Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine

marlas

A little background

Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine used to be the former Jamaica Jamaica restaurant until owners Marla and her husband Ian bought it out and renamed it Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine. After taking care of others as a nurse for 18 years, she is now working in her restaurant full time. According to her website, Marla has “reached Nirvana.” For their customers craving Creole, Indian, and Latin flavors, Nirvana can be found here. Both she and her husband have roots from Trinidad and Tobago, which means more authentic entrees for us Northerners!

It’s no surprise that Marla and Ian’s delightfully spiced entrees have gained solid recognition among the foodie culture in Minneapolis. This became especially apparent when Marla’s was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri. Check out the video below.

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 My thoughts

Let me just take a moment to highlight their decorations. The walls of Marla’s are plastered with fun posters with a distinctly reggae flare. This makes perfect sense given that this is supposed to be a Caribbean inspired restaurant. Can you spot Guy Fieri? My fiance and I had a blast looking around at all the posters and decorations.

inside 2

inside 1

Okay, to kick things off we had to get an order of fried plantains.  For those of you who haven’t had these babies before, please, order them the next chance you get!  If you’d rather stay in, these are extremely easy to make as well.  All you have to do is go to the grocery store and buy plantains. Then you need to heat oil in  a pan until it’s good and hot. Now, you can choose to slice the plantains and fry them or you can fry them whole if they are smaller. Either way, just stick them into the pan of hot oil and wait until they are brown on the outside and even have a slight crisp. You can eat them with either sea salt or a little bit of sugar and cinnamon.

Long story short, we order these every time … seriously, every time. Just get them.

edited plantains

One of the best features of Marlas is that you know are getting a fresh, home cooked meal. Literally, they make everything to order and not a minute before. It’s like going home and having mom and dad cook you amazing Caribbean food! For my main meal of the night, I went with Channa and Potato Roti, which was featured on the Food Network.  What you get is a whole lot of chick peas, golf ball-sized potatoes and onions all seasoned with curry. Served is a soft, flakey and warm roti. I highly recommend this one, but be sure you read their menu for their spicy levels. Medium is very hot and Indian hot is just ridiculous for someone not used to it!

edited chick peas

edited bread

Tony went with the Caribbean jerk. When we were here a couple months ago, a friend of our ordered this and Tony was determined to order it the next time we went. He got his wish and was definitely pleased. I can see why. The slight char on the chicken really gives it a smokey flavor that is only enhanced by the spices the meat absorbs while cooking with the peppers and onions. The jerk is served with white rice. Beware, this dish is HOT!

caribbean jerk

Thank you Food Network for finding this place. Tony and I continuously enjoy coming to Marla’s Caribbean Cafe to spice up our dinners in the week. You can always expect a great, friendly staff and food that is both filling and unique. Two things are certain, we’re positive that we are going back soon and we’ll be starting our meal with an order of plantains. We hope you enjoy Marla’s as much as we did!

For a full view of their menu, check out the link below:
online menu

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Roat Osha – Uptown

A little background

Roat Osha is a casual, yet dramatic Thai restaurant located in Uptown.  By combining authentic Thai culinary techniques with an American flare, visitors will have a dining experience that will delight the taste buds.

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 My thoughts

I don’t know if I’ve ever digressed on Minnesota Munch about how much my fiance and I enjoy Thai food.  You know how Mac and Cheese, lasagna or a hamburger are usually the top foods that come to mind when “comfort food” is mentioned?  Yeah, my fiance and I think a little differently.  If we are having a bad day or, when in the depth of winter, we just need something to soothe our psyches, we instantly search out Thai food.  The spicy, hot chilies, peanut sauces, and garlic just hit the spot! If it’s not Thai food, we’re looking for Indian. Good thing we have access to many decent Thai and Indian places within the Twin Cities Metro!

