The corner of 46th Street and Grand Avenue in Minneapolis now contains an embarrassment of food-related riches: the uneven but sometimes excellent Cafe Ena, the charismatic and intriguing Kings Wine Bar, and -- nearby, though not immediately proximate -- the earthy yet chic Kingfield Farmers Market. Add to the list Patisserie 46, a high-end bakery that opened last week.

The creation of John Kraus (one of Pastry Art & Design Magazine's "Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America" in 2005 and 2006), Patisserie 46 specializes in cunningly crafted small bites, the likes of which you've probably never quite tasted before.

"In France, you know, every day, people go to the bakery first thing in the morning to get their croissants, their bread, their daily neighborhood gossip," said Kraus, in an initial press release for the bakery. "Minneapolitans need that luxury moment for themselves, and Patisserie 46 is where they'll find it. Every neighborhood needs a bakery that they can walk to and send their family to for a loaf of bread."

The shop's small cakes are miniature works of art, and offerings of coffee and gelato help round out its appeal -- the only thing missing is a more robust savory option, although a) they've only been open a week, and b) the quiche looked quite good.

The chocolate-filled eclair ($3) is a reinvention of the form. Boasting a crunchy, streusel-style topping and a rich filling, the appropriately chewy pastry is modestly sized and deeply flavored. Similarly classic and vivid is the macaroon ($1.95) -- we tried an Earl Grey with housemade orange marmalade filling -- that was punchy and delicious, with all the crispy-chewy texture you'd hope for.

A baguette ($2.75) was good, but not quite at the level of local champ Rustica -- the exterior was soft, but the interior had real substance, flavor and texture. Still, a good baguette is a great, if sometimes underappreciated, thing.

Lovers of traditional American doughnuts won't necessarily find a lot to munch on at Patisserie 46 -- old-fashioned long johns, cake doughnuts and bear claws are nowhere to be seen. That said, if Patisserie 46 can keep its quality level high while playing with its mix of offerings to satisfy the local palate, it seems likely to be a provider of luxury moments for a long time to come.

The churn

If you haven't yet been to Amici Pizza and Bistro in Northeast, now (through the end of August) is a good time to check it out. The newly founded restaurant is celebrating its grand opening with a coupon (available at for 25 percent off an entire meal.

Those who enjoy a good beer or three are advised to check out the Highland Fest's Beer Dabbler showcase in St. Paul on Saturday, which gives you a chance to sample from 50 craft brewers. There will be six beer education classes, plus a home brew contest with $1,500 in prizes.

The authors of "The Minnesota Table," a new book that celebrates locally produced food in a collection of travel stories, recipes and menu ideas that follow Minnesota's growing seasons, will sign copies and demonstrate recipes at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Lake Country Bookseller (4766 Washington Av., White Bear Lake).

The Heavy Table team writes about food and drink in the Upper Midwest five days a week at