2929 Fifth Avenue, Park West
Feels like Aladdin's cave, and owner Karen Krasne is its genie. Her magic is her shamelessness. This lady goes all out, hitting your senses of smell, sight, taste, and guilt, all at once. Your eyes smack into fruit and glazed almonds sparkling like jewels in chocolate cakes as big as truck wheels. A giant wedge of dripping raspberry-chocolate cake ($5.95), rising from a lake of red raspberry and maroon strawberry juices. Great slurps of chocolate icing do a pirouette on top, surrounding a bed of raspberries and climaxing in a crown of real gold leaf. But, like a Mother Confessor, Krasne says it's "all right" to eat this stuff. "Oh, I splurge," she says. "But I say when you get the urge to splurge, do it well. If these people didn't come here, they would go to the 7-Eleven and buy a Butterfinger. Believe me, every now and then, if you do it right, sin's good." Cordon Bleutrained Krasne says she goes back to Paris each year to make sure what we're eating is the absolute latest sin. X-Desserts' other bonus: it's just a block from Balboa Park, where you can walk it off till you're ready for round two.