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Manna Cafe

In a word: Manna ability doesn't go on the stack. It resolves (hunger) immediately.

The specs: #0365
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Sabertoothed Anteater, Yelp, 77Square; menu at Menupix; official web site; Manna Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

JM ate the Wisconsin cheddar scramble with bacon and a Nantucket Nectar.
Nichole ate the French toast with fruit and a cappuccino.
The bill was $35, or $12/person, plus tip (including $11 for Johnson Brothers coffee beans).
JM gave Manna Cafe a B+; Nichole gave Manna Cafe an A (see our grading rubric).

Latest Manna Cafe news and reviews

Our day at Manna was off to a great foodie start already, since we'd stopped at the excellent Northside Farmers Market for preserves and cream. A late breakfast at the shop run by the people behind the Collins House B&B pretty much made a perfect foodie day (for Nichole, at least).

We ordered at the counter and took a number to the front dining room, which seemed a nice compromise between the possibly buggy patio and the more plush back room. While the front room is pleasant, the turnover and noise level was somewhat suggestive of a cafeteria. Or maybe we were just silly for sitting at the coveted table next to the bus tub.

French toast and fruitNichole's cappuccino came up fast. It was a big small (about 12 ounces), very hot and loaded with creamy whole milk. The foam was decent but dissipated pretty fast, and once it was gone the coffee was just coffee.

By almost all metrics, a breakfast of French toast made from sticky cinnamon buns, topped with macerated strawberries, with a side of chocolate maple syrup, is decadent. But this dish is worth a splurge in Nichole's book. The toast itself had a wonderful crispy outer layer around a warm, custardlike center. Perfect. Every piece of fruit was ripe. The chocolate maple syrup sounded better than it was in practice - that, or it was superfluous on such a good breakfast.

Wisconsin scramble and bialyThe Wisconsin scramble came topped with fresh chives and paprika and the eggs were lightly scrambled, with some bites distinctly yolky and some more albumen, which lent a pleasant variety and creaminess. JM found the bacon too crispy for a side dish but said it would have been perfect on a sandwich (cf. the Wando Dog). The bialy was pretty much a soft bagel, which is a simple way of describing a highly-contested baked good, but wherever it may be rated in authenticity we found it yummy.

While JM found Manna to be average overall, in it Nichole found a superior coffee house with evidence of a love of good food and hospitality. Though that could just be the French-toast sugar rush talking.

Comments

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I love Manna Cafe bread. I like to get a loaf of the Honey Whole Wheat. My boyfriend loves the focaccia (only available on weekend's). I enjoy the bialys, too. I am a sucker for bread.

It's interesting that you didn't like the (Nueske's) bacon. My boyfriend was crazy for it. He was thrilled when I told him he could buy it at Steve's Liquor. I even taught him how to cook it. I am such an accommodating vegetarian girlfriend. He and my pug have it every weekend.

Love the phrase "sitting at the coveted table next to the bus tub".

But please plege never again to use the corporate speak word metrics in your reviews. Eating well has it's rewards, but those rewards should always stand alone

It's a math word, Lola. And if you knew these particular food reviewers, you'd understand.

I love Manna Cafe - their quiche of the day never lets me down. The crust is just right - and the egg to other ingredients ratio is just right. Their egg consistancy is great too - not one one homogenious egg substance.

Probably the best cafe on the north side of town. Every time I've been here it's been a madhouse. Probably also the most popular on the north side.

Your synopsis made me shudder with nerdiness.

Thanks, BT. I was hoping there'd be at least one.

So is BT commenting that he's shuddering and that he's a nerd, that we turned him into a nerd by reading our posts, or that, like all nerds, he's prone to illness, causing him to shudder?

You don't get the "In a word" joke, do you Timmy?

:(

It's a Magic: The Gathering thing. It's a level of nerd-dom you probably don't want to strive to reach. I know. It's a dark road.

I go to Manna every weekend - and I live on the west side!

Beenie and I tapped the place on Sunday morning on the way home from the Northside Farmers Market.

See, I like places like this because I like big beautiful diner-esque breakfasts and fru-fru coffee. Those two rarely come together. The diners server... diner coffee of course and the fru-fru coffee places only offer buns/scone or overly elaborate sandwich fare.

Had the Eggs Benedict with the Nueske's ham and it was damn fine. Not the best I've ever had in Madison, but the best is long gone (remember Baker's Room on State? Those were the days).

As such, I hereby use my one Mana to cast Consecrate Land upon this establishment, in the hopes of many future Sunday Morning breaking of fasts.

I love Manna - especially their morning buns. Seriously, you need to go back and try one, they are amazing.

their oatmeal pancakes are the BEST EVER

That's a +5 Summary of Lordly Might!

I second Emily's comment above... if you didn't try the morning roll/bun (think flaky sticky caramel/cinnamon bun rolled in sugar) then you need to go back immediately and give it a try. But you need to be in early - especially on the weekends, any later than 8 and they are probably gone.

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