Marathon Volunteering and Yum

Last weekend was the Twin Cities Marathon. The TC Marathon is hosted by Medtronic and is the self-proclaimed most beautiful urban marathon in America. As far as large city marathons go, TC is moderately sized (about 12,000 runners compared to 27,000 at Boston). The past couple years I’ve volunteered on race day in the elite athlete tent, and I decided to shake it up a bit this year by volunteering for set up. We set up on Friday for the Sunday race, and it was interesting to see the whole finish line and expo area in the process of coming together:

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I was stationed at the finish line, helping to attach sponsor signs to street barricades:

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By the end, I never wanted to see another zip tie:



In other news, this past week on Monday and Tuesday I had a conference for work. We all went out for lunch together on Tuesday to a restaurant in St. Louis Park called Yum.



Yum is a bakery and cafe that is pretty much adorable in every way. The menu is a combination of standard comfort food (mac and cheese, egg salad, fish and chips) as well as some untraditional options (ahi tuna burger and amablu crusted filet!).

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The bakery section shines with a tempting display of cupcakes and the signature chocolate cake with buttercream frosting called the Patti Cake (the owner’s name is Patti):

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In addition to food, Yum also sells a variety of knick knacks for all your random gifting needs:



I ordered the salad sampler which came with one scoop each of egg salad, tuna salad and chicken salad, but I asked for two tuna and one egg:



Several people at the table ordered fish and chips:



Everything was delicious! Yum also sells an assortment of breads for purchase, including a nice looking challah!




Rustica Bakery is a lovely cafe/bakery tucked into Calhoun Village along W Lake Street.

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I first learned about Rustica when I was searching for a source of good challah in the Twin Cities. A quick ‘best-of’ Google search led me there, and the recommendation did not disappoint. Since then, I’ve returned several times for both challah and other types of bread (Bon Appetit named Rustica one of the 10 best bread bakeries in the US!).

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In addition to bread, Rustica features a drink menu of coffee, tea, and espresso drinks as well as a small food menu of starters, salads, soups, and sandwiches.

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Not to mention a beautiful display case of baked goods:

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On this most recent visit, I had an iced green mint tea. The tea was good, but pretty pricey (nearly $3). Besides buying loaves of bread to take home, the only food I’ve ever gotten at Rustica is a bread and jam plate. You can choose any of their bread varieties, and they’ll serve you two slices with homemade jam and fresh Vermont butter.

Overall, I say that Rustica is a great bakery to buy loaves of bread, but it is a bit pricey for a snack or meal. Having never tried their pastries and desserts, I don’t know if they are worth the splurge too. Either way, I would encourage everyone to stop by for a loaf of their favorite bread (or challah on Fridays!).

Wuollet Bakery

Wuollet is a local bakery chain with six locations around the Twin Cities area. I’ve been there a couple times in the past and primarily remembered their chocolate dipped macaroons. My most recent visit to the shop was spurred by the fact that a friend bought a Groupon deal for the store. Even though I didn’t get anything, I can give a general report of the selection.

The bakery has all the essentials: cookies, donuts, cupcakes, and breads. There’s also a limited menu of tortes and pies. Here is the cookie case:

If I had been in the business to buy a treat, I would have preferred something with a more unique selection (I generally prefer an exotic cookie combo over a simple choco chip!). But, if snickerdoodles or other standards are your thing, then you would probably do just fine. The real show-offs of the display case were the cupcakes, coming in flavors like red velvet, lemon drop, and caramel salted almond. My friend ordered a pink lady cupcake:

It looked adorable and tasted – I was assured – delicious. If you are a cupcake or traditional cookie lover, I would say to go here. For myself, I think I’ll stick with the desserts at Cafe Latte.