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  • Welcome! My name is Kelly, and I am a picky eater. On this blog I share recipes, new (to me) foods, restaurants, and products that I try in an effort to expand my tastes. You might also find me talking about my pug Olive, Miss Kitty, Project Life, my journey with running, and more! Feel free to contact me: [email protected]

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Taste of Madison Judging

Full Disclosure: I was given this food free of charge, but all of the opinions are completely my own. 

On Monday I had a very delicious opportunity.  The organizers of the Taste of Madison invited me to judge the some of the foods that would be offered this year! There are winners in every category (appetizer, ethnic cuisine, dessert, etc) as well as well as a winner for “must unique” and “best presentation.”  To say I was excited about this opportunity would be a major understatement.

When I arrived at the Smart Motors show room where the event was being held (which is really a beautiful open space, by the way.) I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the different food there was to try!  Not knowing where to start, I just went to the most empty booths and grabbed whatever they had to try.

Taste People

 I didn’t photograph every single thing that I ate, but I have some things to share….apparently most of what I ate was dessert, so it is definitely a sweets heavy photo set. I could have sworn I took photos of other things too, but apparently I was wrong.  This is just a small sampling of what I tried, and an even smaller taste of what is to come at the Taste.

To give you an idea of how many things there were to try, the photo below is one page of the scoring sheet.  There were, I believe, 6 or 7 pages.  That is a LOT of food!

One of the first things that I tried, and also one of my favorite things that I ate, was this chocolate waffle with Chocolate Shoppe Birthday Cake Ice Cream from TNT’s Coffee.  I haven’t even heard of this restaurant, but this dish was really amazing.  I’m not even a huge fan of plain vanilla ice cream, but the ice cream in combination with the chocolate waffle was perfect!  I might have to get this again when I go to the Taste!

Chocolate Waffle

The next photo is actually a combination of two different restaurants – a Cheese Fritter from Capital Tap Haus and Chicken Tikka Masala from Taj Indian.  The fritter was good, but HUGE and filling.  Definitely not like a little cheese curd!  I tend to stay away (far, far, away) from Indian food, so I decided to venture out and give this a try.  I wasn’t a fan.  It wasn’t even spicy or anything, I just didn’t really like the flavor.

Tikka Masala

The next item was also a little bit of a venture out of my comfort zone. It is a Cran-Slam Club from Capriotti’s Sandwiches – it was being advertised as Thanksgiving Dinner on a bun.  I’m not sure really what made me decided to try this because I don’t love turkey, but it actually was pretty good!  The turkey combined with the cranberry sauce is actually tasty!


 The next was another favorite, it also happens to be another dessert.  It is the Roasted Banana Cheesecake from Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse.  It was really good, and almost tasted more like banana bread than traditional cheesecake. There was actually another person at my table that was trying this that said they normally aren’t a fan of cheesecake but really liked this as well.  The delicious flavor may also have something to do with the fact that it is rum infused as well.

Banana Cheesecake

The next item that I tried was a macaron from Madison Sweets.  I have never had a macaron before, so I was excited to try this because I know that some people rave about how good they taste.  The flavor of this macaron is cookies and creme – I couldn’t resist, it sounded and smelled so good! It tasted delicious as well!  Really good.  I’m a fan of macarons.


The next photo is also a couple of things combined into one plate.  The three small sweets are from Vom Fass, they were a biscotti, a key lime bar, and raspberry cake I believe.   My favorite of the three was the key lime bar.  The other item on the plate was…can you guess?  What is possibly my favorite dessert in Madioson, and what I seek out at every Taste of Madison?  So good, that it has even been used instead of wedding cake? It is the Cookie Dough Egg Roll from Bluephies.  So good.


 Aside from what I have pictured there were other favorites that I ate like Sai Bai Thong, which has my current favorite Pad Thai in the city. Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse also had some delicious Steak Deburgo and their Betta Bruschetta was good as well – it was made with goat cheese! There were many, many, many other things there that I could have tried but my stomach just didn’t have room for everything.  Whatever kind of food you like, you will most definitely find something that appeals to your tastes at Taste of Madison this year.  I was looking forward to it as usual, but this little tasting made me even more excited.

Thanks again to Scott with Taste of Madison who invited me!

Now I’ll start counting down the days until the Taste!

Have you been to the Taste of Madison in the past?  What is your favorite thing to get there?

5 Responses

  1. such a cool opportunity, kelly! i’m a little jealous. 🙂

    i’ve never been to taste of madison, and i hope brad and i can make it this year. it sounds like a lot of fun!

    • I think I remember you saying you’d never been last year! It is lots of fun, and so much good food!!!

  2. This looks awesome!!!!!! I can’t imagine having so many options, you are officially less picky than me cause I’d probably panic haha. That waffle looks like it deserves a home in my belly, FYI!

    • It was SO fun! It was definitely overwhelming too though to basically try as many things as you could without filling up too quickly.

      That waffle. SO good.

  3. SO jealous. Wish i could come to the Taste of Madison!

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