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Cedar River Smokehouse
Mar 25th, 2011 by sovicki

Oh how I miss a good Texan BBQ.

This is about as close as a good Texan BBQ will get around Seattle area.

Their pork and beef ribs are so tasty. Meat is so tender, falling off the bones, BBQ sauce is just right. Not too spicy, not too tangy, just perfect! But just about everything else is great too. You really cannot go wrong with anything here.

They cater too.

Iyara Thai Cuisine
Jun 15th, 2010 by sovicki

This one is way overdue. I’ve been eying this place for months if not years. I’ve always driven by this place, but never made it inside. Beginning this year, I was thinking of celebrating a friends birthday here, only to find out the owner had a family emergency and went back to Thailand, and the restaurant was closed for a month. Then somehow we just didn’t have Thai for several months. Finally, one evening, after coming back from Chicago, we made it here.

It was very  homey. The witness, might have also been the owner, was very nice and attentive. Deco is very pleasant. The painting on the wall was what I imagine our living room would have for a while, but later I decided on something else, that’s a whole another story. According to their menu, they are now serving

new menu items under our new concept called “Street Foods of Thailand”.
Why “Street Foods of Thailand”? As many tourists visit Thailand and see verities of foods are offering and cooking on the street footpath all around Bangkok but afraid to eat due to uncertain of hygienic issue.
Then we came up why don’t we bring some those kinds of items that very popular from street food vendors plus put back the original ingredients as much as they are available in U.S. and make them to meet and exceed the Health Department’s requirements. This way our customers can experience the “Street Foods of Thailand” without flying to Thailand and still be able to enjoy the foods at the U.S. standard and quality.

This really reminded me of Thai Tom which closed couple times due to its health violations. Some of my friends joked that the reason Thai Tom tastes great, is all because of the “special ingredient” which is not on the menu. It apparently is reopened again. Back to what I was saying.

We ordered pad kee mao and iyara fried rice. It is possibly the best pad kee mao I’ve ever had. Especially compare to the 干炒牛河 (Beef chow fun) that we had at Ocean City in Chinatown the night before. It was well prepared, seasoned, very flavorful. Iyara fried rice in comparison is a bit too mild. We think it might just get over powered by the pad kee mao. Don’t get me wrong, it is still good, but I think it might a bit unfair to judge just how good it is until I give it another try.

For dessert, we had the house special sauce with the Chinese donut, and the coconut iceam. The Chinese donut was interesting, but not sure if I’d try that again. I might just go for the simple coconut ice cream next time.

All in all, for $9 an entree this is such a steal!

Gaslamp Bar & Grill
Jun 10th, 2010 by sovicki

This is the definition of a hidden gem. Friendly service, good atmosphere, and great food.

Burgers are very juicy, and they are giant! Definitely bigger than normal size, and only $9. Their Sunday special $3.99 for a cheese burger makes it better pricing than McDonald’s. Definitely recommend!

Gaslamp Bar & Grill
(425) 392-4547
Issaquah
1315 NW Mall St
Issaquah, WA 98027

Tsukushinbo
Jun 10th, 2010 by sovicki

We tried this place over the memorial day weekend. Ever since I saw that Yelp newsletter about the Japanese sushi places around Seattle that Wednesday before, I cannot stop but thinking about sashimi. That evening I stopped by H-Mart on the way home to pick up some Salmon. Sadly Salmon is only thing they’ve got. I was hoping for Uwajimaya’s selection, but needless to say I was disappointed, and my craving was not satisfied.

By the time weekend rolls around, my craving is getting out of control. Sadly the little place that I really like in Issaquah has closed down. I wonder if I recommended too many people to go there or too little? They are just like Musashi’s in Wallingford, only without the line, and better ambiance. All in all it was my favorite little hidden gem. Cry….

So we first stopped off at Musashi’s around 8pm, and there was still a line outside of the door wrapped around the corner. Alright, I was dying for some good sashimi, so urbanspoon on Iphone came to the rescue. I remember reading good review about this place, Tsukushinbo, on yelp. The reviews say they are best kept secret, cozy, family run, and authentic, best deal, etc… and one reviewer even say that this is their default dinner place, and his wife had to fight with him every other time to go somewhere else… Well, the reviews weren’t entirely wrong, it was cozy, it was family run, and authentic? maybe. Best deal? definitely NOT!!!

We got there around 8:30pm, and had to fight with a older Japanese ladies group for the door since  we already lost the parking spot to them… then waited at the door for about 5 minutes before anyone care to let us know that they’ll be cleaning the tables soon, so that we can sit down. Already dying for food, we sat down at the bar. Another 10 minutes went by before the only waitress came and took our order. She seem very strange. She had to stand on the right side of us, and far away, but then she cannot hear what I was saying, so I have to repeat couple times. Geez, I don’t have cooties… Another half an hour went by before our dinner arrived. Chirashi was exactly 9 skinny piece of shashimi, yes, I counted, it was exactly 9 piece, the skinniest that I’ve ever seen, think of Nigiri, yes, that’s the thickness… This is probably only 1/3 of the size of the Chirashi at Musashi’s… Oh, how I remember I couldn’t even finish the fish at Musashi’s…and the bento box, could you find another piece of cod that’s possibly smaller? They are the size of half of my palm. Maneki’s $6.99 black cod was much much MUCH bigger, and that’s three pieces, people. The food is alright, nothing exceptional.

$50 later, my stomach is as empty as my wallet. I’d definitely take my wallet and stomach else where for some decent service, and a fuller meal. What were those people yelping about?

