Author Archives: Jeff

Tobies (Hinkley, MN)

Quick take

Not sure what all of the fuss is about

Review

It’s not uncommon for truck stop restaurants to claim to have amazing or “famous” cinnamon rolls. Sometimes those claims are merited, such as the incredible rolls at Tetsa River Services in British Columbia. Most of the time, though, the rolls fall far short of perfection. The product at Tobies is in that latter category.

Cinnamon roll from Tobies in Hinkley, MN

Cinnamon roll from Tobies in Hinkley, MN

Around the Twin Cities, Tobies (no apostrophe) has a reputation based on their cinnamon rolls. On many occasions I’ve had my Minnesota friends ask if I had stopped at Tobies yet. Indeed, as I sat in the restaurant, I watched group after group come up to the counter and order one or more cinnamon rolls to go. I saw it, but having now eaten one of their rolls, I don’t understand it.

The frosting was an unnatural white with little in the way of flavor beyond being sweet. The swirls were short on cinnamon.┬áThe bread was dry. I wasn’t sure why they served the roll with butter on the side — something I’d never previously seen done with a cinnamon roll — but after experiencing the dry bread, I kind of understand the rationale.

The whole thing was a disappointment. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good, and it certainly wasn’t worth pulling off of the freeway. 5/10

Where to get it

Tobies Restaurant and Bakery

404 Fire Monument Rd

Hinkley, MN

King Soopers (Greenwood Village, CO)

Quick take

Amazing value for money.

Review

I know what you’re thinking: grocery store cinnamon rolls? How could those possibly be any good? Well, stop looking down your nose and open your mouth for a bite, because these are actually pretty decent. When you factor in their sub-$1 price, they turn out to represent a value that’s difficult to beat.

Cinnamon roll from King Soopers in Denver, CO

Cinnamon roll from King Soopers in Greenwood Village, CO

Bread is properly baked. Not dry, and not doughy. Tender.

Swirls are nicely balanced with the rest of the roll.

Frosting is a proper cream-cheese buttercream. Nice flavor. No weird aftertastes.

A short review for a strong effort. No idea how consistent these rolls are from location to location (King Soopers is a chain), but if you’re near the Greenwood Village location south of Denver, it’s worth giving one a try. 8/10

Where to get it

King Soopers

4910 S Yosemite St

Greenwood Village, CO

Inxpot Coffee (Keystone, CO)

Quick take

Pretty good!

Review

While walking back to my car after a fun morning of skiing at Keystone, I decided I needed a coffee. Starbucks was an option, but across the way was something different: Inxpot Coffeehouse. Turns out they sell more than just coffee: they sell cinnamon rolls.

I had to indulge.

Cinnamon roll at inxpot coffeehouse in Keystone, CO

Cinnamon roll at inxpot coffeehouse in Keystone, CO, minus a few bites, and after being warmed up enough to melt the frosting

Did I want the roll warmed, the barista inquired? Of course I did! Pretty much every cinnamon roll is better when enjoyed significantly above room temperature. I’m not sure what this one would have tasted like when cold, but when warm it was really good.

The bread was fully baked (as opposed to overly doughy or underdone), with a tight crumb and a delightful level of moisture. When pulled, it stretched a bit before eventually giving way. In the mouth, it melted.

The inter-swirl cinnamon layers were nicely balanced between sugar and cinnamon, and the texture was smooth, not grainy.

The frosting had a cream cheese base. There was a nice buttery accent and perhaps a hint of vanilla without overpowering the other ingredients. No weird off-tastes or aftertastes were present. I’m not sure about the frosting’s texture, since it was all melted by the time it got to me, but it looked nice in the display case.

So what was holding this roll back? Not much. It was tasty, and I’ll probably get another one someday. However — and I realize this is going to sound ridiculous — I felt like the roll was lacking the verve of the very best rolls. Maybe it was the relative indifference of the barista to my choice of the roll versus the other pastries (which also looked great). Maybe the problem was actually me: I had just been skiing, so I was hungry, and everything tastes better when you’re hungry. Not sure.

Overall, it was everything a cinnamon roll should be and would be worth trying if you’re nearby for some skiing. 9/10

Where to get it

Inxpot Coffeehouse

The walkway between the free parking lot and the gondola

River Run base area

Keystone Resort

Keystone, CO