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Monday, March 2, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 17.0° F  Fair
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Mad Town Lunch: Adam Powell, savoring Vietnamese on the far west side
Gỏi cuốn and phở tái gân with Thai iced tea at Saigon Noodle.
Gỏi cuốn and phở tái gân with Thai iced tea at Saigon Noodle.

Among the countless blogs covering food, we've always been inspired by Midtown Lunch, a guide for regular working types to eating an economical yet luscious lunch in Midtown Manhattan that began in 2006. The site has since expanded to cover the urban lunch hour in Lower Manhattan, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Inspired by our own unending search for amazing lunches in Madison, and also perhaps by the need for just a single vowel change to create Mad Town Lunch, we begin this series of asking local lunch lovers where they like to devour the mid-day meal.

We're happy to start our Mad Town Lunch adventure by quizzing Adam Powell. He has written hundreds of articles on local restaurants and food for publications including Isthmus and The AV Club, and is responsible for @madisonfood on Twitter. Adam has just published Mad City Eats: Food Adventures in Madison, Wisconsin, available as a paperback and for Kindle at

Mad Town Lunch: Adam Powell

Occupation: Vice President of Technology at SupraNet Communications, Inc.

Where do you work? Far west side.

Foods you love: Nigirizushi, pho, tom kha kai, shawarma, hummus, spanakopita, Coq au vin rouge, tacos, a perfectly prepared bacon cheeseburger.

Foods you prefer to avoid or won't eat: Bland "American" food. Sometimes I get called into an Applebee's or some other chain for a business lunch meeting, and it's just awful: salty soup, limp salads, rubbery chicken plates with 1,200 calories. Blech.

Favorite places to eat lunch in Madison: The Nile, Dhaba Indian Bistro, K Pepper, Sushi Muramoto, Village Bar, Marigold, Graze.

Fallback -"go-to" lunch place: Oliva.

Favorite lunch dish: G?i cu?n and ph? tái gn with Thai iced tea at Saigon Noodle.

Now-defunct Madison restaurant(s) you long to eat at again: Antojitos San Francisco on East Washington. Tres tacos barbacoas, I miss you dearly.

If you could eat only on one side of town, which would you pick?: East. I would eat at the Weary, Umami, Pig in a Fur Coat, Take Five, Madison Sourdough, Ha Long Bay, and Mickey's Tavern every day if I could. And that's just Willy Street.

What's your # 1 food desire yet-to-be-fulfilled? Real bagels.

Finally... pupusas, or arepas?: Arepas stuffed with egg and tomato are heaven.

Do you have a question to Isthmus readers about food? Where do you go when you are in the mood for Korean?

Do you eat lunch? Of course you do. If you'd like to be featured as a Mad Town Luncher, contact Linda Falkenstein.

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