Daman's Bar & Grill
May 20th, 2010 by sovicki

Last night, we’ve got some crazy Seattle weather, aka, strong wind, rain, thunderstorm. The drive home especially around the Everett-Bothell area convergent zone on 405 took me forever. It is not until Kirkland, I can finally drive the normal highway speed. But I guess that’s just the price that we had to pay for the beautiful weather the past weekend, and again today. 😀

We found this little tavern last night, it is probably the closest tavern around Microsoft. I’ve been passing by this place the past several years, and just never thought of it.

It is sorta a hidden gem, since it really is somewhat hidden. It is on the side of the what used to be Jeem, now, the Mandarin Buffet, building. At 6pm, the parking in front is full, good sign. We parked in the back, and walked around the place to get to the front door, only to realize that later there is a little latch door on the balcony.

When we entered, the place is about 80% full already, with what seems like mostly Microsoft employees, and some grandpa, grandma. Three full-sized pool tables were unoccupied, and pretty much stayed that way the whole night. There is a giant flat screen TV playing the western NBA final round 2. Speaking of the grandma, she was there reading a book, and was already on her second round of beer when I noticed her. Pretty interesting to see at a tavern. 😀

We went in seated ourselves, not sure if we suppose to wait. There seem to be only one waitress, not especially warm, and fuzzy type of personality, but that’s alright.

We noticed that from 4-6pm there is happy hour, which is 50cents off beer, well drinks, etc. Not that great of a deal. I order a glass of Cab, and the glass is probably the smallest that I have seen in American, reminded me of the stand up bar that we went to in Venice. Don’t get me wrong, they fill the small glass pretty well. Half a glass down, I was already tipsy. Priced at $5.25 a glass, it is alright.

Then the burger came. My BBQ Charbroiled Chicken from their favorite section of the menu is pretty good, only the fries were a little soggy. The regular berger is a little too dry in my opinion. But hey, it is only $8.

All in all, it is a good place to hang out and watch the game, food is not bad, and not pricey. Not gourmet by any means, but not bad.

Best Desserts in Seattle
Aug 6th, 2009 by sovicki

Seattle’s Best Desserts

By Andrea Delimont , Cynthia Nims , Ginny Morey , Sara Dickerman

Be sure to leave room for dessert? Who are we kidding? In a city nearly dribbling delicious ice creams and heady with the scent of artisan chocolates, finding something sweet has never been easier—or more sinfully satisfying. We’ve licked our spoons eagerly at the highest-end eateries, the most irresistible bakeries and the humblest holes-in-the-wall, searching high and low for full-fat goodies, sky-high cakes and chewy, gooey cookies (tough research, we know). And boy, did we find the best of them.

A WALK ON THE DARK SIDE: BEST CHOCOLATE DESSERTS

As any serious chocoholic will tell you, a little too much chocolate is just about right. Luckily, our fair city is blessed with a seemingly endless array of the darkest, most wickedly scrumptious offerings, and we’ve savored every morsel!

Restaurant Dessert of the Year
Chocolate Covered Chocolate ($12) at Canlis restaurant
Creator: Pastry chef Neil Robertson
Why we love it: We adore the chocolate blackout of it all. While we have a tendency to yawn when we see another molten cake, Robertson executes the new-school classic perfectly with Cacao Barry 64 percent Guayaquil chocolate—dark and deep, but not too acidic—and then pairs it with a lollipop of chocolate ice cream that’s covered in a chocolate shell and dipped in the crumbs of homemade chocolate cookies.
Best Updated Retro Cake: Triple Layer chocolate cake at Bakery Nouveau
($4.50/slice) We don’t know if this chocolate-chocolate cake is better than your nana’s, but the retro-luxe triple-layer cake with thick, rich ganache frosting and a lighter bittersweet chocolate mousse filling is a surefire contender.
Most Valuable Chocolate Truffle: Gold-flecked bittersweet truffle at Cadeaux Chocolates ($2 each) A tiny edible gold flake adorns the almost-too-pretty-to-eat dark chocolate truffle from Seattle-based Cadeaux. Melt-in-your-mouth smooth and deliciously rich, one is never enough.
Most Decadent Fusion of Chocolate and Coffee: Deathcake Royale from Cupcake Royale ($6.65)
This intense cupcake-on-steroids made with Theo dark chocolate, and a combo of chocolate cake, espresso-infused ganache and flourless chocolate cake—all enrobed in more ganache—is only in stores around Valentine’s Day, but Seattle magazine readers can custom order for pickup on November 26.
Fieriest Truffle: Chocolat Moderne’s Sesame Shichimi Praline ($2.25 each) The dainty beauty of this shichimi (Japanese seven-spice blend) praline packs a deliciously fiery punch with an underlying note of caramelized orange zest. (Pssst—Queen Anne’s Chocolopolis is the only place in the city to sample this upscale New York line.)
Best-Excuse-to-Eat-the-Whole-Box Truffle: Theo’s Earl Grey Tea ganache ($2 each) Velvety ganache laced with the distinct fragrance of bergamot orange is just one reason to surrender to this box of truffles. A double whammy of antioxidants never tasted so good!
Prettiest Chocolate Gem: Red Wine Rosewater chocolate tart at Dahlia Bakery ($5.95) Each perfectly
crisp chocolate tart shell is filled with smooth, dark ganache and then crowned with a sweetly sugared rose petal for a darling, picture-perfect treat.
Best Chocolate-Chocolate Cookie: Chocolate truffle cookie at Dahlia Bakery ($2.50) Dahlia Bakery is generally a sunny place, but its chocolate truffle cookie takes you to chocolate’s dark heart: It’s a brownie-like cookie, studded with small slabs of bittersweet chocolate. We won’t tell if you need a glass of milk to handle its fudgy punch.
Best Deep, Dark and Delicious Dessert: Mousse au Chocolat at Cremant ($9) With a bit of magic, someone in Cremant’s kitchen takes rich, dark bars of bittersweet chocolate and transforms them into big bowls of fluffy, deeply delicious chocolate mousse. Order two—this dessert will have everyone clamoring for spoons!
Best Rainy-Day Sweet: Chocolate cranberry pound cake at Macrina ($3.65/slice) The chocolate cranberry cake makes an occasional appearance in Macrina’s gloriously overstuffed pastry case—an indulgently generous slice is the perfect soul-satisfying treat on a rainy Seattle day.
So good!

