“Vitamin”, the local free culture and what-to-do-for-fun weekly news supplement, had a two-line blurb about a national award winning pastry chef opening a new bakery on the corner of 46th and Grand Avenue South in Minneapolis.
Weakness! Pastery! Bakery! Friday, I made my way to this quiet corner in the leafy lanes of Minneapolis and walked into a beautiful fresh space. A lot of the regular coffee places have great coffee or quick service with a limited line of American style bake goods, but the minute I looked in the display cases, I knew I had found another French pastry place in the wilds of the upper Midwest. (Is this a good thing? Yes.)
There were some delicate looking pink cookies that I had recently seen a recipe for and wanted to try to make myself. The time and care that goes into making some of this pastry is worth the price and the prices weren’t high. There were an assortment of macaroons, some other cookies and meringues. There were little decorated cakes, each one a perfect work of the pastry art. Plus I found the French standby of quiche that many Americans appreciate. Breads sat behind the counter in baskets and they looked rustic, round and tempting. Last, but not least, my eyes rested on a small selection of croissants, plain and almond, and the temptation of temptations Pain Au Chocolat. Nah, that’s not “pain” chocolate. It’s dark chocolate folded into flaky croissant dough. Yum! May I have one of those please? (It was really delicious.)
I ordered it and loved saying it out loud in my best French accent! (Come on. When does anyone get to use his or her high school French around here?) The place was busy. The smiling staff people were doing their best to get the orders out. I saw a quiche with salad that looked tempting.
While I waited for my coffee, a very pleasant young woman was at the cash register and asked me if I had been helped. “Yes,” I smiled. “How long have you been open?”
“Just a few weeks.”
Dawn was her name and she and her husband John planned this place for 15 years. They had lived in Chicago for 10 years previously and were scouting for a place to live that wasn’t as big as Chicago. They decided on Minneapolis. They like the people. (That’s the reason I stayed here too.) Dawn confided that they had a soft opening a few weeks ago and she and husband John are in the stage of figuring out what the customers want.
What is also notable about this new place is the interior is well, just tasteful. The walls are washed with a soft burnt orange color and there is a stone fireplace at one end with comfortable seating. The space is open and airy with enough small tables and chairs to accommodate a good crowd, but not too crowded. It doesn’t have that semi-nomadic, frowsy air of some local coffee shops. It is inviting and charming. I wished Dawn success.
I hope that she and John find their niche in the Minneapolis St. Paul food scene. Drop by and support your local French pastry baker.
To give you a perspective on what preparation goes into these pastries here are two versions of Pain Au Chocolat Recipe at:
Food Network.com: The uncut version – prep time 6 hours!
Pain Au Chocolat Recipe at: Epicurious.com: The short version – prep time one hour.
Dare you to try to make this or you can go to Patisserie 46. Enjoy!