The other night I met my friends Bonnie and Marie at Mongo’s Grill in Maple Grove. We try to get together once a month for lunch or dinner but sometimes life gets in the way and before we know it we have missed a month.
Bonnie and Marie were the first people that I met as I stepped into the world of ultra-running. We’ve been friends since.
I had been looking for a running group in Minnesota, looking for longer distances to run and looking for someone to run with. I found an online community called Minnesota Dead Runners Society. I had been reading the emails from the group for quite some time when someone (I think Bonnie) mentioned she would like to have a meeting for beginning ultra-runners. I didn’t even know that ultras existed nor did I realize that people ran upon trails. Bonnie posted the meeting place as Lake Como on a weeknight. At the time I worked for Berkley, downtown Minneapolis, so I figured I’d just work late and meet this new group of people at 630 at Lake Como. I was nervous! I had never met a group of people via online before.
When I walked into the coffee shop there were about a dozen people in attendance, as well as Bonnie and Marie. We listened to Don Clark, Larry Pederson and Tom Andrews speak about ultra-running. I couldn’t get my head around it. Really. I thought they were crazy, but crazy in a good, inspiring way. At the end of the meeting Bonnie invited me to spend the weekend with she and Marie as Bonnie ran the Ice Age 50 Mile and Marie ran the 50K. I committed myself to the Ice Age 50 Mile and that is where the ultra-running began for me!
So, the Mongo Grill: I was very pleased! It was vegetarian and vegan friendly. It could even be raw friendly as you wouldn’t HAVE to have your dish grilled as I chose to.
This is how it went down: I took a bowl and proceeded over to the huge buffet lined with a zillion different vegetables. I could choose from mushrooms, broccoli, baby corn, water chestnuts, spinach, pea pods, boy choy, red and green peppers, bamboo shoots, red chilies, bean sprouts, red onions, green onions, yellow onions, tomatoes, celery, peas, cabbage, potatoes, beans, carrots, jalapenos, zucchini and squash, to name a (not) few. For protein there was beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, salmon, calamari, crab, scallops, sausage and tofu. There was brown rice, white rice, shanghai noodles, steamed noodles and wraps to pick from. For sauces you could add thai peanut, orange pineapple, teriyaki, honey mustard, Mongolian, sweet and sour, red wine, spicy szechuan, lemon, garlic, red pepper, curry, BBQ, black bean or chili garlic. Isn’t that amazing! I couldn’t believe all of the options and I certainly couldn’t believe how fresh everything was.
After I filled my bowl with all that it could possible handle I brought it up to the cook for grilling. He poured the contents of my bowl onto the hot grill and in about 3 minutes it was all ready and plated for me. Fabulous!
I must say, when I first looked at the bowl that was going to hold my bevy of luciousness I didn’t think it was large enough. I thought I could eat 6 of the bowls and I said so. In all honesty, after I finished my plate I was full and couldn’t eat any more.
The prices weren’t too bad: $12 for the meal or $14 if you want to add all you can eat salad bar.
I will certainly go back at another time. We all enjoyed it.
Tomorrow I’m meeting up an ALL RAW restaurant. I’m so excited! I’ll have to post about that experience on Sunday. I really can not wait. It isn’t often – I should say it has never happened - that I have visited a restaurant and happily wanted to chose every item upon the menu. What a concept! Most of the time I look up the menu online and can't find a thing that I want to eat. This usually happens when I meet my book club or when I am meeting others who don't eat the same way as I. I am enjoying picking out new restaurants and eating with others who are open to another way of eating. I am really, really digging this.