While 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.
After 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.
The 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 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!
David 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.
After 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.
They 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.
We 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!)