I’m really picky about my favorite places.
And by favorite places, I mean the places I return to time and again. The same goes for my favorite people, including hair stylists, butchers, car shops, tax preparers, and veterinarians. I’ve had to find my new favorite places and people more often than most. Each time we’ve moved I had to start the process from scratch. Sometimes I find my favorite person or place right away and sometimes it takes a while. But when I find it, I just know.
A lot has to fall in place for a place to become my favorite place. The actual product, noise level, availability of snacks, music choices, smell, location, customer service, parking, table spacing, outlets (in the case of coffee shops), temperature, and price.
When I first started a position in downtown Minneapolis, I set a goal to try a new restaurant once per week. And I have failed miserably because I’ve found a favorite place.
The downtown Minneapolis Skyway is a fascinating microcosm you might not even know exist unless you work in a building connected to it. You can find almost anything you’d ever need during the workday. On my daily lunch break walks, I pass by fro-yo shops, chiropractors, convenience stores, an organic convenience store, salons, coffee shops, bakeries, a popcorn shop, and a liquor store. I’m especially fascinated with the double-decker Walgreens located near Macy’s equipped with a full-blown sushi bar.
The restaurant to which I keep gravitating back is Kikugawa.
Since we moved from the Twin Cities, the Kikugawa flagship restaurant in NE Minneapolis closed (We had never visited that location). The skyway restaurant is unassuming; the menu includes a concise variety of sushi rolls, noodle soups, rice bowls, and appetizers with a daily special or two hand written on a sign. Most people order take-out, though there’s a small amount of seating inside
I love Kikugawa for these reasons: The food is really affordable and the portions are generous. Sushi is prepared to order. Dishes include a lot of fresh vegetables. And although the restaurant experiences a steady stream of customers, the line’s never “wrap around the corner” long. This is essential when you want to adhere to a 30-minute break.
The dish that I will keep returning for is this cold noodle salad ($8 including tax).
The noodles are loaded with a hardboiled egg, plus meat and cucumber that the due who runs the restaurant cuts to order. Toss it all at your desk to incorporate the light dressing that’s slightly sweet, slightly vinegary, and scented with sesame.
The last thing I want to eat at work is something heavy and greasy because it will make me feel sleepy when there’s still three-four hours of work left to go. This dish was a delight to eat and gave me enough sustenance to plow through the rest of my day. It might be the perfect lunch.
Maybe one of these weeks I’ll branch out.
Feel free to share your favorite skyway lunches in the comments below. I enjoyed reading Olive Does The City’s posts on her favorite MPLS skyway eats that also includes Kikugawa.
That salad does look refreshing. Why mess with a sure thing? Of course, it must be nice to have options. We only have a vending machine with a few candy bars to choose from!
Oh yeah, $8.00 for that cold noodle salad is really not bad. I feel ya on not “being able” to go out and try new restaurants. The same thing happens to me in Shanghai. I’ll want to try somewhere new, but then there are too many great places I want to return to. Sometimes it’s just nice to know what to expect–high quality food you’ll love at an affordable price.