Category: Bakery (Page 1 of 3)

Find The Closest Little Doughnut Shop

Find the closest little doughnut shop near your house.

We’re adjusting to life in the suburbs. I grew up in the suburbs and swore I’d never return, yet here I am.

I like the slower pace and quietness. I miss the sidewalks. I hate my commute.

During our first weekend in the new house, I found the closest little doughnut shop near our home.

It’s no secret that I love doughnuts.

Some of you may remember I worked at a gourmet doughnut shop in St. Louis. “Surely you’ll get tired of eating a doughnut every day,” my family said, but no. I never got tired of eating a doughnut every day.

That wild ride convinced I never wanted to work in a doughnut shop again, but I appreciate the hard work and early mornings that go into the craft.

The only doughnut shop around is Donut Hut in Little Canada. It’s a small shop located in a quiet strip mall near Tealicious, the only bubble tea shop around. Needless to say it’s my favorite strip mall. On my way last weekend I stopped outside of it for people trying to nudge a giant turtle to the side of the road. Yup, I live somewhere now with a bunch of turtles.

Clearly Donut Hut is popular. I always get there on the weekends when the doughnuts are picked over because the bubble tea shop opens 11 am.

The doughnuts taste as homemade and handmade as they claim – not at all like they’re from a mix. I prefer a simple raised glazed or old fashioned. I especially liked their apple fritter. In theory I should like all apple fritters but have never liked any of the ones I’ve ordered before because they tasted burned, oily or lacking apple. Donut Hut’s taste lovely and fresh and rich with apple.

Also, they’re nice to my toddler. I never ever expect anyone to fawn over my child, but when they do, it makes my heart full.

I felt like a regular at the bubble tea shop after my first visit. If you’re like me, don’t forget to order your drink at a 1/4 of the regular sweetness level. They also sell a small selection of sweet and savory Asian pastries – I’m partial to the savory ones like beef curry, hot dog, and bbq pork buns.

Keefer Court’s are still my favs but these are wonderfully convenient. Especially since most bubble tea shops I’ve visited don’t offer food.

I’ve been spending way too much money on iced teas out, so I started making my own. This is not to say I won’t still visit bubble tea shops. Although I cracked Caribou’s sparkling green tea lemonade with a half shot of raspberry, my first attempt at milk tea was disappointing.

But doughnuts? No way, I’m not making my own. I’ll keep visiting my closest little doughnut shop.

If A Croissant Could Melt In Your Mouth: Marc Heu Patisserie

Every weekend I drive around collecting desserts.

For a while I was really into doughnuts. Then it was Trung Nam croissants (still love them). For a couple weekends I collected slices of Cafe Latte cake (the best).  When I don’t feel like driving to Cafe Latte, Lunds & Byerlys will do. Then,  I was really into cookies. Unfortunately, I never found any as good as my own.

Farmers Markets always have pastries and they’re a good excuse to visit a bakery nearby. Pie, biscuits, sourdough bread, I love chasing bready things.

This is all to say that really like pastries and I’ll be damned if I don’t know which ones are good. Really good.

Marc Heu’s patisserie blew me away. 

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Hello Old Friend: Rustica Bakery

On Saturday morning, I felt like eating my feelings and my feelings tasted like baked goods. Not just any baked goods, but really really good baked goods. I headed to Rustica.

There’s a deep disdain I hold for bad baked goods made with cheap shortening. Of course, there are always a few exceptions like Thin Mints and those fudge striped cookies. Growing up in the Twin Cities; southern suburbia during the 90’s, bakeries weren’t really a thing. We simply ate baked goods from the major grocery stores. From time to time, we bought one of those hefty dense loaves from Great Harvest.

Some of then desserts my mom made were very good. However, many of them fit into that low-fat, no-sugar obsession that partially defined 90’s food trends. Our cupboards were stocked with Snackwell’s fat-free Devil’s Food Cake Cookies and WOW chips. My mom tried baking with Splenda and replacing butter with everything from canola oil spread to applesauce to canned pumpkin. Ice cream was Edy’s low-fat versions. I ate these things but thought I didn’t like desserts that much. In fact, I went years without touching ice cream. I truly think our parents’ intentions were good; to feed us healthy foods but many were misguided by the understanding of nutrition at the time. The tides have turned and now we’re embracing real butter and decadent desserts, just enjoyed in moderation.

It wasn’t until my years as a new college grad that I started my happy chase after really good baked goods. This led me to cinnamon and caramel rolls at Isles Bun & Coffee, za’atar bread from St. Paul Flatbread, injera from Shega Foods, biscuits and bars from Butter Bakery Cafe, and loaves of bread and macarons from Patisserie 46.

Rustica opened near my apartment in 2009. I was mindblown by their breads and lacquered buttery croissants and little fruit tarts and currant scones. Never had I seen a pastry like a Kouign Amann or Bostok. Our families remembered I loved the chewy, fudgy flourless chocolate cookies so much they included them as party favors at our wedding. For a few dollars I could treat myself to the fanciest treat.

This weekend I drove through my old stomping grounds, back to Rustica. In fact, this was my first visit back to the Minneapolis location since we moved back. I have bought their baguettes from various shops and pick up a scone each time I visit Golden Fig

It felt strange to drive past the ghosts of places I frequented that are no longer there; the Blockbuster on Hennepin were I spent hours wandering the aisles and renting Sex & The City DVDs, Figlio’s where I experienced my first happy hour, and my old apartments that are being listed double the rent I paid ten years ago.

Rustica is still here. They’ve since opened a second location in Eden Prairie. My old favorites were still there. The baked goods and coffee are still good and the prices haven’t changed much. I came for one thing and left with five. My feelings tasted good and after eating some of them, I actually did feel better.

Rustica Bakery – Minneapolis location
3220 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55416.
Phone: 612-822-1119

Trung Nam French Bakery: Croissants and Banh Mi

Saturday morning Trung Nam runs are becoming my new thing.

Trung Nam is a Vietnamese and French bakery located along University Avenue in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul. The owners have been serving french bread and croissants since 1989.

Although I remembered Heavy Table visiting Trung Nam in one of their Green Line Checklist chapters, what really pushed me to visit for the first time was learning they also serve banh mi sandwiches in the morning. Not only can you buy almost any flavor of croissant, but also a pork banh mi, too, all starting at 8 o’clock in the morning.

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Time Traveling For Chicken Fried Steak & Peach Pie At The Blue Owl

First things first, some big news: We’re moving (again).

This time, we’re making a full circle back to the Twin Cities. Jake recently accepted a new role at work and so we’re wrapping-up our last full week in St. Louis.

Last month, I attended a bloggers dinner at the newly revamped Preston in the Chase Park Plaza hotel. I sat next to a woman who had also moved many times for her husband’s job. We talked about frequent, corporate moves and I tried to put a positive spin on them.

Moving a lot makes you crazy,” she replied.

I had to laugh because it’s true. Like the past moves, this one feels bittersweet.

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