Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Midtown Global Market - Minneapolis, MN

The Midtown Global Market is basically an indoor international food mall. There are a couple of full-service restaurants inside, food court-type eateries, and various international groceries, food stands, and other miscellaneous items for sale. I took Chao here as a surprise after getting a recommendation for authentic Mexican food from a coworker. We arrived and entered the building and I was surprised by how much stuff was there. The market spaces for each vendor were fairly open and scattered throughout a large warehouse space. Some of the vendor spaces were nicely arranged and some were fairly unorganized and looked a bit messy. The place had interesting character though.

We headed towards the center of the market to find the Mexican place I was searching for. It is called, “Taquería Los Ocampo.” We ordered something small to split at the counter there and then while we were waiting for our food we were offered samples from the guy working at Safari Express. The samples were out of this world so we ordered some food there to split as well.

At Safari Express we ordered Beef Solan and Chicken Curry which came with fantastic rice. Safari Express features East African fast food. It was set up sort of like a Panda Express with the entrees in trays behind a counter. The Beef Solan was a bit spicy for me so Chao ate most of that and I had the Chicken Curry. Both dishes were full of spice but not overly hot as one would experience eating chili peppers. Both dishes were sort of a stir fry with vegetables and sauce and the rice it was served with was red and super awesome. Really, I don’t know what we ate but I would definitely eat it again!

At Los Ocampo, we had ordered a huarache with steak. This is an oval shaped flatbread made with corn masa and topped with steak, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, avocado, and maybe some other stuff that I can’t remember. It was served with salsa and some type of runny guacamole. It was REALLY GOOD. Chao thought it was sort of bland but I didn’t think it was, although we did eat this after having the Safari Express food which was a bit spicier. We both agreed that it was probably the most authentic Mexican food we have had since moving to Minnesota.

We were going to venture further through our culinary tour of the market, but were getting full so we walked through and checked out some of the other places but didn’t eat anymore. We will definitely be heading back for Round 2 soon!

Top 5:
1. It is a fun place to go to try new things.
2. Safari Express rules.
3. Authentic Mexican food.
4. The food is affordable.
5. Lots of parking in the ramp across the street.

Bottom 5:
1. Location is okay, but I wouldn't go here at night alone.
2. Atmosphere was strange but this might've been because it was later and some of the vendors were closed giving it a slightly creepy feel.
3. There is little to no bland food here so don't go if you are picky.
4. We got too full to try everything we wanted to.
5. No drive through window. :)

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