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Pan & Pan

Pan & Pan windowUpdate 4/16/12: Pan y Pan and La Joya seem to be sharing the space.

Update 12/4/11: Pan y Pan will become La Joya.

In a word: Good and Better.

The specs: #0543  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Isthmus, Fearful Symmetries 12/9/09 and 2/16/10, 77 Square; listing at Eat Drink Madison; Roadfood forum report (picking up after the visit); Pan & Pan on Urbanspoon

Latest Pan y Pan news and reviews

JM ate the chorizo burrito.
Nichole ate tacos with carnitas and lengua.
We got a polvoron, a donut, and a roll filled with pineapple jam.
The bill was $13, or $6.50/person.
JM gave Pan y Pan a B+; Nichole gave Pan y Pan an A- (see our grading rubric).

Pan y Pan was a party. Joining us on our visit were Lindsay from Forkful and about a dozen folks from the Roadfood forum who had arranged a road trip to Madison for a day of scouting out hidden gems and "dining a la trunk." We had a blast.

Bakery case

The former Popeye's space by Woodman's East was perfectly suited to a crowd, especially since this place mostly does a brisk carry-out trade. We each ordered some stuff of our own but basically held a potluck in the dining room (which probably drove off a regular customer or two, unfortunately). We came to the conclusion that for each item on offer, there may be somewhere else in Madison doing it better - say, La Concha for bakery, Taqueria Guadalajara (so we hear) for tacos, Lucky Seven for burritos - but Pan y Pan is no slouch.

The tacos were super. Carnitas was on special for $1 per, but a lengua taco was still only $2. Each used two fresh, soft yet supple tortillas and vibrant onions, cilantro, and lime. A pureed, smoky red salsa added a gentle heat. The carnitas was on the slightly dry side, but very tender, and the lengua kissed right back with a slow-cooked-roast-like flavor.

JM's burrito was huge, of course. The chorizo was gritty but provided a pretty good flavor, though the amount of beans were a mite oppressive. The salsa provided was hot and peppery. The overall experience was a little soft in the middle, but ultimately very satisfying.

Tacos (lengua and carnitas)Chorizo burrito

Next, the bakery. The chocolate donut was heaven. The adorable piggy-shaped polvoron, a dry, plain cookie, went great in horchata and in the next day's coffee. The last item, whose name escaped us, was a pair of biscuit-like semicircular rolls stuck together with pineapple jam and custard, and liberally coated in confectioner's sugar. Utter rush.

Chocolate donutPolvoronInside the sweet roll

The food was good, but Nichole remembers especially fondly a conversation with a Roadfoodie retiree who'd come up from Iowa with her husband. After swapping stories of great barbecue, we got to talking about how her forum friends had become friends in "real" life as well. She summed it up saying "all this about the online networking is fine and everything, but it goes much deeper than that."

She had no idea how refreshing that sounded to these ears fatigued equally by internet hype and hysteria, and for that we say thank you, Mrs. yellodeere, wherever you are.

Polvorones

Comments

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You always say you're not restaurant critics, but I loved these lines:

"Each used two fresh, soft yet supple tortillas and vibrant onions, cilantro, and lime. A pureed, smoky red salsa added a gentle heat."

Love it.

Thank you. Too kind!

I am pleased that you have seen the light on their donuts. :)

I, too, am tired of the anti-Internet stories of late - and this review is the latest example of how not true it is. We shop at Woodmans all the time, and frankly now because of your adventuring in ahead of us, we'll go there as well - I cannot tell you how many times we have gone somewhere because you went there first - Jamerica, Eddies Ale House, the Italian place on the north side (just to name a couple off the top of my head). Thank you!

After reading about Pan & Pan both here and at the 77 Square website, and seeing that it was so close to my house, I went there this morning at 8 am to try some bakery. Although 77 Square reported them as opening at 7 am, the place was locked up tight. The side glass door was smashed in, which may have had something to do with that - hope everything is OK for them. It was disappointing, though! I love me some bakery breakfast! I'll try again later...

Upon recommendations from a friend, I walked in on a Saturday evening, there was one customer ahead of me that got his order taken. The cashier was VERY rude, proceeded to ignore me while waiting for this customers order to be filled, she then spoke around with other workers, and proceeded to sip her water. Then she explained that another girl would help me, which never happened. I had to wait 15 minutes before getting my order filled by a different guy. There were tons of people working, yet everyone chose to ignore me. NEVER going back. Customer service sucks. These tres leches cakes are pricey and for the amount of money that i paid for a slice $3.75, its definitely not worth the rude service.

You should have tried the Beefsteak Torta. This is the best sandwich I have ever eaten. The pork or chicken tortas are also very good.

My chorizo and asada (beefsteak) tacos were pretty great. The custard-filled croissant-ish thing was delicious, too.

It'd be nice if maybe a local artist were to offer some bartered service to fill out the mostly-vacant menu board in exchange for some tacos or a little algo dulce. It feels like a hermit crab moved into a nautilus shell in there.

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