BEST COFFEE CAKE - 2001
Let's face it, as a rule Eastern Europe is a hard and oppressive place. The dominant color--in clothing, in the buildings, in the sky, in people's faces--is a plain and flat battleship gray. The native folk music is minor-keyed, lugubrious, laden with woe-is-me lyrics about battles fought and lost eons ago. And the politicians are terribly authoritarian, dry as a bone, and obsessive about battles fought and lost eons ago. How do the denizens of this desolate corner of the world keep their spirits up in the face of all this oppressiveness? With baked goods, that's how. Fortunately we Twin Citians don't have to travel to dreary Eastern Europe to partake in the bounty: St. Paul's Jerabek's Bakery and New Bohemian Coffeehouse has it covered for us. Each day a bounty of fresh baked goods rolls out of these ovens and brightens the gloom: rugalach, foldover cookies filled with an apricot-and-golden-raisin goo; kolachkes, the Eastern European version of brioche stuffed with apricot, cream cheese, prune, or poppy seeds; flaky strudel; sugar-dusted Russian Tea cookies. But above all else, do sample the coffee cake, an oozing, sweet, buttery concoction in several varieties, including cherry, blueberry, apple-cinnamon, and cream cheese. Smacznego!