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This Nordic Pastry Is the Breakfast Food You Didn’t Know You Needed

Rice, pastry, egg, and butter, remixed.


When chef Nichole Accettola moved to San Francisco after having spent 15 years cooking in Copenhagen, it wasn’t Noma, or any of the other pillars of high-end New Nordic cuisine, that she missed the most. Instead she found herself craving the casual cafés that are ubiquitous in Copenhagen—the kind of place that serves mix-and-match brunch boards and the open-face sandwich known as the smorrebrod.

So earlier this summer, Accettola took matters into her own hands and opened one: Kantine, a Nordic café that’s introducing San Franciscans to a whole new vocabulary of breakfast and lunch fare: smorrebrod piled high with tiny pink shrimp, Swedish cinnamon knots, and the dense, nutty rye bread that has become Accettola’s calling card.

Perhaps most striking of all is the Karelian patty ($4.50), a frilly-edged Finnish pastry that takes familiar breakfast ingredients—rice, pastry, egg, and butter—and remixes them in such a way that they’re all but unrecognizable. Essentially, it’s savory rice pudding inside a rye-based pastry shell. But the best part is the accompanying Finnish egg butter: chopped-up hard-boiled eggs mashed into soft butter. Smeared on top of the pastry, it’s such a gloriously rich and creamy condiment that you may have to stop yourself from shoveling it into your mouth by the spoonful. 1906 Market St. (near Laguna St.), 415-735-7123


Originally published in the August issue of San Francisco 

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