A PIECE OF CAKE

Whether your tastes lean toward that perfectly simple old-fashioned white cake, chocolate cake or the fantastically constructed custom cakes dreamed up by Seattle’s best bakers, we have your cake—and you can eat it, too!

Best Custom Cake: The Phoenix cake at Bakery Nouveau ($5.50/individual size, $38 for 8 inch) This intricate, three-layer creation of caramel, pear and chocolate mousse sandwiched between sheets of chocolate sponge cake and surrounded by thin tiles of chocolate, was specially created for Seattle magazine food columnist Lorna Yee’s recent wedding by head baker William Leaman.
Tastiest Tropical Treat:
Hawaiian haupia and guava cake at Hiroki ($5/slice) Light as air and not too sweet, this treat with thickened coconut milk sports a sponge-cake bottom, a creamy white haupia middle, and a thin, tangy top layer of pinkish guava goo. Yum.
Best Steamed Cake:
Banana cake with savory coconut sauce at Monsoon ($6) The irresistible cake, which gets its moist texture from a quick steam in banana leaves, is embellished with pillowy mounds of slightly salty coconut cream—the quintessential foil to this barely sweet dessert.
Best White Cake with a Twist: Cassata cake at Columbia City Bakery ($4/slice, $45 whole) • Transport yourself (if only for a moment) to the fragrant hillsides of Sicily with a cassata cake. Two layers of white cake are brushed with Marsala wine, bedecked with an orange flower-scented ricotta filling and encased in a thin sheet of almond paste.
Best Fall Fruit Cake: Pear, hazelnut and thyme at Canlis ($11/slice) • This almond brown-butter pear cake languishes in a sweet pool of spiced dessert-wine poaching liquid; the house-made thyme ice cream that caps it off is the consummate accompaniment.
Best Tea Party Cake: Almond cake at North Hill Bakery ($32/whole) • The unassuming simplicity of this moist almond buttercream cake is an appealing choice for a crowd—even those who claim to have no sweet tooth will happily indulge.
Best Hong Kong–style Cake in the ID: Chestnut cream cake at Cake House My Favorite ($26/whole) • A generous smear of chestnut purée is cradled between layers of soft white sponge cake, simply adorned with whipped cream. (Turns out this cake is their baker’s favorite, too!)
Nuttiest Cake: Pistachio financièrs at Spur Gastropub ($13/slice) • The intensely buttery, warm-from-the-oven financière takes the cake on a dessert plate that also features a subtle foie gras ice cream, elderflower gelée, and Rainier cherries.


BEST BIRTHDAY CAKES

Sure, you can get a birthday, graduation or retirement cake at Costco and feed a crowd, but a step up in price is worth it to get a taste of these irresistible cakes

Affordable and Elegant: Both the coconut cake and the carrot cake at Whole Foods are our top picks for quality cakes without the sticker shock. (8-inch cake for $27, serves 10–12.)
More Bang for Your Buck: Macrina’s Mom’s Chocolate Cake has that retro-elegance that’s perfect for a dinner party. (25-inch cake for $60, serves 20–25.)
Completely Splurge-worthy: Iska Pallis of Cake is garnering raves for her winsome flavor combinations—try the orange blueberry, with layers of moist orange cake, white chocolate Bavarian mousse, orange curd and organic blueberries. ($60, serves 8–10.)

HEY THERE, CUPCAKE!

Cupcake parlors are sprouting up all over town, tempting us with little cakes topped with billowy frostings in the creamiest, dreamiest of flavors. But when a craving hits, we make a beeline for Trophy, which creams the competition by baking their beauties every hour! Located in the south end, Tacoma’s Hello Cupcake’s sweet temptations are irresistible with pretty toppings that put a finishing touch on moist cakes and decadent frostings. In fact we liked ’em so much, we couldn’t pick just, um, six.

