12 Sweet Midwest Bakeries
Fargo, North Dakota: Nichole's Fine Pastry
Cake slices, tarts and pastries line up like edible works of art in the cases at Nichole's Fine Pastry. Chefs stroke gold-leaf accents onto chocolate-glazed miniature cakes layered with hazelnut crunch. Mango, raspberries and blood oranges top fruit tarts like flowers. Domed chocolate-mint cakes look like they're encased in green glass.
More than a dozen pastries are featured each day: an ever-evolving blend of layer cakes with chocolate-pistachio or strawberry mousse; lemon curd and chocolate-caramel-sea-salt tarts; and favorites such as twice-baked croissants layered with sweet almond cream.
A case of gelato and sorbets features flavors such as ginger, pistachio or white chocolate with a kick of lemon.
An expansion in 2010 added seating and allowed the shop to add to its lunch menu of soups, salads and sandwiches. Stop by on weekend nights for a glass of wine and, of course, a tempting dessert (nicholesfinepastry.com; 701/232-6430). - Lisa Meyers McClintick