On the Lake of the Isles, out in the hip Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis sits this popular bakery that focuses on the favorite foils for a tall cup of American drip java: cinnamon rolls and coffee cafe. It has been around since 1993, its popularity rising like over-leavened dough. On the morning we visited, the line snaked around the interior of the bakery like a roll of cinnamon bread before it has been cut into buns.
The cinnamon rolls are properly large, which is to say too big for most people to finish. For modest morning appetites the bakery offers a single braid of the dough, known as a Puppy Dog Tail. Full-sized buns are available both iced and sticky, the latter available with nuts. Of the two, we prefer the airier cinnamon roll to the denser sticky bun, but both are excellent.
Coffee cake is our favorite bite of the morning. Each day, a seasonal topping is applied to the cinnamon-rich cake. We caught them on a day when summer fruits were still in the market, allowing us to enjoy strewed peaches and blackberries atop an excellent morning cake. The sensations of digging into the warm soft cake and chewing through spice ribbons and juicy fruit make for a breakfast that is as comforting as oatmeal, but as rich as Christmas pudding.
Since icing preferences can vary by the strength of one’s sweet tooth, Isles offers a bin of cream cheese frosting near the cream and sugar for those that may prefer their buns light and sweet.
Coffee is better than your average bakery joint, but not necessarily worth a detour. But with the tasty cinnamon rolls or superb coffee cake, it’s just right for breakfast.