Chocolate mint cupcake at Trophy ($2.99)
Many chocolate cakes disappoint with underwhelming flavor, but not these dark beauties. Each cupcake is topped with creamy mint buttercream flecked with chocolate sprinkles and adorned with a green mint wafer.
Chocolate graham cracker with toasted marshmallow at Trophy ($3.50)
Yup, you guessed it: This cupcake tastes a lot like a S’more, right down to the perfectly browned Swiss meringue topping. Glowing embers not required.
Chai Cardamom cupcake at Trophy ($2.99)
Imbued with an exotic, subtly spicy, cinnamony flavor, these cupcakes are a delicious departure from your standard vanilla or chocolate combo.
Carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting at Hello Cupcake ($1.95)
With just the right balance of spices, this carrot cupcake is the most delicious way to get in an extra veggie serving for the day. (We kid, we kid!)
The Hummingbird cupcake at Trophy ($2.99)
Made with coconut, banana and pineapple and adorned with a lavish portion of tangy cream cheese frosting, this little hummer wins points for its tender crumb and moist texture.
Red velvet cupcake at Trophy ($2.99)
This classic Southern favorite is a slightly tangy, moist, cocoa-flavored cake with a generous swoop of cream cheese frosting.
Lemon cupcake with various frostings at Trophy ($2.99)
Citrus lovers: Sink your teeth into Trophy’s moist, dense-crumb lemon cupcake with lemon butter cream, or, for a kiss of the tropics, try it with coconut cream frosting and shaved coconut sprinkles. The sweetest-tasting version is strawberry-frosted.
Mocha cupcake with coffee butter cream at Hello Cupcake ($1.95)
The dark chocolate cake portion of this cupcake is tasty, but it’s the pronounced espresso flavor in the decadent icing that makes this treat sensational.

SWEET STACK: A BAKER’S DOZEN OF SEATTLE’S TASTIEST COOKIES

Best in Show: Chocolate chip cookie at DeLaurenti
DeLaurenti makes the purest expression of this classic in town: big and beefy with large chocolate chips ($1.75). If your timing is
right (around 11 a.m.), you can get one still warm and gooey from the oven.
Best Nut Cookie: Brutti ma buoni at Café Juanita
Brutti ma buoni translates roughly to “ugly but yummy,” but these staples, served on cookie plates ($8 for a cookie assortment including this one) aren’t even all that ugly. They are dense and bumpy with fragrant Holmquist orchard hazelnuts, but also a little bit chewy.
Best Madeleine: Chocolate madeleines at Lark
Whether a madeleine is a cookie or a cake might be a matter of debate, but there is little doubt as to the happiest way to eat them: chocolaty and straight from the oven ($8/order of 20).
Best Butter Cookie: Scottish oat cake at Macrina Bakery
It takes a good bakery to make a cookie as plain as this ($1.10) so delicious. The diamond-shaped crisp is thin, flaky and just right for tea.
Best Texture in a Cookie: Chocolate macaroon at Honoré
With a perfect meringue-like chewy texture and a deep, oozing chocolate ganache filling, this Ballard newcomer’s soft chocolate macaroons ($1.75) have already earned “best in Seattle” status.
Best Crumble: Russian tea cookie at Café Besalu
Fragility is strength in a Russian tea cookie ($1.35), and these are so tender they practically quiver. They collapse in your mouth into an airy cloud of confectioner’s sugar and buttery pecans.
Best Use of Peanut Butter: Peanut butter sandwich cookies at Dahlia Bakery
Nutter Butters are a fantastic concept—peanut butter cookie, peanut butter filling—but if you’ve always found them a little disappointing, restore your faith with this ultra-intense cookie ($2).
Best Tea Cookie: Black sesame tea cookie at Fresh Flours
This buttery cookie (75 cents) is an ideal dipping shortbread—not too sweet and almost effervescent with tiny, nutty-tasting black seeds.
Best Grown-up Cookie: Chocolate ginger cookie at Volunteer Park Café & Marketplace
Dark and brooding among the kid-friendly classic cookies here, this cookie ($1.75) offers the grown-up heat of freshly grated ginger in perfect balance with dark chocolate chunks.
Best Morning Cookie: Cornmeal cherry cookie at Seattle Art Museum’s Taste Restaurant • Chubby as a muffin top, this buttery but not-too-sweet cookie ($2) is a great morning snack; perfect with a cup of coffee beneath the hanging cars in the museum’s lobby.
Best Kids’ Cookie: The super chips at Columbia City Bakery
They might look puny, but these little chocolate chip cookies (75 cents) are packed with almost double the chocolate chips (and none of the nuts) as the bakery’s Columbia Chip cookies.
Best Sugar Cookie: Lemon Crunch cookie at Sugar Bakery & Café
A really good sugar cookie is hard to find, but this one ($1.95) is a star. Chewy-tender and vibrant with oodles of lemon zest, it gets its all-important crunch from sparkling briolettes of coarse sugar.
Best Over-the-Top Cookie:
The Redmond crisp at Pomegranate Bistro • Oatmeal cookies may seem wholesome, but this crisp ($1.75) is as racy as they come—lots of butter and brown sugar for a smooth taste, while cornflakes and pecans add texture and tang.
Best Prepacked Grocery Store Cookies: Chewy Molasses Ginger
You can’t always get to your favorite bakery, and for that we’re grateful to local packaged-cookie maker Cougar Mountain for making the best grocery store cookies we know, including a classic ginger molasses ($3.99/box of 8) that is always chewy and tender.

