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Following twenty years of farmer's markets selling locally grown vegetables, native fruits, and local honey Linda created Marianne's Kitchen in Shoreview, MN, an oasis of good food, conversation and laughter in a suburban food desert. Operating from 2011-2017 the cafe offered home made soups, fresh bread baked daily, great sandwiches and treats and a complete line of gluten-free soups, pickled products, jams, jellies, salsas and locally sourced soups, honey and grains.

The Marianne's Kitchen of sharing, conversation, and learning continues with ongoing commentary, food reviews and food finds as we grow, cook and eat our food and sample local restaurants.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Ashama Cafe & Market on University AV in St. Paul...Great breakfast!!

Looking for coffee and maybe a breakfast to share.
ashama cafe marianne's kitchen

Heading out University place under construction....wait, there's coffee on the other side of the street.  Amazingly, we didn't have the wait the usual 3-4 minutes to make a left turn over the light rail tracks.  Green arrow means GO for coffee!!!

Pass the front door, yes they're open, turn right....not one but two places to park!!!!

ashama cafe marianne's kitchenAshama Cafe and Market....the market has been there a long time, the cafe has been open about a year.   Beautiful light yellow interior and lots of items to buy behind the counter....none of which I recognized.

A big menu high on the wall, and a pile of menus on the counter......breakfast or lunch???

Breakfast.   Multiple choices of suqaar.  Eggs and bread. or banana or strawberry.  Other choices we can't remember because we focused on suqaar.  (there are lunch choices, too---Philly Steak, Gyros, and more).

We settled on the chicken suqaar, a mango smoothie, and a capuccino.

A few minutes to stroll the aisles of the market.  Some very interesting products---pine honey, an interesting tea mix that included cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods and more, varieties of corn flour and meal, rice flours, several versions of injera, giant bags of rice, lots of dates, and spices, herb mixes (several that I didn't recognize--time for some research).....a good selection for a food browser.

ashama cafe marianne's kitchenBreakfast arrived....and looked fabulous.   I had suspicions about the bread--I was afraid it might be chewy or dry---totally, totally wrong.   A light bread with a bit of sweetness.....and it paired perfectly with the suqaar.   Our dish included tons of diced chicken, green peppers, and onion with some certainly get your attention curry cinnamon spicing.  By itself, the heat just continued to build.  But, when paired with the bread, your palate is suddenly completely happy.   A combo of heat and great flavor with the cooling light sweetness of the bread.   Together--delightful!

The mango smoothie was a thick serving of blended mango....I loved it...John said it was almost too much mango for him---it was THICK!   The capuccino was served very, very hot (temp-wise) - so a few minute wait was required.  It was smooth, with good coffee flavor (I think they use Bootstrap coffee).

While waiting for our food we asked each other "What does Ashama mean?"  With smartphones and the digitized history of the world in our pockets we looked it up.  King Negus Ashama ibn Abjar ruled the Kingdom of Axum (also known as Abyssinia), now part of Ethiopia, in the 7th century.  On the other side of the Red Sea the Muslim faith was evolving from the teachings of Muhammad.  The pagan leaders in Mecca began persecution of Muhammad's followers.  A group left for Abyssinia for sanctuary.  After King Ashama heard the Muslim's speaking of Jesus and his birth by the Virgin Mary he held up a twig and said the differences in their faith was as small as the branch he held.  King Negus Ashama refused to turn over the refugees to the Meccans.  As such King Negus Ashama's actions remain a source of pride today to both Christians and Muslims in Ethiopia.

ashama cafe marianne's kitchen
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The whole experience was delightful.   Great breakfast in a sunny room (windows on the east and north) with partially frosted windows highlighted by an artsy frosted pattern.  The service was super polite (we think one of the cooks may have been 'in training' -- he checked to make sure he had done ok and that we liked the way he made our breakfast--very sweet).

Want to have a quintessential urbane experience?  .....park your car somewhere, hop the light rail and listen to the clanging and rail noise, hop off at'll think you're somewhere else in the world, Ethiopia perhaps.   Like being on vacation just a few miles from home.

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