Thanks for all the recommendations! Here are the pictures and some comments. Enjoy!
This is what I had yesterday:From Dahlia Bakery
-chocolate eclair, pastry cream flecked with vanilla seeds
-a slice of their famous coconut cream pie
(what an amazing crust! Buttery and incredibly flaky!)
(the whole pie)
(they also sell "bites" of the pie...2-3 bite servings)
(didn't enjoy this so much...I think they use some cinnamon and a lot of nutmeg)
-the most perfect lemon tart
with Italian meringue
(much better than anything we can get in Vancouver, unfortunately)
-a fruit tart
with pastry cream, sponge cake and strawberry jam in a tart crust (glazed sliced plum, blueberries, and strawberry)
Dahlia Bakery was definitely the highlight of my day. I have pictures of all their pastries, and closeups of each of the pastries I ate and listed above. I had all my pastries laid out in front of me on the table outside the bakery. I bet everyone who walked by and stared thought I was a glutton but I didn't care.
Inside pics of Dahlia:
The first thing I tasted was the croissant. My benchmark for comparison is the croissant from Sen5es in Vancouver, which I like very much. I have to say though that the ones they make at Dahlia are even flakier (pretty amazing, especially considering I bought the croissant around 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon--do they bake their croissants throughout the day?)
I admit I can be quite picky when it comes to desserts in general--the ones I buy from the better bakeries here in Vancouver are good, but I've never had something that really blew me away. I'm picky about the things I bake, and I'm picky with the desserts I get at restaurants. But the lemon tart with the Italian meringue--I think this is the best pastry I've ever eaten in my life!
The lemon curd had such a fresh tartness, and the pillow of burnished meringue was so thick, creamy, and provided just the right amount of sweetness to counteract the tangy curd.
The shortcrust was good too...but my heart was won over by the flakiest of the pie crust on that coconut cream pie. The only thing that could possibly make that lemon tart better, in my mind, is to have the curd and meringue on that pie crust.
The coconut cream pie was also very tasty. I'm not a huge fan of coconut though, so it wasn't my favourite...but I can imagine why so many people enjoy this pie. (I don't really enjoy the texture of coconut...but I still had to order this since it's a signature item and came so highly recommended by all of you.
) And that pie crust--I could just cry to think my pie crust pales so poorly in comparison! I've not tasted a better crust than the one on that coconut pie. It was thick, slightly sweet, crisp and browned all the way through
The fruit tart and the eclair were good. I preferred the eclair, but that's probably just b/c I generally find fruit tarts kind of boring. It was stuffed with the rich pastry cream and the choux pastry was so delicate. The fruit in the tart was very fresh, and I liked how there was sponge cake and a jam layer under the pastry cream.
My least favourite was the cheesecake--I didn't enjoy the nutmeg so much in this dessert. Aside from the nutmeg, it was like any other cheesecake I've made--similar density, similar level of sweetness. The crust was a bit soft, which I don't like. From Rose's...
-an 8 piece selection of chocolates, a milk chocolate square, and some chocolate-covered candied ginger (sorry, I ate these before I remembered to take a picture!)
My favourites were the Mexican one with cinnamon, the dark chocolate with sea salt, and the beet-flavoured chocolate. The beet brought a sweet earthiness to the chocolate. My least favourite was TAMARIND...I thought it would be interesting to see how the sourness played with the chocolate, but my palate was not happy with the combination... Other than that, the chocolates were good--shells had a nice snap to the tooth, and the chocolates had a long finish.
Rose prefers chocolates made from cocoa beans grown in Madagascar, with the undertones of fruit--just like me! I stayed in her store for about 15 minutes after they closed for the day, talking about chocolate and chocolate desserts. My friend thought it was super geeky. He bought a selection of the tamer chocolates for his gf...chocolate bourbon, chocolate caramel, chocolate marzipan, chocolate hazelnut, etc.
(I walked around Pike Market for at least 45 minutes asking everyone where I could find Fran's chocolates--I had forgotten where they were sold! The lady at the Information booth thought that perhaps Rose's carried Fran's chocolates, but Rose did not. So instead, I walked away with a selection of Rose's chocolates. I later found out that a few higher-end grocery stores sell Fran's...I'll get those chocolate caramels next time!)
From Macrina Bakery:
- a very big apricot, espresso, and chocolate cookie
(Unfortunately, I got there around 4:15pm and by then, there wasn't much left in the pastry case. There was a Budapest coffeecake, a tart with yogurt and berries, some cookies, brownies, and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes...I chose the cookie b/c the flavours sounded interesting. It was a good and chewy homestyle treat.)
From the Cheesecake Factory (my friend wanted to go...so, you know... )
-an extremely sweet slice of Toberlone cheesecake with a rosette of chocolate frosting that tastes like the stuff from the Betty Crocker jar *shudder* This was disgusting..... And over $7 US for this atrocity!
I had an amazing food-filled day in Seattle! (Lunch at Salumi--the porchetta lived up to the hype, definitely. Next time I'm in Salumi, I wouldn't hesitate to order another. Sizable sandwich stuffed with tender pork, onions, and green peppers. And I loved the bread after the porky juice seeps into it. The [i]meat plate
was a nice way to try their salumi.
(for pics, click here: porchetta and meat plate
Drinks and more food at Zig Zag's
later on in the evening rounded out our whirlwind eating extravaganza
Edited by Ling, 24 September 2005 - 10:05 PM.