THE COOLEST OF THE COOL

Nothing brings out the kid in us quite like ice cream, from a drippy,
rich sundae to more upscale end-of-the-meal offerings

Handheld dessert of the year: Molly Moon’s sundae with salted caramel ice cream and Dana’s hot fudge sauce ($4)
Creators: Molly Moon Neitzel (left) and Dana Cree
Why we love it: With her very neighborly ice cream shop, Neitzel, who in her previous career combined music promotion with political organizing, has led the charge here for organic, gourmet ice cream. The opening of her picture-perfect shop—and her mainstreaming of flavors like balsamic strawberry, Vivace coffee and honey lavender—was far and away the biggest sweet development this year. But mostly, we love that the sweet-creamy-salty-bittersweet combination reminds us of our favorite childhood candy bars, but tastes much better.
What to look for next: Cree, formerly pastry chef at ultramodern Veil, is working on packaging her magical ice cream toppings—vanilla-bean caramel, butterscotch, hot fudge and seasonal fruit compotes—a retail line that Neitzel is helping her develop.
Most Delicious Restaurant Ice Cream: Housemade malt ice cream at Lark ($8/scoop)
The not-too-sweet, musky, deeply flavored after-dinner treat brings out the malted-milk-ball-loving kid in you.
Best Restaurant-quality Ice Cream Not in a Restaurant: Poco Carretto Gelato ($3/scoop)
Holly Smith, chef/owner of Café Juanita, began spreading gelato and sorbetto joy this summer at a few area farmers’ markets, including Columbia City and Bellevue. The intense, almost bitter burnt-sugar gelato—an early signature flavor—ups the bar on caramelized sugar from here on out. The two carts should be sighted this winter as well, at year-round markets, scooping out decadent treats to sustain shoppers.
Most Unusual Ice Cream Dessert: Cream cheese sorbet at Tilth ($7)
It is impossible to pass up this intriguing dessert constructed of tangy cream cheese sorbet with naturally sweet fresh carrot juice, candied walnuts and golden raisins: carrot cake taken apart and creatively put back together.
Best Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor: Snoqualmie Gourmet
Think friendly and inviting: a black-and-white tile floor, cozy fireplace, an old-fashioned table and dozens of ice cream flavors ($3.25/scoop) to choose from (all made on site), served up however you like them: in dishes, cones or yummy sundaes (plain or with brownie, choice of toppings).
Best Ice Cream Sundae: Double chocolate sundae at Steelhead Diner ($9.95)
A chocolate lover’s treat, this shareable sundae comes generously endowed with brownies, Snickers ice cream from Olympic Mountain, chocolate sauce and decadent unsweetened real whipped cream.
Most Stylish Ice Cream Parlor: Mora Iced Creamery
A contemporary counterpoint to the classic homespun ice cream parlor, Mora serves incredibly smooth, velvety treats with bold but balanced flavor. Their ice creams, including eggy-rich sabayon with a whisper of Marsala, and brightly flavored sorbets (zippy mojito is rave worthy) are made with Old World style to suit modern tastes.
Best Profiteroles: Profiteroles with honey rosemary ice cream at Trellis ($7)
The choux puffs are perfect browned domes, and the chocolate and caramel sauce luxurious and silky, but what really makes these profiteroles shine is the honey rosemary ice cream, a signature flavor made by Olympic Mountain Ice Cream, that fills the choux shells.
Tastiest Ice Cream on a Stick: Whidbey Island ice cream bars ($3)
Their old-fashioned ice cream bars—sold from a cart at area farmers’ markets, including Ballard on Sundays and Wallingford on Wednesdays—come in a surprising array of flavors: dark cherry, mint and intriguingly tasty chocolate chardonnay among them, all hand-dipped in a rich Guittard dark chocolate.
Best Use of English Royalty in Ice Cream: Earl Grey ice cream sandwich at Dinette ($7)
Here’s an ice cream sandwich that stands out because it’s more about the ice cream—a lush creamy concoction that has subtle flavoring from Earl Grey tea—than about the cookie, though the crisp gingersnap is a worthy partner.
Most Elegant Ice Cream Cake: Torte
gelato at Gelatiamo ($30, serves 8–10 people)
Ramp up your image of “ice cream cake” a bit. This version layers two of Gelatiamo’s 16 luscious flavors on house-made Italian sponge cake that gets a little drizzle of rum. Plan ahead to customize the combo, or take a chance on what’s available from the twirling case in the shop.
Most Decadent Ice Cream Float: Stout float at Pike Brewing Company ($6.50)
You’ll have to show your ID for this savory-meets-sweet grown-up float, using Pike’s XXXXX Extra Stout with your choice of vanilla or chocolate gelato (from nearby Gelatiamo). Pike also serves up a framboise float, using a raspberry Lambic ale.

BEST DESSERTS FOR YOUR INNER CHILD

Sweets that satisfy the ooey, gooey, sticky, icky, chocolate-sauce-dripping, caramel-loving kid in you

Best Sticky Sweet Puffed Rice Treat: Krispettes at Caroline’s Desserts ($4.29)
We go weak in the knees for the marshmallow goodness, especially this extra-thick buttery version of a classic American indulgence. Some varieties come studded with chocolate, nuts and even mint patties, but for sheer nostalgia, reach for the lavish but minimalist Not-So-Plain-Jayne, studded simply with miniature marshmallows.
Best Excuse Not to Act Your Age: Peanut butter and jelly confection at Theo ($2)
What goes together better than PB&J? Add chocolate to the mix and this perfect truffle is sure to please, whatever your age.
Best Chocolate-Almond Toffee: Pete’s Perfect Toffee ($10/half pound)
It’s virtually impossible to eat just one piece, topped with a layer of either milk or dark chocolate, with chopped almonds and pecans. Available at several area farmers’ markets or by direct order.
Tastiest Mom-n-Pop Lollypops: See’s Candies’ butterscotch lollypops (60 cents)
The hard, square caramel candies on a stick—which also come in a delicious caffé latté version—are a reminder of a simpler time, when one of these was a reward for good behavior.
Nuttiest Goodness: Bag O’Rocher at Salty’s ($12)
A visit to Salty’s isn’t complete without their signature bite-
size stacks of caramelized slivered almonds dipped in chocolate, with enough tantalizing salt and crunch to keep you diving in for more.
Best Grown-up Caramel: Fran’s Chocolates’ smoked salt caramels ($11.50 for seven truffles)
Much hoopla has been made about Fran’s salt caramels, and for good reason: Her chewy-rich caramels, with a careful sprinkle of just enough salt, are nothing short of wonderful.
Best Way to Blow Your Calorie Budget: Fried chocolate truffle sundae at Elliott’s Oyster House ($8)
The most jaw-dropping indulgence at Elliott’s isn’t an oyster—it’s this treat of dark ganache, coated with graham-cracker-almond crumbs and deep-fried, served with vanilla ice cream in a praline cup and topped with chocolate and caramel-rum sauces and toasted almonds.
Best Salty/Sweet Combo: Salted caramel at Bakery Nouveau ($1)
Yes, salted caramels have become ubiquitous, but the ones that continue to hold our fancy are these dainty little squares. Perfectly tempered, exquisitely thin chocolate shells house the liquid gold.


