No Messing Around: the new Chili Burger at the Sett

Eric Lynne

I’m a big fan of chili.  Nothing warms you up better after a long day in the cold than big spoonfuls of spicy, cheesy, hearty chili.  However, I’ve never been a huge fan of chili out of the bowl.  Chili dogs and chili burgers are great tasting, but they usually have too many problems to make me love them.  The bun gets all soggy, it overpowers the taste of the actual meat, and you can’t seem to eat them without the chili inevitably ending up in your lap.  In the end, I usually just feel cheated out of a perfectly good bowl of chili.

So, when trying the Union South’s new Chili Burger at the Sett, I had come pessimistically prepared.  With a fork and more than a few strategically placed napkins at the ready, I was surprised to find at the end of the meal I had not needed either.  I left the meal not only satisfied, but also stainless!  It seems the food gurus at the Union South’s Sett have found a way to do the impossible: make a Chili Burger that’s both delicious and clean.
How’d the Sett do it?  In my opinion, they made a very smart and fundamental change; they decided to let chili the complement the sandwich instead of dominate it.  By putting only a conservative amount of chili on the burger, they are able to contain the messy chili with a very generous slice of melted cheddar cheese over top, which works to keep the chili in place and also prevents the soupy substance from making the bun all soggy.  Though thechili is a secondary flavor for this meal–which may be disappointing to some avid chili fans–it still results in a very tasty burger, and one you can actually eat with your hands.
Personally, on those bitter cold Madison days, I’ll always prefer a regular bowl of chili over any sort of chili dog or chili burger.  But, when the weather might not call for an actual bowl of chili, and yet I’m still craving those spicy, meaty, tomatoey flavors, I’ll probably grab aburger like this instead.
Kudos to the Sett for another delicious menu item. 

Developing the Taco Price Index

By Sam Zipper (taco reviewer)

I’ve been in a mania over a recent economic discovery for a while now. I’ve finally exhausted my supply of papier mache (always the first thing I turn to in times of great delusion) and feel it’s necessary to share. I haven’t been able to stop shaking enough to develop it into a full-length article; however, in these tough economic times, I do feel it’s my duty as both an American and world-renowned taco reviewer to discuss an Earth-shatteringly important trend.

We used monthly USDA NASS data to construct a price index based on the primary ingredients of tacos: corn, pork, tomato, and labor. This was normalized to the maximum within the 30-year period. There are obviously a huge number of flaws – for example, it doesn’t take into account the relative weights necessary of corn and pork to make a taco, and is thus disproportionately driven by the more expensive items – but it does give a rough picture for the past 30 years. Two obvious examples are the price spike after the 1996 Phnom Penh Pupusa riots; and, the past 10 years during which international unease with European Taco Failure has driven prices steadily upwards.


My first encounter with deep-dish pizza

By: Chelsea Lawliss

I’ve lived within two hours of the Windy City for almost 15 years now and I just had my first taste of Chicago-style deep dish pizza this last weekend! Now I know what you’re thinking, “She must live under a rock.” In my defense, I’m a big fan of thin crust pizza; there’s just something about that crispiness that allows for all the yummy topping flavors to really take center stage. Little did I know what I was missing!

My girlfriends and I were visiting Chicago for the weekend and  Gino’s East was the closest restaurant to our hotel. Little traveling tip, if you’re planning on staying downtown, Affinia Hotel has wonderful accommodations, is centrally located a block away from the Magnificent Mile and pretty much a ten minute cab ride from everything else. Oh, and they offer a priority seating pass for Gino’s East, plus free breadsticks! If that’s not a selling point, I’m not sure what is.

Anyway, back to the pizza. We ordered a large, half pepperoni/half sausage (crumbled) deep dish pizza and settled in to wait the 45-50 minutes it takes to bake. Being the mature, composed 20-somethings that we are, we proceeded to play a game that entailed writing down a random sentence on a napkin and then passing it to the person on our left who then had to draw a picture representing what the sentence said. This process repeated until the original ideas were so convoluted that we could only laugh hysterically.

When the pizza finally arrived, I was so hungry that I almost forgot to snap a photo of the gooey monstrosity that was presented to us. However, much to my companions’ dismay, I whipped out my camera and did what I do best- embarrass myself in a public place!

Almost two inches thick!

