Modern Times Cafe in Minneapolis

Modern Times Cafe MinneapolisWhile looking for breakfast options in Minneapolis, I came upon a Facebook post from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who had recently visited the city on her Isa Does It book tour.  She said that she’d be hitting up Modern Times Café and Jasmine 26 multiple times while she was there.  And with that, I knew where I was going to be eating that day…  (Read about my visit to Jasmine 26 here!)

I saw that Modern Times opens at 9 am on the weekends, has a small dining area, and often requires a wait for brunch.  So we got there at 9:10, and the dining room was already completely full with what ended up being a 45 or 50 minute wait.

Coffee at Modern Times CafeAfter putting in our names, one of the servers asked if we’d like a cup of coffee while we waited.  Oh, yes, please.  It was a nice touch, and servers regularly came into the hallway, where people were waiting in groups, to refill coffee cups.  The place was really busy, and the few servers who were working were buzzing around feverishly.  However, they were all really friendly and pleasant.  It’s not easy to keep a smile on your face at 9 am on a Saturday when you’re constantly moving, but they made it happen.

Zines at Modern Times CafeThe diner has a 70’s, greasy spoon aesthetic.  (It kind of reminded me of Flore in Silverlake, California.)  They had a display of zines available for reading and a notice about their Doodle Club that meets there to make collaborative zines.  (How fun does that sound?)  While people waited, they read through the zines, sometimes aloud to others in their group.  There was also a notice board with an advertisement for a Green Arts Fair that weekend at the nearby Midtown Global Market (but more on that to follow!).

Curiously, amongst the group of people waiting was a guy who had brought in his own jar of nutritional yeast flakes and bottle of hot sauce.  I found my people! (Although, I have to mention, the diner offers three different kinds of hot sauce – Tabasco, smoked Tabasco, and Sriracha.  I should have asked the guy about his hot sauce that he needs, even with three already on offer.  It must have been something special!)

After the long wait, we were finally seated.  The diner focuses on using a large amount of organic foods in their dishes and offers a variety of vegan and non-vegan options, which are all clearly labeled.  I’d already looked through the menu online and had narrowed it down to a couple of options.  I had a hard time deciding between the Johnathan Richman, a sandwich made with veggie sausage and grilled tofu on grilled sourdough with a slathering of basil Vegenaise or Not Your Mother’s Migas.  After much deliberation, I sided on the Migas.  I’ve made a similar dish from Viva Vegan and loved it.  Plus, if there’s a spicy Spanish-style breakfast on offer, that’s probably going to be my choice.

Not Your Mother's Migas at Modern Times CafeNot Your Mother’s Migas certainly lived up.  First of all, it was huge.  They only offer one size on it, and so I easily could have shared it with David.  The tortilla wedges were deep fried and crisp and then covered in a spicy homemade ranchero sauce and topped with vegan cream.  They were served alongside black beans and garlicky cabbage salsa.  The salsa was a wonderfully cool respite from the runny-nose-burning-mouth caused by the Migas.  With the single degree weather outside, it warmed me up all over.  TVP chorizo can be added to the dish for a dollar more, but I can see why our server said that it really wasn’t necessary when I asked about it.  There was no threat of me leaving hungry!

Pancake at Modern Times CafeHash at Modern Times CafeDavid ordered a pancake and a half order of the Southside Hash.  The hash was made with hashbrowns obviously and also onions, mushrooms, green peppers, and roasted jalapenos.  It was topped with TVP chorizo, tofu, and poblano tofu cream.  It was incredibly flavorful, and even just a half order was very generously sized.  The pancake was fluffy and light.

Midtown Global Market MinneapolisAfter lunch, we headed to the nearby Midtown Global Market, which as I mentioned was having a Green Gifts Fair that day.  I’d never heard of the Global Market before, and even if they hadn’t been having an event, it’s such a cool place.

Midtown Global Market MinneapolisOlives at Midtown Global MarketThey have  vendors from all over the world with a mixture of crafts, clothes, and knickknacks.  Then there are also international food vendors selling things to eat while you’re there and grocery areas for buying foods to take home.  I bought a pack of 5 injera, which I’m very excited to use for a future Ethiopian dinner night.  There was a mariachi band playing music and a play area for kids.  It had the feeling of an outdoor marketplace, but inside away from the bitter cold.

Makeshift Accessories RingWe walked around the Green Gifts Fair, where there were 75 vendors selling items that were recycled, repurposed, fair trade and/or organic in nature.  I couldn’t resist buying myself this ring made with a repurposed coin by Devin Johnson of Makeshift Accessories.   (Does anyone recognize the coin or have an idea where it might be from?  The mystery has been solved!  It’s an old Korean 10 won coin.  Thanks for the help, Chelsea!  Well done!)

