I know. I know. Cupcakes are all the rage, and this restaurant specializes in them. And, yes, they are luscious. Yet when I visited Daisy Café and Cupcakery in Madison, Wisconsin, other items claimed a larger place in my heart.

Many cafes can take good cake, top it with rich butter cream and win wows, but how many can take edamame, top it with vinaigrette and create a following? Daisy does, and as much as I love cupcakes, I would go to the cafe for the edamame salad alone.

Co-owners, Daryl Sisson and Kathy Brooks, say that the Daisy focuses on “four Cs”:

Kathy Brooks and Daryl Sisson

the Café (which serves “comfort” food at breakfast and lunch daily and dinner Tuesday through Saturday);

Cupcakes (that are so good they won first runner up for “Madison’s Favorite Sweet” award, a real achievement considering that first place went to the world-renowned chocolatier Gail Ambrosius); 

Coffee (and teas that are locally sourced, fair trade, organic and otherwise socially correct);


Community (that includes not only customers who use the café as a local hangout for family, social and business gatherings, but also outside philanthropic endeavors).

Like its flower namesake, the Daisy is casual, unpretentious and cheerful. Its menu, although unfussy, wears a slew of appealing phrases such as  “made from scratch,” “vegetarian,” “gluten-free,” “natural,” “organic,” “healthier dining,” “no preservatives,” “no deep-fried foods” and “wonderful fresh flavors,” which brings us right back to the Edamame Salad.




Yield: 8 servings.


16-ounce bag of shelled edamame

1 large onion, peeled and diced

Edamame Salad serves as a popular side dish at the Daisy

1 large red pepper, peeled and diced

1/2 cup diced green onions (use mostly white part)

2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup soy sauce

2-1/2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine vegetables in a serving bowl.

Put dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk with a wire whip until well blended. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss until well mixed.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Drain before serving.