I don’t really believe in “guilty pleasures.” You either like something, or you don’t…and there ain’t no shame. I freely admit my love for Nashville, the Madea francise, and pretty much every ABC Family show ever made. So I’m not ashamed to say that I also love malls. Shopping in reasonable temps, the smell of Cinnabon wafting through the air, cheap bangles galore at Claires. It reminds me of being young and just roaming around without any real agenda. So on a recent trip to Minneapolis, I couldn’t resist Mall of America!
When I read that Mall of America had over 50 restaurants, I got really excited. I had visions of riding rollercoasters with veg-snacks in hand. I mean, they have 50 restaurants…I was pretty sure there was going to be some good stuff. Sadly, the pickings were slim. But I was determined to find something healthy and good.
After doing a little investigating, I found a juice bar on the map! When I got there, it was more of a fruit smoothie kind of place. But they did have wheatgrass shots. And as much as I’m willing to admit my “guilty pleasures,” I’m also willing to admit when I don’t love something. And I don’t love wheatgrass. But I do love the way it makes me feel. So I downed a huge shot and got the green jolt I needed.
My tummy was full-on grumbling (I’d looked at at least 10 menus) when I finally found CRAVE. They had a Mediterranean platter. A good tip to remember when eating plant-based is that you can usually always find something at places that offer Mexican, Thai, and Mediterranean dishes. And even though the majority of this menu was upscale American bar food, this dish hit the spot. I would get it again, mall or not.
After shopping and watching a cheer competition (it was like a real life Bring It On), it was time to leave. And head to the next spot on my to-do list, the Walker Art Center. In design school it was my dream to work there. So when the Walker bought some of my line for their gift shop, it was one the highlights of my career. I not only got to go the Walker…I got to see my work there. The gift shop counts, right?
It was just as magical as I had imagined, and a little more. Before I headed out, I stopped at the museum’s restaurant, Gather. I paired one of their awesome salads with a nice glass of procescco – I wanted to toast with something. A mall and my dream museum in one day? That’s a pretty great Saturday. At dinner, I put my camera away so I could have a special dinner at French Meadow Cafe. There were so many awesome options that I had to stall the waitress four times, because I just couldn’t decide. It was romantic and cozy, and the food was insane. On my next trip to Minneapolis, I’ll be sure to get some takeout French Meadow before heading to the mall. ‘Cause I’m coming back for sure.
Time to share your not-so-guilty pleasures! Tell me some your favorites in the comments.