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Scenic Route Bakery offers the perfect last taste of summer |

Scenic Route Bakery offers the perfect last taste of summer

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Seasonal fruits and vegetables, freshly-baked breads and unexpected ingredients make the East Village bakery a can’t-miss destination.
Nicole Derong/The Register

You know those places you stroll by, occasionally drive past and even tell your friends about but somehow never manage to actually visit?

That was Scenic Route Bakery for me.

I’d heard all about their homemade bread and pastries and sandwiches perfect for a quick downtown lunch, but the East Village cafe always eluded me.

This week, however, I found myself in the neighborhood with a free afternoon, and Scenic Route’s sunny dining room beckoned.

The space is open and airy, with high ceilings and wall-to-wall windows allowing natural light to permeate ever corner. Kitschy décor — from antique dinnerware to full-size bicycles — adorns the space.

Scenic Route’s lunch menu is seasonal and small, but anything from boring. Cold sandwiches range from classics to entirely unique: the Nancy sandwich features seasoned sweet potatoes and a basil-cranberry spread on wheat bread. Hot sandwiches include the Hot Piglet, which includes ham, bacon and cheddar, and the Barbara, with Brie cheese, caramelized onions and sliced green apple.

I opted for the chicken salad sandwich, made with Fuji apples and grapes — fruit in chicken salad can be a divisive subject, but I’m a fan — and smothered in a creamy dressing complete with a fresh hit of dill.  Not only was this sandwich delicious, but it was huge. I finished only half with my lunch and saved the rest for dinner.

My dining partner chose the Upside Down, which stars roast beef and Swiss topped off with a scoop of homemade coleslaw on a wheat bun. The richness of the beef and cheese was offset by the tangy dressing and the crunch of the fresh red cabbage in the slaw, and the bun was plenty sturdy to hold up to its (deliciously) messy filling.

We split the Bluebird salad – fresh spinach topped with Gala apples, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts with tons of bleu cheese and a blueberry balsamic.

Other options include the kale salad, with sunflower seeds, garbanzo beans, roasted red peppers, goat cheese and topped with a red wine vinaigrette, and a spin on a Caesar salad with roasted cauliflower and whole wheat croutons.

Scenic Route also offers a daily soup — pumpkin chowder was featured the day we visited (which, as a lover of all things pumpkin, I would have ordered had it not been 85 degrees outside).

It’s impossible not to peek inside bakery case, which boasts everything from scones to muffins to sweet and savory croissants.  Do yourself a favor and don’t leave without grabbing something for later – the pastries pair perfectly with coffee for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Speaking of coffee, it’s one of the things Scenic Route does best, with espresso drinks, pour-over brews and specialty drinks available. I ordered a Honeybee, made with honey and cinnamon swirled into steamed milk and espresso and topped with a decorative foam flourish.

There’s plenty of tea, too: Adventurous choices include the Tumeric Ginger Chai latte and Tangerine White Iced Tea, with traditional varieties of both hot and iced tea available, as well.

For someone who is 100% not ready for it to be winter yet, Scenic Route offers the perfect pop of seasonal freshness for all of us hanging onto those last bits of summer.  By utilizing crisp fruits and vegetables, pairing them with freshly-baked breads and topping them off with sometimes-unexpected ingredients, Scenic Route is a can’t-miss East Village breakfast and lunch destination.

If you go…

Scenic Route Bakery

Where: 350 East Locust Street, Suite 104, Des Moines

When: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday

 

 

Category: Dinnerware  Tags: ,  Comments off
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