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Jo's Tazzina

Update: Jo's Tazzina is now 8 Seasons Grille.

In a word: Another Madison coffee shop overreaches.

The specs: #0279
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at WiSJ, Cap Times; official web site.

JM ate the turkey sandwich with chips and an apple juice.
Nichole ate the egg salad sandwich with butternut squash soup with an iced mocha.
The bill was $20, or $10/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Jo's Tazzina a B- (see our grading rubric).

Latest Jo's Tazzina news and reviews

Jo's Tazzina Cafe lives on the ground floor of some downtown condos, in a few square blocks of downtown where there aren't so very many restaurants. Business was brisk on this Sunday morning, a mix of students and empty-nesting condo dwellers getting a cup of coffee or a sandwich. A case of gourmet chocolates and a freezer full of commercial gelato was also on offer, but we opted for something lunchy in beige and orange.

Lunch

The theme of the menu at Jo's seems to be to combine several flavors into each item. This proved a bit of a challenge for JM, since each sandwich included at least one ingredient that he wasn't fond of. In the end, he opted for a turkey sandwich which turned out good, but not something he found was missing from his normal routine.

Egg salad sandwich Nichole tried the egg salad sandwich. Rye was the wrong bread choice, since it added too much distraction from the already busy filling. The eggs themselves were a titch rubbery. An olive spread lent a welcome salty zing to the proceedings, but just served as another reminder that the culinary aesthetic of the place is far from incomplex. The better of the two items was the (barely) curried butternut squash soup, sweet and rich with caramelized undertones.

Sadly, the iced mocha was another miss from Jo's local mini-chain places. Sometimes the espresso drinks are right on; more often they seem to be watered down.

If you're looking for a place that suggests that you have keen insight into quality food and a discerning palate, Jo's Tazzina seems like a winner.  If you're interested in an simple, quality coffee shop dining experience, there are better places around.

Comments

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Jonathan and Kitty chatted this place up on Triple M this morning. Their description of the black bean burrito made me groan (in a good way!).

Unfortunately, Jo's doesn't have a mini chain thing going anymore! I used to consider Cuppa Jo my place for coffee, but they closed in July/August(?), to be replaced by La Crema. I'm not impressed, so far.

Interesting! I could have gone for a black bean burrito. Dang it, I think it was Althouse's fault egg salad was on my mind.

Ya, there is only Jo's downtown now. But I beg to differ on those who took over her Monona spot, Crema Cafe is a good place, it's really more cafe than coffee shop. I hear a chef from Marigold and Harvest owns it.

I'm sorry Nichole and JM didn't take the time to request a special order if JM couldn't find something that didn't have the right ingredients. We are happy to customize and accomodate special requests. And I don't really consider us a "coffeehouse." We are more a small cafe--no full kitchen--but emphasizing interesting combos of flavors to make up for our smallness.

I passed by Jo's Tazzina on my way to a conference and decided to stop by there for lunch. The atmosphere was laid back, with people typing papers, reading, and catching up with life. The place has tables of various sizes for different seatings.

Since it was my first time there, I did not know the ordering process so I ordered on the counter. The waitress suggested the pain au chocolat so I got one. I also ordered a salad, which never arrived to the table (there was a little incident that occurred)...I also did not get a glass of water, and the waitress might be busy taking orders of larger groups.

The pain au chocolat was really tasty! 'Tis larger than L'Etoile's, cheaper than L'Etoile's, and has the same taste and texture. I felt as if I were in heaven when I took a bit of it.

Since my salad never came and I had to rush back to the conference, I got the pastry for free. The waitress was apologetic for the mess-up, and she was almost in tears too. She even came running out to catch me to say sorry...

Overall, that chocolate pastry is good. Many people seem to like the place too. There was a group of 7 folks sitting across from me, and I heard many praises about the bean burrito and pastries. The waitress also do care about each customer too and is friendly. Her rushing out the doors to attempt to catch me to say sorry also shows how important each customer is treated. I wouldn't say that my experience is that bad. I also got to hear the waitress and the cooks sing a few songs, which shows that they enjoy their work :)

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