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Ling

Favourite Seattle bakery

110 posts in this topic

Fran's lemon ice cream may be the best I've ever tasted, and I'm completely obsessed in the quest for an intense, full-flavored lemon ice cream with no casein particles.  It's outrageously good.

Anyone headed to the Dahlia Bakery should *ABSOLUTELY* get one of the chocolate-butter-pecan cookies.  I've become an addict.  They're small, intense, and make me crave another almost instantly.

Odd this should come up;  I've had a hankering for something I'm not sure I've eaten before;  I have this vision....of a small brioche, filled with vanilla bean custard, topped with confectioner's sugar....anyone seen anything like that?

Eric

Fresh Flours has something like that - just sub red bean custard! It's tasty, but foreign for me. It might have crystal sugar on top, I forget.

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On my first Seattle sugar binge, I bought a small box of these at Pike's Place; in you are at the market and are pressed for time and don't think you'll make it to Fran's, you can find these chocolates (and their less thrilling cousins, the milk chocolate caramels with sea salt) at the marketplace/deli which is a couple of doors down from the Starship flagship store in Pike's Place.

Thanks for the tip!

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You can also find Fran's chocolates at Whole Foods in the Udistrict, and Uwajimaya in the International District. I have to say, I don't feel Dilletante's chocolates are up to the quality level of Fran's (disclaimer: I used to work for Fran's, but I also used to work with people who left Dilletante's for Fran's). One thing that is worth trying at the Dillentante Cafe on Broadway is the Coupe Caramel - a caramel sundae that is out-of-this-world! But I prefer Fran's cakes over theirs. Try the tas de noix if you are going to the Fran's store in Uvillage, and the stuffed figs.

I have to second Dahlia bakery - the scones, coconut cream pie and the milk chocolate caramel ice cream are incredible! I'm not fond of the croissants, though - Cafe Besalu, or the excellent Columbia City Bakery folks do them much better. Too bad CC Bakery isn't open yet - they would be well worth any drive, as their pastries and breads are fantastic! Best challah in town. Enjoy your stay, and please do report back on your trip!

Edited to add - I hear Fiori Chocolates, carried by Motore Espresso, are the new up and coming chocolates to eat here in Seattle. They are made by a certified master chocolatier (certied in your Vancouver, no less!) fresh daily. Motore is on Stewart, I believe, which is in the downtown area.


Edited by skyflyer3 (log)

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I have to say, I don't feel Dilletante's chocolates are up to the quality level of Fran's

Totally agree. I was hoping someone else would mention it. :smile:


"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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Thanks for all the recommendations! Here are the pictures and some comments. Enjoy!

This is what I had yesterday:

From Dahlia Bakery

dahlia.jpg

First bite!!

dahliafirstbite.jpg

-chocolate eclair, pastry cream flecked with vanilla seeds

dahliaeclair.jpg

dahliaeclaircream.jpg

-a slice of their famous coconut cream pie (what an amazing crust! Buttery and incredibly flaky!)

dahliapieslice.jpg

(the whole pie)

coconutcreampie.jpg

(they also sell "bites" of the pie...2-3 bite servings)

coconutcreampie2.jpg

-their cheesecake (didn't enjoy this so much...I think they use some cinnamon and a lot of nutmeg)

dahliacheesecake.jpg

-the most perfect lemon tart with Italian meringue

dahlialemontart.jpg

-a croissant (much better than anything we can get in Vancouver, unfortunately)

dahliacroissant.jpg

-a fruit tart with pastry cream, sponge cake and strawberry jam in a tart crust (glazed sliced plum, blueberries, and strawberry)

dahliafruittart.jpg

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. :wink:

Inside pics of Dahlia:

dahlia4.jpg

dahlia3.jpg

dahlia2.jpg

dahlia1.jpg

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. :wub: 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. :smile: ) 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 :wub:

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... :wacko: 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. :raz: 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:

macrina.jpg

- a very big apricot, espresso, and chocolate cookie

macrinacookieandme.jpg

(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.)

Inside Macrina:

macrinainside2.jpg

macrinainside3.jpg

From the Cheesecake Factory (my friend wanted to go...so, you know... :wink: )

cheesecakefactory.jpg

-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..... :rolleyes: And over $7 US for this atrocity!

cheesecake.jpg

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 meat plate was a nice way to try their salumi. :smile: (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 :laugh: )


Edited by Ling (log)

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I have to say, I don't feel Dilletante's chocolates are up to the quality level of Fran's

Totally agree. I was hoping someone else would mention it. :smile:

Oh right, I forgot to mention that I also tried Dilletante's at a coffee shop in West Lake mall. The girl behind the counter gave me some samples. They were OK.


