Author Archive

Mangoes Are Only Red on the Outside

February 20, 2010

I didn’t even know Red Mango existed until I saw an ad in the Badger Herald about something for free. I didn’t even end up going on the day that I could get something free. Silly me.

Red Mango is this tiny little place on the 600 block of State Street. It sort of seems like it doesn’t belong, but in time, it should mesh with the rest.

So what is Red Mango? It’s frozen yogurt!

So what is frozen yogurt? A healthy alternative to ice cream!

The menu is short, just the way I like it.

Currently, they offer 4 flavors of frozen yogurt and a 16 toppings that can be mixed and matched however the customer imagines them. I opted for the pomegranate yogurt, as I’ve only had vanilla in the past. For simplicity’s sake, I ordered just one topping- Cocoa Pebbles. How cool is that? It was really good. The yogurt was perfectly tangy and well, Cocoa Pebbles, how could I go wrong?

Mango also offers smoothies and iced teas. But beware, if 3 girls in front of you are ordering these smoothies and change their mind about their toppings 3 times, you’ll be waiting a little while.

Like I said, the place is small, so there are only 4 tables and a small window seating area. There seemed to be a decent flow of people coming through and the lines will only get longer during the summertime.

Perhaps the most refreshing thing about Red Mango is their transparency. They clearly label everything with calories and have several pamphlets explaining the nutritional benefits of their yogurt. They make sure to let customers know what is in their food and they explain what all those big fancy words mean. Most people might not care about GanedenBC(30), but for the discerning customer who does, they’ve got it all lined out in technical and layman’s terms. It’s a good bacteria that helps maintain digestive healthy, by the way.

This place is a definite competitor for all the ice cream available on State Street. You still get a sweet treat, but for probably 1/2 the calories and just as much fun. I’m pretty sure Cold Stone doesn’t have Captain Crunch.

I would highly recommend checking this place out the next time you get a craving for a sweet treat- you won’t regret it.


Gotham’s got that New York Attitude

February 13, 2010

And not in a bad way.

I finally made it up to Gotham Bagels. I went the wrong way once I got to the Capital and I had to basically walk all the way around the square. The strap on my bag broke and it was really cold that day.

In the end though, it was worth it. The air was fresh and what I ordered was satisfying.

When you walk down the street to get to Gotham Bagels, immediately you wonder why the hell it is located in such a shady place. There isn’t much to look at on that street, but this place is worth it. I think Gotham could really benefit from a better location, but if you can forget the surroundings and just walk inside, you’ll be happy you did.

When you walk into Gotham, you are immediately overcome by the delicious scent.

The first thing I noticed was that the clientele seemed to be a little older, probably because most students can’t get past Jamba Juice on any given day. However, I don’t really see this as a bad thing. In just a few short blocks, I felt like I had transported to a more sophisticated place.

I knew that I was going to get a bagel, but it was really tough to decide. They don’t have an asiago or cheese variety, so  I opted for the pumpernickel. This bagel was super dense, but a little dry for me. Perhaps it would have tasted a little fresher earlier in the day. The one thing these bagels definitely have going for them is size. They are big and for $1, you get way more for your money here than other bagel shops.

In the deli case, they had several different kinds of fresh juices. I was immediately drawn to the cranberry lavendar juice because I like lavendar, though I don’t think I have ever eaten it.. until now. The juice was heavenly. If you like cranberry juice, you will like this. The lavendar added just the perfect amount of sweetness to counteract the tartness of the cranberry. The juice was $3 which is sort of expensive, but I would get it again because it is really good.

Gotham Bagels doesn’t just offer juice and bagels though. They also have coffee, deli items and lunch. Their menu was really straight-forward- not too many items to choose from.

Oh yeah, I said that they have attitude. The girl who took my order was sort of aloof and she wasn’t overly friendly at all. It really made me feel like I wasn’t in Wisconsin anymore, which for me, is really refreshing.

I definitely will be going to Gotham again. I’ll probably stick to Einstein’s for my asiago bagel, but during the summer, I will be much more inclined to take the walk.

