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Best of the Cities 2011

April 20, 2011

We’re always excited when the City Pages Best Of awards drop. They’re always a good reminder of all the fantastic stuff all around us. And this year we’re doubly happy to see that a Lake Street area neighborhood, Lyn-Lake, won the best neighborhood award.

It’s easy to become a resident; there are plenty of duplexes and apartments for rent, many just rundown enough to be affordable without crossing the line into scary. Parking is pretty easy, the neighbors are mostly friendly, and the business district can’t be beat.

But that’s not all! Read on for the full list of love shown to the Lake Street area this year, with more awards than you can count on your fingers.

Best NeighborhoodLyn-Lake

Best New RestaurantHeidi’s, 2903 Lyndale Ave. S.

Best Outdoor Dining - moto-i, 2940 Lyndale Ave. S.

Best Ethiopian RestaurantT’s Place, 2713 E. Lake St.

Best Restaurant for RomanceBarbette, 1600 W. Lake St.

Best Italian RestaurantIl Gatto, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S.

Best Cheap EatsLa Loma Tamales, Midtown Global Market & Mercado Central

Best Cocktail NameTrust Me Baby at Amore Victoria, 1601 W. Lake St.

Best Bloody MaryBurger Jones, 3200 W. Lake St.

Best Free ActivityFree Ink Day at Highpoint Center for Printmaking, 912 W. Lake St.

Best Place to Buy VinylHymie’s Vintage Records, 3820 E. Lake St.

Best Art GalleryCult Status Gallery, 2913 Harriet Ave. S.

Best Bowling AlleyBryant Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St.

Best CoffeePeace Coffee, 2801 21st Ave. S.

Best Tattoo ParlorLeviticus Tattoo, 4109 E. Lake St.

Best Store for Sex ToysSmitten Kitten, 3010 Lyndale Ave. S.

Best Wine StoreLake Wine & Spirits, 404 W. Lake St.

Best Liquor StoreChicago Lake Liquors, 825 E. Lake St.

Reader’s Choices


Best Neighborhood Bar: Merlin’s Rest, Best Sushi: Fuji Ya, Best Beach & Place to Run: Lake Calhoun, Best Bike Trail: Midtown Greenway

Honorable Mention


Best Mexican RestaurantSalsa a la Salsa on Nicollet, but they have a Midtown Global Market spot too!

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Taco Salad Monday?

April 11, 2011

Guest post from Courtney Algeo, contributor at the blog All The Tacos I Have Loved

True confession: Until Monday I’d never had a taco salad. Why? Because when I go for a taco I am essentially saying, “Yes, I would like about three handfulls of meat. Radishes on the side.” When I go for a salad, that’s a totally different story. That is a time when I am essentially saying, “I’m feeling kind of gross lately.” It had never occurred to me to stop compartmentalizing my eating until Monday when a friend said to me, “Come get taco salad. It’s Taco Salad Monday at La Loma in the Midtown Global Market on Lake Street.”

Okay, I know that Taco Salad Monday doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Taco Tuesday, but cheap tacos is cheap tacos no matter what it’s called.

But wait – does a taco salad qualify as tacos?

Let’s see:

A tortilla shell? Yes.

The taco salad at La Loma does come in a bowl that is forged of a delicious hard tortilla shell. But wait, don’t I hate hard shell tacos? Yes. I’m not particularly a fan of the hard shell style tacos. However, this tortilla bowl was really tasty, and because I could chip away the sides to dip into the filling, I avoided my most feared hard shell taco pitfall: cut up gums.

Are the insides delicious? Yes.

Now, I don’t know about taco salads you’ve had, but this particular taco salad was a little confusing, as what filled the tortilla bowl was all sorts of goodness that I usually expect (and delightfully receive) from a burrito. The taco salad contained: pinto beans, rice, steak, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, and picked jalapeños.

Personally, I find “taco salad” to be a misnomer, but I guess the name has got everything to do with not what’s on the inside, but rather the outside. Tacos are a shallow food. I guess that if I got any food that came in a curvilinear hard or soft shell I would call it a taco. The bowl counts.

On Mondays the taco salad is only $5.39. It is a taco. And a salad.

I’ll have to return for Taco Thursdays at La Loma – which is actually a tamales place, so I’ll definitely have to go back for those.

Ohhh! One quick note about Midtown Global Market.

I’m originally from Philadelphia, where we have the Reading Terminal Market – which is amazing and a totally fun place to spend the afternoon. The Midtown Global Market is pretty similar, and has a bunch of amazing places to eat, including Los Ocampos where I bought and reviewed my first Minneapolis tacos (they also have awesome horchata).

And, though it’s not a taco, MGM also has this amazing pastry place called Salty Tart. AND now that I have a car I give a hoot about this part: MGM will validate your parking for THREE righteous hours while you hang there.

Party on.

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