A lunch of soup and a sandwich at Scott's Pastry Shop on Capitol Square
There is no better permission for ordering dessert than to lunch at a bakery. Scott's Pastry Shoppe, with branches on the Capitol Square and on University Avenue in Middleton, makes it easy to have a light lunch and finish with cookie or two.
Scott's soups taste agreeably homemade. A beef vegetable came with tender pieces of pot roast -- no gristle, no fat, very flavorful -- and the broth was not laden with salt and garlic; it was subtle. Plenty of potatoes and a scattering of corn, lima beans, peas, tomatoes and carrots rounded out the potage. Chicken noodle is available every day; two more varieties are on the board as daily specials (cup $2.75; bowl $3.50). The kitchen also serves a good version of chili ($285/$3.75).
Deli sandwiches on fresh bread from the bakery can be made to order (turkey, roast beef, ham, salami, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna and ham salad), or choose from several species of panini, like ham and cheddar, turkey and cranberry, or plain grilled cheese, all on rosemary focaccia.
I was bemused last week about the price of the sandwiches at Gotham Bagels, but the grilled panini at Scott's, at $5.75, are even more bewildering. My ham and cheddar was definitely tasty. But it came without pickle -- without chips -- without slaw -- without carrot sticks. And well, you might charitably call the panini modestly sized. Or you might call it snack-sized. Or you might mistakenly think you'd ordered off the kids' menu.
Ah, but the better to save room for some sweet stuff, right? Here, too, Scott's serves up a mixed bag. A cakey chocolate cookie with fudgy frosting tasted stale -- like the case -- while a crispy apple-filled elephant ear ($1.70) was fresh and sweet. In fact Scott's elephant ears (they call 'em "crispies"), plain and filled, are a good bet, as are the chocolate éclairs ($1.85). Scott's also bakes pies, muffins, doughnuts, kringle, Danishes and coffee cakes.
At the branch on the Square, there's seating to eat in, but the decor is spartan. (There are some drawings hand-painted on the walls, including the motto "A Balanced Diet is a Cookie in Each Hand," which may or may not be true. All right, it's appealing but it's not true.) The original Middleton bakery has homier decorative touches.