I can’t say that I’ve been converted from thin-crust to deep-dish; however,  there is something to be said about consuming what is probably a two pounds of cheese, sauce, and some of the most delicious crust I’ve ever had!

Word to fellow foodies, don’t wait 15 years to try Chicago-style deep dish pizza. It’s truly as good as they say.

Dessert while intoxicated: Bananas Foster

By Joseph Shaul

I don’t drink frequently. I could fib and provide some reasonable justification based on expenditure or health, but the fact is, I’m just not very good at it. A stiff double is all it takes to make my face go bright red, and I find myself foot in mouth more often than the average contortionist. It’s not pretty.

Even worse is that when I drink, I inexplicably want to cook. It’s almost a compulsion. Of my repertoire, Bananas Foster is an tispy two AM favorite: The combination of readily available ingredients, ease of preparation, and enormous fireballs never fails to please. However, unless you have a lot of practice and keep a fire extinguisher next to the stove, you might want to first try this one sober.

The recipe:

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar (or 1 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar)
2 Tbsp. corn syrup (optional; prevents crystallization, making this much easier to do when inebriated)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, unsalted
1/3 cup dark rum. Or, if you don’t have dark rum, substitute bourbon whiskey. If you don’t have bourbon whiskey, substitute whatever is handy.  (You’re drunk, right?)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
4 bananas

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and butter in saucepan or wide skillet. Heat over medium flame until the mixture begins to visibly thicken, roughly  230F. Turn off the stove, and immediately pour liquor over the top, igniting with a lighter or match. Sprinkle spices over the top for optimal pyrotechnics (the cinnamon will produce vibrant sparks), and stir with a long wire whisk, taking care to distance hands from flame. After the fire extinguishes, add bananas sliced lengthwise and into quarters, coat with sauce and simmer until soft. Serve with ice cream.

The recipe is dead simple. The only real trick is retaining your eyebrows. .

The Burger Club

By Cailly Morris

In honor of Union South’s new menu, The Dish will take on the challenge of helping students pick the top burgers that will be added to the menu permanently. We call ourselves “The Burger Club” and we will be working our way through the menu to find the tastiest, juiciest, most unique burgers created at The Sett. This hearty new collection includes a Western Burger topped with BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese and onion rings, a Wisburger, stuffed with Bratwurst and cheddar cheese and topped with sauerkraut and swiss cheese, an Italian Burger, topped with marinara sauce and provolone cheese, and a Chili Burger, topped with Sett Chili, Cheddar cheese and Jalapenos. Our first challenge – The Chili Burger. Stay tuned for our review of this new Union creation.

Until then – check out the new burgers at The Sett and let us know what you think at

Happy Eating folks,

Cailly Morris, Editor in Chief

A Success for a Novice in Cooking

Last week, I decided to try my hand at cooking something other than grilled cheese, turkey & spinach sandwiches, cheesy vegetable-ridden omelets or pasta. If you’d ask my roommates, they would probably chuckle at the thought of me making anything other than the aforementioned dishes. However, to my pleasant surprise the cooking went quite well, although I was running around the kitchen trying to do seven things at once because I wasn’t quite sure how to strategically execute the cooking of an actual three-course meal. That knowledge will come with time and additional experience, they say! Fortunately, the end product received an A+ from those who consumed it (including me!). So, just what did this meal consist of? I decided to make baked salmon and a fantastic sauce, brown rice, sautéed vegetables and a great big colorful salad.

My grandma, who has more than 80 years of cooking experience, always tells me you must strictly follow a recipe when you are a novice in the realm of cooking, but I decided to try my hand at a little experimentation. Online I found a recipe for something called “Chive Tarragon Sauce,” and away I went! I loosely followed the recipe, but I also put my own spin on it, and it turned out to be quite delicious!

Here is the final concoction:

½ cup white wine

2/3 cup chopped fresh chives

3 sprigs of fresh tarragon leaves

1 Roma tomato, chopped

2 tablespoons of butter

Salt and black pepper, season to taste

Heat the wine in a medium-sized frying pan, and then add the chives and tarragon. After a minute or so, add in the butter, consistently stirring the concoction. Add the tomato as soon as the butter has melted, season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste and serve over salmon. This concoction’s prep time totals about 10 minutes, from the start of chopping the herbs and tomato to adding the last ingredient while the mixture is cooking on the stove top.