To those who haven’t been to Roat Osha, you should really check this place out.  Not only is the food amazing, but they have a fun and trendy atmosphere with touches of traditional Thai/Southeast Asian artwork. We just couldn’t stop staring at the models of Thai ships or elephants. The intricate craftwork was simply eye catching.  Here’s another reason to love this place; they have a bar area if you aren’t feeling dinner and an outdoor patio for the warm summer months. I don’t know about you, but any place with a patio is okay in my books.

We decided to check this place out for our anniversary (when he officially asked me out, that is). On special occasions like this, we tend to order appetizers, entrees, drinks and desserts.  I like special occasions very much. 😉

We started with the Appetizer Platter. This includes three Chicken Satays, four cream cheese wontons, and three spring rolls. The chicken satays were marinated with Thai spices and grilled; and, they were served with a homemade peanut curry sauce and a sweet cucumber sauce. Literally, these are great for any guy who wants his meat. Plus, the peanut sauce was AMAZING with the chicken. I would actually order just an appetizer of these. The cream cheese wontons were like any other wonton: deep fried and filled with warm, delicious cream cheese. Lastly, the spring rolls consisted of ground pork, glass noodles, and vegetables. Since my fiance really enjoys his meat, I didn’t order the vegetarian kind this time. These were still a great app. and went well with the three sauces on the tray. The last sauce you see in the picture (the red one) was a basic sweet and sour.

Appetizer Platter: Chicken Satays, Cream Cheese Wontons, & egg rolls
Appetizer Platter: Chicken Satays, Cream Cheese Wontons, & egg rolls

He decided to get the Massamun Curry, mainly because he was craving a curry-based dish with chicken. According to the Roat Osha menu, this is a dish from southern Thailand. When you order the curries here, you can choose between a vegetarian option, which would include cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, onions, and mushrooms; or you can choose from a meat option, which includes chicken, pork, tofu, mock duck, beef, shrimp or squid, scallops, and a seafood combo.  Talk about giving you options.

Massamun Curry: Red Curry, peanuts, potatoes, onions, and Chicken added
Massamun Curry: Red Curry, peanuts, potatoes, onions, and chicken added

Feeling adventurous, I went with the Mee Kah Teeh. The base of this dish is rice noodles with red curry. The vegetables are all added later to preference.  At Roat Osha, they use red curry sautéed with rice noodles, egg, peanuts, garlic, and bean sauce. This Tum Rup Thai original is served with bean sprouts, fried chilies, scallions, cilantro and lime. Honestly, I thought this was perfect. It had a good amount of heat and a punch of flavor. Also, my serving contained a delightful balance of noodle to veggie ratio. Just look at this picture and tell me you don’t want to have a taste.

Mee Kah Teeh:  red curry sautéed with rice noodles, egg, peanuts, garlic, and bean sauce. Served with bean sprouts, fried chilies, scallions, cilantro and lime.
Mee Kah Teeh: red curry sautéed with rice noodles, egg, peanuts, garlic, and bean sauce. Served with bean sprouts, fried chilies, scallions, cilantro and lime.

At this point in our night, we were so full that we had to refuse dessert. Sad, I know, but filling up on the entrees, appetizers, and drinks were well worth it. Speaking of drinks, I forgot to mention what we ordered. I’ve listed them below. I’d definitely recommend the One Night in Bangkok. This was very refreshing and went well with the apps we ordered.

One Night in Bangkok: A cosmopolitan is made with UV Citruv, Triple Sec, cranberry juice and Rose’s lime juice, garnished with a lemon twist.

Bangkok Sunrise: This lemon drop martini is served in a sugar-rimmed glass, with UV Citruv, orange juice, sour, and a drop of grenadine, garnished with a lemon wedge.

Roat Osha is definitely the place to go for some amazing Thai food in Minneapolis. If you’re in the mood to try something new, you will not be disappointed.

For a full view of their menu, check out the link below:
Dinner Menu
Happy Hour Menu
Wine Menu
Specialty Drinks
Beer Menu