The conscientious health-food proselyte will have scant trouble finding something to eat in the Twin Cities. Restaurants that fly the banner of nutritional virtue abound. French Meadow is one of the good ones; in a sense, it is the original one, being the first certified organic bakery in the United States (since 1985).
Three meals a day are served, including dinner of gluten-free three-cheese macaroni or green coconut curry (the latter available gluten-free, vegan, or with chicken). Good coffee and espresso are available all day, as are an array of outstanding made-from-scratch cakes and cupcakes, tortes and buns and croissants.
The meal I’ll be back for is breakfast — hot breakfast such as broad cornmeal pancakes with real maple syrup or waffles with banana-toffee syrup or “Lynn’s Healthy Breakfast.” That last one is a hearty, full-flavored, all-organic bowl of brown rice, apples, raisins, sunflower seeds, and almonds with a pitcher of cinnamon rice milk and slices of sourdough toast.
As a devotee of turtle cake (and of just about anything made using the testudineous formula of chocolate, caramel, and nuts) I sing hosannas to the turtle cake at French Meadow. I was skeptical at first — it is vegan turtle cake! — and while it cannot match a cake that uses eggs and milk or cream, it is remarkably moist and chocolaty and ultimately very satisfying.
Up front, service is coffee house counter style; in back are booths for those who prefer waiter service. French Meadow has a second location at 1662 Grand Avenue in St. Paul as well as airport outlets in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and Milwaukee. It also sets up shop each year at the Minnesota Fair.