Artifact gives a tour of global cuisines at Mingei Global Museum

For 44 years, the Mingei International Museum has taken its readers on a earth tour through its collection of tribal masks from the Congo, Ainu prayer sticks from Japan, fiber necklaces from Oman, children’s toys from Germany, maracas from Cuba and hat containers from China.

Now, it is having diners on a world-wide culinary expedition at its new cafe, Artifact.

Artifact debuted in December in the lobby of Mingei’s Balboa Park spot, which reopened last summer time right after a 3-year, $55 million renovation. The smooth and modern-day bistro and bar is operate by Tracy Borkum’s Urban Kitchen area Team (UKG), best acknowledged for her well-known Cucina Urbana and Cucina Enoteca places to eat. UKG also has a robust catering business, with functions at the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, the lately obtained Waters Wonderful Meals on Morena Boulevard and the Mingei museum.

Artifact restaurant in the lobby of the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.

Artifact restaurant is surrounded by exhibits in the lobby of the Mingei Intercontinental Museum in Balboa Park.

(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Over the past 4 months, Artifact has been serving a globally influenced lunch-only menu produced by UKG chef de cuisine Jeff Armstrong and executive chef Tim Kolanko. But on March 3, the restaurant introduced supper provider from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, the two times of the week when the museum is open up right up until 8 p.m.

Through the dinner several hours, diners can both purchase from an abbreviated menu of lunch products, or they can choose a $75 prix-fixe themed meal choice, which I remarkably suggest. Every single month, the Artifact culinary team will develop a new prix-fixe menu symbolizing a distinctive global cuisine, encouraged by the objects in Mingei’s long-lasting selection. The inaugural menu in March showcased dishes from Maghreb, the area of Northwest Africa that involves Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and various other nations around the world. April’s menu will emphasis on the delicacies of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Kolanko said he and the other UKG cooks are acquiring exciting building their have new usually takes on regional ethnic dishes. The objective is to re-develop the flavors and model of common dishes with out staying locked into old-entire world preparations and components.

Tunisian braised bass dish at Artifact restaurant at Mingei International Museum.

Tunisian braised bass was just one of the dishes on the Maghreb menu served in March at Artifact, the new cafe at Mingei Intercontinental Museum.

(Ron Kerner/Mingei Intercontinental Museum)

The a few-system menu is served family design and style, with all associates of the eating party sharing dishes communally. Really don’t stress about heading home hungry, it is a considerable food. Three dishes manufactured up the first study course of the Maghreb meal, four dishes have been in the second and a dessert and beverage in the 3rd system. All of the dishes in each program arrive at the desk with each other, producing for an entertaining mixing and sharing experience.

The first system bundled a heat full wheat cilantro flatbread for two, served with a bowl of muhamarra, a creamy and flavor-packed Lebanese roasted purple pepper dip topped with toasted walnuts and tangy pomegranate molasses. A crudo dish of local yellowtail amberjack was delicately accented with threads of floral saffron, a squeeze of citrus, chili shavings and clean herbs. And a spring salad of blood and Valencia orange supremes topped with cinnamon, orange blossom drinking water and Manzanilla olives seems like a unusual mixture but it was a effectively-balanced combine of saltiness, sweetness, spice and acidity.

Muhamarra spread with fresh-baked whole wheat cilantro flatbread at Artifact restaurant at Mingei International Museum.

Muhamarra distribute with fresh new-baked full wheat cilantro flatbread served all through the Maghreb dinner at Artifact restaurant at Mingei Global Museum in Balboa Park.

(Ron Kerner/Mingei Worldwide Museum)

The second class experienced two primary dishes. The finest was a luscious chermoula-spiced lamb loin, served on a mattress of labneh, a Lebanese yogurt spread, with a aspect of crunchy, acidic skinny-sliced fennel, pickled with preserved lemons. There was also a hearty and perfectly cooked dish of Tunisian-style seabass braised in a sauce of crushed tomatoes, chili powder and cumin topped with parsley, mint, dill and olive oil. The two entrees were served with two sides, a featherlight couscous scented with Tunisian tabil spice and studded with sweet nuggets of tender apricot, and harira, a Moroccan dish of lentils, fava beans, roasted cauliflower and lemon.

The dessert program of petite Tunisian, Moroccan and Turkish pastries was served with a mug of Moroccan mint tea sweetened with honey and brown sugar.

The new Oaxacan prix-fixe menu kicks off on tonight, with observe-up dinners planned on April 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29. Amongst the numerous showcased dishes are spot prawn aguachile with finger limes, cucumber and avocado jicama and chayote salad with grilled nopales and cactus pear chile vinaigrette huitlacoche tamale with golden chanterelles and shaved black truffles achiote Duroc pork cooked in banana leaves Mary’s chicken with mole negro coconut flan and Oaxacan dim chocolate cookies.

In foreseeable future months, special prix-fixe menus may perhaps also be made to pair with specific artwork reveals. The restaurant’s bar offers an international choice of wines, some of which can be paired with the a few-course foods for an further $30.


Dinner hours: 5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays

In which: Minge Intercontinental Museum, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park

On-line: to/artifact

Artifact restaurant at Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.

Artifact cafe at Mingei Worldwide Museum in Balboa Park.

(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)