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Aug 18, 2006 02:00 AM

[MSP] Chowdown Report: Midtown Global Market Chowdown Extraordinaire

Seven intrepid ~hounds
One honorary ~hound
Two hours
Eighty dollars
Three continents
Ten (?) restaurants
One Spectacular evening of chow

Thank you to the hardy hounds who met up tonight for a wondrous evening of chow. I really enjoyed meeting each and every one of you. Please jump into this thread and let everyone know what we tasted tonight, what you liked, what you didn't like, what you want to try more of, etc.

Here's a link to the thread announcing the chowdown:


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  1. Props to The Dairy Queen for organizing. And thank GOD she had the wit to bring plates and utensils!
    Me want more of that Tilapia. What a bloody bargain!
    And the little meat pies that followed dessert. Whence came those, again?

    A pleasure to meet all of you.
    I shall birddog Abundant Bistro's status. Wanna see the new library, anyway.

    memo to self, bring roll of paper towels next time...

    1. ajs, those little triangular deep fried meat pies were the sambusi from Starlight Cafe--they were stuffed with beef, onions, garlic, cilantro and I don't know what else, but they were a lucky last minute find when we were searching for dessert. I loved those, too.

      The deep-fried whole tilapia (with all the fixin's) from La Sirina Gorda, I think (is that right?) might have been my favorite, too. I think that's going to become a staple of my diet from now on!

      What were those deep fried chunks of pork underbelly fat (and where did they come from?) again? Those were a trip!

      And, yes, let us know what you scout out about Abundant Bistro!


      2 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Speaking of dessert, it looked like Starlight Cafe was definietly the place to go... not only were the sambusi really good (though definitely not dessert), they had a coconut almond creamcheese pie thing that I sampled while people were doing the Jakeeno cheese run... it was really good. The crust (what tiny amount I had) was intensely flakey.

        1. re: djohnson22

          Good tip!

          I saw the coconut almond cream-cheese pie thing on their menu and it sounded very interesting, but I couldn't figure out which one in the display case was it. I tried to flag someone down to ask, but they were so earnestly working on the sambusi, that I decided not to distract them. Now I wished I'd asked.

          Next time, next time...


      2. I think we could call it 5 continents. The Jakeeno's Cheese we picked up on the way out can count for Europe, and I bet something we had would give us South America as well.

        You could call it 8 hounds, the one "honorary" hound is a lurker - I just do the posting.

        I'd also be glad to keep an eye on Abundant, I'm in that area pretty often anyways getting sandwiches at Saigon.

        Faith and I were the first names drawn, we headed over to Everest Cafe and started everyone off with Lassi - a mango/yogurt drink that they were kind enough to put into 8 2oz cups rather than the standard 16oz cup. It was good, but the concensus was that 2oz were enough. Especially with the momos and Samosas on the way! We all tried both the meat and veggie momos, with the vegetarian ones (stuffed with spinach, onions, and other veggie goodness) being the overall favorites.

        The grand total for 8 momos, 4 samosas, and 1 lassi was $16.05.

        1. Thank you Danny (and houndish lurker), for your mini-report. I look forward to mini reports (I hope) from the other folks, too, and everyone's thoughts on all the dishes we tried. I'll come back with my own comments later, but, I wanted to add to my statistics:

          Twenty-plus dishes (assuming I didn't forget anything!)

          Cubana torta
          Rice pudding

          West Indies Soul:
          Jamaican patty—veggie
          Jamaican patty—chicken

          Everest Café:
          Momos--meat (pork+turkey)
          Mango lassi
          Rice pudding

          La Sirena Gorda:
          Fish Flautas (marlin)
          Whole, deep fried tilapia + fixin’s + tres leches cake

          La Loma Tamales:

          Starlight Cafe:

          Panaderia El Mexicano:
          Tres leches cake

          Fiesta in America:
          Chicken lollipops
          Corn lollipops

          Bymore meats: (?)

          Cosecha imports:
          Jarritos (mandarina?)

          Jakeeno’s Trattoria:
          Hand-pulled mozzarella cheese (to go)

          I believe a few folks stopped by Farm in the Market (and one of the produce stalls?) on the way, out too.

          I felt like, as a part of this delightfully adventurous group,I was able to covered a huge number of dishes, which would have taken me several outings by myself, which is exactly what I hoped to accomplish. Now I'll know what to have more of next time I go back, plus try more from the other restaurants we weren't able to try this time out. Thank you so much, everyone.

          OH! And Republic of Fish is OPEN now. Everything looked fantastic including, as Danny pointed out to me, these itty bitty lobster tails. :)


          6 Replies
          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            I'm just now eating my "Pollito Alvbro" chicken lollipop that Danny picked out for us from Fiesta in America. As far as I can tell, it's only the shape and color of a chicken, and doesn't haven't any actual chicken in it. But, it's kind of a neat taste sweet + spicy at the same time. The ingredients seem to be sugar, corn syrup, citric acid, salt, chili, titanium dioxode (so, as we joked last night, "it doesn't get sunburned") and various artificial colorings. It's pretty interesting as a novelty, I say. I've saved my corn one for later, for when I need a vegetable course. ;-)


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Okay, now I'm eating my "Vero Elotes" "corn lollipop" Yikes! Have you guys tried this one? It's like a chile powder-pop. No sweetness whatsoever, just chili powder pressed into a what-should-be-sweet-but-isn't lolli in the shape of an ear of corn. But, the wrapper says it's strawberry flavored! Why isn't it in the shape of a strawberry instead of an ear of corn? And why don't it have a hint of strawberry flavor?