Edited by Ling (log)

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I have to second Dahlia bakery - the scones, coconut cream pie and the milk chocolate caramel ice cream are incredible!  I'm not fond of the croissants, though - Cafe Besalu, or the excellent Columbia City Bakery folks do them much better. 

How are the croissants at Cafe Besalu different? I thought the croissant from Dahlia was good, but fully intend on going to Cafe Besalu on my next Seattle trip. :smile:

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I have to second Dahlia bakery - the scones, coconut cream pie and the milk chocolate caramel ice cream are incredible!  I'm not fond of the croissants, though - Cafe Besalu, or the excellent Columbia City Bakery folks do them much better. 

How are the croissants at Cafe Besalu different? I thought the croissant from Dahlia was good, but fully intend on going to Cafe Besalu on my next Seattle trip. :smile:

They are light and crispy/flaky and ohh so buttery. IMO, I'm actually sorta surprised you thought the croissants at Dahlia were better than Senses.. I guess I need to try a Dahlia croissant! I always go for the bread when I'm there. The monthly breads are usually quite good, especially the corn bread which is the August special, sometimes spilling into September. The olive ciabatta is also great.

IMHO, Besalu has the best croissants in Seattle. Be sure to go there next time, and get a ginger biscuit also. Sorry I didn't get to meet you Ling- too many things going on- hopefully NEXT time! (and hopefully next time you'll stay longer!)


Edited by malarkey (log)

Born Free, Now Expensive

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Both the croissants frm Sen5es and Dahlia are buttery and flaky, but the ones at Dahlia are a deeper brown (which I really like). I hope I get to meet you next time I'm down! There's so much that I still want to try in Seattle--Le Pichet has been on my list for awhile, and I didn't get to spend nearly enough time at Pike Market!

There were a number of bakeries at Pike Market with delicious-looking baked goods. How is Three Girls Bakery? The things at a Polish (?) bakery looked good too...they had a lot of savoury items in the window.

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I'm quite fond of Piroshky Piroshky, which is a Russian bakery with some American influences (namely, the presence of cheddar cheese, and perhaps the size of their pastries). Another Russian bakery hidden away behind the Sisters German immigrant-run sandwich/salad spot seems to be a little less buttery, but has its charms.

I have taken advantage of rustic loaves from Three Girls from time to time; things there range from adequate to very good.

Both the croissants frm Sen5es and Dahlia are buttery and flaky, but the ones at Dahlia are a deeper brown (which I really like). I hope I get to meet you next time I'm down! There's so much that I still want to try in Seattle--Le Pichet has been on my list for awhile, and I didn't get to spend nearly enough time at Pike Market!

There were a number of bakeries at Pike Market with delicious-looking baked goods. How is Three Girls Bakery? The things at a Polish (?) bakery looked good too...they had a lot of savoury items in the window.


Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I have to second Dahlia bakery - the scones, coconut cream pie and the milk chocolate caramel ice cream are incredible!  I'm not fond of the croissants, though - Cafe Besalu, or the excellent Columbia City Bakery folks do them much better. 

How are the croissants at Cafe Besalu different? I thought the croissant from Dahlia was good, but fully intend on going to Cafe Besalu on my next Seattle trip. :smile:

They are light and crispy/flaky and ohh so buttery. IMO, I'm actually sorta surprised you thought the croissants at Dahlia were better than Senses.. I guess I need to try a Dahlia croissant! I always go for the bread when I'm there. The monthly breads are usually quite good, especially the corn bread which is the August special, sometimes spilling into September. The olive ciabatta is also great.

IMHO, Besalu has the best croissants in Seattle. Be sure to go there next time, and get a ginger biscuit also. Sorry I didn't get to meet you Ling- too many things going on- hopefully NEXT time! (and hopefully next time you'll stay longer!)

Yeah, I think the croissants from Dahlia are a little dry when I've tried them. Besalu does them very flaky and light - they are a standard when it comes to croissants. But Columbia City Bakery has flavor and flakiness, which is why I prefer theirs over Besalu's. They are very close to the ones made by Ken's Artisan Bakery in Portland, which are my favorite.

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The sweet baked goods at Piroshky Piroshky are along the lines of cinnamon rolls-they are yeasted doughs with things like apples and cinnamon. Not bad, but not in the league of Dahlia. The savory items are good for a cheap lunch.