LEMONHEADS

For people passionate about citrus, only the tangiest contenders will suffice. These options deliver bursts of lemon flavor so vivid that just thinking about them puts sunshine on the back of your tongue

Most Marvelous Lemon Bar: Lemon bar at Columbia City Bakery ($2.25)
This ne plus ultra of lemon bars boasts a generously high ratio of tart yellow curd to thin, buttery-crisp crust, finished
with an opaque layer of confectioner’s sugar. It’s even better with
black coffee.
Most Lemony Slice: Lemon tea bread at Blackbird Bakery ($2.60)
A lot of flavor is packed into the easily transported cake, made in loaf form and served in generous slices. The glaze imparts extra tart-sweetness, so save the top for last.
Best Lemon-Chocolate Combo: Lemon Rivoli at Salty’s ($8.95)
Named for the ultrachic street in Paris, the multifaceted “Rivoli,” hazelnut dacquoise topped with hazelnut mousse, chocolate sponge cake and lemon cream, is garnished with lemon curd, raspberries and a bright yellow lemon macaroon.
Richest Lemon Ice Cream: Lemon bar ice cream at Mora Iced Creamery ($3.59/scoop)
The seasonal lemon ice cream bar is two treats in one. It’s got eye-rollingly creamy mouthfeel, loads of lemon flavor and bits of moist crust for texture.
Most Delectable Lemon Tart: Signature lemon meringue tart at Dahlia Bakery ($5.95)
Cradled in each golden-brown tart shell is Dahlia’s signature lemon curd (only available in the summer), festooned with a burnished wisp of Italian meringue.
Most Satisfying Lemon Pie: Sour cream lemon pie at B & O Espresso ($6.50/slice)
A longstanding favorite, this pie renders a heavenly tart tang, edged with just enough whipped cream to tease; get an extra dollop on the side.
Most Intense Blast of Lemon: Affogato al limoncello at Tidbit Bistro ($9)
Devout lemonheads: Get thee to Tidbit pronto for tart lemon gelato molded around a creamy limoncello center, encased in vibrant lemon meringue sprinkles, drowned in a shot of limoncello liqueur. (Also available sans booze…but why?)
Best Lemon Triple Threat: Meyer lemon pound cake at Elliott’s Oyster House ($7)
A mini Bundt-shaped pound cake is infused with Meyer lemon juice, accompanied by Olympic Mountain lemon ice cream and, on the side, a boat of warm Meyer lemon curd so sweet-tarterrific, it’ll curl your toes.

BEST FRUITY AND NUTTY DESSERTS

‘Tis the season for pastry chefs to turn to richer flavors:

Apples, pears, nuts and spice fuel a slew of holiday desserts

Cranberry Pumpkin cheesecake at Macrina Bakery ($30 whole)
You get two fall flavors for the price of one from Leslie Mackie’s gently spiced pumpkin cheesecake, topped with a zingy, jewel-toned layer of fresh cranberry compote.
Musician’s tart at the Harvest Vine ($7.50)
Every year, co-owner and pastry chef Carolin Messier de Jiménez brings out these tarts, which feature a crunchy-gooey mix of caramel and nuts—walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds and pine nuts—atop a sinuous layer of date and fig purée.
Crespelle with compote or gianduja at Café Juanita ($9)
Chef Holly Smith regularly serves chestnut-flour crepes called crespelle filled with either quince compote or gianduja (think Nutella, but made with higher-quality chocolate and hazelnuts).
Tarte tatin at Campagne ($9)
There’s more than one way to make an apple pie, and this French classic is a knockout: caramelized apples baked underneath a puff pastry crust. Come serving time, the whole affair is inverted to show off the glossy apples and it is served with sweetened crème fraîche.
Holiday cookies at Café Besalu ($1.50–$1.75)
Besalu’s masterful baker, James Miller, who did some of his training in Switzerland, brings in a ringer—a retired Swiss baker—to help him craft his spiced holiday cookies (available in late November, call ahead). Together they create hard-to-find classics, such as anise-scented springerle, spiced chocolate Basel brunsli and leckerli with its minced candied citrus peel.
Apple and quince pie at Betty ($8)
Pastry chef Brittany Bardeleben has a knack for distilling a season’s essence with no-nonsense clarity: Take her double-crusted pie made with Washington apples and fragrant quince, which she serves with homemade vanilla bean ice cream.
Sweet potato pie at Café Flora ($7.50)
This Southern classic gets a vegan twist, with a whole wheat flour crust, candied pecans and vegan pear ice cream. A tad healthy, a whole lot tasty.
Pecan Pie at Tilth ($8)
Maria Hines is not afraid to use good booze in her baking. She spikes her miniature pecan pies with plenty of Woodford Kentucky bourbon and then serves them up with ice cream made from local Fresh Breeze cream, Skagit Ranch eggs and yet more of the craft-distilled whiskey.


