. When you walk in, you immediately feel the ice cream shoppe vibe. The walls are painted white
and other bright colors, the windows are large and cover the entire wall and there are tables and chairs galore, but that’s not what you notice. No, you notice the amazing spread of 32 ice cream flavors under the glass bar directly in front of the window. While sitting in the Chocolate Shoppe enjoying my fantastic shake, I saw a trend: once people opened the door, they were drawn to the glass. It was as if once they had entered, nothing mattered but seeing all the delightful ice cream flavors they could select from. And, quite honestly, I don’t blame them. I got a Zanzibar Chocolate Extra Thick Shake. Zanzibar Chocolate is achieved by combining three different natural flavors of cocoa to create an ice
cream that has hints of regular chocolate, fudge and brownie. They combined that with some milk and mixed the concoction into an Extra Thick Shake. As the Shake Maker handed it to me, he remarked, “Good luck with trying to use a straw.” He was not kidding. It was so thick I had to use a spoon until it warmed up. But, it was entirely worth it. The richness of the chocolate and the thickness of the shake made for a perfect combination. I spent about an hour trying to come up with a word to describe it. Finally, my roommate suggested, “Fantasmic.” Since that’s better than what I can come up with, the Zanzibar Chocolate Extra Thick Shake was Fantasmic. For all you craving a late-night milkshake, the Chocolate Shoppe is open until 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and until 11 p.m. FridaySaturday. If you haven’t been to the Chocolate Shoppe already, you certainly need to go to see what Kelis was really talking about in her 2003 one-and-only hit.
DEAL OF THE MONTH
Quickity Quick By Keenan Lampe Photos by Adam Schwartz
Summer playlist: “Chinese Food” by Pat McCurdy
his past month, I was given a pleasant little surprise. Some classmates and I decided to meet for lunch to work on a project together at a place I had heard of but never been to. The four of us were walking down University Avenue heading west past Charter, making conversation and cracking jokes. If they had not been to this convenient food locale before, I am sure we would have walked right on past and been none the wiser. They showed me to a door, down some steps, quick left turn and, suddenly before my eyes appeared the QQ Express.
rant, and the noodles are nice and greasy. The sautéed green beans are cooked just enough that they still maintain their crunch while the chicken and broccoli were simply described as “good Chinese” by my dining companion. I personally filled myself to capacity with General Tso’s and black pepper chicken. The black pepper is coated in a crispy shell while the General Tso’s is smothered with sauce. Initially the two did not seem all that spicy, but I found that they tag-teamed my tongue and gradually poured on the spice. Needless to say, it might be a good idea to keep some water handy.
After a few trips there, I can only imagine the “QQ” stands for something similar to “Quickity Quick” because they certainly do not take the “Express” portion lightly. It will most likely take a customer longer to decide their order than to actually receive it. This restaurant functions on streamlined efficiency that may come off as cold or mechanical to some. However, from what I have heard regarding its popularity among the engineering students around lunch time, it is most likely a practiced necessity, so try not to be offended if the QQ employees do not waste your time with the usual pleasantries. It is a small price to pay for a hot meal that is faster than the fastest of fast food joints.
Finally, I could try to paint a mental picture of the atmosphere that has been constructed in this subterranean space, but I feel words would not suffice and would only lessen the experience of making that quick left turn after the steps that await you through the inconspicuous door.
Complaints are certainly out of the question when price enters into the consideration. For lunch, less than $7 will get you two dishes of your choice with a “side” of rice or noodles, which could easily be a meal in itself. For dinner, they give a third dish choice for roughly a dollar more, practically guaranteeing leftovers. As for taste, it may not meet five-star-fifty-dollar-meal standards, but it is great for the ever-hungry college student. The rice, either white or fried, is what is to be expected from a Chinese restau-
La Guanajuatence Restaurant & Bar: Madison’s #1 taqueria By Sam Zipper Summer playlist: “Dead‘beast” by Summer Neon
was first recommended La Guanajuatence during a trip to Mercado Marimar (official tacosmog.com rating: 92) by a friendly fellow named Marcelo. I made it to La Guanajuatence in early January on one of the few snowy days we ended up with this winter. I ended up ordering three tacos (one al pastor, one cecina and one asada) and having my life changed. My business associates’ orders were for carne asada gorditas and burrito dinners.