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Completely forgot to add Gelatiamo (at 3rd and Union) to the list. They have very Italian type pastry, including cream filled croissant (okay, cornetto?). A lot is hit and miss, but the gelato is good and the cookies are very good most of the time.

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I wouldn't claim that they are serving haute cuisine or even particularly elegant breads, but based on my experiences in Vancouver, I'd say it would be hard to find an equivalent there. The Russian immigration wave in the late 80s-90s that hit Bellevue and Seattle had a slightly lighter impact on Vancouver.

This place is about comfort... a little borscht and sour cream, and a nice savory bun...

The sweet baked goods at Piroshky Piroshky are along the lines of cinnamon rolls-they are yeasted doughs with things like apples and cinnamon. Not bad, but not in the league of Dahlia. The savory items are good for a cheap lunch.


Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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The recipe for the Dahlia triple coconut cream pie is commonly available on the Net; do a Google for 'Tom Douglas triple coconut cream pie recipe'. The pie crust is a pretty typical crust recipe, but includes 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut. The toasted coconut chips and white chocolate shavings over the top sets the pie off nicely.


Edited by MGLloyd (log)

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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I'll have to try some of these places when I'm there. I'm surprised to hear that Fran's is better than Dilletante. I haven't had Fran's for years but wasn't that impressed. Have they changed, or is it just me?

You know...if you Seattleites just let us here in Montana take a mere 10% of your good bakeries and stores, I'm sure you wouldn't miss them.

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The recipe for the Dahlia triple coconut cream pie is commonly available on the Net; do a Google for 'Tom Douglas triple coconut cream pie recipe'.  The pie crust is a pretty typical crust recipe, but includes 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut.  The toasted coconut chips and white chocolate shavings over the top sets the pie off nicely.

I searched quite a few sites for the pie crust recipe...all I came across are the coconut filling recipes for the Dahlia coconut pie. Maybe I should just add 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut to my pie crust recipe? (I use lard.)


Edited by Ling (log)

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The main thing I like about Fran's is the intensity of the chocolate, and the relatively light touch with sugar. The only chocolate that consistently wows me more than Fran's is La Maison du Chocolat, which requires mail order or a trip to San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, or Paris to taste.

A lot of things go into the chocolate experience.... they need to come up to room temperature to have ideal taste, and the lower-sugar chocolates have a very short shelf life, so they generally need to be stored chilled but not frozen.

Dillettante tempers their chocolate a bit differently and uses a somewhat heavier hand with the sugar, so I don't find them quite as exciting. That being said, I do enjoy the bittersweet version of their Ephemere truffle sauce, and a few of their cakes are quite nice. I used to be a bit addicted to one of their varieties of chocolate covered espresso beans (a rarity for me since I find most companies' interpretations of them less than exciting).

I'll have to try some of these places when I'm there.  I'm surprised to hear that Fran's is better than Dilletante.  I haven't had Fran's for years but wasn't that impressed.  Have they changed, or is it just me?

You know...if you Seattleites just let us here in Montana take a mere 10% of your good bakeries and stores, I'm sure you wouldn't miss them.


Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Dilettante is merely adequate compared to Fran's. Fran's chocolates are much more refined and of higher quality. I can't remember what kind of chocolate Dilettante is using, but I remember that it wasn't anything great. Also, the way they both run their businesses has influenced my opinion. That restaurant on Broadway is a trainwreck.


Edited by MsRamsey (log)

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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I searched quite a few sites for the pie crust recipe...all I came across are the coconut filling recipes for the Dahlia coconut pie. Maybe I should just add 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut to my pie crust recipe? (I use lard.)

Here is the ingredients list for the coconut pie shell. As you can see, a pretty typical pie crust recipe that uses all butter, 1/2 cup coconut and two tsp. sugar. When I make this pie, I use my own favorite pie crust recipe (the one that has some white vinegar in it) and merely add the coconut to it. I like my crust better.

1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut

into 1/2-inch dice

2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/3 cup ice water, or more as needed


Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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I've mostly just bought the seconds at Dilletante. They taste just as good and the price is better. I'll make a point of comparing Frans and Dilletante when I go there. I do like lower sugar, more chocolately chocolates.

I do enjoy the bittersweet version of their Ephemere truffle sauce

I was going to mention that. It's really hard to beat this stuff. I just finished the bottle I bought in April (showing a lot of restraint) so I'll need to pick up some more.

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