December 4, 2023


Food & Travel Enthusiast

Artifact gives a tour of global cuisines at Mingei Worldwide Museum

For 44 yrs, the Mingei Global Museum has taken its website visitors on a globe tour by way of its assortment 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 bins from China.

Now, it’s getting diners on a global culinary expedition at its new restaurant, Artifact.

Artifact debuted in December in the foyer of Mingei’s Balboa Park area, which reopened last summer after a three-12 months, $55 million renovation. The smooth and present day bistro and bar is operate by Tracy Borkum’s City Kitchen Group (UKG), most effective identified for her well known Cucina Urbana and Cucina Enoteca dining places. UKG also has a strong catering enterprise, with functions at the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, the a short while ago obtained Waters Good Foodstuff 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 displays in the foyer of the Mingei Global Museum in Balboa Park.

(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

More than the previous 4 months, Artifact has been serving a globally motivated lunch-only menu designed by UKG chef de cuisine Jeff Armstrong and government chef Tim Kolanko. But on March 3, the cafe released evening meal services from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, the two days of the 7 days when the museum is open right up until 8 p.m.

Through the supper several hours, diners can both purchase from an abbreviated menu of lunch merchandise, or they can decide on a $75 prix-fixe themed meal alternative, which I hugely recommend. Just about every thirty day period, the Artifact culinary workforce will build a new prix-fixe menu symbolizing a different international cuisine, influenced by the objects in Mingei’s long-lasting collection. The inaugural menu in March showcased dishes from Maghreb, the location of Northwest Africa that consists of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and several other international locations. April’s menu will focus on the delicacies of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Kolanko mentioned he and the other UKG chefs are possessing fun generating their possess fresh takes on regional ethnic dishes. The objective is to re-make the flavors and style of standard dishes with no currently being locked into previous-entire world preparations and ingredients.

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

Tunisian braised bass was 1 of the dishes on the Maghreb menu served in March at Artifact, the new cafe at Mingei Intercontinental Museum.

(Ron Kerner/Mingei International Museum)

The a few-class menu is served household fashion, with all users of the dining celebration sharing dishes communally. Do not fear about going household hungry, it is a considerable food. Three dishes designed up the initially system of the Maghreb meal, 4 dishes ended up in the next and a dessert and beverage in the 3rd study course. All of the dishes in just about every training course arrive at the table jointly, creating for an entertaining mixing and sharing knowledge.

The first course bundled a heat entire wheat cilantro flatbread for two, served with a bowl of muhamarra, a creamy and taste-packed Lebanese roasted red pepper dip topped with toasted walnuts and tangy pomegranate molasses. A crudo dish of regional 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 h2o and Manzanilla olives appears like a peculiar combination but it was a properly-well balanced blend 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 new-baked whole wheat cilantro flatbread served for the duration of the Maghreb evening meal at Artifact restaurant at Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.

(Ron Kerner/Mingei Worldwide Museum)

The 2nd system had two most important dishes. The ideal was a luscious chermoula-spiced lamb loin, served on a bed of labneh, a Lebanese yogurt distribute, with a aspect of crunchy, acidic skinny-sliced fennel, pickled with preserved lemons. There was also a hearty and completely cooked dish of Tunisian-model 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 study course 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 stick to-up dinners prepared on April 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29. Between the many showcased dishes are place 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 darkish chocolate cookies.

In potential months, exclusive prix-fixe menus may well also be developed to pair with specific artwork displays. The restaurant’s bar features an global choice of wines, some of which can be paired with the 3-training course foods for an supplemental $30.


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

In which: Minge Global 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)