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Saturday, September 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 75.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Top Madison food cart entrees for when you're on the go this summer
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Credit:Linda Falkenstein

There was a time when office workers around the Square justifiably envied UW students for the superior selection of food carts that populated the Library Mall. No more. The selection of food carts on the Capitol Square now more than adequately competes with the cuisines on campus. In fact, the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridor is arguably one of the city's culinary hot spots.

Santa Fe Trailer
Library Mall

While we would never ignore Madison's Mexican carts (three at last count), Santa Fe Trailer provides a welcome Southwestern twist on the taco-burrito-tostada repertoire. Sure, you can get a burrito, but head for the blue corn enchiladas, made with red chile cheese, blue corn tortillas and green chile salsa. Or try a cup or a bowl of the New Mexican green chili stew, with potatoes, carrots, corn kernels, shredded pork and green chiles. The mellow flavor is closer to a white chicken chili than the familiar red chili con carne.

LMNO' Pies
100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
lmnopies.com/farmersmarket.htm

Luscious pie crust surrounds the tenderly spiced, stew-like interiors of these nontraditional takes on the Cornish pasty. Beef and chicken-cheddar are available, along with a special pasty of the day - but the veggie pasty, with corn, other fresh vegetables, a sweetly herbed sauce, cheese and no potatoes (!), is our top pick. At $4, it's a great deal, too.

Spice Yatra
Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at Main Street
spiceyatra.com

"The spice journey" continues. The city's only Indian food cart is aptly named, as all the dishes are spiced with special blends created and mixed by the chef, some of which pack plenty of heat. The hardest thing about ordering at this cart is choosing just one entree (for the indecisive, there's the pick-three combo platter). Say yes to the the tender chicken and rich spinach-based gravy of the chicken saag, or the tomato-based gravy of the kadai chicken.

Buraka
Library Mall

There's certainly a good reason that Buraka scores high with Isthmus readers in the annual Madison's Favorites poll. The lunch menu hasn't changed much; as always, the chicken peanut stew with the side of spicy lentil salad is a classic winning matchup.

The Dandelion
100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

You have to love a cart that actually reinvents its entire menu over the winter. This, Madison's only dedicated vegetarian cart (heck, Madison's only dedicated vegetarian food spot, period), has come back for its second year with a fun and adventuresome menu that should convince any eater that meatless doesn't mean tasteless.

The cart's sweet potato wrap is one of its best-sellers, with baked sweet potato, peppers, pesto and Gouda cheese wrapped inside a flour tortilla, which makes for a very filling lunch. I'd give a slight edge, though, to the stuffed poblano pepper, with a smooth artichoke cream cheese and diced veggie interior. It's served with a side of scrambled tofu, a peanutty Southwestern-tinged dish with new potatoes, corn, black-eyed peas, onions, diced peppers and cilantro.

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