Fish and Chips
From the outside, it just looks like a normal restaurant. You expect (and you get) meatloaf, bacon and eggs, walleye, etc., your classic Midwestern Americana. And it’s good, solid stuff. It’s CONSISTENTLY good. The owner earned his chops at the behemoth of Twin Cities breakfasting, Keys Cafe. Oh, but it’s better than Keys.*
I love it. One by one, my friends succumb to my indoctrinations about the greatness of the Highland Park Cafe and Bakery. They also fall in love. We are usually ordering around dinnertime, but, I order “breakfast” dishes on countless occasions. And I become addicted to their homemade strawberry rhubarb jam. Oh yeah, it’s GOOD. I see a glimmer of brilliance. Hm…
Sausage, Egg, Toast Breakfast with homemade strawberry rhubarb jam
But wait a second…the soup is to die for. Should you ever get your hands on the clam chowder, well…your life will never be the same. No really, it won’t. It is absolutely MAGICAL. I grew up in a beach town, a FISHING town, with access to clam chowder of every kind – every child should know that there are “red” and “white” chowders by the age of 8. No, none, none of them could hold a candle to this unexpected jewel. How can seafood be better so far from the oceans!?!?! A mystery.
The clam chowder sells out so quickly, my friend tells me that I should call the place to make sure there are two bowls of it left. And yeah…I actually DO IT! My impulses have have been PTSD-related. You see, after one evening there because…well…there was only ONE bowl left. My memory is fuzzy, but, I like to think I was the bigger person and went without clam chowder that evening, so that my friend could partake.
And then, one day, visiting the restaurant, I see words like “kofte” and “lassi” stuck in the middle of a menu. My eye stops! What’s going on? Apparently, HPC&B serves some Nepalese dishes. I have tried the momos (both vegetarian and meat versions) and the curry – they are all DELICIOUS!!!
Momos, with spicy tomato dipping sauce
Dessert. Very very important. I’ve had chocolate cake of various sorts there. Berry pies. They are good. But one day, I try the bread pudding. Oh, it’s so good. The “secret” is simple: they use their own caramel rolls as the “bread” for the pudding. These caramel rolls. Oh, they are absolute genius. One of my indoctrinated friends used to buy rolls to take home to eat on the weekends for breakfast!!! They are DIVINE. Truly.
Bread pudding, with apples, ice cream, whipped cream, and caramel sauce
So, if you are ever in the Highland Park neighborhood of Saint Paul and want to be delighted, try it. You might just love it.
Highland Park Cafe & Bakery
1931 Ford Pky
St Paul, MN (651) 698-3400
(testimonials from chowhound)
* The caramel rolls, everything, even the liver and onions is better at HPC&B.
Part 4 in a series of my posts about establishments serving breakfast:
- Jay’s Café of St. Paul, MN (blissful altar of breakfast #1)
- Al’s Breakfast of Minneapolis, Minnesota: prosaic American breakfast as an art form (blissful altar of breakfast post #2)
- South Asian Foods, giving you halwa puri, yes, in Fridley, MN (blissful altar of breakfast post #3)
You might also enjoy reading about poaching eggs: Luxurious, Lazy and Thrifty – Poached Eggs