Photo by Adam Schwartz The tacos were served on double corn tortillas, topped with cilantro and onions. All visible tortillas appeared to be homemade. I started off with my cecina taco, which is a thinly sliced salted beef. It was truly salty and excellent and appeared to be fried up slightly around the edges. The hunks were a couple centimeters across and less than a half centimeter thick. Next up was the asada. The asada was also delicious, and similar flavor-wise and appearance-wise to the cecina. The dominant flavor of the marinade was salt, though there was a hint of spice. I finished
off with the al pastor. Guanajuatence shied away from the pineapple-rich marinade option and instead focused on more of the barbecue-style tangy red sauce end of the spectrum. The al pastor was tender and delicious and juicy.
The artwork secures La Guanajuatence’s spot as the #1 taqueria in Madison
Since this initial January trip, I’ve gone back on two additional occasions and tried a variety of dead beasts in my tacos, and even some nontaco options. The gorditas are highly recommended; I haven’t yet worked up the guts to order the burrito, but I can feel it coming. Nothing has yet disappointed me. Most recently, I’ve tried the suadero—a coarsely cut beef, similar to the asada but chewier—and the chorizo—it was tender without being too dried out and flavorful without being too greasy. Each taco at La Guanajuatence can rank among the best of its class worldwide, and within Madison they are the cream of the crop. While I’ve been effusive mostly about the taco quality so far, that’s actually just the fourth best thing about La Guanajuatence. Rounding out the top 5: 1. Salsa bar 2. Proximity to Le Tigre Lounge 3. Decor 4. Taco quality 5. Free Dum Dums as after-dinner palate cleanser. La Guanajuatence’s self-serve salsa bar is the best I’ve ever encountered. On a typical evening, you’ll find eight unique house-made salsas and an unlimited supply of free chips. While each salsa has a special place in my heart, the two deserving special mention are the pico de gallo and the salsa de aguacate. Guanajuatence set themselves apart from the pack by incorporating significantly more spice than the average pico de gallo, putting it on the spectrum between P.D.G. and a medium red. While definitely not ‘hot’, it also packed a kick significantly more powerful
than a simple tomato/onion/cilantro blend. The salsa de aguacate, like that at Mercado Marimar, is a smooth avocado-based salsa. The only way to describe the flavor is unstoppable. I eat chip after chip covered in this salsa from the moment I sit down until my tacos arrive. There’s an underlying avocado flavor with spicy and tangy layers overlain in perfect harmony. The artwork secures La Guanajuatence’s spot as the #1 taqueria in Madison. La Guanajuatense’s exterior is sufficiently well-lit to be visible even in white-out conditions, and the interior is cheery and dominated by huge paintings. In the main dining room, there are three paintings, and recommended viewing order is (1) total babe standing in nature; (2) hardcore warrior carrying total babe through nature; and (3) just nature. All are hyper-detailed and inspirational to the aspiring taco consumer. Guanajuato is a transitional region of Mexico and, while I’m no expert, the wall art seemed to have more of a pop-Aztecan influence than Mayan or the present day—colors, lushness, and no visible Apocalypto characters.
The only way to describe the flavor is unstoppable
I’ve often heard that people go on road trips in the summer—in fact, I’ve done it on multiple occasions. My primary road trip this summer will be from Madison’s east to Madison’s La Guanajuatence-Le Tigre sector in the west. Such a trip, easily bikeable on a warm summer evening, serves the dual purpose of enjoying the best food and best bar in Madison, and you can stop at the Arboretum en route.
La Guanajuatence Restaurant & Bar Official tacosmog.com rating: 94, Price: $$ ($1.26-2 per taco) 1318 S Midvale Blvd (just off Beltline) Hours: daily 10am-10pm
TAPAS AT THE ICON
NO RESERVATIONS NO LIMITATIONS
Little Black Dress Still Reigns Supreme By Joseph Shaul Photo by Jennifer Beth
Summer playlist: “Clubland” by Elvis Costello
merica has a very strange obsession with big. If a thing can be made, it is then superior if it can be made bigger, perhaps up to the size of a baby elephant. We must have the biggest house or car or ukelele possible, even if it is then made of styrofoam and dessicated remains of things dropped in the sofa. However, it is sometimes not desired to order food larger than your head. A series of tapas shared amongst friends introduces variety to the dining process and greatly reduces the sting of ordering the wrong entree at a restaurant you can afford to visit once an aeon. Which, in the case of The Icon, is likely to be the case. Look past the the thin veneer of Rat Pack kitsch and you’ll find a luxuriously appointed nightspot of the sort where the little black dress still reigns supreme. You can order a negroni or gimlet without feeling a ponce. I’m fairly sure anyone ordering a Pabst would be forcibly ejected.
