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Barrio Tequila Bar, Minneapolis, MN

There was a conference-sponsored lunch with a keynote speaker and awards on Sunday.  But c’mon, who wants to do that when there’s so many restaurants walking distance from the hotel!

Jessica and Krista went with the crowd to the lunch, but Blair and I were rebels and decided to go find some sushi.  The concierge wasn’t at the desk–something I saw more often than not during our stay–so we picked up the restaurant list and decided to walk to Origami Sushi.  He had gone running past there that morning and said it was only about 8 blocks.  Well it was a lot more than 8 blocks and we were sweltering in the heat, but that’s not part of the story.  As we got about 1/2 block away we noticed that the outdoor tables were stacked against the wall, and it didn’t look like there were any lights on…yeah, it doesn’t open until 5:30 on weekends. So we walked back, more slowly this time, and hit the group of restaurants a block from the hotel.  We decided to try out Barrio Tequila Bar.  There was no chance of sitting outside after all that walking in the blazing heat, so we headed in.

The atmosphere was very unique and cool.  The music, not so much.  I listen to hip hop & rap, and that’s fine at night when it’s more of a bar scene, but playing the unedited versions on a Sunday morning probably wasn’t the greatest idea.  Someone must have complained, because the music changed to much more appropriate about halfway through the meal.  Well, it was in Spanish so maybe it still wasn’t, but at least we didn’t know.

I ordered the Trinity Margarita–I mean we walked about 3 miles in the heat, so I needed it to cool down!  It was strong, but really good.  We also ordered the chips & salsa to start.

Barrio Tequila Bar, Minneapolis MN - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

The chips were homemade and much heartier than the boring tortilla chips you find at most restaurants.  I can’t remember what the signature salsas were made of, but they were really good. We still had a lot of salsa left after the first bowl of chips was gone, so we had to of course order another bowl.

For lunch, I ordered one pork carnitas taco, and one spiced shrimp taco.

Barrio Tequila Bar, Minneapolis MN - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Duroc pork shoulder slow cooked in cinnamon and orange is garnished  with salsa verde, onion and cilantro

The carnitas were definitely my favorite!  The serrano chili salsa wasn’t too hot, and added amazing flavor.  I’m more of a flour tortilla fan, but the filling had so much flavor I couldn’t complain.

Barrio Tequila Bar, Minneapolis MN - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

The shrimp was good, but I think I was expecting a little more heat so I was a little disappointed.  I added some of the hotter salsa from our appetizer, and that kicked up the flavor.  In hindsight, I wish I had ordered both carnitas.

I really liked our waitress.  She was attentive, and was able to fully explain the menu options and answer our questions without hesitation.  I was tempted to try dessert, but I was already full and didn’t want to risk falling asleep in the afternoon sessions.  When we got back to the hotel I did take a quick 15-minute rest, and when I got back to the afternoon session they had already taken bets that I fell asleep and wasn’t coming back.

Will I go back?  Definitely!  The chips & salsa were highly addictive, and I would love to try some of the other items on the menu.

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