Food and Wine Tasting Hell in Minneapolis

I've become a fan of Groupon, although I tend to use it only to get discounts at places I either already know I like or have been waiting try.

None-the-less, when discounted tickets for the Taste of the Twin Cities Originals came up, we decided to join friends for an evening of sampling wine and local delicacies.

The first bad sign was the line that snaked seemingly endless ahead, around the flag poles and back to the front door somewhere out of sight.


Of course, it didn't take long before the line behind us was just as bad, going to the end of the back and ending somewhere out of sight around the corner.

Amazingly enough, once the line finally started to move, it clipped right along and soon we were inside.

It was a solid mass of people. You couldn't tell where the lines were (and there were only sort of lines anyway) and you couldn't see what was being served until you had waited a very long time and actually reached the table. Irritating for us omnivores, but a real problem for our vegetarian friend, who found on a couple of occasions that he had waited a really long time for a nice piece of steak.


Luckily there was a mostly abandoned table with amazing deserts. We decided we could start with dessert. (Good thing we did too, as they were gone by the time would have actually liked dessert.)

It was nice to have had the solace of a few wonderful desserts from the Lake Elmo Inn right at the beginning because, when we finally reached a table with wine, the guy manning the table proceeded to poor the very last dregs out of three bottles of some Israeli syrah into my plastic cup. He wasn't pleased, but I did shame him into giving me a real pour from a fresh bottle.

Of course, super sweet desserts (Did I mention they were amazing? Did I mention we just kept going back for more since it was the only food we could actually get to?) and mediocre red wine on an empty stomach isn't a great combo. . . oh, and I have some minor claustrophobia issues too.

(This was taken from above after at least half the people had left. Every one I talked to was frustrated and irritated and I think some of them left pretty quickly. We would have, but we carpooled and were unsuccessful in our attempts to bribe our friends to leave early by offering margaritas and guacamole. )

It was really not a good time.

I've never been to anything that was as poorly planned. As someone joked, "gee, couldn't they find a smaller space?" The first 1000 people got free wine glasses - we got there 10 minutes after it was supposed to start and did not get free wine glasses. (Hence the nasty plastic cups.)

While the organizers of this fiasco completely screwed up, all the food we did get to try was really good and (eventually) we found the table for Barker's Bar and Grill, which had really delicious seared ahi tuna that was (apparently) too scary for most Minnesotans. (There was never a wait to get some, so we helped ourselves. Repeatedly. Sort of a feeding frenzy worthy of the tuna themselves.)

What a disappointment that what should have been a lovely event was so poorly planned. It really was dreadful. . . although, I probably did eat $25 worth of desserts and ahi tuna.