However, the real star of The Icon is the food. Selections range from Castilian tapas like papas bravas to more unusual fare including beef in blue cheese crust. The price is steep on some of the headliners, but the food well justifies the cost. While not entirely traditional, the menu is pleasantly novel without being bizarre, and the ability to try half the menu in one visit helps obliviate the damage to your credit rating. Alternately, take the opportunity to try something novel with your drink—the dessert menu is a flat $6 across the board, and a cut above the frozen nonsense found across the board. There’s even a dizzying array of discounts on food and liquor throughout the week, and it’s entirely possible to leave satiated without having entered Chapter 11. As summer rolls around, we both celebrate the end of finals and mourn the departure of our graduating friends. Whether for a brief nosh to open a pleasant evening on the isthmus or a rapturous party shared with friends, there are few better options than The Icon to cap the school year—so long as you have summer employment lined up to pay it off.
By Kelly Larson
Summer playlist: “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band
f you like chicken fried and a cold beer on a Friday night, Texas Roadhouse might be just right for you. With the radio up joyfully playing country music and peanut shells covering the floor, this place offers “blue ribbon” winning, fall-off-the-bone ribs and a slab of country fried chicken that will surprise you with its magnitude. “Literally, it’s the size of my face,” UW-Madison senior Amanda Axel said. Known for its steaks, the chain restaurant started 19 years ago in Clarksville, Ind., and now has more than 300 locations in 44 states. Its location on Madison’s far east side requires a car or a rather long bus ride, but it’s worth it. Texas Roadhouse is not a place to watch the sunrise, but you might be able to see the love in a woman’s eyes, feel the touch of a precious child or know a mother’s love because it’s very family-friendly. People of all ages can get a kick out of watching the wait staff dance to a song or a birthday guy or gal ride the electronic bull that
has a permanent spot in the dining area. With my friends Amanda and Jackie in tow, I ventured east to determine whether Texas Roadhouse offers better fried chicken or ‘fall-off-thebone’ ribs. It was my fifth time visiting the restaurant, and, like the previous four times, I ordered the ribs. It’s a good deal to split a full order of them with a friend for $17, plus each person gets a side, which is more than enough. The loaded sweet potato is one of the best options, and it tastes more like dessert than a side dish with its caramel sauce and marshmallows. I made the mistake of ordering green beans as my second side. I took one bite of them, made a face and then pushed them away. Gross. Texas Roadhouse is not known for its vegetables and healthy options, and for good reason. When I asked the waiter why the ribs were dubbed “blue ribbon” winning, he answered with, “I have no idea. I’ve never seen an award, but apparently they win every year.”
Regardless, they usually do fall off the bone as the name suggests, and I had a lovely time eating them.
cold beer does wonders to calm nerves from overcrowding annoyances. And the wait, just like the trek to get over there, is worth it.
Amanda ordered the country fried chicken, which looked nothing like a chicken breast normally does. It was breaded and very thin, and, according to Amanda, it tasted “like a giant chicken nugget.”
“I’d definitely come back again,” Jackie said.
It came with gravy, and Amanda’s side included the mashed potatoes. As a self-proclaimed mashed potato expert, she said they were fabulous. Jackie ordered the pulled pork dinner. While this comparison may seem a little lackluster, the ‘cluck cluck’ here versus the ‘moo moo’ there dichotomy has a simple charm to it that people can appreciate. And if you agree, have a drink with me and raise your glasses for a toast because the moment has come for me to give my humble opinion on the matter: The ribs beat the chicken. Amanda would disagree, and Jackie would vouch for the pork. Decisions, decisions. Texas Roadhouse will give you many of these, but it’s a safe bet that you’ll enjoy most of the menu items. Plus, the sheer amount of food could probably put you in a food coma. Amanda, Jackie and I each took leftovers home and got another meal out of it. The price, though, is rather expensive. I paid $17 for my entire meal, which included the half-slab of ribs that came with two sides, the $1 to get my sweet potato loaded and a $3 tip. Another downside can be the sheer number of people who crowd the entrance of the restaurant on busy nights, normally on Fridays and Saturdays. But the bar makes for a good refuge—a
Whether you’re in the mood for chicken fried, ribs, or pork, Texas Roadhouse is a fun place to go. It really is the little things in life that mean the most, not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes. Spending a couple of hours with close friends, stuffing my face with the best honey buns in town—seriously, Texas Roadhouse has the best rolls I’ve ever eaten—and wearing jeans that fit just right make me happy. That’s all I can really ask for when I go out to eat at a restaurant.
