This weekend was the annual “Taste of Madison”. Now, if you don’t live in Madison, this is set up just like the other “Tastes” held around the country. It’s a weekend-long event where the majority of the local restaurants will set up food tents along an area in the city, and sell samplings of their foods for super cheap. Everything at the Taste of Madison is between 1-4 bucks and over 200 restaurants participated this year. I was a little apprehensive, because I assumed that this was going to be a meat and cheese lover’s haven (it is Wisconsin, after all!), but I was pleasantly surprised!
The very first booth that we walked up to was a southern-style catering company that had their food items listed and the first thing on their menu were *Vegan* Red Beans and Rice (and yes, vegan was highlighted!). Hell yeah! Of course, I jumped on this opportunity, because I was still unsure of what else I’d be able to have. And they were honestly the best red beans and rice I have ever had! And a massive cup full for $2…you can’t beat it!
Don't they look delicious?!
Our next stop was at a Saloon’s tent, where they were advertising their Fried Pickles. Now, I know it isn’t exactly diet food, but I asked what they were cooked in and what they were breaded in. They assured me they were vegan (I even watched them cook some…totally safe!), and of course, I had to try those, too! I mean honestly, what’s better than deep fried pickles?! Nothing! They drizzled them in Hot Sauce, and I was in heaven!
As soon as I finished my 3 massive fried pickles ($3 bucks, folks!), we ended up at a tent for a Santa Fe-style restaurant. On their sign, next to a few items, they had these little leaves. At the bottom, the sign said that the leaves signified items that could be made vegan…hallelujah! I tried the vegan style gazpacho, and Julian got the vegan bean tostada and we shared…both were amazing, but the gazpacho was second to none! Seriously delish!
Now, you’re probably thinking that I couldn’t possibly shove any more food down my tubby tummy, but you’d be wrong!! Julian and I both got these delicious spritzers from a company that specializes in specialty oils, vinegars, and spices. Mine was a Pineapple-Mango-Peppermint-Oregano (don’t knock it til’ you try it…it was seriously amazing!) and Julian’s was a cranberry-lingonberry blend. Now, we were planning on hitting up some of the dessert tents now, but then we came across an Italian place that was serving Eggplant Fries drizzled in a paprika-garlic olive oil…now seriously, for $3, how can you pass that up?! They’re usually $12 at this restaurant, so I wasn’t going to say no! And I’m glad I didn’t, because they were superb!
For dessert, I had a mango Italian Ice, which was absolutely perfect. Not super sugary and clearly made with real mango and not that syrupy crap. Delicious ending! After listening to a couple of the bands on the various stages, we headed home, with full bellies and not an ounce of disappointment!
Julian enjoying his tiramisu (not vegan). I'm not a fan of this stuff, but he sure enjoyed it!
All in all, I have to give the Taste of Madison high rankings, because it did NOT disappoint in the least! I’m already looking forward to next year!