Find Flavor in a Flash

The Atlantic’s dining guru Tyler Cowen, author of “Six Rules for Dining Out,” doubles as a well-versed economist. By his calculations, the more restaurants spend on rent, the less cash available for food. Our equation is a little more simple-minded: A long lunch break means you’re stuck in the office later in the evening. In such lessons of economics and elementary math, quick eats and food trucks are your strongest assets.

Hearty sandwiches, accompanied by Door County chips, make for a perfectly filling lunch. The finishing touch, a square of locally made chocolate, is a reminder of the shop’s prime location on the Capitol Square, just a short jaunt away from downtown workplaces. 

Quenching your hunger (and thirst) for cultural cuisine is well within reach at Library Mall, where State Street meets the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The mall delivers a culinary tour around the world, all within a block, with Jamaican, Thai, Peruvian, Indonesian, Mexican, Chinese, Costa Rican are African traditions represented. Most vendors stay open April through November. Here, a few standouts.

• Two-for-five-dollar empanadas at Caracas Empanadas prove filling and flavorful. 

The Dandelion is a goldmine for vegetarians and vegans. Found near the University Club, it features tofu dishes and homemade wraps

Luamprabang tempts fruit-loving foodies with mango tofu curry, mango sticky rice and the staple papaya salad.


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Brianna Wilson is a former editorial intern at Madison Magazine.