Category Archives: French

Special Report: Isthmus a la Carts 2014

By: Kailey

Isthmus held it’s third ever food cart festival called “Isthmus a la Carts” on May 9, 2014 at Olin Park. It was a streeteaters paradise: almost all of Madison’s food carts in one spot during a pleasant but windy May afternoon. The event sold-out to 500 ticket holders and it’s easy to see why. Who would pass up the chance to sample dishes from Madison’s food carts all in one spot for $20? (Note: the 2013 fest experienced rain and this year was much nicer. Ticket prices in 2012 were $15)

Isthmus a la Carts Here were my favorite food cart items from Isthmus a la Carts in 2014:

Gili's Paninis

Choices at Gili’s Paninis

1. Gili’s Paninis is a new cart this year and I was honored to be the first “customer” at their cart during the fest. The format is kinda like Subway: choose your bread, sauces, meats and cheeses and they’ll prepare you a custom sandwich. But here the ingredients are fresh and the choices are unique. I had pastrami and smoked turkey with red pepper mayo and pepper jack plus all the veggies. Later on at the fest Gili’s served sweet paninis made with Nutella. Warm, gooey Nutella.

Starting the fest off right with a whole panini from Gili's

Starting the fest off right with a whole panini from Gili’s

2. Sticking with the sandwich theme, I loved Slide‘s Mr. Sweet Potato Head slider. The curry sauce is a nice touch.

Slide's Sweet Potato Head

Slide’s Mr. Sweet Potato Head

3. Fried and Fabulous did not disappoint. I think they had the longest line at all times but it’s understandable considering they were serving deep fried Oreos, jalapeno poppers and popcorn chicken. The cart owner Steve even had his whole family pitching in to help keep the line moving. Thanks for the extra dipping sauces Steve’s dad!

Deep fried Oreo from Fried and Fabulous

Deep fried Oreo from Fried and Fabulous

4. Bubbles’ Doubles was a welcome addition to this year’s fest. It was great to see cart owner Bubbles-who is perhaps the friendliest food cart owner in all of Madison-and enjoy his spicy doubles (doubles are a common Trinidad and Tobago street food. And they’re delicious.) A run to one of the drink carts was necessary after this stop.

Isthmus a la Carts

The fest was not without some disappointments. Some of the advertised vendors (Melted, Caracas Empanadas) never showed up at the fest. The gates opened at 4PM but only one or two carts were serving food at that time, cart owners clearly needed more time to set up the event and some were still pulling in after the fest opened. The lines were long but moving quick in most places.

What Isthmus said about a la Carts



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Filed under American, Asian, Cajun, Ethiopian, French

Ingrid’s LunchBox

Breakfast from the LunchBox
Location: Farmers’ Market; Capitol Square, corner of State  and East Mifflin Street
By: Stephanie

I was really excited to go to the farmer’s market this Saturday for a few reasons:

1. This was my first trip to the market of the year
2. I needed groceries
3. I wanted to see cute little kids
4. I could go to Ingrid’s Lunchbox for a crêpe

I had a bite of Ingrid’s at last year’s farmer’s market. I remember my mouth being overwhelmed with joy, so I was looking forward to going back. There was a little bit of a line, but I figured my crêpe would be worth the wait (and I was right!). With 9 menu items to choose from, I had a hard time deciding what I wanted. Should I get the customizable farmer’s crêpe (I planned on getting it with swiss, asparagus and mushrooms), the fresh fruit crêpe, or the banana nutella crêpe? So many delicious choices!!

Ingrid's LunchBox at the Farmer's Market

I went with the fresh fruit crêpe–the sweet summery tastes of fruit sounded extremely appealing despite the overcast, un-summery weather. It included a sweet crêpe filled with strawberries, pineapple, and real heavy whipped cream, topped with a crème fraîche (a rich cream with a nutty, slightly sour taste and a velvety texture). I paid $6 for my food but had to wait about 5 minutes. There was a huge line with lots of other people waiting for their food as well, so I figured if it was this popular I was making a good choice for breakfast.

I was handed a paper plate with a HUGE crêpe on it wrapped in insulated foil (comically labeled ‘cheeseburger’) with a plastic fork. I didn’t really know how to go about eating the thing–do I eat it burrito style with my hands? Do I attempt to cut off chunks with my puney fork? I chose the latter. The first bite with a mix of crêpe, the sweet bite of strawberries and pineapple enveloped in the whipped creme and crème fraîche was heavenly. It’s funny how food can evoke feelings when you eat it. My breakfast just made me feel downright happy. Happy to be eating, happy to be at the farmer’s market, happy about life. I was just a very happy girl!

My monster fresh fruit crêpe

I couldn’t finish the whole crêpe, but I felt very full and extremely satisfied. I would definitely head back to Ingrid’s LunchBox again and would recommend it to anyone! They have menu items that appeal to all and satisfy a wide rage of food cravings. Now I just need to figure out a weekly schedule to balance my crêpes from Ingrid’s and the hot spicy cheese bread from Stella’s…

Deliciousness: 4/5 plates
Price: 5/5 plates
Speed: 3/5 plates
Authenticiy/Originality: 5/5 plates

Overall: 4/5 plates


Filed under French