With few plans on our day off, we set out to greet the morning with a fresh pastry and a strong cup of steaming coffee. Driving through the sleepy streets of Uptown, down an unusually quiet Hennepin and past a calm Lake Calhoun, we caught a slow-moving Minneapolis at the end of a hot and humid 4th of July weekend.
Rustica Bakery was alive with activity and life while the rest of the neighborhood was still in bed. Bike enthusiasts in spandex and helmets made up a good portion of patrons, but clusters of friends, young families and couples also filled the dark wood tables and benches to sip caffeine and nibble on the day’s fresh goodies.
Unable to decide on just one, we opted to split two items – a Pistachio Chocolate Danish and a Bostok. The Danish was a flaky and crispy croissant drizzled with chocolate (and perhaps a little honey) and topped with chopped pistachios. Not unlike many European pastries, it was light on the inside and crumbled delicately with every touch. The Bostok was a piece of Brioche bread dredged in an orange milk, baked, topped with an almond paste and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Its crispy exterior and firm center was reminiscent of shortbread, and was complementary to the soft, chocolaty Danish.
Both pastries disappeared quickly with our steaming lattes that were made with beans from the local Bull Run Roasting Company. Though I can’t discern between Starbucks and Caribou blends, this coffee has something distinctly different. Its smoky flavor is rich, yet has almost a sweet note at the end of each sip.
The drink menu isn’t large, but the array of daily baked goods is plenty (the fresh berry tarts would be perfect for a morning treat or a carry-out box to share). And if supporting local business and indulging in flaky creations isn’t enough, the coffee is pleasantly bold and subtly unique. Local gems – such as Rustica, with such strong character and flavor – are often hidden by the corporate java houses packing every street corner. But once found, you realize they truly do shine the brightest.
RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠1/2
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠1/2
Total bill: $11.72