South and Really South of the Metro Eats

I hate shopping, but I love malls.

I enjoy lacing up my tennis shoes and mall-walking with the seniors. The combination of people-watching, bobbing in and out of stores and smelling new clothes mixed with popcorn, Chinese food and Cinnabons thrills me.

One of the malls we actually don’t mind visiting is Twin Cities Premium Outlets, or what we casually refer to as the Eagan Outlet Mall.

There’s a good variety of clothing stores like Banana Republic, Old Navy, Saks Fifth Avenue, Eddie Bauer, etc. Outlet mall pricing is wacky; you’re probably not actually going to save money here, we all know that. But, you’ll find a convenient mix of stores all in one place. I can rarely find clothes that fit but know I’ll at least walk out with something.

There’s a small indoor food court area we’ve never visited, plus snack vendors throughout the main shopping halls. One kiosk sells some type of ice cream that makes you exhale “smoke”. Am I old when all I can wonder is if it will hurt my teeth?

We stopped at the mango stand near the Fragrance Outlet. I can’t remember what it’s called but you can’t miss it. Employees at the front transform whole mangos into curly noodles and chunks.

The menu offers sauces and seasonings to dress the mango. We ordered ours with tajin (chili, salt and lime seasoning) and chamoy, a sweet and spicy sauce. Upon the employees’ recommendation, they also added lime, salt, and Cajun seasoning.

Each mango costs about $8.60. The portion was large enough to fill us both. Sweet, spicy, tangy, and refreshing. Each bite made my mouth pucker. Jake had never tried something like this and spoke about trying to make it at home.

Chill-Acqui

This is how I randomly found myself at a Christian cafe in Southern Minnesota.

Katy and I met as part of the North Iowa Bloggers group when we lived in Mason City and have kept in touch ever since. We planned to meet for lunch in Owatonna.

I had a great time eating breakfast, lunch & dinner in Owatonna a couple of years ago. I still think about the pupuseria.

After doing some online research, I found Chill-Acqui. It looked like a unique coffee shop that also serves baked goods and dishes like tacos, flautas, and molletes.

The cafe is located outside of downtown Owatonna, kind of hidden behind some more buildings in a big lot that doesn’t look like it would house a cafe. It shares bathrooms with the laundromat next door. To the right is a nice patio and a little grill where someone was cooking food that smelled really good. The inside of the cafe smells like butter.

I gathered the faith-based theme from the decor and music.

The food here is incredibly affordable. I enjoyed my cold nitro coffee and chocolate chip cookie that, indeed, tasted like it was baked with real butter. My entire meal didn’t cost more than $12.

Katy ordered a chicken quesadilla that looked very good – instead of a folded tortilla, the outside seemed to be dough folded around filling that was freshly fried. The salsa was too spicy for her so I think she felt it was a little dry.

I ordered the vegetarian tacos.  For $5, the portion size was unreal. Three corn tortillas were spread with refried beans, literally showered with french fries and sprinkled with lightly dressed cabbage. I loved the spicy salsa that didn’t hold back. If the tacos contained less french fries and more cabbage or other veggies, this would been a slam dunk. Still, I appreciate the thought and value.

The rest of the menu looks worthy of trying, like the little bean and egg sandwiches, tacos, flautas, and chilaquiles. If you find yourself driving through Southern Minnesota, Chill-Aqcui is a short drive from 35-W. Regardless of your beliefs, I think you’d be comfortable visiting for a coffee drink and treat. The employees seemed like they cared if we enjoyed our meals.

If you try some of the other dishes here, I’d love to hear how you liked them.

1 Comment

  1. It was so fun meeting you and catching up in person’! We must do it again soon!!

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