There’s a sign on the wall at Bun Appetit that reads “Butter makes it better.” Owner and chef Adisara Khan’s baked creations show that the sign is certainly true.
Fargo’s newest snack spot and pastry shop has only been open for two days, but the steady stream of customers popping in and out of the tiny storefront on downtown Fargo’s NP Avenue is already making an impression.
Since most people take their orders to go, grabbing coffee and a pastry for breakfast or a snack for work, the little shop is never crowded for long. Which is good, since there are only two little tables with two chairs each.
If you need more room to spread out, grab a seat at Drunken Noodle next door. Adisara’s father-in-law Dave Scheer co-owns the restaurant (along with Wasabi, in back) with his son-in-law, Keng Dechawuth, and customers and employees greet each other and move back and forth between the restaurants.
The shop has a casual, friendly feeling, with kids running under foot and lots of “oohing” and “ahhing” over the goodies in the glass case.
“The only bad thing about working here is you want to eat everything,” laughs Mindy Nordquist as she stocks the case with savory snacks like curry stuffed buns and hot dogs (Mindy’s partial to the pork buns herself) and delicate desserts.
Adisara (Adi for short) has been baking her whole life. She formalized her training with baking classes in Thailand and now that her two kids are older, she’s taken her friends’ advice and is serving up her creations — light little Asian-influenced snacks and treats — to a grateful public.
Since my little one was busy charming Adi and Mindy instead of eating his lunch, I did what everybody else did and took lunch for Derrick and I to go.
When I got home, everything smelled yeasty and delicious and it took some serious willpower to actually take these photos.
The pork bun was light and a little sweet, with just enough filling to make it satisfying. I also tried the curry bun, which was delicious and hearty with lots of curry flavor without being at all spicy.
Everything — including the hot dog — was wrapped in a light, slightly sweet dough that fills you up without making you feel stuffed. But don’t think for a second that I didn’t want to try dessert.
My first instinct was to reach for this amazing-looking cream cone. This is one of the sugariest items on the menu and a good choice for someone who needs their morning donut to feel whole.
Yet the dough itself wasn’t sweet at all — it just tasted like the regular bun dough — and the frosting was rich and buttery without being overly sweet.
In fact, I think this is the only time in my life that I’ve actually tasted the butter in buttercream frosting. It was sweet and rich and yet somehow quite light, completely devoid of the gritty sugar rush that usually hijacks buttercream frosting.
The coconut bun that Adi recommended was a revelation. I ate it as a snack this afternoon and after the first bite, I jumped up to brew some fresh coffee so I could enjoy it properly.
The coconut bun takes everything wonderful about a coconut macaroon and a croissant and swirls it together with sweet, finely grated coconut. The result is a few transcendent bites of buttery goodness that were gone all too soon.
The coconut bun made my greatest hits list, for sure. Adi also makes a Portuguese-influeced egg tart that I’m dying to try as well. If you want to enjoy it hot (as she recommends) pop it in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes and enjoy.
But what am I saying? She’ll tell you that herself when you stop in.
623 NP Avenue North
Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Bus: Routes 13, 13U, 14, 15 and 18
Alicia Underlee Nelson is the creator of prairiestylefile.com, a website that showcases the arts, culture, shopping, events and fashion of the upper Midwest. She covers North Dakota news for Thomson Reuters and Fargo-Moorhead arts and entertainment for examiner.com. Alicia has profiled local people, places and fashion in numerous regional magazines and newspapers including Area Woman, The Good Life and High Plains Reader and writes monthly features for 10thousandcouples.com.