Gotham Bagels

112 East Mifflin Street
Madison, WI 53703-2825
(608) 467-7642

Roadhouse not just for Texans

January 30, 2010

Last weekend, I ventured out to Texas Roadhouse.

In case you aren’t aware, it is located close to the Interstate and East Towne Mall.

I’ve been there before, but it was years ago. This time I was really excited because I was in the mood for some good barbecue. And I received just that.

Texas Roadhouse is a chain restaurant, but they are extremely authentic in that they make a lot of the menu from scratch. This includes the rolls which I think are the best before-meal bread I’ve ever had, the baked beans which taste nothing like Bush’s and of course, the barbecue.

The most fun aspect of Texas Roadhouse is that you can throw peanut shells and basically whatever other trash you want on the floor. It truly makes you feel more comfortable, even if throwing trash on the ground is a little barbaric.

Perhaps my favorite part of this visit (which occurred on a Saturday) was that they had margaritas for $2.75! And they didn’t fill them with a ridiculous amount of ice. And they weren’t too sweet. Let’s just say we had a few.

I’m a fan of the appetizer, so we ordered a bloomin’ onion. It was pretty much the exact same thing as the one you can get at Outback Steakhouse. It was good though, nothing I could complain about at all.

For main courses, we had ribs all around. These ribs are good people. Totally fall-off-the-bone, just as advertised. The top is a little crunchy which I can’t resist and the bottom layers are succulent and soft. The barbecue sauce is plentiful and has a good balance of smoky to sweet.

You have to choose well when picking sides here. While the baked beans are a treasure, the mashed potatoes are just mashed potatoes and the mixed vegetables consists of nothing more than a few pieces of broccoli and some baby carrots steamed and coated in a buttery sauce. However, the sweet potato is divine. You have to order the marshmallow topping, no excuses.

The check for 1 appetizer, 2 adult meals, 1 kid’s meal and 3 margaritas came in at just under $50. Not bad at all.

Edited: I have been informed that the Logan’s opening on W. Johnson St. has no affiliation with Logan’s Roadhouse. Sorry to get your hopes up. I’m sad too.

99 cents is worth it.

January 23, 2010

Located at 652 State Street, Einstein’s is one of my favorite places to spend less than a dollar and still be totally satisfied.

For 99 cents, you can grab any of their bagels. I have never ventured past my favorite Asiago bagel, but that’s because I don’t have to. It’s so good that I don’t want to have any other flavor. I believe this is probably true for whatever flavor tickles your fancy. Einstein’s Asiago bagel has a chewy quality that I really like, but its one downfall is that it’s just not quite cheesy enough. This may be due to the fact that this Asiago bagel has a hole in the middle, while many others I have had do not. At 99 cents, I can’t complain.

Apple-cinnamon bagel with blueberry cream cheese.

Einstein’s line at lunchtime used to be out the door, but lately, it isn’t quite as long. I can only speculate that this may be a part of the poor economy, but perhaps it is simply being forgotten in the mix of restaurants lining State. Also, Starbucks is close. Damn.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about Einstein Bros. is the fact that they print coupons in the Sunday newspaper- good coupons too! For example, I had a coupon the other day that was for a “free regular chocolate covered strawberry latte with any purchase.” So, I purchased my 99 cent bagel and received a latte for free. For free! It was an excellent midday snack- cheap and satisfying.

Einstein Bros. isn’t just bagels and coffee. They also have a pretty expansive breakfast and lunch menu. Score!

Einstein’s is generally a pretty loud place and not really the type of place that I could ever study in, but if you have no problem studying in College Library, you can probably also study in Einstein’s.

Though I am generally not an advocator for chain coffee shops, for me, this is not my coffee shop; it’s my bagel shop.

Next week, I’m taking a trek up to Mifflin to see if Gotham has a better bagel for me.

I’m also planning to have a deli lunch from Fresh. I’ll let you know how that goes as well.

Help Haiti

January 14, 2010

The Pioneer Woman puts it best when she says,

“There’s not a person alive who doesn’t have Haiti on his mind today”

Isn’t that the truth?

