BEST BREAD - 2006
When Rustica Bakery opened in 2004, the denizens of the East Harriet Farmstead neighborhood could hardly believe their good fortune. One can now pick up a sturdy baguette wrapped in crisp brown paper, a hearty levain loaf that cries out for generous dollops of homemade blackberry jam, or a pillowy focaccia ready for soaking up olive oil. Special breads star on different weekdays, including the crackling pastry-like Canadas de Azucar and a delightfully dense rye. All of Rustica's artisan creations deliver a sensual experience—the baguette's crust, for example, is perfectly browned and crispy with a slightly buttery taste, while the insides are light as air. It's as good as any staple on a Parisian's dinner table. A bakery is almost always a neighborhood asset, but close proximity to the wondrous Rustica ovens may well increase property values—and most definitely waistlines. Thankfully, the walking paths of Lake Harriet are just a couple of blocks away. It's a good bet, however, that no one is sharing these breadcrumbs with the ducks.