Two recent openings in the Capital City also embrace the bakery-centric format.

The team behind the Happy Gnome have just launched Augustine's Bar & Bakery (1668 Selby Av., St. Paul, 651-447-3729,, and, yes, it combines the convenience of a neighborhood bakery counter (gigantic muffins, flaky croissants, palm-size cookies, scones, enormous iced cinnamon rolls, a half-dozen breads) with 40 tap beers and ciders and craft cocktails. Cheers!

The kitchen's gastropub-like menu swings from sandwiches and salads to spreads, shareable snacks and a few hearty entrees (along the lines of bouillabaisse and roast chicken), all served at neighborhood hangout prices in a handsome storefront setting.

Silhouette Bakery & Bistro (383 W. University Av., St. Paul, 651-348-7661, goes in a different hybrid direction. The bakery case is filled with smile-inducing cupcakes, puff pastry tarts, pretty pavlovas, creamy flans and delicate Japanese buns.

On the savory side, there's a definite food truck vibe: a handful of tacos, five rice bowls (Korean-inspired beef-with-kimchi, lemongrass-perfumed chicken with cabbage slaw) and a few deep-fried delicacies, including pork-filled egg rolls and bacon-Cheddar doughnuts. Nothing tops $9, and the small counter service-space is spare but spotless.