What do Sunday mornings mean to you? I know for Kate (love ya) they mean hitting up the best farmers’ markets around town. And sadly lately for me they mean hitting up the closest donut shop – shout out to Glam Dolls. Well this past Sunday I knew I would end up grabbing a donut and coffee because it just goes so well with brisk Fall mornings. While Glam Dolls is easily walk-able and has some undeniable great donuts (looking at you Pin Up Girl), I was itching to get out and try someplace new. That someplace was a Minneapolis Instagram favorite. I’d seen so many posts of people at Mojo Monkey donuts but the trek over to St. Paul seemed impossible most days. This Sunday however I made that 9 mile drive over and I was pleasantly surprised. You have to look closely because the store front is tiny and with no real signage I must admit I blew right by it the first time. But nestled in an old, brick storefront on 7th street hides a quaint little donut heaven. I walked in and was a bit surprised to be the only patron in there. Two ladies were behind the incredibly small counter and at first I was shocked by the seemingly limited selection. The 3 foot case however boasted flavors like crème brule, caramel oreo and pb & j.Hiding to the right of the counter were racks upon racks of more donuts ready for back up when the case inevitably sold out. I opted for a cinnamon sugar (was feeling pretty classic that day) and it was incredible. The light and fluffy dough with the dusting of cinnamon sugar was the perfect version of this old favorite. Paired with a $1 coffee, couldn’t go wrong. I would say that donut was the best part of this jaunt but really it was the little older man that came in for his usual and the lady behind the counter handing him 2 donuts and a coffee and saying “love you Dad” as he went about his way. Mojo Monkey Donuts definitely lived up to the hype I had put on it. One word describes it for me: charming.
4 out of 5
East Lake Street – Minneapolis, MN
If there is one thing that we can admit to being completely basic about, it’s brunch. Since summer weekends in Minneapolis book up fast, we decided to implement early morning Friday breakfast dates so we could hit some of the more popular places in town and avoid the weekend warrior waits. Hi-Lo Diner opened up a few months back and we were psyched to go. Kate had already been there and was eager to get back and try another of their super unique offerings. With rave review after rave review, I was excited to try this new hotspot out. See our personal reviews & total rank below.
Always trying to find an impressive new place I had taken my brother here in June when he was visiting and fell in love with the menu option tagged the “hi-top”: a donut topped with lobster, avocado, and a chipotle aioli. Sadly this was no longer available on the menu this time, so I opted for my go to Mexican breakfast: huevos rancheros. I’ve come to find since moving to Minneapolis that well prepared chorizo can be hard to find up north and Hi-Lo’s version was no exception. The large, overcooked pieces weren’t satisfying, yet the seasoned sour cream with a sunny-side up egg saved the dish. While this trip wasn’t as successful as my first venture to the diner, I was impressed enough the first time to keep this on my rotation. I’ll definitely be coming back for the coffee and donuts!
I think that this was the classic case of too much build up. The reviews around Hi-Lo made this place seem like a breakfast foodie’s heaven and I was excited to try some of their unique takes on traditional breakfast dishes. I loved the vibe the minute I walked in. The old Air Stream and vintage aesthetic definitely made me think this place would move to the top of my Minnie breakfast joint list. Unfortunately that excitement took a nose dive when I saw the menu. I didn’t feel like there were unique options for those of us that are not huge meat eaters. I ended up a bit lost on what to order and landed on a traditional breakfast sandwich. My biggest disappointment was that the biscuit the sandwich came on was so huge and overwhelming there was basically no other flavor. Even doused in Cholula I wasn’t impressed with the flavors and ended up taking about ¾ of it home and never finishing it. Hi-Lo didn’t live up to the hype for me but I’d give it another shot if there was no wait.
3 out of 5