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A bakery adventure, in which our heroine tries to go to Mojo Monkey but ends up at Rebecca's instead

AnneInMpls Mar 5, 2014 11:53 PM

After a doctor's appointment in downtown St. Paul, I wanted a treat. So I drove down West 7th to Mojo Monkey bakery, but they were closed at 2:30 (their sign says they're open until 3:30). Strange... But it's their loss - I won't make this detour again.

Eventually, I ended up at Rebecca's Bakery in Seward, which is a charming place with many enticing options at 3 PM on a weekday. Lucky for me, I chose an AMAZING zeppole, because the owner told me that it was made with lemon and (rosewater?), and assured me that I would like it. And she was so right! Who knew that something that looks like a big, puffy, plain doughnut could taste so divine? Wow. I have a new favorite treat, and that's really saying something for a city that includes Izzy's Key Lime Pie ice cream. (I also got some amaretti and a free chocolate chip cookie for later. They were both awesome.)

Next, I stopped in at the Ethiopian grocery next door and had an extremely tasty meat sambusa. Finally, I had tea at Verdant Tea, which captured my heart as well.

What a lucky stop! I'm delighted with Rebecca's (and the other places in the same complex) and plan to be a regular. By the way, if you've looked at the Rebecca's Bakery web site, the actual shop is more sophisticated (and charming) than the web site would imply. Give it a try - I think you'll love it!


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    steve_in_stpaul RE: AnneInMpls Mar 6, 2014 05:32 AM

    Mojo Monkey hours are a little odd. Sometimes they'll stay open even though there isn't a doughnut crumb left in the place. Other times I've driven by before closing and they're already shuttered. I understand it's not a huge operation, but getting that supply/demand thing right is important.

    I've never seen the places you've mentioned when I'm in the Seward neighborhood (typically at the Co-op), but I'll keep an eye out now. Thanks for the report!

    1. s
      shoo bee doo RE: AnneInMpls Mar 6, 2014 04:16 PM

      The bakery looks wonderful. I must try it out.

      1. s
        sandylc RE: AnneInMpls Mar 9, 2014 08:27 PM

        The bakery looks interesting. But that is truly an awkward website!

        2 Replies
        1. re: sandylc
          AnneInMpls RE: sandylc Mar 9, 2014 09:52 PM

          The owner clearly spends all her energy on amazing baked goods, with no time for fancy-schmancy web sites and the like. But hie yourself to Rebecca's for a zeppola or pastry - you'll love it!

          1. re: AnneInMpls
            sandylc RE: AnneInMpls Mar 9, 2014 10:09 PM


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          gryffindor249 RE: AnneInMpls Mar 10, 2014 08:57 AM

          I don't know. On the website she admits to using cake mixes. I think I will save my $$$ and allotted calories for a scratch bakery.

          12 Replies
          1. re: gryffindor249
            sandylc RE: gryffindor249 Mar 10, 2014 11:12 AM

            Yeah, I saw that, too. Disappointing. She at least uses butter, though. I just didn't want to look all critical.

            1. re: gryffindor249
              shoo bee doo RE: gryffindor249 Mar 10, 2014 04:46 PM

              Maybe she mixes them up herself. She just doesn't want to reveal all the ingredients. Or give away her secrets. The quality of everything else is so great. I want to give her every benefit of doubt. Someone could ask her what she meant.

              1. re: shoo bee doo
                The Dairy Queen RE: shoo bee doo Mar 11, 2014 06:23 AM

                I know there's a great tradition of Italian cuisine in Somalia. Given the neighborhood, I'm wondering if she's Somali and this "cake mix" wording is a issue of a person whose first language is not English?

                I drive by this place often and am (now) kicking myself for not stopping in sooner. The signage from the street is pretty subtle.

                Does anyone know what her hours are? Namely the opening hours? I couldn't find them on her website.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  AnneInMpls RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 11, 2014 09:23 PM

                  I think the owner/baker is Ethiopian, not Somali - but also from a country with a strong Italian influence. I, too, would give her the benefit of the doubt on the "cake mix" term. I haven't tried any of the cakes, but the zeppola I had was not from a commercial mix.

                  Sorry, TDQ - I didn't notice the hours as I zoomed into the bakery on my post-doctor mission. But my quick glimpse gave me the impression that they were "standard" - nothing too early, nothing too late, and no odd closing days. My guess is that you'll be OK if you aim for regular business hours, not old-fashioned bakery hours.

