Wilde Roast Cafe
North East Minneapolis
Other than getting a caffine fix and indulging in tasty treats, the thing I love most about coffee shops is that when you find just the right one for you, it becomes more than just a place to sit and sip – it becomes a personal part of your identity…a place that feels just a little like “home”. And that’s why I love it when someone shares a recommendation with me – it’s kind of like sharing a bit of themselves – and that’s exactly how I happily found myself at this week’s featured shop – the Wilde Roast Cafe’!
This place is a definite hot spot – from the moment I walked in, I felt the buzz of people at every table, corner and cushion, laughing with friends, reading by the fireplace or clicking away on their keyboard. The vibe was energetic but comfortable, laid back yet somehow a bit regal with its contemporary-Victorian decor. Based on the eccentric personality of 19th Century playwright, Oscar Wilde, Wilde Roast Cafe’ has been featured in local and national publications for everything from their atmosphere, to their menu and wine list.
Seating was in high demand, so I put in my order and then booked it to a table – Here’s my spread: Small (seriously, how big is the large?!) Mocha Frappe and an Obama Bar.
This frappe was like a first flame, or first kiss or, heck, first mini-doughnut – I do not think I will ever be able to drink a frappe anywhere else without comparing it a little bit with this one. It was the frappe to end all frappes – cool, blended cream, chocolate and espresso, so rich it was more like an old-fashioned milk shake. So delicious!
I was so glad that I took the advise of my server and tried the Obama Bar – I’m guessing that someone in the kitchen, challenged to make an amazing update to the classic Rice Krispie Treat, chanted “Yes We Can!” as he created a truly fantastic combination of peanut butter Rice Krispies with a Chocolate and Espresso Topping.
As you can see, I made short work of the Obama Bar:
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a lot of shots of the seating or decor – it was so busy in the shop that I wasn’t able to get a lot of pictures that turned out well so you’ll have to visit to get the full effect, but Wilde has an environment that’s magnetic and a menu that’ll entice you come back for more (breakfast, lunch or dinner!).
Thanks, Nate, for sharing your pick for Coffee Shop Sunday with me – I will definitely be tempted to make my way to the North East side to visit again soon …and in the words of the late Oscar Wilde himself, “I can resist everything but temptation.”
JJ’s Coffee Company & Wine Bar
Eden Prairie, MN
I’m going to be in huge trouble when I get home!!!
I told my husband that I would just be making a short trip out for my weekly Coffee Shop Sunday segment and then run a couple of errands and instead, I’ve been relaxing in this comfortable booth, enjoying baked goods and delicious coffee for a little over two hours now!
But I swear it’s not my fault! I blame JJ’s Coffee Company & Wine Bar for having the most inviting, comfortable seating and friendliest staff in the Twin Cities. The oversized leather chairs gathered around the fireplace give you no choice but to get comfortable and stay a while…I’m pretty sure this place is equipped with some sort of time warp – and I love it!
JJ’s moved into Eden Prairie in August of last year and is locally owned by a husband and wife team whose passion for their business shows in the lovely details of their shop, and who keep it local by choosing to serve coffee made from specialty beans roasted right here in Minnesota.
I am delighted to say that this Coffee Shop Sunday features a two-in-one bonus: a coffee shop and wine bar in one! I can’t live without good coffee and I adore good wine every bit as much, so this is an exciting find for me…I have to say that I kept to the coffee for this visit, but am going to have to make up for my absence today by scheduling a date night with the husband soon!
With JJ’s modern and upscale yet relaxed look, I can completely imagine it easily transforming from the sunny, casual coffee shop atmosphere that I’m experiencing this afternoon to a perfect evening spot for sampling wine and appetizers while having good conversation with friends either at the bar or in one of the intimately lit, recessed booths.
Here’s my spread: Cafe MJ and a warm Cinnamon Scone
First, let’s talk coffee – JJ’s coffee is something to come back for, all by itself. My Cafe MJ is a perfectly indulgent combination of espresso, blend of chocolates and cream with a homemade whipped cream topping. It’s a good thing that JJ’s has a drive-through – I may find the need to stop by for another one of these tomorrow on my way to work!
I’m here too late for breakfast, but JJ’s serves scones, cookies, bars and muffins – the cinnamon scone and chocolate banana muffin came highly recommended – as well as made to order sandwiches. This cinnamon scone, drizzled with vanilla icing is warm and absolutely delish. It makes me want to plan on making a morning visit to try one of their hot breakfast items.
Alright – I hate to, but I’ve got to force myself out of this booth and to the grocery store to finish my errands, but I’ll be back soon for coffee or wine or live music – I hope you’ll join me and make the time to try out JJ’s Coffee Company & Wine Bar!
Patrick’s Bakery & Cafe
Do you have plans for lunch next weekend? Cancel ’em. A favorite place to get dessert? Get ready to reconsider. Plans to cook? Put down the apron.
