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81: Chicken Tikka Masala at Himalayan Restaurant

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We love Minneapolis for a variety of reasons: the vast expanses of recreational space, a vibrant arts community, and most importantly, we fully embrace the annual building of our winter coats. And by that, we mean bulking up on the good stuff: a lot of grains, a lot of cream, and a lot of meat.

Summer may be spent sweating daintily on a porch, lazily picking through a farm-fresh salad, but when it comes to the snowy season, we change our tunes pretty quickly. And why not? We're going to be wearing sweaters for the next eight months anyway. While many choose old standbys like beef stroganoff or chicken wild rice soup, we think you will really enjoy the Nepalese take on a winter coat builder.

See also: 82: Pollo Tacos at Las Teresitas

Franklin Avenue is home to many dining establishments -- Chef Shack Ranch, Soberfish, the Seward Cafe, Pizza Luce, Maria's, and more (and that's just Franklin Avenue to the east of 35W.) But none of these restaurants compare to the gem that is Himalayan Restaurant, a small, unassuming, family-owned Nepalese restaurant on 24th and Franklin*.

This tiny dining room, adorned with a hand-painted mural of the Himalayan Mountains on bright blue walls, is run by truly kind people with a knack for making delectable dishes that taste like warmth and home. The menu offers numerous curries, soups, fried rice dishes, and tasty appetizers (in fact, you should probably get an order of the yak momos to start), and they feature one of of the best dishes in town: Chicken Tikka Masala.

Try not to fill up on the momos (this will be a test of willpower, we assure you) as you wait for the Chicken Tikka Masala to grace your table. When it arrives, its simplicity may throw you for a loop, but that is where the brilliance lies. Cubes of roasted white-meat chicken bathe in a creamy, decadent ramekin of tikka sauce, the color of a sunrise, speckled with diced tomato and a sprig or two of cilantro. The entree is best enjoyed atop a fluffy, steaming bed of white basmati rice. We also suggest you order a garlic naan or two -- because once you've finished the chicken, you're going to need something to sop up the remaining sauce.

*Himalayan Restaurant will actually be bidding farewell to Franklin Avenue and moving on to a new location at 2190 E. Lake St. very soon. Check their Facebook page for updates.

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