For many Americans, our hearts are hurting to hear of the disaster that has taken over the lives of Haitians, but we are not able to help as much as we wish we would.

If you’d like to help, but you don’t have the monetary means to do so, hop on over to the Pioneer Woman’s website. For every comment, she is donating 10 cents to the recovery efforts in Haiti. In addition, if your name is drawn from the comments, you will be able to choose a Haitian-related charity to donate $500 to.

Just one comment will make some difference. 10 comments will make an even bigger difference. Do what you can to help.

Even if you are donating otherwise, please think about leaving a comment over at the Pioneer Woman.

For a list of other Haitian-related charities, please visit The Charity Navigator.

“Fresh” is fresh.

January 9, 2010

Today, Fresh Madison Market opened for the first time. I’ve been impatiently awaiting its opening. I’m not sure why really- I guess I just like grocery stores. I was a little nervous that this one was going to go all “Whole Foods” on campus and be super organic and natural and expensive.

To my delight, I have nothing bad to say. Yes, love that. I like being positive, don’t you?

Fresh Madison Market is essentially a grocery store, with the goal of staying closely connected with its customers. The website contains a blog with comments enabled, information on job openings and even some delicious sounding recipes. The store itself was open and inviting. It wasn’t stuffy and the people working there didn’t seem stuffy either. Hopefully a bunch of snotty kids won’t get jobs there and change that dynamic.

Contrary to my expectations, prices were comparable to any other grocery store I’ve shopped, and let me tell you, I am experienced grocery shopper. Some things were priced a little high and some things had really great prices. I especially found the produce to be exceptionally well priced (and abundant too!). The items I found to be a tad expensive were generally convenience items, such as Lean Cuisine or hot dogs. However, even on the first day, some of their prices were outrageously amazing and if I had gone there to grocery shop, these things would have landed in my cart.

Like most grocery stores, you walk right into produce. Unlike most grocery stores, the produce section isn’t cramped and hard to maneuver (ever been to Metcalfe’s?). Not only that, but the produce was all.. get this! Fresh!

They also have organic produce available.

Near the produce is a lovely soup & salad bar, along with a few hot food options. I know I will be grabbing lunch here instead of at a restaurant often this semester.

Nearby is the bakery and deli. I must have been focusing hard on the baked treats because I didn’t photograph the deli and meat counter, including an abundance of red meat and seafood. I did however, capture some delicious cakes.

The store includes items that you might not be able to find elsewhere downtown, such as beautiful steaks and exotic spices. The store isn’t just geared towards college students- it’s geared towards people. We’re all of the Homo sapien variety, so that’s pretty great, right?

It’s green friendly.

Maybe most importantly to the college crowd, they carry medicine, toiletries, beer and Franzia. Actually, they’ve got a pretty large section devoted to beer and wine. They had to.

Perhaps my favorite part about the entire store was that it was open, inviting, neat and orderly. I didn’t feel cramped.  It was cute and modern. Cute? Yeah, cute.

I know that was a lot of pictures of a grocery store, but I really like the place and I would really like it if you checked it out. Go small business, go! They should pay me for this free PR, they really should, but I’ll understand if they don’t. It was voluntary, after all.

To reward you for bearing with me through all these photos, I will give you some real cuteness (it’s a word…) and a tiny glimpse into my world.

I told you it was cute.

Fresh Madison Market

Located on the corner of Lake & University, in the Lucky/USquare Building

The Wait

January 2, 2010

For most, winter break is totally relaxing. Lucky them.

The rest of us are impatiently waiting for a letter from a particular department; a letter that may or not may not seal our fates. By us, I mean me, by the way. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Whether it’s business school or journalism school or both (yes, I know people that have applied to both), the wait quite frankly, stinks.

If I were about to jump into second semester sophomore year, the wait might be a little more manageable, but as a 4-credits shy of senior status student, the wait is unbearable. What if? What if? What if? That’s all I can think. A month ago, I would have told you that I am getting into J-school. As I turned in my application, I thought “no biggie.” The second I walked out of Vilas, though, panic set in. If I get in, I’m going to be psyched and ready, but if I don’t… if I don’t get in, truth it, I’m up shit’s creek- or at least that’s how I’ll feel for a while. I’ll be okay, don’t worry, but the fact of the matter is that I’ll have to choose another major or prolong college longer than it has already been prolonged. Not cool, my friends.

