Tag Archives: guest blogger

Luangprabang Thai Food

Attack of the Giant Spring Roll
Location: Library Mall
By: Megan Finley, Guest Streeteater

Editor’s Note: Megan is new to the Madison foodcart scene and offered to do some streeteating for us. Enjoy her post on the Thai Food Cart Luangprabang and check out her Twitter page or her witty blog for more about our amazing guest Streeteater! -Kailey

On a windy Wednesday in Madison the scents of delectable food cart goodness were wafting through the air drawing my nose and tummy toward the Library Mall.

Ok, that’s not really true. I was about a mile away and quite frankly I lack superhuman smelling abilities. But because I DO have superhuman cravings I was already daydreaming when my next meal would come and what it would be.  Though the 15-minute walk from work seemed a daunting task for my growing hunger, my ambition to find a great lunch prevailed and on this particular day I was in the mood for Pad Thai.  I found said Pad Thai at the Luangprabang food cart.

The beautifully painted Luangprabang Thai Food cart

The cart itself was intricately designed (appearing to be painted by hand) with quite the oriental look and feel and definitely gave me the authentic vibe. The menu only included a handful of entrees and a few sides, all of which were reasonably priced. A couple of the options included Squash Curry ($6.50) and Mango Salad with BBQ Chicken ($7.00), but as appetizing as they sounded, I was firm in my hunt for some great Pad Thai ($5.00).  For an additional $2.50 I had the cart owner throw in a spring roll.

I noticed upon paying that I only had a $50 bill, which thankfully wasn’t a problem and there was change for my $7.50 meal.  The line took about 5 minutes, and I waited an additional minute or so for my food after I ordered. Not too bad when you consider it was just past noon.

The spring roll surprised me a bit.  When I ordered, I pictured dainty finger food that would be a satisfying warm up to my Pad Thai. What I received could only be described as a spring roll/burrito mutant heavyweight monster. I exaggerate a lot, but I’m only being mildly sarcastic when I say I’m surprised the weight of that roll didn’t pop the wheels of the food cart. I was really hoping that mega poundage would correlate to mega tastiness. It did not. The spring roll was only fine, and I could barely make a dent in its enormity.

Giant spring roll and soggy Pad Thai

Similarly, the Pad Thai fell flat.

I have a recently formulated food cart theory about choosing foods that hold up well when stored for extended periods of time. It appears I can add rice noodles to the list of “avoid”. The noodles all mushed together in a giant heap in my Styrofoam box. Surprisingly, though the noodle mush was a let down, the flavor of the Pad Thai was unexpectedly good. I ordered it spicy per the server’s recommendation, and was even awarded a dollop of hot chili paste to satisfy my fiery palette.  And though I felt slightly deceived, I kept thinking over and over to myself, “this doesn’t taste like Pad Thai…but it is pretty good”.

Deliciousness: 2/5 plates

Price: 4/5 plates

Speed: 4/5 plates

Authenticity/Originality: 2/5 plates

Overall: 3/5 plates

Editor’s Note: We reviewed the Thai Riffic cart last year with a similar Pad Thai meal. It also received 3/5 plates as a score. Where’s the delicious foodcart Pad Thai in town?!

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Monty’s Blue Plate Diner

Delectable Diner 
Location: Corner of State and Mifflin Capitol Square / Library Mall alternately
By: Matthew Straub, Guest Streeteater

Editor’s Note: Matthew is an avid blog reader who discovered Madison Street Eats during his daily online blog perusing. Since Matthew is an experienced writer, who does freelance work for a daily deals site and formally wrote for the Badger Herald and a travel blog, we were eager to receive his polished submission. Enjoy Matthew’s post on yummy diner food and check out his Twitter page for more about our lovely guest Streeteater! -Kailey

In my mind, there are few staples of our nation’s culture more satisfying and archetypically American than the diner. You choose to eat at a diner or greasy spoon café and you’re rewarded with generous portions from a menu that is generally quite familiar. You sit amongst friendly, down-home type fellow customers, and when you’re finished filling yourself you gaze glossy-eyed and stuffed at greasy plate residue – the likes of which aren’t often seen outside of a bacon-filled frying pan. Usually, you disembark with a tab that’s alarmingly cheap. Quite simply, diners are almost always delicious, and there is an inherent cultural nostalgia in them that makes them very special tome.

So you can imagine my excitement when the Food Fight Group opened a Monty’s Blue Plate Diner food cart which is alternately located at the top of State Street on the Square or on Library Mall.

