Muddy Waters and Food Trucks

This week I had two new food experiences.

The first new food experience was going to Muddy Waters for lunch. Muddy Waters is a bar/eatery/coffee shop in Uptown on Lyndale between Lake and Lagoon. I’ve been interested by the establishment for a long time, and I finally made plans to get food there. The atmosphere is pretty unique since it does seem to truly be a coffee shop, bar, and restaurant all rolled into one.

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When you walk in the door, to your right is a full bar and to the left is a full barista bar. The restaurant (and patio, when it’s nice outside) are full of patrons enjoying booze, coffee, or some variety of good eats. For my lunch rendezvous, we stuck with food and coffee. I ordered a malted mocha (something I’ve never seen on a menu before!) and the black bean hummus plate:

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The hummus plate came with carrots, zuchinni, parsley, jalapenos, queso fresco, and grilled bread. The hummus was amazing. I could have eaten it with a spoon. In fact, that’s exactly what I did once I ate all of the veggies/bread. My lunch date ordered a made-t0-order pizza with ricotta cheese and spinach:

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It received high reviews. Although their menu in not that extensive, all of the food was great (and the dishes we saw being brought to other tables looked equally appetizing). I would say this is a fun spot for a favorite dish, but if you’re looking for a wide selection or large plates, then you would be better off going elsewhere. If you’re a coffee fan though, it’s worth noting that the coffee bar was a walk-up counter and several customers cam and got to-go drinks. Their coffee menu had some unusual choices. Besides the aforementioned malted mocha there was also a white mocha, thai coffee, cubano, and all the regular espresso favorites.

The second new food experience I had this week involved food trucks. Since it was the weekend, the workweek line-up of trucks downtown wasn’t an option, so we sought out a different location. We discovered that a few food trucks were gathered by Fulton Brewery.

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The brewery seems to have a relationship with the food trucks, and beer-seeking visitors can bring their food inside to the bar. The food truck options were:

  • Lulu’s Street Food: serving tacos and fries
  • Cafe Racer: serving Latin American food
  • MidNordEmpanadaTruck: serving, you guessed it, empanadas

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Our primary business went to Cafe Racer. Noah got the Colombian hot dogs and I ordered the pulled chicken plate with carrot souffle and moduro (fried plantains):

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We also shared an order of chicken empanadas from MidNord:

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I loved my pulled chicken and Latin American side dishes. The empinadas were also very tasty (and came with a delicious lime sauce), but the fried exterior was a little much for me. Since an ill-timed bout of pouring rain began right when we got our food, we enjoyed our lunches inside the walls of the brewery.

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The brewery offers tours every Saturday at 1, 2, and 3pm. Although we didn’t join a tour group this time around, we speculated that it could be a fun activity in the future. The brewery was especially full of Twins fans who were watching the game on TV (and possibly heading to the stadium later).

My first food truck experience definitely piqued my interest, and I would like to head downtown for lunch during the workweek to check out a more extensive selection of food trucks. If you’re interested in the Minneapolis Food Truck scene, make sure to check out Reviews on Wheels, another WordPress blog devoted to exactly that topic!

 

Bryant Lake Bowl: an Uptown classic

If you have ever lived in or visited the Uptown Minneapolis area, you have probably heard of Bryant Lake Bowl.

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Located right in the heart of Uptown at Lake and Bryant, it’s the sort of place you go to when you can’t make up your mind. Why? Because it offers a little of everything. It’s a bar with daily happy hours during the week and a live DJ spinning on Tuesday nights. It’s also a restaurant serving three meals a day, offering a mix of creative and standard fare (all delicious). It’s also a theater showing everything from comedy to movies to stage performances to drag shows. And, last but not least, it is also a bowling alley:

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Not wanting my family to visit and miss seeing such a unique gem, I brought them to Bryant Lake Bowl on Saturday night. The restaurant and bowling alley was packed. Luckily, we only had to wait about 15-20 minutes for a table. We put our name on the bowling wait list before we were even seated. Immediately after looking at the menu, we decided to order the homemade tater tots as an appetizer to share:

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They were large and in charge and DELICIOUS. I’ve never had something quite like it (except maybe a regular tater tot…), but they were big, crunchy, soft and super hot on the inside, and seemed to have some additional spices (and maybe some sweet potato?) even though I can’t identify exactly what they were. Bottom line: get these now.

I ordered another appetizer for my meal. Mock duck spring rolls:

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These were another winner. They came with a ginger tahini sauce, and the rolls themselves were superb – full of veggies and flavor. They were pan-fried, so the exterior had that delicious crunch to it…yeah, you know what I’m referring to. 🙂

My mom ordered a roasted mushroom and squash risotto:

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My brother ordered a caesar salad which came with grilled tofu on top:

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And my dad got a burger with mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes were weirdly liquidy (see below):

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Overall, the food was really good but the service was definitely lacking. There were two mistakes to our order: I never received a small house salad I ordered and my brother’s salad came with tofu on top even though he ordered chicken. It didn’t bother us too much because I was full anyway and my brother didn’t mind, but it wasn’t the greatest reflection of customer service.

Unfortunately, when we finished our meal there were still six names ahead of us on the bowling list! Since there are only 8 lanes, we were worried it could be a really long wait so we decided not to stay. Plus, yogurt lab was calling our name again. 🙂 Nonetheless, this is a really fun location that I would recommend going to – especially with friends or a date – if you are in the area. They have a date night on Mondays for $28/couple which includes two entrees (you have to choose from a pre-selected list though), a bottle of wine, and a round of bowling. Definitely a good deal!