BEST BREAD - 2007
Rustica Bakery has been operating for only three years, but it has quickly eclipsed the local competition as home to the perfect baguette ($2). At once crispy and chewy, with a sturdy, dark golden-brown crust, this loaf is so authentic one imagines it might just hum a little Charles Aznavour tune to accompany your meal. Whether enjoyed with real butter or a particularly fragrant fromage, Rustica's baguette is always a tasty partner. And, of course, there's more: Head baker Tammy Hoyt offers a wide selection of breads (most from $2 to $4), including a wholesome multigrain, a tangy olive, and a snappy sugar-topped Canadas de Azucar. Treat-seekers may seize on a flaky croissant, a devastating dark chocolate tart, a sturdy fruit-studded scone, or one of the other mouth-watering selections baked daily. If you don't happen to dwell near the Lakes, Rustica breads are also available at Surdyk's and the Seward, Linden Hills, and Eastside co-ops.