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Tater Tot-free zone
The Buttered Tin chef/co-owner Alicia Hinze prepares three daily specials each morning. Nothing against the rib-sticking loaded hash browns, or the carefully rendered scramble, but my appetite always gravitates to what she calls her “breakfast hot dish” ($8.95), a rich, eggy casserole filled with whatever is fresh, seasonal and delicious.
237 E. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-224-2300, www.thebutteredtin.com
Five flour-filled wakeup calls
With its Scandinavian and German roots, the Twin Cities has a deep bakery-loving heritage. So limiting a morning baked-goods greatest-hits pantheon to just five selections is a foolhardy exercise. But here it goes.
At his Patisserie 46, baker John Kraus turns to a premium high-fat Vermont butter to craft his exquisite croissants ($2.50). The chocolate ($3) and almond ($3.50) versions — not to mention the double-whammy chocolate-almond combination ($3.75) — approach work-of-art status.
Empire Coffee + Pastry baker Amy Kelsch cranks up the egg and buttermilk ratios in her most memorable morning muffin, then blends in a savory mix of green onions, white Cheddar and crumbled bacon ($2.50). That’s how many of the five major food groups in a single baked good?
The tightly spiraled cinnamon-cardamom rolls ($3) at Fika ignore the genre’s usual sugary profile, despite the decorative Swedish pearl sugar that baker Genna Deprey sprinkles across their deeply browned tops.
Make friends and influence the sweet-toothed by showing up with Puppy Dog Tails ($1.25), the more modestly portioned versions of the crazily addictive cinnamon rolls at Isles Bun & Coffee. Don’t forget to grab an extra — and free — dose of luscious cream cheese icing.
And hot from the fryer, it’s the ethereal raised doughnuts at Mojo Monkey Donuts, carefully glazed with mango and honey and generously sprinkled with crunchy dried coconut. Owner Lisa Clark charges $2.49 per, and they’re worth every penny.
Patisserie 46, 4552 Grand Av. S., Mpls., 612-354-3257, www.patisserie46.com, closed Mondays. Empire Coffee + Pastry, 451 NE. Stinson Blvd., Mpls., 612-331-3877, www.empireminneapolis.com, closed Sundays. Fika, 2600 Park Av. S., Mpls., 612-871-4907, www.fikacafe.net, closed Mondays. Isles Bun & Coffee, 1424 W. 28th St., Mpls., 612-870-4466, www.islesbun.com. Mojo Monkey Donuts, 1169 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-224-0142, www.mojomonkey.biz, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
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