Why I Love Minneapolis

by Holly on November 21, 2010

in breakfast,Cuban,eating out,Minnesota

Besides the fact that most of my family + friends reside within 20 miles of Minnesota’s largest city, there are many reasons why I love Minneapolis.

I love its unique history.

I love running in the Riverfront District.

And even though I am not an animal person, I love my sister’s new dog Doug.

He is the first dog I have ever let cuddle me.

It happened on Friday night, and I didn’t hate it.

However, the part of Minneapolis I love the most is that it is a groovy food town.

We have many James Beard award winners; we have some of the best ethnic food around (as home to some of the largest Hmong and Somali populations outside their respective countries); we love wild rice, ice cream and fish frys; and we love beer.

I am clearly a product of my upbringing.

This weekend, I ate at my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Minneapolis: Victor’s 1959 Cafe.

Situated on the nondescript corner of 38th + Grand Avenue, you could easily drive by this tiny little shack without even giving the home of “revolutionary Cuban cooking” a second glance.

Luckily, my dining companion and I know better.

In case you didn’t spot Angharad standing in front of Victor’s in the magenta pea coat above, here is my favorite Brit, Minneapolis resident and fellow Victor’s aficionado.

Love that girl.

We caught up while waiting in line for a half an hour or so before we got a table. You see, Victor’s boasts approximately four booths, six tables and a host of seats at the bar.

That’s it. In other words, seats are in high demand.

I don’t know whether it’s the graffiti on the walls, bright floral tablecloths or laid-back atmosphere that I love so much.

I do know I love their amazing menu the most.

One Sweet Plantain Omelette with a side of corn tortillas, por favor.

That’s not to say I didn’t seriously debate the mango pancakes, wild rice oatmeal with mango, raisins and walnuts or the Ranchero Cubano. But one look at that plantain omelet, and I knew it had to be mine…or rather, my stomach’s.

But not before coffee.

NEVER before coffee.

While I know that log on the top of my omelet probably looks like a lil’ shadoob, it is in fact a fried plantain. Sweet, slightly crunchy and perfectly creamy, I had no idea plantains could go so well stuffed into an omelet.

The drizzle of creole sauce over the top and side of corn tortillas sealed the deal.


If you needed proof whether Angharad + I love food (and especially food from Victor’s) as much as we claim, you can take one look at our plates below.

I think it is all the proof you need.

Post-meal, I was even dreaming about ordering a second plantain omelet.

Victor, you’ve stolen my foodie heart again.

No, no…muchas gracias a ti.

What is your favorite ethnic cuisine? While I love me some Cuban food, Indian + Thai food will always reign supreme in my Everythingtarian heart.


Erica November 21, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Doug is so freaking cute. And I (obviously) love human names for pets. That restaurant looks like the jam. Such unique combos. You can never judge a restaurant by its outside- someone of the best restaurants in my area are super shady looking too. Glad you two had fun

sofia November 21, 2010 at 8:18 pm

wowowowowow. this place looks awwwesome. as much as i love the fancypants new york restaurant scene, i do crave restaurant outings to funky places such as this, and they’re few and far in between in my stomping grounds. i haven’t eaten much cuban food, but was in cuba back in high school for a week and can say that i like our americanized version of cuban food much better. and uhm, mango pancakes? wowza. i want those now.

love the pictures of the booth, the stuff on the wall, and you lovely ladies. what a fabuloso meal!

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

<3 plantaiiinsss!!!!!

Madeline - Greens and Jeans November 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm

You cuddled a dog???

Matt November 21, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Indian for me!

I think you should have ordered a side of plantains pancakes… What were you thinking?

Mary November 21, 2010 at 8:31 pm

a) I LOVE running on the riverfront. Except I tried to go this morning and biffed it on the ice two seconds after stepping out of my apartment, so I put the kibosh on that one for a day or two :)
b) HOW have I never been to Victor’s? I need to go ASAP. If there’s anything I love more than plantains, it’s brightly colored buildings in random parts of town. love.

Teri [a foodie stays fit] November 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Indian ALL the way.

You can come cuddle my dog. You especially wouldn’t hate it. She smells sweet. :)

Angharad November 21, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Love you! Had so much fun catching up on things with you. Sorry that I was a tired zombie…
Love Victor’s, love your crazy “I want more omelet” face, love that we are clean-plate-clubbers…lots to love!

susan November 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm

That omelette sounds phenom!

I share similar feelings of pride for my hometown and its foodie finds. We have some nice ethnic cuisine around as well – my two faves are Ethiopian and Thai!

Katie November 21, 2010 at 10:15 pm

hmmm…I’m going to be in Minneapolis for a week over the holidays. Victor’s, here I come.

Virginia @ YtotheUmmy November 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm

lebaneeesee!! woop woop! :D

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) November 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Since I grew up in MN, went to St Thomas (and I cannot believe that I feel like in the day I knew Grand Ave like the back of my hand but never made it to Victor’s…darn!) but I LOVE this post!