CREAMY AND DREAMY

Luscious, scrumptious and smooth, these creamy desserts hit our sweet spot

Most A-Peeling Banana Cream Pie: Yama-Nana pie at Yama ($8.95)
In an Oreo crust, Yama’s multilayered, not-too-sweet, mountain-high version alternates sliced bananas (eight per pie!) with dense cream, served with house-made caramel sauce, topped with chopped macadamias, chocolate sauce and more caramel. Bananarific.
Best Dessert with a Jolt: Filomena’s tiramisu at Tutta Bella ($8)
Served in deep square bowls and big enough for two (or more), this is an espresso lover’s version of the classic “pick me up” dessert: layers of ladyfingers soaked in heady coffee and slathered with soft, cloud-like mascarpone cream.
Quirkiest Pudding: Joule Box at Joule ($6)
The unique “Joule Box” tops heavenly coconut-milk tapioca pudding with zingy grapefruit segments and shreds of opal basil for a supremely fresh take on dessert.
Coconuttiest Confection: Triple coconut cream pie at Dahlia Bakery ($5.95/slice)
Many make the pilgrimage to Dahlia just to taste the famed coconut cream pie, and it’s still a knockout: a coconut-laden crust, luscious coconut cream and a bouffant pouf of toasted coconut and white chocolate shavings.
Best Caramel Custard: Flan de caramel at Salvadorean Bakery ($3/serving)
Caramel fairly oozes from this perfect flan. The custard is rich with eggs and cream, and baked until just set yet still wobbly beneath a shiny, burnished caramel glaze.
Best Traditional French Pastry: Mille feuilles at Le Fournil ($2.95)
Napoleons served here are called “mille feuilles” (thousand leaves), but whether you choose the traditional or the seasonal raspberry or chocolate, the layers of puff pastry and cream topped with icing are perfect to the last forkful.
Best Rice Pudding: Gateau de riz at Le Pichet ($6)
The gateau de riz is rice pudding gone one better: It’s been baked until softly firm in a caramelized dish that gives the exterior of each portion a sweet amber glaze. Coupled with whatever fruit is in season, it’s timelessly comforting.
Best Cheesecake with Flair: Caramel cheesecake at The Confectional ($4/slice)
Dense and creamy with a crown of salty, buttery caramel, this miniature caramel cheesecake is richer than rich and just the right size for a personal indulgence.
Supplest Flan: Espresso flan at the Harvest Vine ($6)
Unlike a lot of stiff, too-eggy flans, this one is quivering perfection, and beautifully flavored, too. Come the cold months, you’re likely to find a version of orange-scented espresso flan jiggling atop a dark chocolate base.
Most Perfect Bread Pudding: Bread pudding at Sweet & Savory ($2.60/slice)
Mount Baker’s country French bakery is home to the best no-frills brioche bread pudding around. Baked ’til brown around the edges in a deep cast-iron pan, the soft, eggy middle is pure heaven.
Heavenliest Cloud: Grand Marnier soufflé at Canlis ($14)
This Grand Marnier soufflé is a triumph, so evenly creamy and light on the tongue, with a perfect balance of orange liqueur flavor and vanilla crème anglaise. It takes extra time, so order in advance.
Best Boozy-Creamy Dessert: Zabaglione with fruit at La Medusa ($7)
Frequently appearing on the dessert menu, this silky, creamy, eggy, sweet Marsala-imbued zabaglione is topped with fresh berries in summer, dried fruit compote in cooler months, and is often accompanied by a cookie for dipping.
Best Cheesecake You’d Never Guess Was One: Torta di formaggio al balsamico invecchiato at Barolo ($7)
The lightest, fluffiest, most uncheesecake-like cheesecake in town is this balsamic-infused mascarpone cheesecake. Rich and creamy but not at all dense, every heavenly bite is like a soft, smooth, sweet cloud.
Best Classic Cheesecake: New York cheesecake at Hiroki ($4/slice)
The humble Tangletown bakery is famed for Asian-tinged desserts. But its version of this classic, with an intensely cream cheesy middle and perfect graham cracker crust, is even more irresistible.
Most Grownup Pudding: Malt pot de crème at Restaurant Zoë ($9)
Malt—this year’s “it” flavor in desserts—gives this smooth dessert an earthy, roasted flavor. Partnered with bite-size peanut butter brownies, it’s a sophisticated version of two childhood favorites.

