Paulette Bakery

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http://www.paulettebakery.com/#

https://twitter.com/PauletteBakery

Main Location: Minneapolis (Mornings)

            There are so many fun little facets and parts to a successful Food Truck scene, and though our Cities’ growth in this has been tremendous we still have much a ways to go to catch up to the rest of the Nation. One of these aspects, as I’ve talked about with Racer at short-length, is a notable absence in the Breakfast scene. Sure we have a few trucks that have Breakfast OPTIONS, but none truly Specialize, and the number of them which actually show up early enough for the Morning Crowd is a notable minority.

            Hoping to lead the way in this mysterious territory, Paulette Bakery jumps onto the scene. Parking its small little self at various spots in our Downtown Minneapolis area, Paulette’s makes a note of ONLY serving in the early Morning times between 7 and 10am (not counting special situations and possible events). Whether the owner (whose name ISN’T actually Paulette –gasp!!– how dare she!) has considered extending these into lunch, considering how fast and often her goods sell out before 10, I’d say she’s probably fit to stay in that same-old timeslot.

            There are currently Two things one can get when they stop here: good quality, Fair-Trade Coffee (okay, they also have Tea), and Hand-made Croissants. The latter comes in 4 simple options: Plain, Chocolate, Almond, or a seasonal Savory Croissant (when I visited, it was Goat Cheese-Asparagus, yum!). Waiting in a simply stacked rack, these little joys make a quick bite for the Breakfast-seeker walking along the street.  

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Food: 9.5

             (Let me start by saying I am SOOOOOOO sorry… I forgot to actually take pictures of the Croissants themselves! I was so focused on eating them and getting back home it completely skipped my mind… guess that’s what they get for being so good. So here’s some better-looking ones I found online)

             3 words: Scratch, Made, Croissants. Unless she’s defining it differently, that means the owner is making the dough herself, from the base, and then rolling it into these amazing little pastries. Many people might not actually be aware of this, but this is HUGE. There are NOT a lot of places that actually make their own Croissant dough (or even Croissants for that matter); it is highly finicky, labor intensive, and ultimately a real bitch for any business unless one can actually do it right. That’s why most places rely on Factories for their dough; it’s all done exactly the same way, and one doesn’t have to worry about (your) Labor Cost. It’s basically the same as Puff Pastry, only not AS completely insane in difficulty.

             As for the results… BUTTERY. Rich, flaky, tender-soft Croissant deliciousness, which is then filled with even more deliciousness depending on what you get. Going for a complete review, I of course had to get 2 of these, so I settled for the Chocolate and (as mentioned) the Goat-Cheese Asparagus seasonal. Chocolate was of course that nice, traditional rich line of darkness, while the Asparagus… oohhhhhhh the asparagus. Now THAT’S how you use this ingredient; nice and soft in here (we don’t want the texture this time, too delicate of a wrapping), with that notable green, slightly pungent flavor, mixing with that tart, rich, creamy chevre. And the Croissant is an almost PERFECT pastry for it; much like the typical hollandaise used to garnish, its buttery nature complements the veggie nicely. I’m still doing a bit of a happy dance.

             These Croissants clearly blow all the well-known, average pastries out of the water, and even remind my Mom of a few of the ones she’s had in France. Now, going for any critical notes here, apparently they aren’t quite AS crispy as the “perfect” France ones (where they apparently learn how to make it when they’re kids, ugh). I also find myself somewhat wishing there was more to differentiate the simple chocolates from its competitors (besides the quality of the pastry); same simple design, but then again there’s a reason for that… it’s GOOD.

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Holdability: 10

            In the same line as Potter’s, grabbing a pastry in one of those small bags is about as simple as can be, there’s not much more to say about it. I was debating lowering it since the antiquital experience here is with BOTH Pastry and Coffee, but as one only needs one hand each with no issue.  

Price: 9

              Definitely a cheaper breakfast than getting an omelette or egg sandwich somewhere, with the croissants ranging between $2.25 and $3.50, with coffee for a bit under $2. As a Bakery, though, it is a touch disappointing they don’t offer one or two REALLY cheap options, like tiny Danishes or those little Frangipane-Puff Pastry “cookie swirls;” I’ve always found looking at and grabbing an extra little something to be a fun, naughty part of any bakery experience.

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Speed: 10

              Instantaneous like any bakery.

The TOE: 9

              Maybe not the first Truck to serve Breakfast, but definitely the first in our lineup to specialize in it, Paulette looks to lead the charge towards a whole new movement in our Morning Rush. With talks of Café Racer and others in tow, a new dawn of Breakfast Trucks may certainly be closer than originally thought. It seems only fitting that such a small, simple Truck like this be the one to create such large ripples in the lake. For if we’ve learned anything in our explorations of Truck Culture, the biggest impacts often come from the most unexpected places.

                      Tally: 47.5/50

                       

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Final Thoughts

            A great start to our Breakfast-based Lineup, fantastic for those who need a quick munchy and/or coffee on-the-go. Quick, Cheap, Easy to Hold, and Delicious, it fills all of the street-eater’s basic requirements.

            With the limited options, I’d just say get whatever particular style of Croissant suits your desire. However, if you haven’t had one before, DEFINITELY get the Almond one; filled with that sweet, rich Marzi/Frangipane, it’s always just so good. Not to mention the nut-based flavors go awesome with Coffee. For something a bit different, don’t be afraid to go for whichever Savory Croissant they have that day either.

            Oh, and don’t forget to stop by Starbucks on your walk and laugh at them as you point to your Cheaper yet Better Quality Coffee.

