51 meatless things to try in Madison before Lake Mendota thaws

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Several weeks ago I stumbled upon Andre Darlington’s blog where he listed 50 things that are quintessential Madison. And then last week I discovered this blog and a woman named Holly who took Darlington’s list on as a challenge. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. And that somebody is not me (too meat-centric). However, I have decided to riff on their idea and simultaneously one up them with my list: 51 Meatless Things to Try in Madison Before Lake Mendota Thaws. And because it is one of my favorites, I will borrow Darlington’s #15 and make it my #1.

51 Meatless Things to Try in Madison Before Lake Mendota Thaws

1) Walnut Burger at Harmony Bar (add blue cheese and fried onions)

2) Veggie Ramen at Umami Ramen and Dumpling Bar

3) Blueberry Scone at Lazy Jane’s (or Raspberry or Blackberry)

4) Whiskey Old Fashioned Press at Weary Traveler

5) Three Cup Tofu at Natt Spil (the best tofu dish in Madison, in my humble opine)

6) Peanut Butter and Jelly Bar at Batch Bakehouse

7) Sweet Potato Fries with Tarragon Mayo and Jalapeno Blackberry Jam at Alchemy

8) Margherita Pizza at Pizza Brutta

9) Popcorn at Graze

10) Cesar’s String Cheese at Willy Street Co-op

11) Black Bean Tacos at Burrito Drive (don’t forget to add pickled onions!)

12) Any Tapper (preferably post-Packer victory) at Laurel Tavern

13) Butter (really more like savory frosting) at Tornado Club (bread optional)

14) Spinach Nan at Taste of India

15) Bottle of Miller High Life and Bag of De-lish-us Chips at Old Duffer’s (a hop, skip and jump from Madison out Highway 18/151)

16) Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Avocado at Lazy Jane’s

17) Plantains at Cafe Costa Rica

18) Big Country Bread from Cress Springs Bakery at Dane Co. Farmer’s Market (tastes even better if you take it home and eat it while listening to ‘In a Big Country’ by Big Country)

19) Warm Beet Salad at Graze

20) Frites at Jacs

21) Margarita at Pasqual’s

22) Asian Slaw at Restaurant Muramoto

23) Pineapple Curry with Tofu at Lao-Laan Xang (Atwood location)

24) Rejected Truffles (any flavor) at Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier (free samples!)

25) Macaroni and Cheese at The Old Fashioned

26) Sardine Caesar* at Sardine (*has anchovies, which technically could be considered meat… I guess I like to live on the edge)

27) Bottomless Cup of Tanzanian Peaberry Coffee (and a game of cribbage or Scrabble) at EVP

28) Wedge Salad at Tornado Club

29) The Ramblin’ Vegan’s Chili at Weary Traveler

30) Sake Bomb at Karaoke Kid (where I once witnessed a rousing rendition of aforementioned ‘In a Big Country’ in the VIP lounge)

31) Bella Burger at Alchemy

32) Steamed Tofu Dumplings at Ha Long Bay

33) Dark & Stormy at Cafe Costa Rica

34) Aloo Chana at Taste of India

35) Onion Bagel  at Bagels Forever

36) Sexy Fries at Mickey’s Tavern

37) The Smell at Fraboni’s (just walk in and inhale.. you’re welcome)

38) Frozen Cheese Pizza at Crystal Corner

39) Kale, Lemon, Green Apple and Ginger Juice at Willy Street Co-op Juice Bar

40) 2% Latte at Bradbury’s* (*only attempt if you have the moxie to attempt the maze of hipsterdom)

41) Maize Salad at Alchemy

42) Egg Sandwich (hold the bacon) at Crema Cafe (so good I had to eat it twice this weekend)

43) McLovin Irish Red Ale at Vintage Brewing Co. (go on a Wednesday and check out the Madison Blues Co-op blues jam!)

44) Vegetarian Antipasta Platter at Greenbush Bar

45) Whole Wheat and Cheddar Scone from Cress Springs Bakery at Dane Co. Farmer’s Market

46) Mediterranean Plate at Jacs

47) Red Beans and Rice at New Orleans Take-Out

48) Veggie Empanada at Victory

49) Cucumber Salad at Sa-Bai Thong

50) Gruyere-Filled Roll at Batch Bakehouse

51) Rathskeller Ale and Bag of Popcorn at Memorial Union (watch the ice thaw)

Did I forget anything? Please add any favorites in the comments!

Author: erica banks krug

I live in Wisconsin. I love cooking, eating kale, taking photographs, road trips and the Packers. I used to ride a ski lift to work. Now I work as a substitute teacher. But I dream of being able to call myself a "writer." You have to start somewhere....

17 thoughts on “51 meatless things to try in Madison before Lake Mendota thaws”

  1. A lot of my favorites! I totally trust you now, and I’m glad that there are lots of suggestions that are new to me. Will be checking them out!

  2. I love this take on the list! (38 is great.)

    Some of my favorite meatless things – Santa Fe Trailer’s gazpacho, carrot cake at Cottage Cafe, ANYTHING at Banzo (yum!), on the popcorn tip – City Bar’s (does bacon salt count?), cheese leftovers at Fromagination, butternut squash risotto and sticky toffee pudding at Dining Room in Montello, more risotto (mushroom, I think?) at Kennedy Manor Dining Room, quesadilla at Los Gemelos (make sure they don’t put chicken on it), half the menu at Palmyra, ribollita at Osteria Papavero, eggs & toast at Pat O’Malley’s Jet Room, cheese pizza at Rossi’s, spring roll from Fresh Cool Drinks… we are so lucky to live with so much good food around.

    1. I LOVE Santa Fe Trailer’s gazpacho. I wanted to put it on the list but I think it is a seasonal item… I’ll have to do another list for summer time! Thanks for all of the great suggestions and thanks for reading!

  3. Excellent! I’d like a #27 right now: couple cups of Tanzanian peaberry and a game of cribbage.
    Also for the list: a Veggie Sandwich at Fromagination and the Iceberg Salad at the Tornado Steakhouse (just a wedge of iceberg smothered in bluecheese – a simple but attractive and tasty salad).

  4. I’d add the Heathen Shoplifters Delight and the TNT BLT both from Monty’s Blue Plate Diner. A tempeh sandwich done right is divine. Also, the Bibimbap with tofu from Graze or their weekend tofu scramble specials. Finally, I’d add to #2 the veggie dumplings with spicy sauce.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and adding your suggestions… I forgot about the BLT from Monty’s! I agree, when tempeh is done well, it’s delicious. And I’ll have to try the shoplifters delight! I will also try the tofu at Graze… Cheers! Erica

  5. BooooooooooSH on the Walnut Burger… Squash Curry with Tofu at Ha Long Bay… Pumpkin at EVP by way of La Brioche – but overall great job Ms. Banks!

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