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IGGERS DIGEST | Newest Eat Street discoveries: Cinco de Mayo Mercado and Apho Tibetan takeout
So many new restaurants opening up on Nicollet - especially south of Lake Street - that it's hard to keep up with them all - Kyatchi, the new sustainable sushi restaurant at 3758 Nicollet Ave. S., and the bricks and mortar version of Hola Arepa at 3501, and the new location for Corner Table at 4537. You have probably read about those already - but my latest discoveries are a couple of little take-out locations at in the 3700 block that have actually been around for a while - Apho, at 3752 Nicollet Ave. S., and Cinco de Mayo Mercado, across the street at 3733 Nicollet Ave. S.
I probably never would have noticed that Apho has Tibetan dishes on its menu if the little fluttering prayer flags outside the door hadn't aroused my curiosity. Mostly it looks like any other inner-city fast food takeout, with the usual chicken wings and burgers and burgers and fries featured in the window, but if you look closely, you can also find dishes like thentuk (homemade noodles, $7.99) and gyathuk (noodle soup with beef or chicken, $6.99) and momos, the famous fat Tibetan dumplings ($6.99). I have only tried a few of the dishes on the menu - including all of those, plus a very tasty beef shapta stirfry, served with Tibetan steamed bread, but so far, I have enjoyed everything I have sampled. Apho has one table, but you'll probably prefer to carry out than dine in. Free delivery available with a $13 minimum purchase within a three mile area.
Across the street, Cinco de Mayo Mercado has a well-stocked deli section, with different entrees of beef, pork and chicken, in assorted chile verde and chile roja sauces, plus barbacoa and carnitas. My favorite so far are the chiles rellenos ($3.99), chiles stuffed with cheese fried in a rich, eggy batter, served with a flavorful tomato sauce. There's also a nice selection of salads, including a shrimp ceviche, and an ensalada de nopales - marinated strips of cactus in with hot peppers and onions - all at very reasonable prices. Lots of Mexican produce and groceries, plus a small bakery section.
© 2014 Jeremy Iggers