I heard it through the grapevine By Megan McDowell Photos by Jennifer Beth
urning 21 means access to a whole new world of adulthood. Finally, I can advance past the Hagrid-sized bouncers guarding Madison’s bars and order those elusive, brightcolored drinks on the Applebee’s dessert menu. I’ve now been admitted into a culture defined by shameless karaoke nights, 3-for-1 rail drinks and the youthful bliss that exists on the cusp of the “real world.” Sometime between now and obtaining my B.A. in English, I have to assimilate into a culture of wine tastings and know the difference between Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. While dining at my friends’ houses, I doubt it will be socially acceptable to request a strawberry daiquiri or an appletini with dinner. To prepare myself for this next phase of adulthood, I’ve taken it upon myself to develop my palate and to understand the timehonored presence of wine in dining culture.
Turning 21 means access to a whole new world of adulthood.
BARRIQUES COFFEE TRADER: BUYING A BOTTLE OF WINE
hroughout the Madison area, Matt Weygandt and Finn Berge own and operate six individual Barriques stores. Each location evokes a unique ambiance, but each is equally conducive to an energizing cup of coffee or a relaxing glass of wine. When I featured Barriques last November, I focused on the former. Now, given my legal age, I want to devote some attention to the latter, particularly the “Wall of 100” available at each Barriques location. “The ‘Wall of 100’ features a variety of wines that are both high in quality and low in price,” said Joshua Jackson, GM of the store on West Washington Avenue. “Each bottle on the wall is under $10.” While the “Wall of 100” achieves a consumer-friendly balance of quality and price, how am I supposed to know how to pick one bottle out of 100? Turning 21 does not come with this ability, and it’s fairly overwhelming. To narrow the selection process, Joshua has given me some advice when it comes to buying a bottle of wine. If I’m buying a bottle for dinner, I should select a wine that would enhance the meal’s flavors. Joshua suggests this online winepairing tool to facilitate the selection process: http://gallo.com/food-pairings/ Food&WinePairingTool.html.
Another piece of Joshua’s advice I found useful: “You could also try drinking a glass of the same type of wine once a week for a month,” Joshua advised. ‘Then, switch to a different wine the following month, and see if you can notice the difference.” Finally, Joshua suggests consulting a more experienced wine-drinker. Behind each Barriques “Wall of 100,” there are knowledgeable owners and managers who have sampled each wine.
Summer playlist: ”I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye
L’ETOILE RESTAURANT: ORDERING WINE WITH FOOD
erhaps the most respected dining experience in all of Madison, I understand L’Etoile as a team of nationally recognized kitchen staff, wonderfully knowledgeable service and unforgettable food. I fall in love with food all over again each time I have the opportunity to dine at L’Etoile. Equally unforgettable, as I’ve recently discovered, is the novel length wine menu containing a carefully selected variety. “The reason we serve wine at L’Etoile is because it enhances the taste of our food,” said Michael Kwas, wine director. “In that sense, it’s like adding another ingredient to a dish. Fortunately, wine works at least on some level with most foods.” According to Michael, the wines served at L’Etoile are meant to satisfy a combination of factors: “customer preferences, value, and our own opinions on what wines work best with Chef Tory’s cuisine.” Michael aims to perfect already outstanding courses served at L’Etoile. He circulates the dining room offering his wealth of knowledge to diners. Not only does he know how to pair any menu item to a glass
of wine, but he also has an anecdote to share behind each wine. As a novice wine drinker, I’ve asked Michael for some direction when it comes to ordering wine at a restaurant. He suggested, “I’m a big proponent of engaging a restaurant’s human resources: ask the waiter. If you’re unsure, ask her or him whether they’ve tasted the wine or not. Explain the style of wine you like and ask for a recommendation.” Michael has pointed me in the direction of some wines that he finds to be consistently of high quality: Red Chateauneuf du Pape from France Champagne Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills of California Sonoma Coast Chardonnay or Wines from the following importers: Terry Theise Kermit Lynch Dalla Terra Peter Weygandt
Dessert at L’Etoile
FROMAGINATION: DRINKING WINE LIKE A CHEESEHEAD
ocated on Capitol Square (S. Carroll Street), Fromagination is a small, unique shop that primarily focuses on cheese. The shop also carries a small variety of wine and beer to complement their even greater selection of cheeses. Just as wine enhances the dining experience at L’Etoile, it can also advance the tastes of cheese. I sat down and spoke with Fromagination’s wine buyer, Gisele Grad. Gisele grew up in Québec City and has long been exposed to French wine. “Wine was part of my culture as a celebration,” said Gisele. “When I was younger, my mother used to let me have a small glass diluted with water.”
