I am not a huge fan of sweets but I can be swayed by a good-quality, freshly baked cinnamon roll or tart most of the time! I don’t waste my time with pre-made sweets or generic cookies because they’re usually disappointing. But when I heard about a new bakery that opened in the Monroe neighborhood I got excited. Then, when I heard it focused on pies I got a little less excited because pies are not my favorite. I found Humble. Sweet and savory pies on Facebook and started watching their daily specials (which changes regularly and they also don’t offer a permanent menu – I like that!). They offer five or six different baked goods in their case a day along with something savory like quiche or savory pies. Their creative offerings (hand pies, homemade pop tarts, etc.) is what finally clinched my decision to go.
I went with a friend who lives in the neighborhood before the holidays. It is just off Regent Street east of West High School on Allen Street. I’m giving specifics on its location because it is very easy to drive or walk past! The inside is very small – it consists of a counter, a bakery case and two small bistro tables. It looks like they may have picnic tables outside in the summer but they were covered with snow when we went. The bakery case had a couple different options the day we went but both of us had heard about the homemade pop tarts and opted for the chocolatey one. The crust was amazingly flakey and buttery, the filing was thick and fudgey, and the pistachios on top added a great crunch and flavor contrast. I loved my half and probably could have eaten a whole one by myself!
We also decided to split a pice of quiche, which was a good decision because the piece we got was huge. I don’t 100 percent remember what flavor we got but I think it had ham, cheese and potatoes in it. I’m usually not a quiche person because I find the crust cumbersome and unnecessary, but this quiche shined BECAUSE of its crust. The fluffy and flavorful egg filling was elevated by the buttery and perfectly moist crust.
FOOD NOTES: If you don’t live in the area, it is a little difficult to find parking to get to Humble but once you do find parking, it will definitely be worth it. I’m almost glad I don’t live closer because it would be bad for my diet if I had access to their daily items so often. The homemade pop tart we got was amazing, and the quiche was one of the best ones I’ve ever had. Humble also has their own blend of coffee made by Just Coffee that was very rich and flavorful. It wasn’t flavored or too bold, which pairs very well with the sweets. Don’t count on getting a seat in their tiny, two-table shop, so be prepared to take your treats to go. Initially I thought the prices were a tad high, but I can honestly say they are worth it – the ingredients and quality warrant the prices. I will definitely be back because their Facebook posts keep tempting me with extremely unique and decadent daily specials.
I found this little gem last summer at a volunteer event for work and have wanted to try their breakfast ever since. Paoli (there’s some dissent among friends and co-workers on whether it is pronounced Paol-e or Paol-i) is a very small unincorporated chunk of buildings 10 minutes south of Fitchburg. It is on the way to Belleville, Albany, New Glaurus, and other small tourist towns in southern Wisconsin but definitely warrants a stop on its own. There are about a dozen little shops along less than a mile stretch of county highway and even less options to eat. All of this centers around a bike trail and scenery along the Sugar River. There are art galleries that have cafes, a cheese shop (which is extremely over priced and not true to Wisconsin cheese makers), a fancier restaurant in the old school house, and the Paoli Pub. I’ve hear good things about all of these options the best place to eat in Paoli is the least talked about, Paoli Local Foods. Paoli Local Foods started out as a Locavore grocery store where the owners sold their organic produce, canned goods, dairy, and meat. The grocery store and cafe focuses on organic and local ingredients with a majority of the produce and meat coming from their farm. I’m not sure when the owners decided to include a small cafe in the back but it was a smart decision.
The building is very deceiving and could pass as a storage shed but when you walk in you are greeted by the smell of coffee, smoked meats, and fresh baked pies. The dining room, with it’s miss-matched tables and chairs, is very small and simple. We were seated and served by the owner who was very nice and was clearly excited about his cafe! He boasted about his amazing Roesti potatoes that are a Swedish side dish and they were amazing. First off, the coffee was amazing. I’m a typical coffee junkie and can drink anything as long as it’s dark and hot but his coffee had a very smooth and unique flavor. I could drink that coffee every day. The breakfast menu looked the most promising with a traditional salad and sandwich lunch menu, and an interesting array of options for dinner. Off the breakfast menu I got the traditional Eggs Benedict with the Roesti potatoes and my mom got the Bacon Cheddar Quiche.
Mom loved the Bacon Cheddar Quiche but my Eggs Benedict with Roesti potatoes was amazing. I’m pretty sure the english muffin was homemade and the hollandaise sauce was somehow extremely light and flavorful at the same time. The Roesti potatoes were hashbrowns mixed with swiss cheese and onions and served extremely crispy. I was expected the potatoes to be greasy but they were the perfect compliment to the light hollandaise sauce on my plate!
In addition to our amazing breakfast my mom decided it was necessary to buy an entire pie. The apple pie sitting in the case when we walked in looked like a small masterpiece with crust decorations and a sprinkling of sugar. I’m not the biggest fan of fruit pies but a good apple pie can definitely change my mind. I generally don’t like apple pies because the apples are mushy and taste like cinnamon and sugar goo. This apple pie’s crust was extremely flaky and buttery but the filing was my favorite. The apples were perfectly cooked because they still had a little crunch. The filling was the perfect balance of sweetness and there wasn’t too much of the goo, which tasted exactly like homemade applesauce. I loved this apple pie and would recommend buying an entire pie because one piece wouldn’t be enough.
FOODNOTES: you have to make the short trek from Madison to Paoli to try their food, I would suggest this place for any of the breakfast options especially the coffee, they take credit but prefer cash, if there’s a pie you’re interested in buy the whole thing and not just one piece.