I’d heard good things about Specialty’s months ago, but until the downtown location opened, I hadn’t had a chance to sample their cookies. Overall, the shop does several things right (including having iPod ordering stations, free (validated) parking, wi-fi, and plenty of seating) but their Monday-Friday hours mean only workday cookie cravings can be satisfied. Luckily, the downtown location is just far enough from work to count as going for a walk, and there are plenty of tempting sweets on the menu (in addition to the standard lunch fare like soups, sandwiches, and salads).
After spending the morning shopping and stuffing myself with salt and pepper chicken wings from Golden Chopsticks, I faced a tough decision: soft serve or bubble tea. After debating the merits of both, it was this review of Tapicoa Express that won me over. Taking Jenn’s suggestion, I went straight for the mango snow bubble, while my faithful companion got a strawberry mango yogurt frost.
Here’s what I love about living in a new city: you get to experience places for the first time as an adult, which always makes me feel like a kid. Had I grown up in Escondido, making a trip to Peterson’s Donuts would have been a frequent occurrence. I would have started young, with a few donut holes after whatever swim practice, and graduated to sneaking home donuts in my backpack after school. But, since I grew up thousands of miles from Peterson’s, I got to experience my very first glazed (and cake) donuts as a full-grown adult. Let me just say, the glee that came from selecting my donut victims (and the resulting sugar high) was no less intense than it would have been multiple decades ago.
Even though I’ve been living in San Diego for over a year, there are still some sweets on my best hits list that I’m looking for. Two such items are my favorite Chinese bakery treats: coconut mochi and coconut buns. In my former home, I was lucky enough to live a short streetcar ride from a bustling Chinatown, with multiple bakeries, offering these items for as little as 3 for $1. I get misty-eyed just thinking about walking out the door with a paper bag stuffed with chewy, buttery, coconutty goodness and have been searching for the SoCal equivalent. So far, the closest contender is Jasmine Express in Kearny Mesa, which I stumbled upon completely by accident.
When choosing a restaurant for a special occasion, it should come as no surprise that I look at the dessert menu first, which is the main reason I chose BO-beau to celebrate my 1-year wedding anniversary with my husband. The dessert that sold me on the restaurant was the chocolate souffle ($8) — something I’ve never actually ordered at a restaurant before. It also didn’t hurt that there were plenty of tasty entrees to choose from, including duck confit fettuccini, bowls of mussels, and a French bistro classic — steak frites.
When I looked at the menu for Searsucker, a multiple award-winning restaurant in the Gaslamp, I did what I always do: started with the desserts. One item, called the “sucker bar” immediately caught my eye. Though the name may conjure up some sort of tart citrus bar, the item in question is best described as a homemade Twix bar — one of my favorite chocolate bars.
It’s a good thing Oasis Ice Cream Parlor has a private seating area outside, because had I eaten my ice cream in front of anyone other than my husband, I would have seriously embarrassed myself. It’s really best that there were no witnesses to my toe-tapping happy dance and repeated exclamations (probably with my mouth full) that the ice cream was “So, so good.”
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.