                  1. re: AnneInMpls
                    bob s RE: AnneInMpls Mar 11, 2014 09:57 PM

                    The web site lists very specific ingredients for most of the baked goods, but "cake mix" for her cakes. After looking through the list of baked goods, I assumed that, for what ever reason (lack of recipes, time, expense, etc.), she has decided to use cake mixes for her cakes, but does other products from scratch.

                    ETA: I would not rule out a cake from a mix myself. A couple of my favorite cakes have mixes as their base.

                    1. re: AnneInMpls
                      The Dairy Queen RE: AnneInMpls Mar 12, 2014 09:13 AM

                      Funny, after I posted I thought to myself she was probably Ethiopian. Rebecca's not a very Somali name. :) But, it is a reasonably common Ethiopian name.

                      Thanks for the info. I'm going to try to get over there one of these days.


                    2. re: The Dairy Queen
                      AnneInMpls RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 18, 2014 11:36 AM

                      I just discovered a card in my purse (yay for purse-cleaning day!) from Rebecca's Bakery. The card lists the hours as Monday - Sunday 7AM - 8PM.

                      1. re: AnneInMpls
                        The Dairy Queen RE: AnneInMpls Mar 25, 2014 06:20 AM

                        A bakery adventure, in which our heroine tries to go to Rebecca's but ends up at All My Relations Gallery instead

                        RE: AMRG (farther west on Franklin)--I'm guessing this would be a nice spot for wild rice soup and a basic sandwich for lunch, but it's pretty sleepy at breakfast with a bakery case that is more or less empty. The coffee was fine. :)

                        RE: Rebecca's--signage on the door has been taped over to say they now open at 9am. Drat! Well, there's always next time!


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                          AnneInMpls RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 25, 2014 10:50 PM

                          Oh, I'm so sorry! Alas, those printed cards had the air of being done a while ago, for far too much money to redo when the bakery's hours changed.

                          1. re: AnneInMpls
                            The Dairy Queen RE: AnneInMpls Mar 26, 2014 04:19 AM

                            No worries at all. I was driving past anyway. :) I wish she'd put her hours on her website and, when I ever get in there, will ask if that's something she might consider doing. (It may cost her money if she has someone else doing it for her, which she may be reluctant to part with as a small business owner).


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                              steve_in_stpaul RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 26, 2014 05:36 AM

                              There's a cost to annoying potential customers who went by the hours that are promoted elsewhere. It can't cost more than a few bucks to fix that -- if anything.

                              1. re: steve_in_stpaul
                                sandylc RE: steve_in_stpaul Mar 26, 2014 10:29 AM

                                Yeah, we once drove for 20 minutes for gelato, and they had closed five minutes before - they had not changed their hours on their website. We were not happy.

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                  ChillyDog RE: AnneInMpls Mar 11, 2014 11:00 PM

                  Here's some background info via TC Daily Planet. If you click the link at the end of the article it takes you to an audio interview.

                  The hours are stated as 6 am to 8 pm daily. But note that's from last fall when they first opened.


                  1. clepro RE: AnneInMpls Mar 23, 2014 12:59 AM

                    Anne, I've got to meet someone in that neighborhood for lunch next week and am now considering Rebecca's. Their website doesn't indicate a lunch menu, but I saw references to soups, sandwiches elsewhere. Did you notice if they had lunch items? And is there any seating?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: clepro
                      AnneInMpls RE: clepro Mar 25, 2014 10:54 PM

                      Rebecca's has two or three tables (very casual/bare bones), and has some (premade?) sandwiches and salads for lunch. I didn't notice any soup when I was there, but that was after 3pm. Note that they might sell out of lunch food early, depending on the day and the weather.

                      If I were meeting a friend for lunch, I'd probably arrange to meet at Verdant Tea, then stop at Rebecca's for dessert. If, that is, I could resist the desserts at Verdant Tea. Or if (more likely) I wanted two desserts.

                      1. re: AnneInMpls
                        Jordan RE: AnneInMpls Mar 26, 2014 04:55 AM

                        I believe Verdant Tea is also hosting the Birchwood breakfast pop-ups while their renovation is underway.

                        1. re: AnneInMpls
                          clepro RE: AnneInMpls Apr 1, 2014 05:17 PM

                          I did end up at Verdant Tea and it was fantastic. I had one of their special drinks--orange juice, sparkling water, bitters and kombucha, and for lunch perfectly cooked soba noodles in a clean tasting broth with a few green onions, topped with mildly spicy, maybe curried(?) carrot ginger puree, alongside a bowl of fresh tasting, crisp, lightly pickled vegetables. Carrots, cucumbers, and white radishes, I think. It may be because I've been going through chemo and so certain foods appeal to me more than they would normally, but this is one of my top 10 meals of the past year. I loved it.

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