A couple weeks ago, I took a work trip to Minneapolis. The temperatures were on the upswing, at a balmy one degree above zero, so I met up with some friends for a night on the town.
Erica, a dear friend from my younger days, and her husband Justin, a native of Minnesota, took me to a great spot in Uptown called Chino Latino, serving “street foods from the hot zones.” The concept is that all the food comes from areas around the equator (and it’s definitely nice to escape to the equator when the weather outside is sooooo cold). Really, I think someone just wanted an excuse to serve queso dip with fried rice—every drunk kid’s dream! I’m glad they did.
The restaurant was huge, with a super fun, trendy atmosphere. It was a perfect spot for a night out with friends or a birthday party.
We started with some delicious cocktails (there were a lot of choices!). I’ve been into cucumber lately, so I went with a refreshing Cucumber Cooler (Gin, St Germain, lime juice, cucumber) and was not disappointed. I loved the little elephant charm that came on my drink and may or may not have grabbed several more from the bar.
Then we started ordering appetizers. Unable to narrow down our choices, we just ordered a lot—it never hurts to have leftovers, right? Queso fundido with chorizo (so good!), fried bananas with queso fresco (yum!), and some kind of Indian-style potato pancakes with cilantro from the night’s Specials menu.
Then for the entrees (I know, right? More food? Yes!), we tried That Ho, Chi Minh’s Fried Rice (don’t you love the name?) with vegetables, oyster sauce and fried egg; the Mad Mongolian Beef, with bamboo shoots, broccoli, green onion, and shishito peppers in spicy chili soy sauce; and, the Senegalese Peanut Curry, a West African stew with sweet potatoes, yams, ginger and jalapenos in a spicy peanut and curry sauce. We did quite a number on these dishes, and had no room left for dessert at the restaurant (although it probably would have been good.)
And, of course, I grabbed some more drink charms before I left, because everybody needs a little ass in their lives.
Overall, I loved Chino Latino for a really fun dinner with great cocktails and great friends! Whoever came up with the concept of serving tacos under the same roof as lo mein noodles is a genius in my book.
Thank you Erica and Justin for an unforgettable night in Minnesota.