As for the salmon, I recommend baking two hand-sized (4’’x6’’) chunks of salmon at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a small rectangular pan. Before you put it in the oven, grease the pan with soft butter, put three tablespoon-sized chunks of hard butter on the bottom of the pan and put four circular slices of lemon on top of each salmon fillet. My grandma said the key to a tasty salmon fillet is simplicity! Using your best judgment and/or previous cooking experience (I must say, even if you’re a novice like me, you can do it!), season the fish only minimally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Now it is time to bake it! My grandma also told me the worst thing one could do is overcook salmon. So, I put the salmon in the oven for about 15 minutes and then checked to see if it “flaked nicely” when I put the fork in it. It didn’t, so I put it in for awhile longer, checking incessantly to make sure it didn’t look overcooked! Ultimately, the salmon was in the oven for about 20 minutes. The other dishes were quite easy to prepare, as I am an expert in salad preparation, which, I’d like to point out, does not involve a stove OR an oven!

So, for all you folks out there with a hidden knack for cooking, simply follow these instructions, or, if you feel so inclined, dare to experiment! Bon appétit!


Fish Fry, English Style

By: Chelsea Lawliss

Beer, cheese, and fish fry. This is the stereotypical Wisconsinite diet- and for good reason! In my humble opinion, nothing satiates the appetite like a Friday night fish fry and a good brewski. So when I went to London for the summer last year, you can imagine how tickled I was to see that the English love a good fish fry, too. However, as I quickly learned, fish fry actually translates to fish and chips (chips being what they call french fries on the other side of the Pond.)

It’s basically the same concept- battered, fried fish, fries, tartar sauce, and malt vinegar. However, there are a few very distinct differences between a Sconnie fish try and an English basket of fish and chips. The first of which, and of little consequence, is that a beer is called a pint. As far as I’m concerned, the English win this battle, as a pint is more than is generally served in our bars. The second difference is a little more…unique. Instead of the side of coleslaw that is normally served with a fish fry here in the States, you receive a side of pureed, or “mushy” peas. You heard me correctly. Mushy peas. I never did try them. Whether or not I missed out on some culinary masterpiece is an experience I’m okay with having forgone. The third difference, and the one I will never forget, is that some pubs in England serve their fish with the fishy skin still on! You can imagine how shocked I was when I took a huge bite of battered halibut and saw that its epidermis was still attached. I will spare you the visual of what happened next…

This is a snapshot of my order of fish and chips from one of my favorite pubs in London, the Prince of Teck. It was yummy delicious. Noticeably absent from the picture however, is the side of mushy peas; they were promptly removed from the plate.


The following documents my encounter with fish and chips from a whole-in-the-wall cafe nearby the London Tower. Let’s just say this was a slightly less pleasant experience.


Whether I’m in Madison or London, fish fry remains one of my favorite dishes. That is, as long as there are no signs of scaly remnants!

I’m that person

By: Chelsea Lawliss

My name is Chelsea and I’m a foodtographer. There. I’ve said it out loud. I’m that person. You know, the one who tries to nonchalantly snap photos of her meals before anyone starts staring. I can’t help it!

Don’t you just get that overwhelming feeling to capture the artistry of the way some dishes are presented? Don’t you just want to document the moment in time, because in just a few minutes the culinary masterpiece will be reduced to mush in your tummy?! Don’t you?!

Alas, maybe I am in the minority in this situation.

So, it is with this revelation that I begin my quest to share with you all of my foodtography experiences. As a sort of disclaimer, please excuse any shoddy quality photos. As far as I can tell, it is still socially frowned upon if one takes pictures of their food in public. So I must be discreet. And quick. I will do my best to give all the deets on the name of the entree, where it is created, how much it costs, my photography experience (i.e. if I get kicked out of a fancy restaurant, etc) and basically any other ramblings that come to mind.

Enjoy, fellow foodies.

Old Friends, Good Food

By: Cailly Morris


Cooking is a great excuse to gather old friends together and catch up. I hadn’t seen one of my best friends Nigel in a couple of weeks, so my roommate Theresa and I thought it would be a great idea to have him over and cook dinner together. But as usual, the hardest part of cooking in a group is deciding what you actually want to make.