Monty's Blue Plate Diner food cart

The menu is small, and focused around lunch sandwiches more than typical diner fare, but as I visited on a Farmers’ Market morning I opted for a hot coffee (a requisite diner beverage, 80+ degree weather or not) and a breakfast sandwich, which was vaguely described as featuring “cheese and apples.” While I waited for my intriguingly mysterious sandwich to be freshly prepared, I sipped my steaming cup of extraordinarily delicious and local Just Coffee Cooperative coffee. Five minutes later, I sat down with sandwich in hand. The total price came in at a pleasantly cheap $6.10, and a third of that was just for the coffee.

Experiences at countless diners had me presuming the sandwich to be egg-based, but what I was given instead was two enormous slices of toasted sourdough bread holding thin slices of tart apple with what appeared to be a large slice of provolone cheese atop fresh spinach, all smothered with a hidden layer of gooey, creamy, delicious cheese that I have assumed to be chèvre (Editor’s note: chèvre is goat cheese and when it is served hot, as it is on this sandwich, it is called chèvre chaud).

Cheese and Apple sandwich

The sandwich was decidedly unlike anything you would find in an actual diner, but you know what else? It was fantastic. So simple as to be humble, modestly proportioned, slightly crunchy, a little tangy and a little sweet, Monty’s breakfast sandwich left me perfectly satisfied with my brunch choice. My only complaint is that the fare from this cart is not well aligned with the “diner” aspect of the Atwood Avenue restaurant.

Then, in the bottom of my little white paper take-out bag I noticed a donut. Whether this was included with the sandwich or a friendly gesture from the food cart maiden I cannot be sure, but it must be said that this hidden treat was a delightful surprise; sugary, sweet, light and still with a bit of crisp. None of that soggy old donut crap lesser establishments might pass your way.

bonus donut!

I walked away content, if not a bit too warm from all that coffee and humidity. I now find myself with a tantalizing curiosity about those other, non-breakfast sandwiches, diner name be damned.

Deliciousness: 4/5 plates

Price: 5/5 plates

Speed: 4/5 plates

Authenticity/Originality: 3/5 plates

Overall: 4/5 plates

If you want to be a guest streeteater, email us at madisonstreeteaters@gmail.com

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Kakilima: Authentic Indonesian Food

Hard To Pronounce, Delicious to Eat
Location: Library Mall
By:  Amy Huebner, Guest Streeteater

Editor’s Note: Amy is a newcomer to the foodcart revolution in Madison and discovered Madison Street Eats online. Amy took what she had learned about food cart fare from Madison Street eats and decided to go out on a limb and try something she had never tried – Indonesian Food! She sent us her review and has become our very first guest blogger. Thanks Amy for your well-written submission. -Kailey

After browsing the Library Mall food carts and thinking of ordering from Surco since it received such a great rating from Megan, I stumbled upon Kakilima-Authentic Indonesian Food cart. This cart had four main dishes and two specials which change every day. None of which I could pronounce. Fortunately, there are detailed food descriptions of the options for people like me! I have never tried Indonesian food of any sort and decided that there is no better time to start than now.

Kakilima in Library Mall

I decided on the Ayam Bakar – barbecued chicken breast with peanut sauce, served with rice and acar. What is acar you ask? No clue, but I decided to see where this food adventure would take me. It was a really warm day, so instead of opting for one of the Coke products they offered I stuck with good old water I had brought with me.

I paid $6.75 for my lunch, and stepped to the side for two other gentlemen to order. The line itself was only one person when I arrived, so the wait time was minimal. Less than two minutes later, my Ayam Bakar was boxed and ready to go. I walked with my co-workers to the Terrace, opened the Styrofoam container and dug in.

Ayam Bakar means “burned chicken” in Indonesian…this was delicious though!

The first bite was nothing less than delicious. The peanut flavor of the sauce was exactly what I had hoped for – which is good especially after hearing about Stephanie’s disappointment with the Pad Thai from Thai Riffic  that was lacking on peanut taste. The chicken itself was claimed to be barbequed, but I did not pick up any traditional barbecue tastes, it appeared to be just a grilled chicken breast.  This ended up being fine by me, as the peanut sauce was rich on its own. I initially thought that I had too much sauce and chicken for the amount of rice I received, but after a few bites in, it was a perfect ratio. Then it was time for the acar. I discovered that acar is a pickled cucumber and carrot salad. It is quite acidic all on its own but when mixed with the rest of the dish the richness of the peanut sauce gives it an excellent balance. Upon returning home, a quick look at Google confirmed that “acar” means pickle or pickled in Indonesian.

I proceeded to eat the entire dish, and was completely satisfied when I did finish. I would definitely order this dish again, and am now curious to try other Indonesian food items on their menu. Don’t let yourself be afraid of the items you aren’t familiar with – going out on a limb can be delicious!

Deliciousness: 4/5 plates

Price: 3/5 plates

Speed: 4/5 plates

Authenticity/Originality: 4/5 plates

Overall: 4/5 plates

If you want to be a guest streeteater, email us at madisonstreeteaters@gmail.com

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