Soho has been known as one of the go-to food trucks for dumplings in Madison for years, but now that they’ve opened a storefront in Fitchburg, they’ve expanded their menu. And boy were those good additions! Of course they still serve dumplings, but if you’re going to the restaurant in Fitchburg I would suggest some of the things they don’t serve out of the cart.
Before trying calamari at Soho with Michelle Li, I had tried it several other times and didn’t like it — both fried and sauteed. I thought the texture was terrible and the taste was worse. But Rocky at Soho really knows how to do calamari. His secret…promise you won’t tell…is cornstarch. I could eat an entire order of it by myself. The batter is salty and crispy. The calamari is tender and not fishy. And to my surprise, the pieces with the tentacles were the best ones because they were crispier. The calamari comes with a tasty dipping sauce, but it is not necessary. All you need is a little lemon juice squeezed on top and it’s time to dig in! If you don’t like calamari, do me a favor and give Soho’s a try. They will convert you.
We also got to try Soho’s green beans and fried tofu. I know, you’re thinking that both of those sound boring, but trust me…they aren’t at Soho. The green beans are charred, salty and in some sort of sauce that was so good I started eating them before I even had a fork, and couldn’t stop.
Now for the tofu. Every time I try to cook tofu it ends up mushy and tasteless…so I usually avoid it. Well apparently the secret is to deep fry it…because everything is better deep fried! The tofu soaks up the sauce they use, so it’s soft and flavorful on the inside and super crispy on the outside. As a non-tofu-lover I was surprised that I just kept popping cubes of tofu into my mouth.
FOOD NOTES: Soho’s dumplings are good…there’s no question about it, but if you’re going to their store in Fitchburg instead of their food truck I really suggest giving some of their other menu items a try. I would venture to say their calamari tops most of the places in Madison and they really know how to serve up usually boring green beans and tofu with flare.
When it’s sunny, feels like it’s 130 degrees and you’re walking around on blacktop the last thing you want to do is eat something heavy and greasy…well it’s the last thing I wanted to do during Atwood Fest at the end of July. Everyone else seemed perfectly fine eating hot, fried food, but my friend and I went for a mediterranean option from the Banzo food cart.
The food cart offers a couple different ways to get their falafel, chicken or kebabs. You can get them in a pita, on a hummus plate, over rice with hummus on a platter or as a salad. I got the falafel and chicken combo platter, which comes with mediterranean chicken, falafel, rice, hummus, salad and pita. The salad was fresh and crunchy…a fantastic, fresh option on a hot day. The rice wasn’t anything special, and the chicken was good…but the stars of the platter were the falafel and the hummus. Everything was better dipped in the garlicky, creamy, earthy hummus and the falafel was crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and had a great flavor.
FOOD NOTES: Anything Banzo serves would be a great option to other festival food, especially when it’s hot and steamy out. Next time I’ll get the full falafel platter instead of doing the chicken combo. I’d also like to try the salad with falafel.
The mark of a great summer day in Madison includes a stop at the food carts on Library Mall. So, on one of my quieter days last week I made a stop at the food carts on the way home from taking pictures around campus. There are a couple new food carts this year so I figured I should probably try something new instead of my traditional stop at the Buraka cart for some amazing Ethiopian Food and I settled on the Electric Earth Cafe food cart. I had never seen their cart before or eaten at the actual restaurant located on W. Wash so I stopped to look at the menu. The menu included standard sandwich and salad options at reasonable prices so I decided to try the tuna because I tend to judge a restaurant/food cart on the quality of their tuna salad sandwich or tuna melt.
The price was a little over $6 which included the sandwich, a bag of chips and a small cup of noodle salad (which was extremely good and I wish I could buy just a big bowl of that! Ingredients: artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and some other tasty ingredients that were so few and far between in the tiny portion that I couldn’t tell what they were!). And the tuna salad, which came on sturdy slices of whole wheat bread (the cart had a couple other bread options as well), was amazingly unconventional. Normally, tuna salad has celery in it and an over abundance of mayo. This tuna was light (I’m not even sure if it had mayo in it) and had shredded carrots and raisins in it! When I first noticed the raisins I was very apprehensive but they were a very interesting flavor and texture addition that I am happy to say I will be returning to the cart for again (hopefully I will be able to get a large container of the noodle salad as well!). I was surprisingly happy with the amount of tomato, onion and crisp lettuce too!
Bottom line: this food cart passed the “tuna” test with flying colors by offering amazing sides as a compliment to an tasty, albeit unconventional, sandwich! I will return for this sandwich and others while begging for large portions of the noodle salad.