It reminds me of my childhood, my early adulthood, simpler times. I miss my homeland in that respect. Just not the weather :)

Gosh thank you for this lovely post, Holly….It *almost* makes me want to fly home and visit. But I am a SoCal girl forever now :)

Maggie @ Say Yes to Salad November 21, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Doug is adorable :)

Mmm plantains!

Eden November 22, 2010 at 12:26 am

Wow, your making want to pack my bags just so I can have b-fast there! I’m gonna have to steal that plantain omelette ides. I love grafitti art and I wish I were good at it, but my graffiti would look like stick figures.
I’m with you on the cuisines. I love cuban and Indian, but I also love Brazilian. I tend to be biased towards cuisines that are anything but what my heritage is.

Little Bookworm November 22, 2010 at 3:35 am

Favourite ethnic cuisine = indian. :D

Jocelyn @ Enthusiastic Runner November 22, 2010 at 5:25 am

That restaurant looks sooo neat! My favorite food I think will always be Mexican! I love love love guacamole!

Lauren November 22, 2010 at 5:58 am

This place looks fantastic! Sometimes these hole in the wall places are the best a city has to offer.

Uncle Tommie Timbertoes November 22, 2010 at 6:01 am

Nooooooooooooo! You are a St. Paul girl, you never, never say the M word. You can go to M, eat in M, drink in M and shop in M but never recogonize M as being good at anything without saying St. Paul is better or where you would go to raise your family. It’s a sister thing (that should ring a bell with you). Otherwise, you give good folks the wrong impression, they’ start thinking M is the capital!

Maya November 22, 2010 at 6:11 am

What an interesting omelet! My favorite cuisine is Ethiopian. Luckily, DC is home to many a Ethiopian restaurant. I also have a special place in my heart for Indian food.

Kristi November 22, 2010 at 7:33 am

I was in MN a few months ago and we ended up at Victor’s. The food was great! I was sad about having to leave to come back home because I don’t have any place around me as good as Victor’s!

Pure2Raw Twins November 22, 2010 at 8:28 am

I guess I need to visit Minneapolis. Looks like a fun place!

Favorite cuisine is Indian, Ethiopian, Mediterranean, love all their seasonings.

Alyssa November 22, 2010 at 9:26 am

You were about 5 blocks away from my apartment!! I am not originally from Minneapolis, but been here almost 2 years and absoultely love the Uptown/Southern Minneapolis area. I wal by Victors every Sunday on my way home from church, and every week there is a flood of people desperately waiting for a seat :)

Katie November 22, 2010 at 10:59 am

I love little places like Victor’s! They are hard to find where I live, but if I take a trip to Boulder…holy moly, they are abundant. So many good little hole-in-the-wall places where the food is unbelievable. Also, a plantain omelet sounds ridiculously appealing to me right now.

Kacy November 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I would love that omelet! Fried plantains are one of the most exquisite foods on the planet! YUM!

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather November 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Thai food for sure. I can never get enough peanut sauce – yum!

That place looks so fun and the food sounds tasty and unique.

jen November 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

i was never a dog person until my mom brought home maddie…she stole my dog hating heart!
your omelet looks dang good!!!!


emily (a nutritionist eats) November 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Still need to go there! It is on the list and we have a gift certificate so it should be sooner than later. :)
Hope you made it home ok!! Yikes, what a mess it was!

Sami November 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm

PERFECT choice. couldn’t have chosen better myself. sweet plantain omelette? sounds like heaven.

julie November 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm

a plantain omelet? is that even possible. puh-lease tell me you are going to recreate that baby.

what a fun date! i need a dining companion. my dog doesn’t make such a hot date especially when i’m feasting in front of the tele and he’s snoozing in his bed

Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm

That food looks amazing!! And I love that restaraunt. We have one here that allows writing on the walls and what not as well. It’s fun to read what everyone has to say. :P

Megan (Braise the Roof) November 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Doug looks like a dog I know named Bob who likes to aggressively hump my leg. Alls I’m sayin is watch out. And there is nothing quite like a good ol’ fashioned fried plaintain- Cuban food is awesome! I have to say, I love me some Latin food.

Dana @ my little celebration November 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm

What a unique jewel of a restaurant. There are several places like that in Portland – one being Montage, which has the strangest art on the walls, quirky staff and a random, but delicious menu. Just thinking about it makes me want to back now…

Lovely photos, especially of the wall grafitti and your post plantain omelet coma : )

I heart your blog,

amanda November 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

what a neat place!

plantains are divine! they were my staple food while living in ecuador.

fave ethnic cuisine is definitely mexican. my heart THRIVES for it.

Damaris @Kitchen Corners November 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I had cuban food once and I loved it. Not much cuban food in California. Now I want to visit Minneapolis.

Kaitlin With Honey November 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

That omelet sounds SO amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever had Cuban food like that. Yum.

jeri November 23, 2010 at 10:34 am

Ahh I was in the cities this weekend too! Hope you weren’t out during the insane ice storm. Because that was brutally terrifying. :/

I looooooooooove Mpls as well. It has my heart a bit.

K - Anywhere There's An Airport November 23, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Ahhh!!! LOVE the spanish shout out!

elise November 24, 2010 at 1:31 pm

love you both so much!!!
i think thai and indian are some of the best ethnic foods.

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