Tag Archives: Monty’s Blue Plate Diner

Special Report: Isthmus a la Carts

By: Anna and Kailey

Isthmus held it’s first ever food cart festival called “Isthmus a la Carts” on May 11, 2012 at Olin Park. It was a streeteaters paradise: carts in one spot during a gorgeous 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 $15?

food cart fest

Streeteaters Anna and Kailey hit every single cart, sampled nearly every dish and generally talked about how great food carts are. We loved seeing our favorites and  introduced ourselves to some new kids on the block like Slide who serve mini-sliders on Dayton Street near Memorial Union South.

Slide’s mini sliders

Here’s our top three sampled goods:

1. Caracas Empanadas. The sweet plantain and roasted garlic empanada was incredible and the homemade Guasacaca sauce was icing on the already delicious cake. Anna would have preferred to drink the sauce. It was just that good.
2. Fried and Fabulous. There’s really no way to go wrong with deep fried Oreos and balls of cookie dough. Their full menu also features healthy snacks (not like we tried them…) and parks late night by the Madhatter bar.
3. Banzo. The falafel tasted great (as always) when tucked inside its petite pita. In a shocking twist, Anna (med cafe’s number one fan) declared Banzo’s falafel BETTER than med cafe’s. The falafel was absolutely the best she’s ever tasted.

Also, shout-out to Monty’s Blue Plate Diner. They only had coffee and doughnuts but that maple iced coffee quenched our thirst in a big way.

Despite the wonderful atmosphere at the fest there were a few let downs: Igo Vego’s veggie burgers were dry and odd tasting, the Surco cart was there but strangely not serving anything, three carts were offering the exact same spring rolls and we failed to realize that beverages were not included with our ticket price (luckily we hit the smoothie carts to calm the heat of some Thai food).

Igo Vego

The fest reenforced everything we love about streeteating: nice business owners who are proud of their mobile businesses and delicious food. Throw in some great weather and friendship and you have yourself an outing at the first ever Isthmus a la Carts.

Streeteaters

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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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