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RIP: Natural Escape, Café Limon (MSP)

EarlOfSandwich Jul 10, 2007 12:51 PM

The two "healthy Mexican" restaurants reviewed by Dara a couple years ago http://citypages.com/databank/26/1288... are both closed.

We drove by Café Limon a few weeks ago to find it gone and then checked out Natural Escape this weekend to find another empty storefront. I hope that one or both of these may turn up again somewhere. We really enjoyed the food.

Since Natural Escape was gone, we walked 50 yards south to La Concha, which has a greatly expanded menu since we last went there. They now have a huge menu painted on the wall in a very mexican style font and have of seafood and main dishes in addition to the taqueria items from before. It is still a very casual hole-in-the-wall order-at-the-counter place. I love that they have a bowl of pickled jalapenos, onions, garlic cloves, and carrots sitting at each table! Plus, when they bring out your order, they bring squeeze bottles with two types of salsa: a hot verde and an orangey colored stuff that I think of as a mexican version of "special sauce."

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Natural Escape (Closed
)6417 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55423

Café Limon (closed)
611 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

La Concha Bakery & Cafe
6451 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55423

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  1. AnneInMpls RE: EarlOfSandwich Jul 10, 2007 01:19 PM

    Oh, dagnabit! I've had these places on my "must try soon" list forever, and I waited too long. Shame on me.

    I really hope that Natrual Escape can open again in a better location. The idea of healthy Mexican food is a great one.

    Anne

    1. k
      KTFoley RE: EarlOfSandwich Jul 10, 2007 01:30 PM

      El Limon was owned by the same folks to run El Meson. They closed El Limon to focus on La Cena, their new restaurant on 46th street.

      2 Replies
      1. re: KTFoley
        katebauer RE: KTFoley Jul 10, 2007 01:35 PM

        I think you mean Cafe Ena on 46th St. I can't remember if I wrote about it but we went last week and were fairly satisfied. We sat at the "bar" in front of the kitchen because the place was packed. The sangria was a little weak but we shared the ceviche and tamale which were fantastic. A very fun place where you can definitely make healthy choices.

        1. re: katebauer
          k
          KTFoley RE: katebauer Jul 10, 2007 01:38 PM

          Right, right ! The name is "Cafe Ena" for their daughter, not "La Cena" for the dinner.

      2. p
        pgokey RE: EarlOfSandwich Jul 10, 2007 01:48 PM

        Is there a big sign that says "taqueria" outside of La Concha?

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        Cafe Ena
        4601 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

        El Meson
        3450 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

        1 Reply
        1. re: pgokey
          p
          pgokey RE: pgokey Jul 11, 2007 03:51 PM

          To answer my own question, yes there is a big sign that says taqueria on the outside. The official name of the seems to be "Taqueria La Concha", actually.

          I tried the place today. It used to be a little French bakery, but their offerings were so limited, and the location so unnoticable that I'm not surprised that it didn't survive. Plus, it was only a mile away from Patrick's.

          So we splurged and ordered a bunch of things, because we wanted to really try the place out. Here is my report:

          All and all, it's a decent taqueria and pastaleria. I didn't try any of the baked goods - I was tempted to get a 3 leches slice, but I was stuffed.

          This is what we tried, and my take:

          A pork tamal - the masa was very tender and moist, but it came up short on flavor, pork and it didn't stay together - it crumbled all apart.

          A chicken sope - sort of flavorless

          Chicken nachos - way, way too messy, and the cheese was basically cheese whiz

          A steak and onion entree with beans and rice. It came with flour tortillas, so we basically had tacos. I think the tortillas were made elsewhere, and steamed to life, but there were good. The steak and onion was great - tender. Not seasoned, of course - much like a traditional taco. It's what salsa is for.

          Something called entrada a la mexicana, which was pork, jalapeno, and onions and sort of a gravy. It was good, and made for a great taco.

          Chicken Enchiladas in red mole. This was outstanding. For $6, you got three of them plus beans and nice. A real deal, and very, very delicious. Right amount of kick in the mole, too.

          I'll be back. I love going to little, tiny taquerias and trying out the wares. This one, as with a couple of others, proves that knowing some Spanish makes ordering easier, though. I find it to be part of the charm, though.

        2. j
          jim n RE: EarlOfSandwich Jul 18, 2007 01:47 PM

          I work and eat lunch in Richfield and the Natural Escape cafe is missed by me. I keep meaning to try Taqueria La Concha, will have to soon. There is another great counter style mexican place I recommend in the minimall across from Wallgreens at 494 & Portland. I can't remember the name unfortunately.

          6 Replies
          1. re: jim n
            AnneInMpls RE: jim n Jul 18, 2007 02:41 PM

            That's Tacos Morelos. This chowhound likes it, too: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38986...

            There are several Tacos Morelos-es in the Twin Cities - I haven't tried this branch, because it's in a "sweet spot" that includes two Indian restaurants and a grocery/deli (see http://www.chowhound.com/topics/381019 ).

            Anne

            1. re: AnneInMpls
              j
              jim n RE: AnneInMpls Jul 19, 2007 07:46 AM

              That's right, I remember now. I actually asked the guy at the counter if it was associated with the other two locations, he said that it wasn't and handed me a business card with a completely different name. I was confused.

              I've eaten at Kabob's once. I thought it was good but I wish they had a lunch menu with smaller portions.

              1. re: jim n
                EarlOfSandwich RE: jim n Jul 19, 2007 11:51 AM

                Last Sunday I was near Kabobs at lunchtime and just went in and ordered one each of their three types of samosas to go. Vegetarian for $1, chicken and beef for $1.25 each. That was $3.50 well spent!

                There was also a "Grand Opening" sign up in the window at Morelos, FKA Three Amigos Cafe, referring to Panaderia Mixteca or some such? Seemed to be the same menu up behind the counter, and only the usual few cases of bakery goods. Couldn't tell if this represented a change of management or what. At any rate, whether there is a connection or not, I have always liked this place better than the two full-service restaurant locations.

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                Kabobs Restaurant and Meat Shop
                7814 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

                Three Amigos Cafe
                7822 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

                1. re: jim n
                  r
                  reannd RE: jim n Aug 21, 2007 08:27 AM

                  Okay, so I also talked to the owner randomly while ordering last month. He said he 'won the restaurant from the other guys in a bet' .. ;) and he's trying to get the other 2 restaurants soon. All in all, this is the best mexican in the area. There are more interesting menu items at the seafood place in the Global Market, but this TM (or whatever its called now) is consistently good.. everything on the menu.

                  Oh by the way, for your foodies -- he even volunteered to make any recipe I could find online but didn't have the ingredients. Would be fun to test him.. ;)

                  1. re: reannd
                    AnneInMpls RE: reannd Aug 21, 2007 01:04 PM

                    Ooooh - what an offer!

                    Ask him if he can make tamales de huitlacoche (or anything with fresh huitlachoche). If he can, let me know - I'll be there so fast that the cops and traffic cameras won't even see me whizz by.

                    http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/huitlaco...

                    Anne

                2. re: AnneInMpls
                  p
                  pgokey RE: AnneInMpls Jul 19, 2007 11:58 AM

                  The TM's in Richfield and on eat street have both suffered from a steep drop off in quality since they re-did their menus.

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