We met at Robin and Dave's, then headed to Uptown as a group. We were WAAAAAAY early, so had a chance to have a cup of coffee, and chat for awhile before boarding the bus to head to our first destination...Holy Land Bakery & Deli.
Robin practicing restraining Davey from spending money...Duane practicing restraining me from spending money...Sherry practicing restaining Dan from spending money (it didn't work...)!!!
We got to sample some AWESOME middle eastern classics (hummus and pita, falafel, fig pastries), and I went CRAZY buying stuff I'm not sure I'll ever use (I get "caught in the moment" like that sometimes...!).
I found fava beans in a spicy tomato sauce...I NEEDED THAT! I found nuts soaked in honey...I NEEDED THAT! I found a sheet of dried apricot paste...I NEEDED THAT TOO!!!! I bought olive tepanade, harissa paste, Red Rooster sauce, and a BUNCH of other stuff...I NEEDED THEM TOO!!!!!
Kirsten, from our tour group (and who knew a TON about middle eastern food!), and Davey, Duane, and me sampling the falafel!!!!
After Holy Land, we headed to St. Paul to look around El Burrito Mercado, a Hispanic market:
I found all SORTS of fabulous stuff here...crema, spices to sprinkle on fruit, lime and pineapple empanadas, sour orange, and AWESOME chicken and chipotle bouillon cubes. The "alley corn" behind the market was AMAZING, as well!!!!!!!!
Our next stop was Ingebretsen's Scandinavian Gifts. I have to admit that I didn't buy ANYTHING here, but it was a GREAT shop with some LOVELY Scandinavian foods (lefse and lutefisk, notwithstanding...ish!). They DID have a lovely Swedish meatball mix that I will probably have to go back and try. The butcher said that they sell a THOUSAND POUNDS of it a day during the Christmas holidays, so it MUST be good!
I'll pass on the smoked salmon...thanks...!
I was VERY tempted to buy a can of "fish balls" (meatballs made of cod) to put on my kitchen counter to FREAK everyone out, but decided it was just TOO GROSS to have anywhere NEAR my house...!!!! Ditto the tube of "fish roe"...EEEK!!!
After Ingebretsen's, we headed to our final stop in Minneapolis, Bill's Imported Foods. Bill's is another middle eastern market. They had a few things that we didn't see at Holy Land, but by this time, I was COMPLETELY exhausted, so only found a FEW things that I couldn't live without...!!!
We then got back on the bus, and headed back to THE KITCHEN WINDOW for a LOVELY taco dinner...beef and chicken tacos...made with ingredients from our stops during the day.
I bought all SORTS of interesting ingredients, and can't wait to figure out what to do with them! I may mix "ethnicities"...combining the crema from the Mexican market with the zahtar from Holy Land to marinate chicken breasts, or using the spicy fava beans in my homemade chili recipe...SUCH possibilities!!!!
Here are some photos of my purchases...