Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Midtown Global Market

Visited on Saturday, January 8th with Janelle, Jen and Brynn

Outside Midtown Global Market

Ben's Review
Erin had arranged to meet up with a couple friends at the Midtown Global Market last Saturday for an indoor photo taking session. Annie and I tagged along for the food.

Dad and Annie at Midtown Global Market

We arrived at 10am and the place was nearly deserted. I had assumed that it would be a busy place given that it’s one of a few (only?) market type places that one can enjoy indoors during the Minnesota winter. By the time we left at noon it was certainly filling up, but nothing like the weekday that I came for lunch about a year ago.

Lights at Midtown Global Market

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In addition to being a fun place to kill some time, the Midtown Global Market has an abundance of ethnic food options. Erin got some Mexican food to share with Annie and while I was floundering on what to get, Erin suggested Manny’s Tortas as she’d heard good things and wanted to sample some of my lunch.

Manny's Tortas at Midtown Global Market

I headed over to Manny’s and looked over the options. A torta is simply a sandwich with varying styles, from their web site:

All tortas are prepared with cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, avocado, jalapeƱo peppers, refried beans, chipotle pepper mayo.

In addition to the ingredients above, you can select a meat for your sandwich. Recently becoming a lover of the Cuban sandwich, I went with their Cuban torta. It takes about five minutes to make the sandwich, and since it wasn’t busy at all I didn’t have to wait long. The torta was delicious, which makes sense becaues you can’t really go wrong with that list of ingredients. Erin was particularly surprised at how spicy it was, must have been the chipotle mayo.

Ben's cuban torta from Manny's Tortas

While Manny’s Tortas is comparable to fast food in the sense that you just order at a register, pick up your food, and then eat in the common area, there isn’t a whole lot of depth to the service, but I will say that they were very friendly and were happy to explain what a torta is to me. There is another location on Lake St. at Bloomington Ave.

Because the locations aren’t convenient for me, I probably won’t be having another torta anytime soon, but certainly not for lack of quality, highly recommended.

Service: Friendly, knowledgeable employees.
Food: Delicious tortas, and not much else on the menu. They know what they’re good at.
Drinks: Soda, water, coffee, hot chocolate. They do have Mexican sodas though, which implies sugar as opposed to corn syrup.
Ambiance: Hard to gauge since we were at a larger venue. Midtown Global Market has a great ambiance on a Saturday morning though. Very low key and friendly.
Convenience: Plenty of buses on Lake St. and they have a parking ramp across the street that they will validate parking for if you buy something.

Erin's Review
As I explain more in this post, I'm involved in a photo group of sorts with a few coworkers. We've been lamenting the lack of color and warmth for photographic opportunities lately, so we decided to head to Midtown Global Market in an attempt to beat the blahs of January. There are quite a few different eateries in the market - some places that are more like grocery stores, and others that have take-out. They apparently have live music quite often, have a program called "Wee Wednesdays" for kids on Wednesday mornings, as well as many other events. They also DO in fact have high chairs in their main seating area - I saw at least 8 or so. We weren't sure of this before leaving, so in case anyone is wondering... yes. They have them.

Mom and Annie at Midtown Global Market

I had never been to Midtown Global Market at all before, so I was quite excited to check it out. It really is a cool spot, especially in the dead of winter. We got there right at 10 and just walked around taking photos for awhile. There were so many food options that it was hard to decide what to go with - but I knew I wanted to share my food with Annie so that limited me slightly. Although she'll eat pretty much anything at this point, it at least needed to be something she could eat without TOO much of a mess. While I was deciding, I did pick up an iced Vietnamese coffee from Pham's Deli which hit the spot. We have made hot Vietnamese coffee at home before, and I love it.

Vietnamese Coffee from Pham's Deli at Midtown Global Market

There were a few signs around the building saying that City Pages had given a few of the eateries awards in their "Best of" issue - one of them was Taqueria Los Ocampo, for Best Mexican - that was good enough for me! I went there, and chose a chicken quesadilla, which came with beans and rice. I'm pretty sure I was one of the first people ordering of the day (it was around 11am at that point), so they prepared my order quickly. The quesadilla came with lettuce, cheese, sour cream and chicken in the inside of the tortilla. I would have preferred more cheese, but overall it was great. The two salsas that came with the dish were both too spicy for my taste, but I'm not a fan of spicy food at all, so that's no shock. Overall the food was solid - I'd go there again if I was in the mood for Mexican food, but it's nothing I'm dying to go back for - I'd much rather try other things at Midtown Global Market first. Annie loved it, no surprise there!

Taqueria Los Ocampos

Mom and Annie's meal at Midtown Global Market

Annie was a fan

As soon as I saw Salty Tart Bakery, I knew I'd be having a treat of some kind after lunch, so I had been looking forward to that the whole time. Lunch was really just a means for me to get to dessert anyway. I chose a Passionfruit Cupcake and it did not disappoint - the cake was soft and light, and there was a passionfruit filling that was delicious. It was topped with some kind of vanilla frosting with flecks of vanilla bean in it. I liked the frosting, but it didn't adhere to the cake very well, and came off in kind of a chunk a few times. Certainly nothing that bothered me too much.

Salty Tart Bakery Midtown Global Market

Passion fruit cupcake from Salty Tart at Midtown Global Market

Passion fruit cupcake from Salty Tart at Midtown Global Market

I loved our outing to Midtown Global Market - if we ever have a free weekend morning again this winter, I'd definitely return!

Deets
Lake St & 10th Ave
Minneapolis

6 comments:

Moe said...

We try to make it to the MGM at least once a month, absolutely love that place. Next time you go, get the Huarachazo at Los Ocampos. Most definitely my favorite Mexican meal in town. It's so good.

Manny's is another favorite, made even better because Manny's is such an incredibly nice guy.

As our son gets older I'm really looking forward to going to the family events on weekends.

Kassie said...

You can get tortas at almost any Mexican taco place, and most are as good as Manny's. So there is bound to be tortas near your house if you live anywhere in the metro.

James said...

I am also a big fan of the Cuban sandwich and have found Manny's to be a good spot for it.

A. said...

Would you say its stroller friendly? Free/easy parking? This sounds like a great place to break up a long winter's day.

ben said...

@A Yes, stroller friendly, especially when it's not busy. I brought the Ergo along because the one time I had been there before it was busy, the stroller would have been more of a hassle in that case.

I DO like having Annie in the Ergo though :)

Erin said...

And also - yes, parking is free in the ramp across the street if you buy something and get your parking validated.