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Hazelnut Cafe

Hazelnut CafeUpdate 12/9/2014: There was a fire at Hazelnut.
In a word: Go nuts!

The specs: #00903   
10985 Division St., Blue Mounds, 53517
Details at Yelp, Hazelnut Cafe on Urbanspoon
Official web site, Facebook

Latest Hazelnut Cafe news and reviews at del.icio.us

JM ate the French toast with a ginger ale and a chocolate chip cookie.
Keith ate the Grand Hazelnut breakfast (eggs, bacon, potatoes) with a latte and an almond croissant.
Leslie ate the pulled pork sandwich with a latte and an orange-and-clove morning bun.
Nichole ate the breakfast sandwich with a coffee and a cinnamon twist.
We also bought some granola and a coconut sweet to go.
The bill was $12ish/person, plus tip.
Nichole gave Hazelnut Cafe an A; Keith and JM gave Hazelnut Cafe an A-; Leslie gave Hazelnut Cafe a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Hazelnut Cafe is a real gem in Blue Mounds.  Soon every little town on the outskirts will have a gem like this, but Hazelnut with its Driftless orientation seems like worlds away from its ilk in the city nearby.

Keith and Leslie had sampled Hazelnut's bakery at the Mineral Point farmers market and could vouch for its quality and ability to travel.  Furthermore, the bakery is very consistent from market to bakery. Nichole and JM had taken in some pizza on a prior camping excursion and we all wanted to meet up here again.

French toastBreakfast sandwich
Pulled pork, bacon, eggsBreakfast potatoes

Leslie's pulled pork was a tad too vinegary and healthful-tasting (i.e., not fatty enough). The bun was ample if even a little too big, and the whole sandwich was little bit of a letdown given how good everything else tends to be.

Keith's "Grand Hazelnut" breakfast was well prepared just the way he liked it.  The potatoes were especially noteworthy given that they were a cross between regular hash browns and shoestring potatoes.  The bacon was thick and tasty, though it was over cooked for JM's preference (we know that is in the eye of the beholder).

Nichole's homemade English muffin sandwich was really the star of the meal.  It came with a side of bitter greens coated in a thin patina of vinegar and oil dressing. On the sandwich, the egg supported a delicious slice of melty white cheddar cheese from Farmer John. It really achieved sandwich fusion for a better-than-the-sum-of-its-parts whole.

JM's french toast, though a little light for $9, was four pieces of nicely eggy bread that sopped up all the syrup. The butter was uncommonly good.  Of course, that left room for dessert which we all sampled.

Leslie gets an almond croissant whenever possible, and while this time it was slightly below average, the average is above excellent. It really is a thing of beauty: more raised than flaky, and loaded with almonds. JM got a cookie that was good enough for him, which is to say, really good.  The morning bun was an orange and clove affair that walked the line nicely between novelty and tradition. The cinnamon twist was a nice baseline and great use of some extra croissant dough.

Cinnamon twist

The service can be wildly inconsistent and the space is weirdly shaped for 'serious' eats.  But the Kickapoo coffee has pretty good flavor (even if the milk didn't foam up quite enough), and we've never had a bad item from the place.  Plus, it is about a half mile off the Military Ridge bike path, which makes it an ideal destination for brunch for bikers looking to refuel at the mid point before turning home.

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Finally got out to Hazelnut this morning. We were greeted warmly but then left confused as we were told to help ourselves to coffee but then given mugs. My Love proclaimed the coffee "better than some, not great." My Assam Gold tea was as expected. The two gentlemen working there (I presume one was the owner) were very friendly. I had one of the eggs(scrambled and cooked perfectly, as if they'd asked how I like them, but no one had)/bacon(overcooked for my personal taste, but delicious underneath it all)/side (croissant to rival those I've had in France) breakfasts. The eggs were steaming hot, which is a huge plus in my book. He Himself had the cranberry something French toast, which was terrific but overpriced as it came with . . . nothing. I know it doesn't sound like it, really, but we liked the place and will go back. BUT! They need to give the entire place a serious scrubbing; we had to clean the table we wanted to sit at and then, during the hour+ we were there, no one did a lick of cleaning until a lady came in with a delivery of fresh basil and proceeded to clean all the tables before she sat down at one. There were numerous rags visible on the floor in the kitchen, there was junk everywhere in the cute outdoor seating area (which prevented us from even attempting to enjoy it on a glorious morning, which was a shame), and the "back bar" in the dining area was a jumbled, confusing mess of bakery items, beverage accoutrement, and check-out space. My husband said that it was a good thing I didn't use the ladies' room if it was a dirty as the men's, which was dirtier than the whole place. He got that right.

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