Following the trend of offering higher quality food options to hungry park-goers, Lake Harriet now boasts Bread & Pickle. It's owned and operated by the ever busier Kim Bartmann, who already has Bryant-Lake Bowl, Cafe Barbette, and Red Stag Supperclub, all offering neighborhood-centric, gourmet-leaning fare and all run with an eye on sustainability. At Bread & Pickle, the goal is to provide picnic-goers delicious options with zero waste.
We stopped by this week to see how things were going.
[jump] A more scenic view for a picnic is hard to find, with waves gently lapping off Lake Harriet and the soothing rhythms of sailboats softly thunking together. The scads of families wrangling kids, joggers, walkers, bikers, and bird watchers that visit the lake are now tempted with the scents of fresh-brewed coffee or popcorn beckoning from the bandstand.
Open for breakfast at 7a.m., Bread & Pickle offers egg-on-English-muffin sandwiches, yogurt, granola, or fresh fruit in addition to brewed coffee or espresso drinks (most notably the Tree Hugger, a cold press brew with soy milk and maple syrup for $5).
Lunch is standard sandwich and burger fare, but done with farm-near producers such as Drag Smith, Fischer, and Kadejan Farms to name a few. Beef for the burgers is grass fed, and the cheese curds are from Wisconsin. All good news for eaters. Therein lies the problem.
The food execution, thus far, doesn't live up to the promising menu pedigree. The incredibly friendly young staff informed us that the black bean burgers are actually of the Morningstar Farms variety. The turkey sandwich featured meat that verged on turkey jerky, underripe, mealy tomatoes, and shredded, watery lettuce topped with an herbed mayonnaise, made with seaweed-colored herb* specks in the white, creamy mayo. The redeeming bites were from the fresh, multigrain New French Bakery bread. With locally sourced ingredients, why is there a tomato on this sandwich? If a good product isn't available, why insist on serving it? Do we all really require a tomato on every sandwich?
The potato salad was equally disappointing. Scooped from a bin clearly marked with a two-day-old date, the flavor was bland except for an overwhelming dried tarragon flavor.
The redeemer available for any meal is the Sonny's ice cream, a welcome summer day accompaniment.
The good news is, it's early, and things are likely to change for the better. Tomato season will come, and in the meantime, the area couldn't be more gorgeous.
*Edited: Original post identified herbs as "dried"