4801 Minnehaha Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Jake has a tattoo. It looks like a snowflake. Jake describes the tattoo as the "Helm of Awe," a symbol of protection that Viking Beserkers wrote or burned onto their foreheads before battle. Of Svandenavian descent, Jake chose this symbol because it was one of the only Old Norse symbols not adopted by white supremacist groups. Due to its festive holiday appearance, it wasn't adopted for obvious reasons. Jake's original plan to add "The brave live forever," in Old Norse has been scrapped because he feels defeated by his friends' relentless teasing so he may settle for "Happy Holidays" instead.
According to the official Svenskarnas Dag website, this year's 77th annual celebration is one of the largest in the nation. Jake and I ventured over to Minnehaha Park to check out the celebration, find Swedish meatballs, and verify the "Helm of Awe" is more than just a snowflake (unfortunately, the costumed individuals selling books about runes could not verify this fact). Once we arrived, Jake made a beeline to Sea Salt Eatery in search of a po-boy. Believe it or not, I have never eaten at Sea Salt. All of the talk about the long lines scared me away.
The rumors were true.
While Jake waited in line, I bought a plate of Swedish meatballs from a girl's choir fundraiser which included five meatballs, mashed potatoes, lingonberries, two ginger cookies, and Wasa bread.
I am an Asian who was raised by Scandinavians since I was less than a year old. Therefore, I feel connected to both Korean and Scandinavian heritages. I don't know how to speak Korean and I am not particularly amused when random individuals approach me awkwardly speaking Korean, ask how long I've "lived here," or ask me where I'm "from."
I'm an adopted, Minnesotan Korean who craves kimchi and makes better Swedish meatballs than your grandmother.
Jake split the fried shrimp po-boy and grilled marlin tacos with me. Somehow, I spent the summer of 2006 in New Orleans and never ate a po-boy. However, I did eat my fair share of crawfish, jambalaya, and fried oysters.
I also consumed more than my fair share of spicy fried chicken at Popeyes, one of the few, open, fast food restaurants in New Orleans at that time, which was insanely crowded at all hours of the day/night. But I have yet to visit the Minneapolis location. Strange, I know.
Lightly breaded, non-greasy, fried shrimp. Large and perfectly snappy.
The shrimp lay between soft, toasted bread, iceberg lettuce shreds, ripe tomato slices, and an addicting mixture of hot sauce and mayonnaise.
After my first bite, my eyebrows raised in awe. Jake was "amazingly impressed" with the po-boy and mentioned he would have tried to choke three down, had he lacked all common sense and wanted to end up at HCMC. We planned to return to Sea Salt for a fried oyster po-boy on a disgustingly, unappealing day when we might bank on a short line. Whether or not this po-boy was synonymous to those of New Orleans, I do not know. Nor do I care. It was delicious.
This was our first time trying marlin. Our order consisted of two tacos filled with generous chunks of grilled marlin, topped with salsa, onion and cilantro. The marlin had a firm "steaky" texture and lacked any fishiness. I found the fish to taste rather bland and may have enjoyed the taco more if I had added a little salt and another wedge of lime. Despite added accompaniments, all I could taste was the corn tortilla. Jake defends the mild flavor of the fish and the accompanying toppings, adding that he thinks I'm obnoxiously picky, comparing me to Restaurant Girl's judging on Top Chef Masters simply because he knows I am not fond of her.
You'll have to try the grilled marlin tacos for yourself and either align yourself with Jake or vindicate me from his accusation.
I would order the fish tacos again, but would try some different versions.