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Aug 15, 2007 01:15 PM

[MSP] Midtown Global Market 8-11-07

I headed down to the Cities on Saturday to do some biking. After two hours of driving, I parked in Uptown, heading towards the Midtown Greenway. Unable to find it but not too concerned, I ended up in Hopkins, and then back in Minneapolis. After tracing the city's lakes and accumulating about 40 miles, I became hungry. Not having had breakfast or lunch, really hungry. Fatigued, tired, and a bit annoyed, I decided to head for the Midtown Global Market via the Midtown Greenway via a street near the Mississippi. Something in my bike's crank kept on clicking, and sounded like a BB gun as I went through the Greenway's tunnels. When I got to the Chicago Ave exit, I was very much prepared to eat, but ended up spending about 30 completely fruitless minutes trying to set a combination for my bike lock.

By the time I finally arrived in the market, I was very discontented to find out that only one of the little mini-restaurants there was still open: A la Salsa. All the others were either shuttered or shuttering. My original plans were to order a little bit from three or four restaurants to make up a complete meal: maybe momos from Everest Cafe, a "cup cuisine" (small serving) from Safari Express, pupusas, etc. But that was not to be; my only choice was something I could just as well have at home.

That being said, I ordered a combo plate. Contained on it was a pile of guacamole, a piece of white cheese, a sort of bean spread, and a mix of rice, chicken, and cheese, all accompanied by flour tortillas. The food was not bad, but not especially delicious either. Because I wanted my bike in constant sight, my lock combination the manufacturer's default, I ate away from the market's comforting air conditioning, al fresco under the sun with a view consisting of HAMDI restaurant, a liquor store, and a Sheraton parking lot. Not a pleasant experience, in my opinion, but not to A La Salsa's fault. Returning my guava juice (packed with an amazing amount of energy...ahem...calories for a 12 oz bottle) and later tray, I rode off equally fatigued, clacks and all. I should have eaten at HAMDI (yes, all capitals...HAMDI HAMDI HAMDI yeah!)

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  1. You don't say what time you arrived, but, yeah, most of the vendors--food stands and others-- at Midtown Global Market pack up about 7pm, maybe 7:30 or 8pm if you're lucky. After that, A La Salsa and Chang Bang are the only ones that are open (was Chang Bang not open?). While I once had a really lovely chicken mole with tamales at A La Salsa, it's not my favorite vendor at the Market. Also, unlike most other vendors at the Market, A La Salsa (and Chang Bang) offers table service--its niche isn't inexpensive "to go" chow--it's the place you go for a leisurely meal where someone waits on you (and where you can order a drink from their bar.)

    Overall, Midtown Global Market is really at its best when its bustling--its part of what gives it its vibrant, market atmosphere. I hope you try another time, when more of the market is open and when you're not so tired and crabby. I personally find it hard to be open to new experiences when I'm worn out.


    6 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      chang bang closed a few weeks ago. r.i.p chang bang.

      i do fear for MGM at large as it seems the vendors are having a tougher & tougher time.

      1. re: soupkitten

        Oh dear. That is a shame. They didn't even make it a year. :(


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          They closed a few months ago, actually - I never had a chance to try it out. I read a while back that the owner was going to reconfigure the menu and reopen, but I don't know if that's still the case.

          1. re: egusto

            same owner as yummy on nicollet-- don't know how his restaurant empire is going at large, now that i think about it. the food was very decent: good ingredients, good execution, attractive presentation, fair prices. hope he's opening the next incarnation of chang bang somewhere he can get more local support than evidently he got at MGM.

            EDIT: not that it matters, but chang bang must have closed sometime in july, i was there in may & was there/know people who dined there in june, too. got no hint they were closing at that time.

            1. re: soupkitten

              I'm sure it was June when I visited Chang Bang and dined there. There were a lot of "happy hour" people that showed up after work there and the tables were pretty full. They were definitely preparing the back part for a party because those tables were dressed differently than those up front. The food we had was okay - not stellar, but not bad either from what I remember (or don't).

      2. re: The Dairy Queen

        Oops, forgot that. It was just after 6 pm.

        Also, Safari Express had just closed when I arrived, yet their stand was filling up with what looked like family members and area natives. When I left, a TV crew was getting ready to do some filming (or packing up?). Interesting, as Youtube has a video of Safari's owner on KARE some time ago, showing how to make one of their meals ( ). Perhaps this place is really making a wave and bringing Somali / East African food into the mainstream. Good luck to them if they are.

      3. The original comment has been removed