If you live in Minnesota, you know that the end of this week has perfectly showcased the drastic, unpredictable weather that is notorious for our state. After a couple of balmy 40-degree days in which snow melted, birds sang, and grass nearly made an appearance, the very next day brought wind, cold, and almost a foot of wet, heavy snow. Lovely. This morning, only a day after the ending of the snow day-inducing weather, the Twin Cities was still recovering. I just didn’t realize how much that recovery would affect me.
After a long sleep and a heart-pumping work out, I was so ready for breakfast. I had been looking forward to breakfast at Tilia all week and when I hopped in my car, I thought only 20 minutes stood between me and my hand holding a coffee cup. Man, was I in for a treat. The drive started out rocky and slow, but we were moving. But as we continued further down 35W and into Minneapolis, the moving stopped. We literally sat in park for 10 minute spurts multiple times, gazing out at the same depressing scene of unmoving cars. Then we’d move a couple of inches. And then stop. And then move another inch. And then stop. And then not move.
As our drive from hell continued, some light was slowly shed on the situation as we encountered a broken down semi in the middle of the freeway, blocking multiple lanes and forcing a family of semis (6 trucks to be exact) to simply stop on the freeway because they couldn’t squeeze past the broken down semi. To wrap up this story, I’ll tell you that, all in all, we traveled 17 miles and were in the car for two hours. What’s that? Impossible, you say? No, peeps. It’s real life.
But then, something amazing happened: we arrived at Tilia. (Now, guys, I know that was a long, painful traffic anecdote, but I needed you to feel just a snapshot of the hurt that I felt this morning so that when you read about the incredible breakfast I had at the beloved Tilia, you appreciate it almost as much as I did.) We burst through the lil red door, plowed through the gust-protecting curtain, and entered a place of beauty. Small and trendy, yet quaint at the same time, the venue was nowhere near full and we were quickly escorted (by a naturally beautiful hostess wearing a floral crop top in the middle of winter) to a half booth/half chair window table.
We sat down, thankful to plop our butts onto seats that weren’t inside of a car, and took a few deep, pure happiness breaths. The sun was beating down on our table through the window, I had just ordered a cup of coffee, and I was getting ready to put food into my body. All was right with the world. After receiving my fantastic coffee, which came with a stark white, precious little milk bottle and a matching jar of sugar cubes, I surveyed the room, which was full of people who were way cooler than I am. The dining area was in one big room, complete with a trendy bar in one corner and a second bar area which opened into the fully exposed kitchen. The waitresses, all wearing effortless outfits straight from my Pinterest dream closet board, weaved seamlessly between tables, refilling coffees and laughing movie star laughs. I wasn’t even eating yet and I loved being there.
Their weekend brunch menu is just one, single-side page, but there is a fantastic variety of items (note that their current menu isn’t identical to the one available online). There is an option for everyone, and your choices are deliciously unique. I selected the steel cut oats ($7.00), which seem like a traditional choice for me, but at Tilia, they’re served and prepared in a one-of-a-kind way that will blow your mind. More on that later. My breakfast companion chose the smoked soft-boiled eggs ($11.00).
After ordering, we soaked up a few more rays and simply enjoyed being seated in something that wasn’t moving. Literally minutes later, our food arrived (because of the small size of this venue, though you sometimes may have to wait for a table, you’ll never have to wait long for your food because even a full house wouldn’t slow down the kitchen). We looked at our plates and just knew it was going to be fantastic.
One bite of my oatmeal and I almost died. I looked down at my bowl and thought, Is this real? Did someone really make this and give it to me? That person must have been Jesus because this tastes heavenly. The oats were perfectly creamy, topped with coffee cream, cinnamon, and three toasted marshmallow squares and accompanied by a single piece of almond biscotti. I wanted to stuff it all in my mouth so that I could have it in my mouth, but at the same time I wanted to stop eating so that it would never be gone. I think I can honestly say that, not only is this so far the best breakfast I’ve eaten on the tour, it very well may be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life. This was more than a bowl of oatmeal, it was what dreams are made of.
My breakfast partner’s food was just as fantastically, wonderfully, mouth-wateringly divine. Her smoked soft-boiled eggs came with buttermilk biscuits, bathed in sausage and sawmill gravy. Coming in a surprisingly hefty portion, the chunky gravy was full of ground sausage and flavorful chives. The eggs were full, unbroken eggs whose magazine-picture beauty made you hesitant to eat them, but their taste was too fantastic not to. The soft biscuits were full of buttermilk, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness but weren’t flaky or mushy. The dish was perfectly savory. It was perfectly hearty. It was, well, perfect.
The two hour drive. The multiple block outdoor walk. The technically brunch breakfast. The pain. The heartache. The frustration. It was worth it. It was all worth it. Tilia, expect me back tomorrow. And I’ll be bringing all my friends. And everyone that I know.
This morning, I thought I had been doing a pretty good job of living my life. But clearly I didn’t know what I was missing. You truly haven’t lived until you’ve eaten breakfast at Tilia.
Coffee Quality: 10
Food Quality: 10
Quality of Service: 10
Menu Variety: 10
Overall Satisfaction: 10
Parking: small lot available, street parking
Average Score: 9.5
Have you been to Tilia? Share your experience with me below!
OR…want to experience Tilia for yourself?
Check out their website or pop their address into your smartphone:
2726 West 43rd Street
Minneapolis, MN 55410