After my trip to Whistler, I headed straight to St.Paul, Minnesota to meet up with my fiancée. His sister lives there so we visit once or twice a year and we were long overdue. There are so many shops, boutiques and restaurants I love in their neighbourhood, but I will save those for future posts.
The day we headed back home we made my favourite and mandatory stop every time I am in the Twin Cities. Mañana Restaurant y Pupuseria. It is a Salvadoran restaurant that some friends and I discovered a few years ago on a girls shopping trip.
A few years ago, my sister and two friends of ours drove to Minneapolis for a weekend of shopping and a girl’s night out. We stayed in Bloomington as close to Mall of America as we could, but we had planned on looking up a Salvadoran restaurant so we could indulge in pupusas. After eight hours of shopping we randomly picked a place out of the yellow pages, not realizing how far it was by cab. It was actually in St.Paul and our cab driver got lost trying to find it in the eastern neighbourhood of St.Paul. We finally got there and when we walked in we felt out of place. It felt as though we were interrupting a family dinner, families with loud children who sat at the tables all seemed to be from the neighbourhood and knew each other. We stuck out but we wanted to belong. The decor is humble, artifacts from El Salvador line the walls, and flags from all the latin american countries hang from the ceiling. There is even a TV in the corner blasting Univision. Still a bit unsure, we sat down and within minutes felt at home. We ordered our beloved pupusas and were blown away. They were served piping hot, cheese oozing out and grilled to perfection. We of course ordered horchatas ( a sweet, almond and rice-based beverage) to quench the thirst we worked up and were 110% satisfied. There are a ton of other Salvadoran and latin staples like yuca frita (fried cassava), tacos, and specialty soups like sopa de marisco (a seafood soup) and sopa de pata (a soup that contains cow’s feet, tripe, cassava, corn and green plantain). By the time we were finished, everyone had cleared out and they were closing, but they made sure we got in cab safely before closing the door on us.
That was five years ago and even though the four of us haven’t been back there together, we’ve each been back to Mañana numerous times since. We’ve each gone back with boyfriends, fiancées, husbands, families and it doesn’t stop there. We told EVERYONE we could when we got back to Winnipeg and lots of friends of friends of friends have visited since. And once they go once, they keep going back like we do.
So, if you’re looking for a fantastic meal, and an authentic Salvadoran experience and hospitality, do yourself a favour and check out Mañana.