Hello muffins! Still there? Obvies. You're totally reading this right now. Look how much you're reading.
Let's do this! Get ready for some classic shenanigans from Mom, Sister, and me. (I would say classic antics, but my first boyfriend from eighth grade who I'm not even facebook friends with had an almost physical hatred of that word and I never really got over it. Cray.)
Mall of America
344 South Ave
Bloomington, MN 55425
We go to the B-town location because it's more convenient for all three of us, and because it's easier to park here. This may sound counter-intuitive; how could it be easier to park at the Mall of America than at some nondescript corner of a random street in a quiet neighborhood of Minneapolis? Well, it just so happens that that random street is Hennepin Avenue, and that quiet neighborhood is Central, just northeast of Nicollet Island. So I'll take my chances parking in Texas, thank you very much.
By Texas, I clearly mean the first floor of the West parking ramp. Not the state that's 1,000 miles away. Seriously. That would be like, warm or something.
Masu is a fabulous Japanese restaurant with an edgy, appealing ambience. So edgy, in fact, that you can ask for a vegan menu. That's right. Yet another joint that slaps all its veggie food onto one convenient piece of dog-eared tagboard. Make sure you check with your server before ordering, though - some dishes listed have eggs or maybe even dairy in them.
Our server, I have to say, was super nice. She was practically tripping over herself to serve us well. I think the camera and note-taking made her nervous. Sorry, nice server! I'm like scary or whatever!
The Steamed Edamame we got to start with for $5.50 was good, as edamame always is. These were prepared with a salty, liquid smoke-type taste.
Then I got a Seaweed Salad for $3.50. Did you know seaweed salads are amazing? Not only do they taste great, but they're FULL of nutrients. They're even rumored to contain the elusive B12 vitamin. Masu's is good, chewy, and has a little heat with a lot of flavor. The carrots must have been marinated in some magic sauce, too. Well done.
I kept packing it in. Just wait.
Next I got Nasu - Japanese eggplant with miso for $3. It was a little too chewy, but only a teeny bit. I may have only noticed because I happen to eat a lot of eggplant. But the delicious smokey grill flavor went a long way toward distracting me from the texture, and the dipping sauce made it even better.
Finally, the coup de grace. This is the Veggie Grasshopper, which you can snag at $12. Make sure your server knows you're vegan with this one, otherwise it'll come out with eggy tempura batter inside. But you know what? This thing is fine without tempura batter. Better than fine. Kind of amazing. See that green crumbly stuff coating each piece? That's wasabi pea powder. Yeah. I'm for real. The same kind of stuff that comes in savory Asian trail mixes. And I hate wasabi, but this pea powder made my meal. It had some heat, but none of the offensive, overpowering taste I associate with straight up wasabi. It's unique, for sure, but well worth it and full of flavors when combined with the veggies inside.
Mom ordered an udon noodle soup. It came with nori strips on top - you know, the dried, black, papery seaweed often used to roll sushi. Mom took one look at it and said, "What's this black sh*t?" To which Sister and I both told her, "MO-OM." Then we all giggled and tittered.
True story. Well, except Sister doesn't really giggle, per say. She's more of a laugher. (I have to say this, otherwise she'll punch me or something. NO I AM NOT AFRAID OF MY LITTLE SISTER)