              Holy moly. I think I might have to abandon this one. Who knows how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Vero Elotes pop? Not me! HA!


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                OMG! I can't believe I wrote above "And why don't it have a hint of strawberry flavor?"

                Oh why oh why did they take away our unlimited ability to edit?

                I must have gotten interrupted while attempting to write that comment and started with one thought and finished with another...


              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                Re: Republic of Fish - I was happy to see that they were open as I was itching to check them out. Not much of a selection, but an interesting one... I was kind of surprised to see the corvina (sea bass) in the case. I think the only other place you would ever see that is Coastal Seafoods.

                I would be a bit leery about their tuna though. RoF carries CO2 treated tuna (at least that was what was in the case last night) that they (like Lunds and Byerlys) marked as sushi grade. CO2 halts the oxidation process so the fish does not turn brown as it gets old - it turns tuna that un-natural candy-apple red, but it does not stop the natural decay that occurs.

                1. re: djohnson22

                  More photos:

                  #1 Cubana torta from Manny's
                  #2 Chips that came with the torta (don't know why I needed to photograph these...)
                  #3 Fish flautas from La Sirena Gorda (I'd forgotten about these--they were wonderful! Look how beautifully presented they were!)
                  #4 Deep fried tilapia +fixin's from La Sirena Gorda


                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Okay, taking advantage of the new photo feature of Chowhound, here are some photos from the first MGMkt Chowdown. Sorry they aren't that comprehensive:

                  #1 Mango lassi from Everest Cafe (they poured it into "taste" sized portions for us--the regular portion is full-sized.)
                  #2 Momos from Everest Cafe
                  #3 Samosas from Everest Cafe
                  #4 Flan from Manny's Tortas


                3. My favorites were the fish flautas, the deep-fried tilapia, and the Jamaican patties. But I like deep fried things, and I like fish, so no surprises there.

                  I'm going to go back and have a whole tilapia sometime. It really was very good.

                  Very nice group--good sports.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Orange Julius

                    Those were my favorites too... though I don't know that I would rush to get the Jamaica patties (unless I was grabbing something to eat on the run.

                    The fish flautas had really good flavor - and one can never really go wrong with a whole fried fish!

                    1. re: Orange Julius

                      I agree, OJ, everyone who showed up was a great sport. Here's a group of people who had never met before, many of whom who had never been to MGMkt (a cavernous maze) before. They immediately stepped up to the challenge of grabbing a handful of money from the "kitty" (into which we each threw $10 at the beginning of the evening), then charging off to explore and bring back something delightful for us all to taste. Our table was littered with cafeteria trays and take-out out containers, so it wasn't the most elegant dining experience. Plus, we sawed everything into eight pieces with plastic knives, which, sadly, was a blow to presentation. But people embraced the spirit of it.

                      I devised the scheme of having everyone write throwing a slip of paper with their name on it into a red mixing bowl I'd brought, but, it was a device we hardly needed because people seemed to want to go explore. True chowhounds, bless them all.

                      There's one individual we haven't heard back from in this thread (because, perhaps s/he is too busy, shy, or wishes to fly under the radar), but I think that person brought back the following dishes for us to share:

                      Cubana torta (Manny's), flan (Manny's), chicharrones (Bymore meats?), Whole, deep fried tilapia + fixin’s + tres leches cake
                      (La Sirena Gorda)

                      As Danny mentioned, he and Faith brought back the meat momos, veggie momos, samosas, and mango lassi from Everest.

                      I think Faith also brought back the rice puddings from Manny's and Everest.

                      Chowish lurker (I hope this is an okay moniker--this person was a wonderful sport and delight have join us) and djohnson22 brought back the flautas (La Sirena Gorda), and the jamaican patties (West Indies Soul)

                      Orange Julius and Chowish lurker brought back the tres leches cake from panaderia mexicana

                      ajs and I brought back the tamales from La Loma ($1 each per the special tasting menu) and ajs brought back the Jarritos.

                      Danny and I brought back the sambusi ($1.25 each at Starlight Cafe--I don't know if that was a special or not; the price was from a hand-printed sign) and Danny brought back the chicken and corn lollipops.

                      I'm not sure who all tried the cheese from Jakeeno's, but I hope to hear how you all liked it.


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        The regular price for the Sambusi was $2. The $1.25 was the tasting menu price.

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Interestingly, I've never been accused of being shy :)! Nope, I've just been super busy supporting my wife at the 3-day...starting Thursday night when I got home. I'll have time to post thoughts on food eaten this evening...