First look: Birchwood Cafe pop-up at Verdant Tea

Scrambled eggs with sheep's milk cheese at Verdant Tea
Scrambled eggs with sheep's milk cheese at Verdant Tea
Joy Summers

The smiling faces of tea growers look on from pictures on a nearby wall at Verdant Tea as owner David Duckler explains that he has long wished to share the flavors of the Shandong province of China where his teas are grown.  "When visiting a home, part of the hospitality is to feed guests," he says. 

And now he can, through a unique collaboration with Birchwood Cafe, which will be popping up at Verdant while its own location is being renovated. The traditional Shandong dishes Duckler longs for have been put through Birchwood's lovely local lens and the result is a breakfast and brunch menu meant to be paired with Verdant's array of teas. 

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Black sesame and pork meatballs
Black sesame and pork meatballs
Joy Summers

Some items tasted a bit more Chinese leaning on the flavor spectrum, like these tender meatballs studded with black sesame seeds ($4.50).

Sweet, savory and entirely yummy
Sweet, savory and entirely yummy
Joy Summers

Other dishes were more overtly Birchwood, like the savory waffle they're famous for serving at breakfast ($12). A batter made with sweet potatoes, brown rice and kale is topped with Fisher Farms lardons, pistachios, kumquat jam, and a sunny-side-up egg. Served alongside is a locally harvested maple syrup, which was good on the waffle, but even better when we used it as a dip for the meatballs.

Other items are split right down the middle, like a sweet corn studded pancake ($7) with local sheep's milk cheese and sambal spiked syrup or the bacon glazed with a hoisin sauce chef Marshall Paulsen is making in house.

"There are dishes that are gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian, just like people have come to expect from us," added Birchwood Cafe owner Tracy Singleton. Just be certain to let your server know if you have any dietary restrictions.

The entire menu is served daily from 8 a.m. to noon through the month of March as the newly expanded Birchwood Cafe takes shape. 

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Verdant Tea

2111 E. Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55404


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