Unlike Gisele, I have not been exposed to wine as a cultural tradition. Once again, I turned to an expert to learn about wine and its relationship with food. When pairing wine with cheese, Gisele recommends Champagne. “A good, dry Champagne helps to cleanse the palate and not overpower the cheese,” she explained. She also suggests matching cheese with a wine from the same country. For example, an Italian wine is likely to pair well with an Italian cheese.
A WORD FROM
To my lovely readers, Spring has sprung in Madison, and with all these sunny days and warm nights approaching, the temperature should not be the only reason to enjoy the outdoors. Baseball season has started, the food carts are rolling back onto Library Mall, and summer is right around the corner – in short – take time to enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of May and get outside. For this issue, we thought it was important to consider the music we pair with food. For example, during a grill out typically you will blast rock and roll or country tunes. During a night out at a fancy re taurant it is likely you will be listening to some classical music composed by Beethoven and Mozart. And when you are enjoying an icy treat from Dairy Queen, I can bet that you’ll hear “Milkshake” by Kelis at least once while you are at the eatery. With this, the articles for May have been matched with songs about sushi, farmer’s markets, and food carts. So, read on and check out the “Food for Thought” section to really unite your sense of taste and sound. Happy eating! Brittany Johnson
PHOTOS BY JENNIFER BETH
By Hope Carmichael
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION, ORIGINAL PHOTO BY MICHAEL FORSTER ROTHBART | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
Summer playlist: “Paradise Vendors” by Male Bonding
s I wander into Library Mall, one especially brightly-colored cart catches my eye. Kim Nguyen, a hardworking woman who is always smiling and eager to please her customers, runs the Natural Juice smoothie cart. Natural Juice has received top awards in Madison for Nguyen’s smoothies and spring rolls both in the Isthmus and at Taste of Madison. Nguyen refuses to leave her cart as I interview her; she wants to continue to serve smoothie-craving college students as long as she can. When I ask about the history of her business, she tells me she has been working in her food cart for over ten years. She says, “Before that my family made smoothies and juice and had a big business in my home country of Vietnam.”
Although Nguyen admits she likes cooking, she asserts what she really likes about the job are the people she interacts with. “I like working in Madison. I like my customers,” she says. She says she likes to make her food for people and see how much they like it, “I make them spring rolls and they are happy.” Although she does not speak much about making her food, she exudes confidence in her products. When I asked about her favorite flavors she replies, “Raspberry cream. Hawaiian Holiday. Mango Tango and Berry Blast. Those are the ones everyone likes to buy too.” She made sure I knew for myself by making me a sample, half Hawaiian Holiday and half Mango Tango. It was simply delicious.
QUICK STOP for smoothies
As more and more students come up to make their orders, it is clear Nguyen knows her regulars well. She greets them, asks how they are and wonders if they want the same as usual, “Spring roll and berry blast today?” The smell of fresh fruit wafts from the little cart. When ordering at Natural Juice, one can choose between a collage of different flavors, fresh or frozen fruit, and fresh or frozen yogurt. All the typical fruits are on the menu in addition to some exotic choices like avocado or lychee. Nguyen told me, “Every week I order over one hundred cases of mangos from Golden Produce, sometimes one hundred and fifty if I have events.”
Natural Juice is open every weekday on Library Mall, but also can be found on Capitol Square on Saturdays. “On Saturdays I bring my cart to the Farmer’s Market, but then I come back here and my cart is open later,” Nguyen says. As I left, promising to come back soon, Nguyen called after me, “You come tomorrow and I’ll make you a spring roll for lunch.” While the smoothies are great and I look forward to trying the award-winning spring roll, Kim Nguyen herself is what really sets Natural Juice smoothie cart apart from the average quick eat with her top-notch customer service.
