It was the perfect morning to turn up at Bachman’s Floral Home and Garden to visit Patrick’s Bakery and Café in the greenhouse. A spring day, temperatures were in the 60s, and thousands of flowers were in bloom throughout the garden center. I had an appointment to meet with Azita Bernet, co-owner of the eatery, and wife of Chef Patrick Bernet. It’s truly one of my favorite food establishments in the Twin Cities.
When I walked into Patrick’s, looking around at the display cabinets, I realized how dangerous coming in at 9 AM could be when I hadn’t had breakfast. Before me was a variety of colorful and plump quiches ($7.25): Asparagus and Tomato, Quiche Lorraine, Sausage, Spinach, Chicken with Feta and Tomato, and Four Cheese. Each is served warm, accompanied by a beautiful salad.
Above the quiches were lovely sandwiches prepared on the freshest bread: the Tomato Mozzarella Sandwich ($6.95) on olive bread, with garlic pesto, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and fresh sliced tomatoes; and the Ham and Cheese Croissant Sandwich ($6.95), wrapped on a flakey croissant filled with sliced ham and Dijon mustard, topped with a béchamel sauce and shredded mozzarella—the perfect ham and cheese sandwich.
On the other hand, it was the Bouchée à la Reine ($7.95) that my hungry eyes continually returned to—a beautiful creation of flaky puff pastry filled with chicken, chives, mushrooms, and dumplings in a creamy sauce, served warm with a side salad.
Looking up, I noticed a striking woman behind the cash register, and introduced myself. It was Azita. Greeting each other, we found a table at which to visit in the greenhouse. I also placed my order for Bouchée a la Reine.
Absolutely charming, Azita is excited about what she and Patrick have created. She shared with me that their catering endeavor has taken off in a big way. So much so, Patrick couldn’t make our appointment, because he had worked a large event the evening before, and had another scheduled for later in the day.
Patrick’s catering menu offers Salad Platters that serve 10 to 12 people: Bistro Salad ($45)—shredded chicken breast with blue cheese, Craisins, walnuts, and grape tomatoes, on a bed of spring greens, with raspberry vinaigrette; and Salad Nicoise ($54.95)—tuna, black olives, green beans, cucumbers, potato, hard-boiled eggs, and cherry tomatoes, on a bed of spring greens, with citrus vinaigrette.
Meat Platters consist of sliced turkey, roast beef, ham, and salami, with lettuce, tomatoes, condiments, and Patrick’s handmade bread ($59). Cheese Platters include Brie, cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, and fresh mozzarella, with Patrick’s handmade bread ($45). Both platters serve 10 to 12 people.
Patrick’s catering provides quality taste, beauty, and service for morning meetings, afternoon office get-togethers, or dinner parties at home. Banquet facilities hold up to 250, either in Bachman’s Greenhouse or Heritage Room.
Other items on the menu, such as Mini Quiche ($40 a dozen) and Mini Sandwiches ($40 a dozen), can be selected, along with entrées ($49 for four people): Coq Au Vin in red wine reduction, with mushrooms and pancetta, gratin dauphinois, and sautéed fresh spinach; Beef Bourguignon; Osso-Bucco Milanaise; Veal Escalope; or Salmon with basil cream sauce, basmati rice, and sautéed spinach.
My plate of Bouchée à la Reine arrived, and it was stunning. It’s a work of art that smells divine.
Azita brought out a tray of extraordinary French pastries: Classic Opera Cake ($4.95), Le Pave Framboise ($4.95), Fruit Tart ($4.95), and Vanilla Chocolate Crème Brûlée ($4.95). What had I done to deserve this?
When I asked Azita about Patrick’s culinary education, she recounted, “He was born in Paris, and moved at a young age to the eastern French province of Alsace, renowned worldwide for its sophisticated food. He worked as an apprentice, where he learned the fundamentals of bread-making, handmade chocolate truffles, artistic cakes, delicate pastries, and the immaculate showpieces that have won him many prestigious awards. Patrick obtained his degree of Brevet of Compagnons and his C.A.P. [Certificate of Professional Aptitude] and the title of ‘Best Apprentice’ in Alsace [top of his field] by age 18.”
While Azita shared Patrick’s impressive résumé, I continued to eat my Bouchée à la Reine.
“I call it eatable jewelry,” Azita remarked about their pastries, sandwiches, quiches, and confections. “It transcends region and culture. It picks me up, and makes me happy.”
Our visit was almost over. The surroundings, the excellent food, and the lovely company of Azita all made for a happy encounter. I was taken back, for a moment, to the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Only at Patrick’s Bakery and Café is the jewelry eatable.
John Michael Lerma is a local chef, author, and Food Network personality. His company Garden County Cooking offers cookbooks, cooking classes, consulting, private events, and culinary vacations to Italy and the Caribbean. Visit www.GardenCounty.info. Check out his “Word of Mouth” Blog under Extras at LavenderMagazine.com.
Patrick’s Bakery and Café
6010 Lyndale Ave. S.
2928 W. 66th St.
331 Broadway Ave. S.