Tag: Bakery (page 1 of 2)

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

Waiting For Bagels: Ess-A-Bagel, NYC

A big thank you to my folks for sending us to NYC for my birthday!

“Wouldn’t it be funny if it ended up tasting like Brueggers,” I joked as we settled into the back of the bagel line at Esse-Bagel.

An hour and a half later in line, I found myself pleading with the bagel gods, “Please don’t taste like Bruegger’s, please don’t taste like Bruegger’s.” The hunger and hostility inside of me bubbled.

Two of my friends included Ess-a-Bagel in their Quintessential New York Bagel recommendations. We were excited to learn it was less than a mile from our hotel in Times Square.

However, we should have known better than to arrive at this popular bagel shop at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning. By the time we arrived, the line was wrapped around the corner. We joined the back of the line.

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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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24 Hours in Fargo

Fargo is cool.

Everyone who’s been to Fargo already knows this. Everyone else doesn’t always believe me.

When I think of Fargo-Moorhead, I think of hanging out on our friends’ big front porches and drinking wine. I think of tromping down main street in a snow storm, popping in and out of bars ordering pickled eggs and Chuck Norris shots.

I think of the troll lounge at the Sons of Norway building, cheese plates with slices of cheeses fanned out as opulently as a peacock’s tail feathers at Mezzaluna (half-price at happy hour!), and knoephla soup. I think of overflowing molcajete and ridiculously cheap beer at Mango’s and buttermilk pie at Josie’s.

I think of blowing up Peking ducks with air compressors in M State culinary school and the madness that was German Sausage Chowder day in the Sanford hospital cafeteria.

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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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