Sift Gluten-Free Bakery in Nokomis, Minneapolis

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

We love gluten, just to let you know where we stand. But we felt that if we turned this review over to the gluten-free beat, such as it is, that we’d be giving Sift (4557 Bloomington Ave S, Minneapolis) short shrift.

We will however give short shrift to the controversy, such as it is, surrounding the steady rise (get it?) of gluten free. Yes, celiac disease is real, and it is miserable. Yes, there are charlatans who will tell you that everything can be cured by eliminating gluten from your diet. Enough said about that.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

On to the baked treats that we picked up just as the sun was rising this past Saturday morning. Sift is a delightful and welcoming space, with a display case filled with an astonishing variety of muffins, bars, brownies, cookies, doughnuts, cakes, scones, and little tiny quiches. The beaming, smiling face that greeted us turned out to be that of Molly Miller, owner of Sift. She was visibly thrilled to be there and was more than happy to share with us her journey from longtime hobbyist baker to semi-pro farmers market vendor to professional baker with her own brand-new shop.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Her enthusiasm is well warranted. Our favorite item was the Ham and Cheese Quiche Bite ($2.50). The crust was chewy and buttery, and perhaps a little corny. The egg filling was creamy and shot through with pockets of melted cheese and bits of smoky ham. Our only gripe was the silver-dollar size. We could have eaten an entire full-sized quiche. On the other hand, if it were bigger, we’d have missed out on the lovely crust in each bite. I guess they know what they’re doing: These things are seriously craveable.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

The Spiced Pear Coffee Cake ($3.50) was delightful. Airy, and rich with cinnamon and cardamom, it had a moist, fluffy crumb and a lovely aroma. For lack of wheat flour, it was missing nothing. We’ve had sweeter coffee cakes, but this one, with its spiced pear, had a sophisticated element that we’ll definitely return for.

Hominy with Brown Butter and Recipe Roundup

Swiss chard quiche, turkey burgers, pretzel and peanut butter cup ice cream cake, and hominy with brown butter and crispy sage.

Polenta and Recipe Roundup

Sausage, potato, and cheddar quiche; broccoli-cheese casserole; pancake breakfast sandwich; and savory polenta.

Homemade Mustard and Recipe Roundup

Crepes two ways, blue cheese burgers, homemade mustard, and apple cheddar quiche.

Ratatouille and Recipe Roundup

Canadian bacon and wild rice quiche, all day lemon curd tart, Abstract Artist’s Salad, moussaka, ratatouille with a poached egg, and Talk Show Salad.

October 9 Recipe Roundup

Baked penne and sausage, channa masala, quiche with shiitakes and chard, easy challah and bread pudding, mulled cider (just in time for Saturday’s… well, let’s just say “possible weather”), and chocolate mousse cake with cajeta.

September 29 Flickr Pool Roundup

Farmhouse quiche by jwannie, butternut squash bisque by the dabble, an apple jack-o-lantern by massdistraction, and ham and cheese pretzel bites by pfutz.

Quiche Recipe Contest, Julia Child Style

Submit your quiche recipe to the Julie & Julia cooking contest, beat the other contestants at the Mall of America on July 28, and you’ll win a five-course meal for you and five guests from Chef Eli Wollenzien of Crave. You’ll also receive an All-Clad kitchen set, which is featured in the movie. (Aha, so that’s the tie-in!) Entry deadline is July 20 at 5pm. Rules and more information here.

Front Porch Coffee and Tea Co. in Ely

Eric Faust / Heavy Table

Doug Scheibe started a coffeehouse in Ely because he didn’t want to leave. “I had a job that I knew didn’t have a future and I wanted to stay in Ely,” he says. Moving to the canoe town in 2000, Doug opened Front Porch Coffee and Tea Co. in May of 2005.

Northern Grounds was the only other coffee shop in town, but Doug says “I didn’t want to be in conflict. I wanted to offer something that they didn’t, like Internet access, overstuffed chairs, wraps, and quiche.” The quiche, a favorite menu item is made fresh year round, and eight to 10 different types are generally available.

Doug says that he has always liked good coffee and would like to install a coffee roaster in the future. Currently the Front Porch is serving coffee from Equal ExchangeTeaSource supplies the Front Porch with an array of teas that are custom labeled with names like the Ely Gold, a black tea blended with orange blossom and other infusions.

Heavy Table / Eric Faust
Eric Faust / Heavy Table

The Front Porch stays open through the winter, hanging mugs on the wall for the regulars who are hardy enough to live in Ely during the coldest months of the year. Once summer arrives, the Front Porch will be open later and the cups of coffee poured will be more numerous as paddlers and seasonal workers look for a quality brew.

Come summer, Pat Surface with the Boundary Water Boys will be playing at the Front Porch every Tuesday, as part of the city Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Tuesday Nite Live, a local event that includes about eight local establishments featuring music. Last summer the Front Porch had crowds of 500-700.

Front Porch Coffee and Tea Co.
343 East Sheridan St
Ely, MN 55731
OWNER: Doug Scheibe
Mon-Sat 7am-6pm
Sun 8am-4pm
Mon-Sat 7am-9pm
Sun 8am-6pm