Ask me to name my favorite bakery in San Diego and not only will I immediately say “Azucar“, once I start thinking about the Cuban-style patisserie in Ocean Beach, you’ll probably have to shake me by my shoulders to stop the visions of sugary treats dancing through my head. Vivian Hernandez-Jackson’s take on tiramisu was one of my first SD Sugar reviews, and I’ve also featured the bakery’s triple chocolate espresso cookie in a spread in San Diego Magazine. So, when Vivian invited me back to try some of the bakery’s newest creations, I jumped at the chance, and tried three items: doughnut muffins, the “It’s Your Birthday” cake, and the Turron de Havana.
Ingredients Archives: Cream Cheese
Green beer, the “traditional” beverage of St. Patrick’s Day has never been too appealing, but Sprinkles has a few new cupcakes I’d happily devour instead: Irish Chocolate and Green Velvet. The Irish Chocolate flavor, a Belgian dark chocolate cupcake topped with Bailey’s Irish Cream cheese frosting, is in stores until March 18. The other new addition, Green Velvet, is just for St. Patty’s Day (March 17). The chocolate cupcake batter is infused with green dye instead of the traditional red, coloring the cake with a shade of green somewhere between “forest” and “Oscar the Grouch”.
I feel bad for anyone whose dietary restrictions limits their intake of baked goods and other sweets. Vegans and those with gluten intolerance have it the hardest, but Sprinkles has created three variations on a classic cupcake flavor that lets more people experience the pure joy of partaking in a frosting-covered single-serving cake. This morning, I taste tested all three versions of their red velvet cupcakes to see how they are different and which one’s the best.
In my area of San Diego, chain coffee shops outnumber independent cafes, but one advantage that the Village at 631 has over the competition is a kick-ass pastry chef. The baked goods in the display case are so vastly superior to the mass-produced items at Starbucks that making the comparison between the two almost feels mean.
Committing to an entire cheesecake is tough. If you’re not buying it for a party, you’re faced with the knowledge that, whether it’s over a few days or a few weeks, you will consume the entire thing. That mix of shame and guilt has kept me from buying whole cheesecakes (or making them at home) for years. Still, a life without cheesecake is too sad to contemplate, and that’s where mini-sized cheesecakes like “Neenies” from Neen’s Cheesecakes come in.
Admittedly, most of my trips to Pacific Beach are centered around frozen yogurt, but I’m glad I stumbled upon Sugar and Scribe, a relatively new Irish bakery on Garnet Street. The cozy shop features a variety of baked goods, including scones, breads, coffee cakes, and pies, but once I locked in on the carrot cake ($5), I couldn’t budge. The single-serving sized cake was slightly cupcake-like in appearance, with a dollop of cream cheese frosting dusted with cinnamon on top.
I was curious what made an Irish carrot cake different than a regular carrot cake, and luckily, Owner Maeve Rochford-Shulz was able to fill me in.
Just about every neighborhood in San Diego hosts a “Taste Of…” festival each year, and Taste of Adams Ave might be my favorite. After attending the Gaslamp and Downtown events, I finally learned how to do these events right: be picky, share samples, and know when to quit. This time around, I focused most of my efforts on trying mostly sweets, a relatively easy feat since only a handful of places were handing out desserts.
As evidenced by my pizza coverage on Slice, I spend a good amount of time hunting down San Diego’s best pizza across all genres, including stuffed, coal-fired, and traditional NYC-style. But my love of pizza doesn’t end with savory options, I also love dessert pizza. My experiences trying to locate a good sweet slice have been mixed. The Merk does a decent dessert pie, but it’s really more like a baked crepe than a variant of pizza.
A much better option is Zia Gourmet Pizza, a Normal Heights pizzeria that pushes the boundaries of what pizza can (and should) be, by topping them with everything from baked eggplant to dried cranberries. When it comes to dessert pizzas, there are three different dessert options: Cinnamon Pear, Tropical Splash, and Banana Split. All three sounded tasty, but since there was a Banana Split pie hot and fresh from the oven, that’s what I chose.
Cheesecake is the ultimate “save it for a special occasion” dessert. It’s often too heavy, making it land like an anvil in my stomach. Knowing the caloric content of one tiny slice makes it easy to pass on this most-delicious dessert, and relegate it to a once in awhile indulgence. Except when it comes to Vonda Lee’s California Cheesecake — the treat with all the goodness of a 5-inch tall slice of NYC-style slice in a downright dainty single-serving cup.
Vonda’s uncooked cheesecakes are made without eggs and are much lighter than traditional cheesecakes, but just as satisfying. At the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market, several flavors were available, including Chocolate Fudge, Caramel, English Toffee, Cookies and Cream, plus fruit flavors like Strawberry, Blueberry, and Key Lime. After sampling the Chocolate Fudge and the Cookies and Cream (both excellent!), I settled on the most refreshing flavor of all: Key Lime.