Taste of Madison benefits area charities and non-profits, from local schools to a group that takes veterans fishing. They block off the streets around the capitol building for the stands, food trucks, and music stages. I biked down by myself and wandered around, looking for the best and most food for my twenty bucks. I wasn't really interested in the bands or beer, and having something approximating a well-rounded meal would be a nice bonus.
Hungry when I arrived, I stopped along the first arm of the square for a tamale from Ladonia Cafe, after another patron kindly offered to let me taste-test his. Then I had two free pieces of an organic granola bar (with chocolate, which is why I had stuffed the first one in my mouth already--it was still hot in early September, mind you).
Next on my menu was hand-battered fried Wisconsin cheese curds from Curd Girl, which had been voted Best of Taste 2014. Cheese curds are the first end-produce of making cheese, before the little bits get pressed together into a wheel or a block. They were hot and gooey, and when they were gone, I was done with them.
Along the next arm of the square I found a meat entree. When the dude behind the stand asked me if I wanted mustard, I retorted "Of course!" He laughed and agreed. The guy two in front of me in line got two ribs, which is what I was expecting, but I only got one. It was fine.
I passed up the ethnic foods on the third arm. On the fourth side I finally found my vegetable: roasted corn. No stick--instead, the husk was peeled down to make a handle. Needed more salt and butter. I wanted a sno-cone for drink/dessert, but the stand must have run out of supplies, because they were already packing up.
So I splurged on something that had been recommended to me: chocolate-covered cheesecake, turtle-style (with walnuts and caramel) from the Little Shop of Cheesecakes. It was a little messy to eat, because it had to melt enough that I could bite into it. As you might expect, it was very rich.
Biking back, I stopped at the lakeside beach just 5 minutes from where I was staying. I took off my shoes and waded a little in the water to take this selfie lookie back toward the isthmus and the food and music party that was ending.