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FEED ME! Persephone is perfection
JACKSON HOLE, WYO - I don’t speak French but I’m fairly certain “Croque Madame” means “the most kick-ass breakfast ever,” at least when it’s made by Persephone Bakery Boulangerie & Café ($8). Start with a thick slice of Persephone bread. Spread Mornay sauce (made from butter, flour, milk, and cheese) over that. Add a couple of slices of Berkshire ham, melt Gruyere over that and top it all with a fried egg, which, of course, is organic.
Enjoy it in the shade of the ginormous cottonwood trees at one of Persephone’s outdoor tables and tell me that life could get any better.
Persephone’s baked goods, including breads, cupcakes, tarts, cookies, and cakes – sold at Jackson Whole Grocer, Aspen Market, and the Farmers’ Market, among other places – have been close to my heart and taste buds since Le Cordon Bleu-trained Kevin Cohane and wife Ali opened the bakery in April 2011. When I heard the couple was opening its own storefront, I was ecstatic.
Disclosure: Ali is a friend. As her friend, I have long seen and admired her impeccable taste and design aesthetic. The café is her baby and I knew she would make it the chicest, coziest place to hang out in town. And she has.
I go to Persephone Café for the breakfasts (served 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily), simple lunches (10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.), baked goods, and Intelligentsia coffee. I’m still there an hour after I’ve finished my last bites and sips for the atmosphere, thanks to the free Wi-Fi.
I’ve worked my way through most of the menu of baked goods, hot breakfasts and lunches and have yet to find fault with the taste of anything.
The whole wheat morning glory muffin ($2.75) looks more like bird food than human food with an abundance of seeds sprinkled atop it. No bird has eaten this well, however. Crammed with everything from apricots to shredded coconut and flax seed, it’s moist, filling and all sorts of yummy. Often I’m guilty of just eating a muffin’s top, but I don’t leave a crumb of morning glory on my plate.
For lunch, the French lentil salad ($8) with roasted eggplant, cauliflower, lentils, chickpeas, hazelnuts, multigrain crouton, eggplant caponata, and a chive yogurt dressing is my current favorite. The turkey croque monsieur ($9) with pain au levain, roasted turkey breast, gruyere, Mornay sauce, summer chutney and field greens is a close second.
Despite the gluten-free fad raging elsewhere, Persephone doesn’t have many gluten-free options. Each time I’ve been there its only had a single option for those sensitive to wheat, but this option is the best gluten-free cookie I’ve ever had in my life. Chocolate with more chocolate, and it just happens to be gluten-free.
To go with all of its baked and cooked deliciousness, Persephone serves Intelligentsia Coffee, which I think is some of the best coffee in the country. Intelligentsia was founded in Chicago in 1995. The only other place in Wyoming I’m aware of that uses Intelligentsia beans is Lander’s Old Town Coffee.
However, at $5.69 a short double caramel almond milk latte is not awesome. I understand it is a fairly high maintenance coffee order, and that Persephone makes its caramel syrup (and all of its other flavor syrups) in-house, and that its baristas have been trained to pull shots with the perfect crema, but, unless it’s also got some EPO or something in there, I just can’t pay that much for a coffee drink. Lucky for me, the Intelligentsia-roasted/ Persephone-made simple double espresso ($2.50) also is delicious. It’s the only espresso in town I can drink without the addition of sugar and half-and-half.
Persephone Café is open 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday and on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The kitchen closes at 3 p.m. daily. Persephonebakery.com; 200-6078.