You should totally drink at the Rainforest Cafe.
The Rainforest Cafe inside the Mall of America is always a place I’ve wanted to go. I’ve walked by it countless times but have never ventured inside.
There’s always a crowd of people waiting outside. It’s tacky and loud. Animatronic animals shriek. The food is expensive and I’ve never heard anyone say it’s good.
The very first Rainforest Cafe opened in the Mall of America two years after the mall opened.
Back in 1994, Nickelodeon Universe was Camp Snoopy. Snoopy’s big, red dog bowl was an easy place to meet your friends. Sometimes my folks would take us to the Knott’s Berry Farm restaurant where I remember eating the best fried chicken ever. And inside the Rainforest Cafe, it didn’t just thunder and lightning, it also rained.
Sometimes spicy won’t do. Extra hot won’t be good enough, either.
You don’t just want your food to make you sweat, you want a cathartic, painful, out-of-body experience due fueled by spice, chilis and serotonin.
I think this is how you heal a broken heart.
Once in a while discussion threads appear on Twitter and Reddit; Someone will ask where to find the spiciest food in the Twin Cities and people respond.
They often suggest Marla’s, On’s, Bangkok Thai Deli, Gandi Mahal, Grand Szechuan, Grand Catch, D-Spot, and Revival’s Poultrygeist sauce.
Curry Grain Bowl with Tempeh from Tillie’s Farmhouse (St. Paul, MN)
We didn’t visit Tillie’s because we never make it past Stewart’s.
The last time I visited Tillie’s was was decades ago when it was Trotter’s.
Back in high school, we went to Trotter’s during finals week. We felt very grown-up piling into someone’s car and driving across the river into St. Paul to lunch. I never ordered anything fancier than a turkey sandwich, but it was the best turkey sandwich I ever had. Fresh grainy bread, sprouts, and mayo, which I had previously thought I hated. It just seemed so special.
Artists’ Point is located near the downtown area by the coast guard station.
Going left entails navigating along the rocky coast. Going right takes you along along the narrow concrete breakwall to the lighthouse. One person could carefully walk past another, single file.
As we began walking down the breakwall, a middle-aged couple heading towards us nicely asked if we could back up to the entrance so the woman could pass. Of course we obliged as they explained she suffered from vertigo.
The couple suggested that we walk in the opposite direction along the rocks, raving about the view.
It doesn’t matter if they’re actually the world’s best doughnuts. They may be and they may not be. But they’re the world’s best doughnuts right now.
We ordered four doughnuts – a glazed cake, glazed raised with sprinkles, banana cream, and cherry-filled. I hesitantly unfolded the 20 dollar bill in my purse hoping it was enough.
“That’s be $5.25” the woman said.
I refer to World’s Best Donuts as “grandma doughnuts.”