This year’s spring break is going to be cold. We’re talking really cold, as in barely getting above freezing in Madison. Those lucky enough to have the funds to escape this frozen climate can enjoy beaches, fun in the sun and beautiful weather. But those who are not so endowed or cannot return home can still enjoy a tropical experience without leaving the city. The ArtsEtc. Staff whipped up some comfort activities to keep the Badgers sticking around town warm — or at least thinking warm.
Out On the Town
New Orleans Take-Out: New Orleans is far enough south that, for spring break purposes, it makes a worthwhile destination. Of course, traveling about 1,000 miles down from frigid Madison may not be a possibility — but getting good food is. From gumbo to jambalaya to seafood and a variety of items spicy enough to be labeled not only “hot” but “very, very hot,” one can sweat in the freezing temps while eating a dish spicy enough to make eyes water. Prices are moderate. Flashing the cook for beads probably won’t get you anywhere, but, hell, it probably couldn’t hurt.
Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace: Looking to get down to the border, but too damn broke? Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace can get you there. Located on Atwood, this place serves up margaritas and Tex-Mex food in an atmosphere that mimics — without being tacky — the shack style restaurants of Austin, Texas. Chalk full of homemade ingredients in giant portions, Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace will leave you in a food coma so deep that you can dream of being wherever you want.
Buraka: On spring break, most travelers go to either Florida, Mexico or the Caribbean. How cliché is that? Go a little further out. Actually, go a lot further out and take up some East African style cuisine at Buraka. This downstairs restaurant on State Street is affordably priced with dishes infusing curry, lamb, lentils, plenty of fruit blended drinks and some good old fashion beer. If you are not looking for alcohol, the coffee and espresso menu offers ten different forms of the caffeinated beverage to keep you warm.
Come Back In: If you’ve ever been been to Come Back In, you will know that there is nothing tropical or exotic about it. However, that’s not a bad thing. Come Back In is straight-up Wisconsin, but they do offer dollar tacos and two dollar margaritas on Mondays that will get you sufficiently full and/or drunk while not breaking the bank or feeling homesick. Besides, eating tacos in a blatantly Wisconsin-style atmosphere counts as escaping reality. Right?
Do It Yourself
Let’s face it, the college life often means little to no funds for such grand adventures as spending spring break on a white, sandy beach somewhere while sipping a Mai-Tai, much less leaving extra money to go out to eat. So, use a little imagination. Call up some friends, grab a bottle of rum, make a pineapple pizza and dance the night away to Jimmy Buffett until you wake up on the bathroom floor with a lampshade on your head and a grass skirt where your pants should be. Good times with good friends do not have to take place near the equator!
Drinks: Got a blender? Got booze? Able and willing to brave the cold and make it to the store for supplies? If so, there’s no reason not to feel warm over break. Websites like whattodrink.com offer great lists of tropical drinks to try, but spring break offers budding alcohol connoisseurs time to hone drink-making skills and trying new beverages. Or, just throw your favorite fruit in a blender, add some tequila and hit the button. It’s not hard to drink the same drinks your classmates will be paying outrageous prices to have.
Work it: While your friends may be tan after the break, they’ll have probably neglected their physical regimin. Keep in shape or start working out in your room with just a laptop, a chair and a bed. YouTube is stocked with fitness videos that turn your bedroom into a gym while the Nat and SERF are closed.