Bellini Italian Restaurant: A Restaurant and Family with Rich History Summer playlist: “That’s Amore”
By Kimberly Barclay | Photo by Maria Gargano
he Gargano family has cultivated a unique variety of restaurants, creating a long-lasting stake in the Madison food industry. The children of Biagio Gargano have continued the legacy with Bellini Italian Restaurant. Bellini Italian Restaurant has a truly historic atmosphere. The first unique feature of this restaurant, is that it is in a historic building. This building was previously utilized as a church. Our Savior Lutheran Church was built in 1897 and bought in 1979 by Biagio Gargano. The church was renovated and turned into The Monastery Restaurant in 1980. The restaurant was successfully ran for 14 years, until Biagio retired in 1994. Biagio had an eye for success and later returned to the vacant building in 1997 with visions for what is currently Bellini Italian Restaurant. Bellini’s doors opened on August 12, 1991. The children of Biagio saw their opportunity to collaborate and successfully run a restaurant, just as their father did. This wasn’t hard for the trio because they had all grown up in the restaurant business. Peter, Angelina and Maria Gargano divide up their many talents to create a restaurant unlike any in Madison. Peter is in charge of the general business operations, Angelina coordinates events, such as company parties, wedding, and any other occasion, while Maria (now ‘Gargano Nolan’) is the hands behind the operations. She also helps Angelina with the event coordinating. Bellini has an aesthetic that reminisces the presence of the Our Savior Lutheran Church. There are romantic booths that resemble church pews, cathedral ceilings, antique light fixtures, and the church’s original strained-glass windows. The culmination of all of these different features makes for a beautiful experience, including their superb
by Dean Martin
cuisine! The menu is influenced by their Sicilian and Italian heritage. There is a variety of chicken, shrimp, and steak options, all made with authentic pastas. The recipes are never shared, as Angelina stated, “It’s a family secret.” One of the favorites amongst Bellini regulars, including myself, is the Pollo e Gamberi alla Pietro, comprised of chicken and tiger shrimp sauteed with plum tomatoes, white and portobello mushrooms simmered in a cream sauce and severed with garlic mashed potatoes. It’s not hard to believe that this dish was also a best seller at The Monastery Restaurant. The newest feature of Bellini is the Dragon Fly Lounge. Otherwise known as the “DF”, it is home to live music, ambiance, and a late night menu. The music is always unique and entertaining and as Taryn Barr stated, “You will never have the same experience twice.” All in all, Bellini has a diverse menu, encapsulating the Gargano families roots, and as Maria explained, “I think the consistency of fantastic, authentic Italian/Sicilian cuisine, as well as the uniqueness of the atmosphere, is what keeps our patrons coming back, as well as the great weekday specials and superb drink list!” Bellini is one incredible restaurant that caters to each individual customer, remaining unique in a sea of franchises and chains. When fast-food gets old, slow down and enjoy a nice hand-crafted meal at Bellini Italian Restaurant. Bellini Italian Restaurant can be found on the corner of East Washington and Hancock, just blocks from the capital. Special thanks to Angelina and Peter Gargano and Maria Gargano-Nolan.
LAVENDER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES Ingredients
1 tablespoon dried lavender 2 sticks butter 1 tablespoon baking powder 2 1/4 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (preferably dark) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips Sea salt for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt butter over low heat on stovetop. Add dried lavender to the melted butter and let it steep for 4 minutes. Strain lavender and discard; set lavender infused butter aside. Mix flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and eggs. Beat together thoroughly. Slowly add flour mixture while stirring. Mix in chocolate chips. Press tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving enough space between dough for cookies to expand while baking. Bake for 11 minutes, sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy!