Best Desserts Directory

A clip-and-save guide to locating sweets mentioned in this issue

B & O Espresso
Capitol Hill, 204 Belmont Ave. E 206.322.5028
Bakery Nouveau
West Seattle,
4737 California Ave. SW; 206.923.0534
Barolo
South Lake Union,
1940 Westlake Ave.; 206.770.9000
Betty Restaurant & Bar
Queen Anne,1507 Queen Anne Ave. N; 206.352.3773
Blackbird Bakery
Bainbridge Island, 210 Winslow Way E; 206.780.1322
Cadeaux Chocolates
By appointment only; 206.310.1142
Café Besalu
Ballard, 5909 24th Ave. NW; 206.789.1463
Café Flora
Madison Valley, 2901 E Madison; 206.325.9100
Café Juanita
Kirkland, 9702 NE 120th Place; 425.823.1505
Cake
By appointment only; 206.274.7516
Cake House My Favorite
International District, 620 S Weller St.; 206.223.2766
Campagne Restaurant
Pike Place Market, 86 Pine St.; 206.728.2800
Canlis
Queen Anne, 2576 Aurora Ave. N; 206.283.3313
Caroline’s Desserts
By appointment only; 425.883.3850
Chocolopolis
Queen Anne, 1527 Queen Anne Ave. N; 206.282.0776
Columbia City Bakery
Columbia City, 4865 Rainier Ave. S; 206.722.9138
Cupcake Royale
Ballard, 2052 NW Market St., 206.782.9557; Madrona, 1101 34th Ave., 206.709.4497; West Seattle, 4556 California Ave SW, 206.932.2971
Cremant
Madrona, 1423 34th Ave.; 206.322.4600
Dahlia Bakery
Downtown, 2001 Fourth Ave.; 206.441.4540
DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine
Pike Place Market, 1435 First Ave.; 206.622.0141
Dinette
Capitol Hill, 1514 E Olive Way; 206.328.2282
Elliott’s Oyster House
Waterfront, 1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56; 206.623.4340
Essential Baking Company
Madison Valley, 2719 E Madison St., 206.328.0078; Wallingford, 1604 N 34th St., 206.545.0444
Fran’s Chocolates
Bellevue, 10036 Main St., 425.453.1698; Downtown, 1325 First Ave.; University Village, 2626 NE University Village St., 206.528.9969
Fresh Flours
Phinney Ridge, 6015 Phinney Ave.; 206.297.3300
Gelatiamo
Downtown, 1400 Third Ave.; 206.467.9563
The Harvest Vine
Madison Valley, 2701 E Madison St.; 206.320.9771
Hello Cupcake
Tacoma, 1740 Pacific Ave.; 253.383.7772
Hiroki
Green Lake/Tangletown, 2224 N 56th St.; 206.547.4128
Honoré
Ballard, 1413 NW 70th St.; 206.706.4035
Joule
Wallingford, 1913 N 45th St.; 206.632.1913
La Medusa
Columbia City, 4857 Rainier Ave. S; 206.723.2192
Lark
Capitol Hill, 926 12th Ave.; 206.323.5275
Le Fournil, Ltd.
Eastlake, 3230 Eastlake Ave. E; 206.328.6523
Le Pichet
Belltown, 1933 First Ave.; 206.256.1499
Macrina
Belltown, 2408 First Ave., 206.448.4032; Queen Anne, 615 W McGraw, 206.283.5900; Vashon Island, 19603 Vashon Way SW, 206.567.4133
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream
Wallingford, 1622½ N 45th St.; 206.547.5105
Monsoon Restaurant
Capitol Hill, 615 19th Ave. E; 206.325.2111
Mora Iced Creamery
Bainbridge Island, 139 Madrone Lane; 206.855.8822
North Hill Bakery
Capitol Hill, 518 15th Ave. E; 206.325.9007
Pike Brewing Company
Pike Place Market, 1415 First Ave.; 206.622.6044
Poco Carretto Gelato
Various locations; 425.823.1505 (Café Juanita)
Pomegranate Bistro
Redmond, 18005 NE 68th St.; 425.556.5972
Restaurant Zoë
Belltown, 2137 Second Ave.; 206.256.2060
Salty’s on Alki
West Seattle, 1936 Harbor Ave. SW; 206.937.1600
Salvadorean Bakery
White Center, 1719 SW Roxbury St.; 206.762.4064
SAM Taste Restaurant
Downtown, 1300 First Ave.; 206.903.5291
See’s Candies
Downtown, 1518 Fourth Ave.; 206.325.9100
Simply Desserts
Fremont, 3421 Fremont Ave. N; 206.633.2671
Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream Parlor
Maltby, 21106 86th Ave. SE; 360.668.8535
Spur Gastropub
Belltown, 113 Blanchard St.; 206.728.6706
Steelhead Diner
Pike Place Market, 95 Pine St.; 206.625.0129
Sugar Bakery and Café
First Hill, 1014 Madison St.; 206.749.4105
Sweet & Savory
Mount Baker, 1418 31st Ave. S; 206.325.3900
The Confectional
Pike Place Market, 1530 Pike Place; 206.282.4422

Theo Chocolate
Fremont, 3400 Phinney Ave. N; 206.632.5100

Tidbit Bistro
Capitol Hill, 2359 10th Ave. E; 206.323.0840
Tilth
Wallingford, 1411 N 45th St.; 206.633.0801
Trellis
Kirkland, 220 Kirkland Ave.; 425.284.5900
Trophy Cupcakes & Party
Wallingford, 1815 N 45th St., Suite 209; 206.632.7020
Tutta Bella
Columbia City, 4918 Rainier Ave. A, 206.721.350; Stone Way, 4411 Stone Way N, 206.633.3800; Westlake, 2200 Westlake, Suite 122, 206.624.4422
Volunteer Park Café & Marketplace
Capitol Hill, 1501 17th Ave. E; 206.328.3155
Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company
Select farmers’ markets, plus regional retail outlets; 360.321.6049
Whole Foods
Various locations, including
South Lake Union, 2210 Westlake Ave.; 206.621.9700
Yama at the Galleria
Bellevue, 550 106th Ave. NE; 425.453.4007