Category Archives: Dessert

San Francisco – Day 2

Rain again…boo hoo…but alas, we didn’t let it ruin the day.

First Stop:

Squat and Gobble Cafe

2263 Chestnut
@ Scott & Pierce
415-441-2200

We woke up early to make our way to Squat and Gobble.   Again, this is one of these SF chains that I used to frequent in my old neighborhood (Lower Haight).  This location is a more civilized version of the one on Fillmore (which is probably the more fun of the two).  Known for it’s crepes, it’s a good stop for a quick breakfast bite.  Word of warning,  don’t drink the coffee if you aren’t used to a West Coast brew…I jittered my way around the city for hours afterward.  I had a crepe with chedder, mushrooms, onions and spinach served with crispy rosemary garlic homefries and James ate the Triple Gobble which is 2 eggs any style, two buttermilk pancakes and bacon.

Second Stop:

The Ferry Building

One Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111
(415) 983-8000

Dear New York,

I wish you had a Ferry Building.  I also wish you grew things The Ferry Building sells daily (see this map…click on California, then click on New York).

Love, Jess and James

This place is so wonderful and it is littered with little stalls full of great pastry, wine and mushrooms.  Yes, mushrooms.  Also, we went back in time to take the above picture. If you ever come to SF I implore you to make an afternoon of it and stop here.  The views of the bay and Bay Bridge are unparalleled and, even on a foggy day, are still pretty incredible.  We basically ate our way through the building, picking up goodies for our Napa picnic,  until we stopped at Hog Island Oyster CO. for a seafood lunch.

Cowgirl Creamery's Artisan Cheese Shop

Boccalone Salumeria

Recchiuti Confections

Far West Fungi

Third Stop

Hog Island Oyster Co.

A few years ago we drove to their farm in Marshall, CA, about an hour and a half north of SF.  We got there about 2 minutes after closing (it sure was a pretty drive though) and didn’t get to eat any of the oysters they pull out of the water for you  – but our plan is to return there on Saturday.  They have a restaurant in the Ferry Building where we ate lunch. They, like Brooklyn Plated, serve off Heath.  We ate a mix of a dozen oysters and finished it with some clam chowder and oyster stew and I listed to James tell me everything he’s been learning about Oysters from this book.

They served us:

  • Hog Island Sweetwaters (CA)
  • Hood Canals (WA)
  • Chelsea Gems (WA)
  • Otter Creeks (WA)
  • Island Creeks (MA)
  • Old Salts (VA)

After Oysters, we needed sweets. So we finished our meal with a stop at Miette.  You might remember Miette from a failed cake I made a while back. Miette provided us with a yellow cupcake with lemon buttercream frosting.  I don’t generally even like buttercream frosting but this is incredible.

Fourth Stop:

SPQR

1911 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 771-7779

We met Dan and Lexi for dinner for the second night in a row (lucky us!). I made reservations at SPQR, which I’d been wanting to try for some time.  I know it’s changed hands over the last few years and many warned that it couldn’t possibly be what it was but, in all honesty, was one of the most memorable eating experiences I’ve had this year (I know we’re only three months in).  The menu is extensive with lots of offal and other parts (be warned) and the wine list intimidating but the staff is really friendly and helpful.  It’s a cozy space but well decorated with dark woods and marble countertops.  We split four starters and desserts and each had our own meal. Also, I apologize for the moody photos…it was dark in there!

Appetizers:

  • Burrata, peperonata, watercress & aged balsamic vinegar
  • Baked ricotta, braised leeks, balsamic brown butter & almonds
  • Pork belly croccante, sundried tomato, olives & gremolata (WIN!)
  • Fried surf clams, cherry pepper salad & agrodolce

Dinner:

  • Buckwheat spaghetti, suckling pig ragu, broccoli rabe & sarvecchio cheese (James) (WIN!)
  • Rabbit & truffle cappelletti ‘en consomme’, california asparagus (Jess)
  • Jones farm rabbit, bacon, gigante beans, savoy cabbage & cranberry (Lexi)
  • Lamb shoulder, chestnuts, mushrooms, parsnip & dandelion leaves (Dan)