Interview with a Chef: Jack Yip of Red Sushi Story and Photos by Taylor Nye
n a laidback Wednesday afternoon, I sat down with Red Sushi’s head chef and part owner, Jack Yip. I was struck by the quietness; there was no one in the restaurant, and Yip himself is a soft-spoken man. Acoustically, a bright red tiled wall behind the bar absorbs most of the sound usually found in a downtown Madison hang out. Overall, the atmosphere is not just that of a sushi restaurant but a place of conversation. Red Sushi, located on King Street just off the Capitol, is actually an acronym that stands for Refine, Elegant and Delicious. It seems fitting that these are the qualities Yip has looked to achieve in his sushi. “I went to UW-Madison for some time,” Yip said, “and while trying to get through school I started to work at sushi restaurants in the kitchen. I realized the chefs were making a lot of money, so I decided that’s what I wanted to do.” Red Sushi is not Yip’s first foray into the restaurant business. “I started another sushi restaurant in Florida with my sister, and that venture really allowed me to develop my technique,” he told me. In fact, technique is something that is very important to the chefs at Red Sushi. “Everyone makes sushi a little bit different,” Yip says. “We all strive to have a superior technique, but every chef is slightly different in the way we
Summer playlist: “Sushi” by Kyle Andrews
form the rice or slice the fish. In this way, sushi is really quite individualized.” As a kitchen full of individuals, Jack still thought the chefs could offer cohesiveness and nuance in a city where five sushi restaurants are operating within a one-mile radius. “What sets us apart from other area sushi restaurants is our much larger selection of sushi itself,” he said. “For example, we feature a roll called the volcano roll. Although it’s common on the West Coast, we’re the only restaurant here that makes it. It’s our most popular item.” Overall, the sampling of the sushi dishes were well paired with the rice. The general impression was smooth: spices were well-placed but not over-powering, and every part added to the whole. The maguro, or lean tuna, was especially good since the leanness came through cleanly and it was simple yet elegant. The tako, or octopus, was also good because it retained the chewiness one would expect from the dish, yet was caringly prepared to be easier to eat. Both dishes were exactly what one would expect, which is the perfect balance to strike with sushi. Although some aspects of the menu are a little scattershot (strangely, they offer Italian seafood papardelle), Red Sushi delivers where it counts. Paired with the intimate atmosphere, the typical Japanese cuisine makes it a must-go.
By Jenny Bauer Photos by Tyler Schappe
Summer playlist“Down to the Market” by The Kooks
he Dane County Farmer’s Market is truly a jewel in the Madison summer crown. The (typically) beautiful Saturday morning weather and the stunning location of the Capitol Square
create the perfect backdrop for the literal cornucopia of goods you can expect to find.
Since the market starts at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, you should try to force yourself to get there early so you can scour the market without the inevitable lunch crowds. And if you actually wake up to your alarm, you’ll be able to
get first picks of the things you wanted. And you’re probably going to come away with more than you intended. The Saturday market is much larger than the Wednesday market, yet both offer huge variety. Think mini-grocery store packed full of everything you didn’t know you wanted with an assault to the senses: the murmur of the crowd, the bright rainbow of produce and flowers, the smells of fresh bread and the taste of the cheese samples. You’ll find things like fresh flowers, cheese (I can’t recommend Hooks enough), honey, pre-
serves, bakery, fresh herbs, fresh eggs and meats, besides the produce you came for. Beyond food, you can find handmade goods like yarn and apparel as well as arts and crafts items. Some must-buys: spicy jalapeño cheese bread, fresh squeaky cheese curds, and one of the many baked goods. Besides the super friendly atmosphere that exudes from the enthusiastic vendors and excited patrons, how is the farmer’s market any better than a grocery store, you ask? Well, it has a lot to do with buying local. Shopping at the market shortens the distance between where the food was produced to your table can drastically reduce your personal carbon footprint. You’ll help boost the local economy, too! Studies are being done to see if locally produced food is healthier, but we do know that it is much less processed. It’s also not as expensive as you may think. You can walk in with $20 and get cheese, a half-dozen tomatoes, a few cucumbers, a bunch of basil,
cilantro, some lettuce, eggs and a pastry-with some change left over to spend on another pastry or two. If you scour the market first – try your hardest not to get distracted – you can compare prices if you’re trying to stick to a budget. If you’re not here for the summer, you still have a few markets to catch before the semester ends. If you visit this month, you will be able to find the usual tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, along with some items you might not pick up, like asparagus and rhubarb, which I strongly recommend. Sautee some asparagus and throw it in your mac and cheese for an easy gourmet twist, and bake up some moist cake and sweet-tart pies with the rhubarb. Summer lends itself to the truly delicious bounty of the earth. It is a time to buy the freshest ingredients grown just miles from you, and the Dane County Farmer’s market delivers that and more. Grab a friend and head out to experience a longstanding Madison tradition that cannot be missed.