In 1944, Reino Wuollet opened a small bakery where he prepared fresh bread each day. More than 65 years later, his humble shop has grown into six locations where 30 or so family members tinker over cakes, pastries, and pies. Wedding and other occasion cakes are one of their specialties; flavors such as chocolate mousse and Lady Baltimore can be coated with marzipan, buttercream frosting, or fondant in an impressive array of custom designs. Of course, they still bake breads: an international selection of loaves includes baguettes, challah, Swedish lympa, Irish soda bread, and buns shaped into busts of United Nations delegates.
Following a fine-tuned recipe calling for the freshest ingredients, careful mixing, and imported baby's giggle, Sweet Retreat expertly whips up batches of joy-inducing indulgences. Cakes and cupcakes are baked daily to ensure maximum freshness, and then hand-slathered with homemade butter-cream frosting to ensure maximum deliciousness. With today's Groupon, your very own batch of gourmet treats will be made to order in one or more of the flavors of your choice from the daily selection (e.g. red velvet, peanut-butter cup, banana, coconut, and more). Pick up a s'mores-flavored cupcake to celebrate the summertime camping season, or pay homage to your favorite shade of chocolate with a chocolate-on-chocolate.
Family-owned Mel-O-Glaze bakery and coffeehouse has been glazing dough and hungry eyeballs for two generations. Patrons have plenty of time to mull over a glittering, self-serve menagerie of donuts ($1), pastries ($1.50), and cookies ($0.75) before coaxing them from the display case to the register. The honey-cinnamon roll soothes the mouth and unravels like the plot of sweet and simple Disney film. Fried confections, such as the levitation-inducing buttermilk cake donut and the flaky apple fritter, earned Mel-O-Glaze a Best Doughnuts award by City Pages in 2007. After the epic journey of dessert selection, diners can retire to cozy couches and look out on the Parkway, nursing a café latte and whatever turnover, twist, or triple axel they managed to pin ($2). Call ahead to inquire about today's available flavors.
Two beady eyes stare up at you from a cocoa-brown complexion. The same color shades the creature's body, from its horns all the way to its spiked, yellow-tipped tail. With anticipation tingling through your fingertips, you stab it—with a chopstick. The beast is actually Mango Factory's dragon roll, a specialty sushi roll also known as Capricorn Island.
It's just one of many specialty rolls named for and modeled after Zodiac signs, like most driver's licenses. For instance, the signature Taurus Treasure bears the horns of the Taurus around a "head" of yellowtail, tuna, and rice with shrimp tempura. In addition to the whimsical sushi, chefs also create kitchen entrees (think teriyaki and seafood soup) and Asian tea and desserts.
Great care is taken with each and every item on the menu at French Corner Bistro & Bakery. In the traditional European way, every dish is made from scratch, including the bread, which is baked fresh every morning. Even the coffee beans arrive at the cafe's doorstep just three days after being roasted in Saint Paul. Continental-style cane chairs ensconce diners as they choose from French-style plates such as croque monsieurs topped with bechamel. There are also savory crepes stuffed with chicken and garlic—the same breakfast fed to Napoleon when his aide-de-camp thought he was a vampire. Even sweet teeth attain satiation at this bistro after sinking into fresh pastries such as vanilla eclairs and berry tarts.