 

Let’s Eat (1 Meal)

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(No Links that I know of. If anyone can find something, please inform me)

Main Location: Minneapolis, Etc

            I’ve found that, among the troves of mobile catering options on our Minnesota Streets, after a while one is actually able to separate different kinds of Trucks into “groups,” of sorts. There are the “Event Trucks” I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the “Food Trucks” which I base my reviews around (the downtown, big event, new-culture-driven operations that bring those forms of “wonder” to us customers when we visit), and then there are what I call the “Soul Cater Trucks.” You’ve seen these around I’m sure; whenever one goes to a big/special block party, or a city-wide event, and there are those white tents wafting in the smoke of giant black grills, serving up things in big styrofoam boxes. Next to these one will invariably find at least one simply-adorned Truck, serving either Wraps or Caribbean food or Ribs or something. None of it “special,” none of it “gastro,” but all of it purely based on that simple, soul-filled Food that just fills us with warmth (well, that’s the idea anyway).

            Aaaaallllll these people and operations, the mobile and non, are generally ignored by myself for Blog purposes. As a whole different category and world unto itself, of which one only sees on the occasional basis (vs the almost every-day Food Trucks). However, with its recent decent on the Downtown Streets, Let’s Eat “1 Meal” (don’t know if it’s part of name or something else… weird light bulb sticker logo) has officially pushed itself into this growing realm, and I feel no less than obligated to visit and review them completely.

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            With a menu controlled by the smaller mobile quarters, options run a bit of the gambit of the “Soul Truck” offerings, sticking away from a few of the larger dishes like Ribs. That said, one can find options like Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Philly Sliders, Blackened Tilapia Tacos, Buffalo Shrimp Wraps, Jerk Wings, and… well, I guess there IS a Rib dish, only it’s made from a Turkey’s (anyone else a bit confuzzled? Don’t worry, I explain later).

            All of this comes with a side of Sweet Potato Fries, just what one would expect from any soul-based caterer. Now all I need is a nice, big glass of Caribbean Lemonade (made with a bit of Pineapple; get a cup at the next State Fair in the Global Area, it’s awesome!) and I’m good.

 

Food: 6

             Overall, not too exciting of a visit. The Pulled Pork is… basic. It’s not bad, the pork is tender and the Sauce is the expected BBQ Tangy, but there really isn’t anything to differentiate it between the sandwiches one can find at any given, decent restaurant. Bun is plain, untoasted, which is expected for a “BBQ Catering” Truck’s style such as this, so it’s alright. Oh, and the actual sammies are pretty small; not like a slider, but for getting a single thing of cheap Pork, one expects more. (Sorry for no picture, I could have sworn I took one but… poof)

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            Now, the “Turkey Ribs.” They are… exactly what it says they are; they’ve actually taken the ribs from the Turkey, along with a big chunk of meat attached to it (I’m wondering if it’s bulk is from the Breast Meat). Smoked, slightly grilled, and sprinkled with their BBQ sauce, and one has a White(er) Meat version of a classic. As for the outcome, one is able to get a little bit of that smoke, not to mention a visual of that distinctively pink tinge from the Smoking. Sadly, though the thin areas right around the bone are nice, tender and flavorful, the giant chunk of white flesh attached betrays the obvious over-cooking of this piece of meat. It’s not the teeth-munching horror of past Thanksgivings, but one can clearly see the ½-1 hour in which it went over.

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            Most disappointingly, the one item we expect the utmost skill in the Southern-based culinary culture probably came through the worst. The Sweet Potato Fries were soft, limp, and at times seemingly close to being slightly raw. The possibility of a bad batch is of course there, but if I got them than logically someone else would have.

Holdability: 6.5

          They’ve made some pretty smart menu choices, at least in the entrée, with each item being something that one can quite easily pick up by hand (the “ribs” didn’t have too much sauce on, so it wasn’t even that sticky). However, as they almost automatically serve each item with those Fries,  everything comes in those big, clunky Styrofoam boxes, forcing us to either take it someplace or hope we have complete reign of both hands as we walk. Getting it without Fries one might hope to save the situation a bit, but then they immediately replace it with this big pile of salad that then requires a fork.

Price: 6.5

              With the fries, it’s all about $8-$9 across the board, with bigger prices for occasional “Specials” (like a really BIG Pulled Pork). THANKFULLY, one is able to get the food without Fries for $2 less, though you DO have to ask for it special, otherwise I was fixing to be really annoyed with a possible forced-menu-requirement.

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            I do want to say though, even with the option of no-fries, I’m a little upset with the price charged for their Pulled Pork. Not only was it lackluster in anything, it was barely twice the size of a slider, and ultimately just not worth the price they charge (among Food Truck items at least).

Speed: 7.5

             Average.

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The TOE: 4

              Being of that particular cut, this Soul Truck turned to the Downtown has yet to truly develop any of those qualities that epitomize our area Food Trucks. Viewing the action even from up close, it’s hard not to think one is simply at one of those BBQ Catering tables that’s just serving different options.

                        Tally: 30.5/50

                       

Final Thoughts

            Not quite sure where this truck officially stands in the line-up, one may simply have to decide when it’s right for themselves to go there.

            For now, ignore the Fries; it’s more affordable without them, and I just don’t see them worth the extra $2 anyways (if Fries is your desire, so many other Trucks that do them better). With the quality derived from the 2 items I got, it’s hard to consider which items might stand above. If I were to go back again, though, the Tilapia Tacos and Jerk Chicken Wings would be the top on my list. The Former easily more portable and the later highly representing of their style (and difficult to screw up Wings!).

            The Turkey Ribs are fun for the adventurous, just have to hope it doesn’t end up dry. Either that or slather it in more of their sauce.