By: Sheela Num Num
Anyone who knows me knows that my biggest vice (and I have a few) is sugar. I love love love me a stellar pastry, a sugar-encrusted bag of fried dough, or perfectly balanced ice cream. I am particular about my sugar, however. I won’t just eat a Hershey bar just because it’s there (give me some credit! although a bowl of M&M’s at my parents will always be a downfall). Gummis notwithstanding, I can restrain myself if need be.
As a recovering pastry lady myself I am always on the prowl to find something super decedent and delicious. The Twin Cities are INSANELY lucky with immense talent at our disposal. With bakeries such as Patisserie 46, The Salty Tart & Sun Street Breads, we are spoiled rotten with out of this world breads, cookies, cakes and pastries (My faves? Salty’s Cheddar Jalapeño Bread, Macaroons, Pastry Cream Filled Brioche and Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Sour Cherry Cookies, Patisserie’s 46 Baguette, Brioche Bostok, Currant Scones and Gibassier, Sun Street’s Biscuits, Kolache and Turnovers.) See: I told you I had a sweet tooth.
When I am on the road I am always looking for a bakery/coffee shop to grab breakfast and do some computer work. I, and many of my Gen X brethren, do have that affinity of sitting in a coffee shop for hours in front of a laptop. Glowing Apple logos as far as the eye can see. Go in to any cafe in Minneapolis and that is what you will witness. Cute, young, white hipsters earnestly working on whatever thing they are currently earnest about. I am the one with the headphones on in the corner (that’s me in the spotlight…).
So in Sioux Falls, I was a little worried that I would only have access to a Starbucks (not my fave) or Caribou (better than Starbucks, but would rather have an independent). Low and Behold! I found two!
The Black Sheep Roasting Company
I found this place while driving around looking for dinner the night before. In a strip mall as the road is curving in a precarious way, I saw the sign that said “Coffee is Rad! So Have a Rad Day!” SOLD. I made a mental note to check this place out in the morning. I love this place. It has a super 1990’s coffee house feel in the BEST WAY. It reminded me of sitting at Motor Oil for hours in high school (side note: Motor Oil was a coffee shop very close to my high school. Closed 1994 RIP). I was able to snag a window seat, open up my computer, drink a lovely soy vanilla latte and get some work done. The girl working was friendly and lovely, not at all pretentious coffee house. And then out of nowhere: BONUS! I am guessing this was the owner of the shop: he came by and gave everyone donuts. FREE DONUTS! And not grocery store donuts: from a local donut place: Daylight Donuts. Fantastic. I can’t recommend this place enough: great coffee, great service, chill vibe, and a Pac-Man machine. A girl could get used to this.
Queen City Bakery
I am a sucker for a re-purposed warehouse space. Big, bright, exposed brick, clean lines: it will always get me. I was excited to check this place out on my way out of town. Let me set the scene: it is snowing, windy, miserable outside. The day before was 45 and sunny: now it’s blizzard time. Ah, winter. I had to get to Sioux City, IA and then to Omaha, NE, so this was a to-go situation. I walked in to the space, gorgeous. Just what I expected. I was a little sad to see the bakery cases kinda empty, but no matter. Coffee and a breakfast pastry is what I was after: I had a white-knuckle drive ahead of me. I stood at the front register for a good 3 minutes before anyone acknowledged me (side note: something to know about me is that my biggest pet peeve is bad service. I am that girl who will write letters) which was frustrating as there were 3 employees: once of which was just talking to his buddy about a triathlon. Don’t freak out Sheela, just get your stuff. Triathlon guy finally came over and apologized for the wait (alright, I forgive) and took my order. 5 minutes later I was out the door. I had a soy vanilla latte (yes, I am a one trick pony) and a spinach, bacon and swiss quiche. I thought perfect! Get some protein and goodness in me for this drive. Sadly: super under seasoned and underwhelming. Bah. I will gladly give this bakery another go when I am back in town. I mean, their T-shirts say: No Decaf, No Doughnuts, No Tuesdays. That’s a winner.
PS: I was supposed to go to Modern Love Omaha for dinner (and let me say I was EXTRA EXCITED for this. Though I am the furthest thing from vegan, Isa Chandra Moskowitz is an amazing cookbook author and I was so looking forward to going to her restaurant). Sadly, that cruel mistress winter was not having it yesterday. The roads were extra scary, and if I was to get home in one piece I had to get out of dodge early. Next time, swanky vegan food.