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Mar 5, 2014 11:53 PM

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

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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  1. 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. The bakery looks wonderful. I must try it out.

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

        2 Replies
        1. re: sandylc

          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!

        2. 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

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

            1. re: gryffindor249

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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.

                2. 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.