Traffic at 8th Street and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis suddenly got heavier, at least on Thursdays, when the affable Joe Lin sells partner Laurie Pyle's imaginative and scrupulously produced baked goods at Cocoa & Fig. "The cherry-almond scones sell out in a couple of hours," said Lin, and it's easy to see why; the palm-size ham-Cheddar-green onion scones probably don't exactly linger, either.
Buttercream-lavished cupcakes are self-contained, single-serving birthday parties in paper wrappers, and if you see bouchons, a five-dollar word for intensely chocolately cork-shaped brownies, buy them immediately. Pyle's latest creations, baked in her Shakopee kitchen, are slightly sweet brioche pull-aparts ($3), some finished with lemon zest-flavored cream cheese, others with Nutella. Both are compelling enough to make a person give up their a.m. bagel routine, at least on Thursdays. At their original Prior Lake Farmers Market location, the duo has added made-to-order breakfast to the mix, serving crab-cake Benedicts, huevos rancheros and blueberry bread pudding French toast. My next free Saturday morning, I'm Google-mapping Prior Lake.
Cocoa & Fig (www.cocoaandfig.com), Minneapolis Farmers Market, Nicollet Mall between 5th and 10th Sts., Minneapolis, 612-333-1718, www.mplsfarmersmarket.com, open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays. Prior Lake Farmers Market, Hwy. 13 and Pleasant Av., Prior Lake, 952-447-0263, www.priorlakefarmersmarket.com, open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. For a complete list of Twin Cities metro area farmers markets, go to www.startribune.com.