Dessert:

  • Goat cheese & ricotta filled crespelle with orange sauce (WIN!)
  • Milk chocolate gelato, buttermilk crumble & candied almonds
  • Brown butter torta, meyer lemon curd & sicilian pistachio
  • Selection of Italian cheeses

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Sweet Thursday – Some Good Ol’ Fashioned Brownies

Music: If Looks Could Kill – Camera Obscura

I can actually say I grew up eating the world’s best brownies.  My father was given this recipe from a friend and my mother made them for every family event.  There is a secret ingredient in them that I would never reveal (since it’s not my recipe) but I thought I would attempt them.  I, of course, changed them entirely and they came out not so great (mostly because I was too lazy to go back to the grocery store to get the right ingredient after having already been there 5 minutes before).  And I learned something this week, something I’m finally able to admit.  I am not a baker.  With that, I bring you the recipe (without the secret ingredient) for the best brownies in the world.  They sure do LOOK good!

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Molten Mocha Cakes – Sweet Thursday!

Music: Winter Winds – Mumford & Sons

As part of our Valentine’s Day celebration, I made these sweet little cakes for my parents and James.  Because I forgot to take a final picture of them I had to use the one from Martha Stewart.  They definitely came out looking SOMETHING like this picture (parentals…hush!).

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Tiramisu – Sweet Thursday

Music: Heavy Lifting – Ambulance LTD

To quote Kurt, after being fed this on Sunday, “This is my favorite dessert, I would ask for this as my last meal if I were on death row.  I could die tonight, flip the switch!”

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Fleur de Sel Caramels – Sweet Thursday

Music: Edan – Beautiful Food

We recently met baby Eloise, daughter of our friends Laura and Mike.  In honor of this meeting, we made these wonderful caramels to share as an after dinner treat. No, my little sillies, not for the baby! For us!

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Sweet Thursday – Whoopie Pies

Music: To Build a Home – Cinematic Orchestra (this goes out to all the FNL fans out there – or Chivas Regal fans).

I spent my summers in Maine (at band camp, no joke – and my band camp friends are right now screaming “it was MUSIC camp!”) and understand how Mainiacs feel about Whoopie Pies. My grandfather is from Maine.  I don’t actually know if this is one of his favorite things but it reminds me of him.  They have somehow been associated with him since I was a little girl.

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Sweet Thursday – Profiteroles

I swear to you – I could eat these all day and night. Forever. Couldn’t you?  It’s very simple to make and a real crowd pleaser…

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Sweet Thursday! Chocolate Cake with Whoopie Pie Frosting

Music: There Goes the Fear – Doves


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Sweet Thursday – Holiday Croquembouche

Music: To Ohio – Low Anthem

We mentioned on Monday that we would post the recipe for the croquembouche and here it is…just in time for Christmas! (because you have nothing better to do today than build a cream puff tower…hmmm, on second thought?). As I said, we had one at our wedding and it was gorgeous.  This one served as a birthday cake at our holiday party.

Croquembouche means “crack in mouth”.  I was reminded that I wanted to make one the day I opened up the holiday issue of Living. I had already made sugar cookies for the party and her croquembouche had them affixed to the pastry like little ornaments on a tree.  Perfect!  I used Martha’s directions to help guide the building process.  I took recipes from the Tartine cookbook and from Living.

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Riz au Lait deserves its own post, n’est pas?

Music: Feist – Tout Doucement

Yay, another Sweet Thursday!

We celebrated James’s 27th birthday while we were in Paris (ok, ok I’ll stop talking about it someday). A friend told us to make a reservation at Chez L’ami Jean.  To sum up, it was the most extraordinary culinary experience I’ve ever had.   One of us ate a pigeon, the other ate a whole fish.  But the experience was completed with the most delectable dessert I’ve ever had. I don’t generally even order dessert (sigh!) but I venture to say that this was the best thing I have ever eaten in my whole life. I’ve dreamt about it. I implore you to find this Basque gem the next time you get to Paris.

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