Now, Theresa and I are big fans of tacos — in fact give us anything with cheese, sour cream and beef and we’ll devour it — but Nigel specifically wanted to stay away Mexican cuisine so it was back to the drawing board.


Typically when I go to look for a recipe I haven’t made before, I check out for some articles and advice on what to serve. For some reason this time around a three cheese risotto stood out. Theresa and I thought it would go great with hearty beef tenderloin.


We followed the recipe from pretty closely but we made a few changes.


First off — we didn’t have olive oil, so we substituted vegetable oil. No big change there. Then instead of using parmigiano-Reggiano, Romaino and Asiago cheese, we used a four-cheese blend mix (note: we also added about a ¼ cup more of cheese because let’s be honest…we love cheese).


For the beef — we aerated it and topped it with black pepper, rosemary and thyme. This is a great seasoning combination if you want just a hint of spice in your beef. We then cooked it for about 15 minutes at 450°, and then lowered it to 350° for another 30 minutes. Everyone’s ovens will be different, so the cooking time really varies. But typically, for medium rare beef, you want to cook it for 16-18 minutes at 350° per pound, after you have cooked it for the 15 minutes at 450°. Always use a cooking thermometer when you are cooking beef to make sure it is at the right internal temperature. Beef is usually served a little pink on the inside so it is difficult to tell when it is done, but if the internal temperature is at about 160° then you are good to go.


Try the recipe for yourself below!

Emeril’s Three Cheese Risotto Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 pound Arborio rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romaino cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Asigo cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives


In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3 minutes, or until the onions are slightly soft. Add the stock and garlic. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 6 minutes. Add the rice and simmer for 18 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the mixture is creamy and bubbly. Add the butter, cream, cheese and chives. Re-season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes and serve immediately.





Hot Chocolate Change-Up

By Stefanie Dulak

I don’t know about you, but my roommates and I are the type of college students who refuse to turn on the heat until the first snowfall to save money. Because really MG&E? Do we need to pay $ArmAndLeg every month to have our house just warm enough that we can barely feel our toes?

If you’re anything like us, you need to get creative with ways to stay warm. Although pulling a Joey Tribbiani and wearing everything in my closet for insulation sounds tempting, I prefer an easier and tastier method that involves drinking tons of hot chocolate. But lately, the standard equation of boiling water + 3 or 4 (… or 5) scoops of cocoa mix just hasn’t been doing it for me. I need something new, something fun with my hot chocolate, and these variations are exactly what I’ve been looking for:

#1 Fluffy Hot Chocolate


  • 8 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking cocoa
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a saucepan, combine the first four ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Ladle into mugs.

#2 Candy Cane Cocoa


  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 peppermint candy canes, crushed
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 4 small peppermint candy canes for garnish


  1. In a saucepan, heat milk until hot, but not boiling. Whisk in the chocolate and the crushed peppermint candies until melted and smooth. Pour hot cocoa into four mugs, and garnish with whipped cream. Serve each with a candy cane stirring stick.
  2. TIP: replace the crushed candy canes with 6-8 ounces of peppermint schnapps for another tasty version of minty chocolate cocoa.

#3 Mexican Hot Chocolate


  • 3 tablespoons instant hot chocolate mix
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch chili powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup boiling water


  1. In a large mug, mix the hot chocolate mix, chocolate syrup, cinnamon, and chili powder. Pour in the milk. Add the boiling water and stir.

#4 Mocha Hot Chocolate (great for late night studying!)


  • 1 1/4 cups instant coffee granules
  • 7 cups dry milk powder
  • 5 3/4 cups powdered chocolate drink mix
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered non-dairy creamer


  1. In a large bowl, mix together instant coffee, milk powder, chocolate drink mix, confectioners’ sugar and powdered creamer. Store in an airtight container.
  2. To serve, place 4 tablespoons of mixture into a coffee mug. Stir in 1 cup boiling water.
  3. NOTE: this makes a huge batch for storing. Cut the recipe down for a smaller batch.

Recipes from

Whether you’re like me and you rely on hot chocolate as a major heat source, or you’re just craving a sweet and steamy cup of cocoa, your taste buds will thank you for trying out these fun twists on an old classic.

Have any recipes that keep you warm and cozy? Send them to Follow @thedishmadison on Twitter.