I had big plans for yesterday. Completely ignoring the forecasted clouds and rain, I decided that Mike and I would head into Minneapolis, have lunch at the Midtown Global Market (an indoor market with a diverse selection of international restaurants, groceries, and gift items), and then go for a walk, strolling hand-in-hand across the Stone Arch Bridge. Well, Saturday dawned, gray and rainy despite my positive thoughts. March in Minnesota can be pretty bleak: the novelty of winter has worn off, spring still seems far away, and then you get walloped with eight more inches of snow.
So, the Stone Arch Bridge was out. However, the Midtown Global Market, with its vibrant colors and flavors, turned out to be a perfect antidote to a dreary day.
We got to the Market at about noon, and spent half an hour just wandering around and scoping out the lunch options. There are several Mexican restaurants, a couple Italian places, as well as Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, East African, Scandinavian, Middle Eastern, and American offerings. Mike started off with a chicken tamale from La Loma Tamales, which he reports was delicious. I'm spoiled--since their downtown location is only a 2 minute walk from my office, I get to eat their amazing vegetarian tamales whenever I want. I settled on the Veggie Delight from Safari Express.
I was hoping to get the half order special, but since the Veggie Delight is cooked to order (unlike the meat entrees) I had to get a full order. For $8, I got a generous serving of rice and a huge helping of broccoli, spinach, carrots, green beans, peas, and corn in a nicely seasoned coconut milk-based sauce. It was a good vegetarian option and a great value, but not terrifically memorable; I will definitely be trying out some of the plethora of other restaurants before going back. For non-vegetarians, the Safari Express does have the intriguing Camel Burger (and is probably the only opportunity you'll get to eat camel in Minnesota).
While we waited for my Veggie Delight to cook, Mike got a decent chocolate malt from Andy's Garage, a very cute retro diner, complete with a counter and a 1950s TV mounted to the ceiling behind the counter. Other stops included Café Finspång, where I picked up some lingonberry jam for my grandma's birthday (there was also a lovely case of delicious-looking baked goods; I will have to same some room for dessert next time!) and the Holy Land Grocery, where we picked up some of their freshly-made hummus and Lebanese pocket bread.
If you're in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, I highly recommend a stop at the Market. Food-wise, there is something for everyone, various shopping options (there are lots of gift-type shops that we skipped), and it's an easy way to get a taste (literally and figuratively) of all the different cultures that come together in the Cities. I already have plans for another visit.
If you go:
Midtown Global Market
920 E Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407