Monday, April 26, 2010

OMF seeks MPLR

I came to an important realization today.

I haven't been to any amazing restaurants here. It sounds sort of disheartening, but its also interesting how long its taken me to notice.

When it comes to food, even foodies get complacent, accepting...we don't expect that every place that we go to is going to be great, and we take comfort in the familiarity of chains when we need to. So after a while, you forget that there was a time when thinking of a breakfast sandwich made your mouth water, and imagining eating an expensive fish dish made you want to start saving up so you could justify eating it again as soon as possible.

It sounds like I'm treating food as a metaphor for something else right now, doesn't it?

It's impossible to not be hopeful, though. This weekend, I had a certain vegetarian friend visit, and I tried to find a restaurant with good vegetarian options for her. Given that the John Morrell & Co. meat processing plant is in Sioux Falls and whole regions smell like bacon all the time, I don't think a lot of people really get vegetarianism here.

 Vegetarianism may have not made it to Sioux Falls, but the Double Down certainly has! Source

We went to Puerto Vallarta, a local Mexican restaurant in town, mostly because they had a sizeable number of things on their menu that did not include meat, and they seemed to grasp the difference between cheese and processed cheese food. Mexican food in general is usually not that hard to make vegetarian, and their options are usually not too bad.

This was something else. I don't want to turn this into a big rag on Puerto Vallarta, because as a restaurant, I'm sure lots of people would be fine with it, and they didn't do anything wrong really, customer service-wise. So I'll just put it in the words of my friend: "it is, in fact, possible to a) ruin a vegetarian burrito and b) use too much butter in cooking."

Harsh words from a lady from the Dairy State. This burrito was, despite being full of vegetables, the most buttery thing I have ever eaten. 

Which just sort of gives you further proof that this town does not get vegetarianism. Its as if they were trying to mask the taste of vegetables (eww! gross!) with as much butter as possible, as if no one, even someone who ordered a vegetarian burrito, would ever actually want to taste vegetables.

So, I'm a little disheartened right now. I almost don't want to go to restaurants anymore. I'm just not sure that this level of mediocrity is worth it. Or maybe I should post an ad, like in the personals section:

OMF seeks MPLR: Open-Minded Foodie who's been disappointed by the dining scene in the past, seeks Moderately Priced Local Restaurant to patronize on a long term basis. Fresh ingredients and creativity is a must. Open to any ethnicity. Message me if interested.   

Props to my sis for giving me the personals idea in her dance blog, All She Wants to Do Is. With any luck, we'll both find the illusive restaurant/dance partner we both seek.


  1. Chin up! Here's an idea: You might have better luck if you change your strategy. Instead of looking for creative meals, maybe you should look for the place that makes the best hamburger or baked macaroni and cheese. Something that lots of people make, but few make amazingly.

    Another idea: You could visit or call your local coop grocery store and ask them for restaurant recommendations. They might have a fresh perspective, especially for those that appreciate the difference between heirloom and roma tomatoes.

    Also interesting: apparently there is a "Incas Mexican Restaurant" near you. Hmm... I didn't know the Incas had a taste for Mexican food- I thought they preferred their quinoa and potatoes. Oh well, I guess you learn new things every day.

    Lastly, you should be glad your friends aren't vegan.

  2. I have a coworker who lived in/near Sioux Falls for a decade. I will ask her about good places to eat.

  3. Coworker recommends Minerva's and will ask her son, who still lives in the area, if he can think of anything else.

    It's been 25 years since she lived there so her recollection is not so good.

  4. A few more recommendations:

    Parker's Bistro
    210 South Main Street
    Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57104
    (605) 275-7676

    Spezia Sioux Falls
    4801 S. Louise Avenue
    Sioux Falls, SD 57106

    Incas Mexican Restaurant

    Burger Time

  5. Thanks for the ideas Josie! It's definitely easier to just look for a good burger than your own version of Cheers. :)

  6. Thanks Caity! I'm really stoked that you said Burger Time---whenever we drive by one, I say the name a la " It's Tool Time!" in Home Improvement. It really annoys the Hubby, and he's been threatening that the next time I do it, we're going to go there. Well, looks like the joke might be on him.