You need to try Patrick’s Bakery & Cafe – a place that’s much more than the strip mall coffee shop it appears to be!
One reason that I was on the edge of my seat to visit Patrick’s was its charming back story: Patrick Bernet – from French culinary child-wonder to prestigious award winner to military man, he’s acquired an impressive resume’ of positions as Chef and Instructor throughout the world and finally wound up in the Twin Cities (thank you, fate!) as Pastry Chef at the Hotel Sofitel where he decided to open his own bakery and cafe.
Just walking into Patrick’s, the bakery case that runs the entire length of the wall showcases Chef Bernet’s emphasis on beautiful, pastry perfection. Each tray of sweets, cakes, breads and pastry reflect an incredible attention to detail and food perfectionism.
There were so many different amazing looking options, I ended up pointing at and asking about a lot of different items…the woman behind the counter was extremely helpful and offered her recommendation: Sarah Cake. Get ready for this – it looks amazing!
Here’s my spread: Sarah Cake and Iced Vanilla Latte’ (waaaay to hot today for hot coffee!)
First of all, the latte’ was great – really delicious and refreshing! I wanted so badly to take it out and enjoy it in the outdoor seating area beautifully decorated with ivy and lights, but it was so hot I was worried that my cake would melt!
I so thoroughly enjoyed this cake – dark chocolate ganache and candied nuts covering a chocolate mousse, chocolate and vanilla sponge cake, all topped off by a mini pistachio macaroon and beautiful artisan white chocolate garnish.
I honestly exclaimed out loud when I discovered the pistachio mousse surprise in the center!
I really can’t say enough about this cake – it was beautiful, smooth, rich and light, all at the same time. I am going to see it in my dreams.
There were a couple of things that I didn’t care for at Patrick’s: food was served on green trays which reminded me of standing in line at the school cafeteria and there were a couple of small things placed around the cafe that stood out to me as not jiving with the warm, rich ambiance that Patrick’s tries to create, like a large digital sign showing the room capacity. The atmosphere is distinctly charming, though, and obviously personal to its owners which far outweighs these little details.
My next goal is to visit Patrick’s for lunch or dinner – the menu mixes the familiar with French classics: Croque Monsieur on their sandwich menu and Escargot and Duck a l’orange beside Grilled Salmon on the list of entrée’s. I’m also hugely tempted by Chef Bernet’s speciatly burger menu – the “Exclusive Patou™ line Hamburgers” (you’ll want to read it’s story – heartwarming!)…
…luckily, Patrick’s Bakery & Cafe is right here in the Twin Cities – I can feel like I’m visiting France without the 15 hour flight!
Yum! Kitchen and Bakery
St. Louis Park
Ever since driving by it in February, Yum! Kitchen and Bakery has been beckoning me – its enormous, bright red whimsical sign promising something delightful and outdoor seating (although frost-covered at the time) that made me look forward to warmer weather. It’s been stuck in my head for months and that’s how it became the first to be featured in Coffee Shop Sunday.
Honestly, could you resist popping into this place?!
Curb-appeal aside, the bright, airy vibe that the floor-to-ceiling windows and the open seating area give when you walk in is as cheerful and vibrant as the cupcakes in the display.
I lost myself in the choice of what to try: multi-layered, coconut sprinkled cake? delicately iced scone? enormous chocolatey cookie? I gave up and asked the barista to recommend the one thing I must try at Yum!, and, without hesitation, he pulled out a piece of fudgy, buttercreamed, three-layer goodness: Patti Cake.
Here’s my spread: Patti Cake, Vanilla Cafe’ Latte, Red Velvet Cake Cupcake, to go (couldn’t go home empty handed!)
Sometimes, either in a coffee shop or bakery, one thing or the other suffers – either the coffee is really good and the baked goods are mediocre or the bakery items are out of this world and the coffee tastes like it was made last week. Well, not at Yum!. I’m not sure what kind of coffee they use, but it was remarkably delicious and tasted thoughtfully prepared – the flavoring was just right, the temperature was spot on and for a coffee devotee like me, it was perfect.
And then there was the CAKE! Thank you, barista, who recommended this cake – I have craved it ever since!
The chocolate layers were dense and moist – more like a torte than traditional cake – fudgy and rich. The buttercream icing was such a great, traditional pairing and had a true buttery, creamy taste….yum!!! This would be a great piece of cake to split – you can see how far I got by myself!
Honestly, I visited Yum! Kitchen and Bakery thinking it was just Yum! Bakery, so I went prepared to get some coffee and something sweet…
…but I was excited to find that they have a full, open kitchen with breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees, a wine and beer selection and freshly baked bread. Just another reason to go back!
I think that the one word that sums this cafe’ up the best would have to be: