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Heeding La Sirena’s Call

June 20, 2011

by Courtney Algeo, freelance writer

The truth is this: I went to the Midtown Global Market on a rainy Tuesday evening to review Pacific Islander Cuisine. We went around 6:00 p.m.–prime dinnertime–but only one person was working at the restaurant, cooking and dishing up all of the made to order food herself. She looked like she was working extremely hard, and the food she was making smelled delicious. Unfortunately, I suffer from what some call the hanger. Hanger is a portmanteau of the words “hunger” and “anger”, that signifies the emotion contained in the moment when your desire for food turns into a hot, burning rage. Or, perhaps it’s just a case of crippling impatience.

To shield those near me from my hanger, I simply turned around in the aisle at Midtown Global Market and ordered some delightful fish tacos from La Sirena Gorda, which means (hilariously) “the fat mermaid.” Although this was the first time a name had been associated with the restaurant, I had heard a lot about the fish tacos before I stumbled into this dining experience. Whenever tacos are brought up in conversation (which, if you know me, is a lot) friends and strangers alike always ask if I’ve had the fish tacos at the Midtown Global Market. Now, I can grin slightly, rub my belly, lift my chin and say to them, “Why yes. Yes I have.”

The tacos come in orders of two or four. I would recommend always getting four. This is not because they are small, by any means, but rather the tacos come, for the most part, unassembled. If you order four tacos, you get a healthy portion of taco innards, and then four soft tortilla shells. I’m not sure why they do this, but I was glad to be served that way, because I was in control of how full I filled my tacos, and that made me feel like an empowered consumer. If you order two tacos, I assume you will get a smaller pile of fish bits, and only two tortillas. You will also feel strangely incomplete and sad for the rest of the day, so just get four.

Their taco types are as follows: fish (mahi-mahi)–which were incredibly delicious, and include chunks of fried pineapple in addition to fish, making for a nice sweet and savory experience, calamari–which came with fried pineapple chunks, too, as well as jalapeno slices, shrimp and octopus. It seems that not all of these items can be found on their website, so, maybe it was a chalkboard mirage of unbelievable eats that I saw.

Each order of tacos comes with Spanish rice of a quality I have never seen in a place with such quick service, and refried beans that were tasty, too. Because I was hungry, in addition to these included sides, I ordered a beet salad. It was very large in portion, and a nice balance to the fried fish, rice, and beans.

There are plenty of non-taco items served at La Sirena Gorda, including a torta de cangrejo (crabcake sandwich), various flautas de pescado (fish wraps) and an entire tilapia, fried and served to you with a look of surprise.

Between my husband and I, we spent maybe $35, including tip. Although this is a lot for tacos, it’s not a lot for fish tacos, and definitely not a lot for high quality fish tacos on a rainy day in Minneapolis.

La Sirena Gorda
Midtown Global Market


Lyn-Lake’s Golden Rule

June 13, 2011

The newest stop on the Lake Street Video Tour is Regla de Oro Gallery, an art and fair trade gift shop in Lyn-Lake. Meet owner Jessica Smith, and have a look at the store’s collection of local art work and assortment of fair trade gifts from around the world. (Regla de Oro means Golden Rule in Spanish)


Finding Nirvana at Gandhi Mahal

June 01, 2011

by freelance writer Courtney Algeo

I have no idea why many people are too timid in the palette to dive into some Indian food face first. Indian food is so complex and delicious. Those who haven’t eaten it have no idea what they are missing out on. Similarly, those who enjoy Indian food and haven’t eaten at Gandhi Mahal on East Lake Street are missing out on a whole new level of Indian food deliciousness.

Perhaps I’m doing this review wrong, because at Gandhi Mahal instead ordering something new that I had never tried before, I ordered my favorite Indian dish, Delhi Tikka Masala with chicken. I couldn’t help it! Such an amazing combination of flavors in general–chicken in a spicy tomato and yoghurt sauce–the dish at Gandhi Mahal went above and beyond my already lofty expectations for this particular meal. Served in a bowl that holds much more meal mass than meets the eye, the dish comes with some very aromatic basmati rice. In addition to the Delhi Chicken Tikka Masala, I ordered a glass of their house white wine and, to start, some of their tasty seasonal Fish Pakora.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is warm and welcoming. The walls are decorated with colorful tapestries that look especially enchanting at sunset. There is a small stage near the front door where live music is played during evening hours, Wednesday through Sunday.

Hidden around the corner of 27th avenue from Lake Street, Gandhi Mahal might be my new favorite restaurant for slightly special occasions, or maybe just for payday dinners. However, although the prices don’t seem low enough for daily dining–my dish cost $14, and our love of Tandoori bread set us back $12 (it’s so good)–the portions will leave you with enough food for dinner at the restaurant and lunch the next day at work.

Everything was delicious and delightful, down to the owner and Executive Chef, Ruhel Islam, surveying the scene with a smile on his face, waving Goodbye to us after our meal as we left.

Aside from how delicious their food is, I can offer you the following two pieces of important information about Gandhi Mahal: there is a lunch buffet between 11:30am and 3pm, and yes, they deliver.

Gandhi Mahal
3009 27th Ave. South, Minneapolis 55406