Some of you are probably thinking “oh chill out already.” You’re probably right.

In fact, someone close to me told has been telling me for weeks to just shut up about it because I don’t know yet. Why stress over the “What if’s?” when I don’t know anything yet. So that’s what I am trying to do. Ah yes, just writing about how I feel makes me feel better already. I think.

So I guess this is a message to those of you who aren’t totally chillin’ out over break. Chill out. We don’t know yet. And even when we do, there are options if the answer isn’t what we were expecting. Hell, that photography program at Madison College (how dumb does that sound?) is looking mighty nice actually.

Silly Christmas

December 24, 2009

Here’s to hoping your holidays are as silly and fun as mine. Remember to drive safe- the roads are a wreck!

To all you folks out there not celebrating Christmas, please also drive safe and enjoy some hot cocoa!

Visit Color Me Katie for a way to make the brown snow not seem so yucky!

Props to These Guys

December 13, 2009

Ok, they were taking a break. But these were the guys shoveling the stairs so that we didn’t fall down. Awesome.

Look how much snow. The trees look fluffy.

Frost Yourself

December 12, 2009

Every once in a while, I indulge. I have to. Monday afternoon in the quiet, peaceful snow, I took a stroll up half of State Street. I was headed towards what seemed like a somewhat forgotten spot: Cabana Room, which was nicely nestled underneath Samba

When I arrived, I was one of three customers. Fine by me. Unfortunate for them. Waiter, Clint, seemed thoroughly happy to see me though.

Throughout my indulgence, his service was pretty close to excellent, though he seemed intimidated or nervous. The bartender was nice too- he even came to greet me and tell me about a special dessert sampler. Seriously, it was so cute and totally appreciated.

Since it is sort of underground, the small space seems a little dark, making it the perfect place to meet your mistress for lunch. Just kidding. Sort of. You can take your regular girlfriend here too though.

The menu was short and sweet, just like I like it; nothing was too fancy or confusing. The back of the menu however, revealed an impressive beer list: ca-ching! Local microbrews make my heart beat a little faster. They also have Miller Lite, if you’re into that (I am, it’s all good).

I ordered the Cabana Burger: Brick pressed with angus beef, avocado, carmelized shallot, bacon and cabrales. Cabrales? What’s cabrales? Bleu cheese, straight from Spain. It was served with a side of ketchup and a side of chimichurri. I ignored the ketchup; they should really leave that off unless you get French fries. Let me tell you, this burger was fantastic. It was easily the best burger I have ever eaten. The complexity of flavors was incredible. With each bite, I noticed something new to love. Not only that, but the burger was massive and messy and that’s exactly what a burger should be.

I ordered the green salad with mango vinaigrette on the side, but other choices include fries or beans and rice. The dressing on the salad was slightly sweet, but not overwhelming.

To drink: I ordered a Hoegaarden, a Belgian white ale. It was noon a Monday; so sue me. Ladies, if you aren’t a “beer girl,” this microbrew might just make you one.

From the second the bartender said dessert, I knew I had to order it. Get this: the dessert sampler was $3! It included a small piece of flan, a creamy square of cheesecake and brigadeiro, a traditional Brazilian candy. Everything about this dessert was indulgent and more than I should have eaten and delicious. If you don’t go to Cabana Room for anything else, that’s fine, as long as you get dessert.

My total bill was $16.88 plus tip. Worth every penny, but I can empathize with this being too pricy, especially for lunch. However, remember that I ordered beer and dessert. You don’t have to do this. Head in for just a burger or just a beer or just dessert- they were all great, though the combination left me full far past dinner time. This may just be the perfect place to take a date, as long as you don’t mind burger juices running down her hands.

JM & Nichole also thought Cabana Room was pretty dang good.

Big shoutout goes to whoever can name the movie from where I abducted this title.