Check back for more Minneapolis fun in a future post!


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    • says

      Thanks, Shell! I really like it too. It’s fun to think about how many hands that coin must have passed through and all of the places it has been.

  1. says

    Wow I want to go to there! It looks amazing! I’ve never had migas, actually, but they sound really good. And that poblano tofu cream on David’s dish sounds spectacular. I might have to try making that next taco night or something! Great stuff!

    • says

      Before I made the migas in Viva Vegan, I’d never had them either. (Do you have that cookbook? It’s totally worth checking out. It’s one of my very favorites.) The migas at Modern Times differed from the ones in VV, though, in that the tortillas were deep fried. A very indulgent breakfast indeed! :)

  2. says

    This made me chuckle – I always look up the menu before I go somewhere to try and cut down my deciding time at the restaurant! What are migas, by the way? I’m pretty sure I would love a bit plate of them!

    • says

      Why am I not surprised that you also review menus ahead of time? When I’m traveling, I always weigh my restaurant options by scoping out menus first. I’m glad I looked over the menus. We’d thought about visiting French Meadow Bakery, which we’d enjoyed in the past, but they didn’t have any savory breakfast options for vegans.

      Migas are a Spanish breakfast, typically made with scrambled eggs and a spicy tomato sauce. For vegans, they’re made with scrambled tofu instead. What makes migas special is that corn tortillas are sliced and scrambled with it for one gloopy, delicious mess. In this case, they actually deep fried flour tortillas first. I think you would love them.

    • says

      Sometimes you can’t beat a messy, indulgent breakfast! If you happen to nab a chip, you’re definitely going to need some napkins afterwards! :)

  3. Grace says

    I often go to Modern Times for breakfast. My go to breakfast place. So very glad that you enjoyed your stay in Minneapolis!!

    • says

      How lucky for you! There were several restaurant options for brunch, and I had a tough time choosing. Do you have any other favorite breakfast places in Minneapolis with great vegan options?

      • Grace says

        For Breakfast, I could suggest French Meadow Bakery. I do enjoy the food there but it can get very busy and noisy especially during brunch. I have tried Triple Rock Social Club. I wasn’t very impressed. The Birchwood sometimes has vegan breakfast options, check the menu first before you head there. :) I did just think of another option for breakfast, The Seward Cafe. I love the hash browns and black beans! And they have vegan desserts.

        The only all vegan restaurant we have is the Ecopolitan. I think they are open for brunch. They are all raw also. The May Day Cafe also has vegan options, but I believe there is not a lot of seating options.

        • says

          I’ve been to French Meadow for lunch & dinner, but never for breakfast. I was tempted to go there, but then I noticed that they don’t offer any savory breakfast options for vegans. I’m much more of a tofu scramble or breakfast burrito person than I am a pancake person. (Although, I do enjoy them every once in a while.)

          I’ve been to Ecopolitan one time, and I liked it. If only it hadn’t been so cold out, I would have been up for some of their raw options!

          Thanks for all of the breakfast suggestions! I’ll keep them in mind the next time I’m in the Twin Cities!

    • says

      Isn’t that hanging zine idea cute? It would even be fun to do in the office of someone’s house. I loved how many people were actually grabbing them and looking them over while we were there. It definitely wasn’t just decoration alone!

      Minneapolis doesn’t have as many fully vegan restaurants as one might expect for that size of city, but it has a wonderful array of vegan friendly restaurants!

    • says

      I haven’t looked it up, but I think meth is dry and smoked in a pipe. Can you imagine the look on the guy’s face if I would have walked over and asked, “Is your hot sauce secretly meth?”

    • says

      Minneapolis is a fun city! I used to visit it fairly often in college, and so I have a soft spot for it. It has a lot of city-style amenities (restaurants, bars, theatre, museums, live music) without being overly large. I can’t imagine living there, though, because Iowa is already way too cold for me. I can’t foresee myself moving somewhere even colder! I’d recommend visiting in July! :)

  4. Chelsea says

    That’s an old Korean 10 won coin! Yah, random trivia. I will definitely be visiting Modern Times when I go to visit friends there next spring (really late spring). Thanks for the heads up.

    • says

      Excellent! Thanks, Chelsea! The mystery has been solved. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time until someone asks about the origins of the coin, and now I’ll know!

      I hope you enjoy your trip to Minneapolis with your friends! You’ll have to let me know what you order.

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