Walter Mencken 11:31 a.m., Feb. 1
Zen and Pastry: Extraordinary Desserts
I was out and about early in the morning, a rarity for me, and stopped into Extraordinary Desserts at 1430 Union Street in Little Italy (between Ash and Beech) for breakfast. I love the sleek, Asian/industrial look and serene early morning vibe.
The kitchen doesn't open until 11 am, so we were limited to beverages and anything in the dessert displays. The only problem this presented was which of the dozens of sweets to choose. John picked the Blackberry Apple Crumble coffee cake ($5.50) to go with his double cappuccino ($5.50) and I chose the Fresh Pineapple Danish ($4.95) with my double Americano ($5). My Americano was, to my taste, on the weak side, too much hot water had been added. I don't know, for $5, it should be a proper Americano. But the stars of the show here are the pastries. They are beautifully made, and adorned with flower petals, gold leaf, ferns, and other landscaping. Quite girly. You know how disappointing it is when you bite into a beautifully decorated sweet and you find it's all show - the pastry is oily, or the cake is dry - that will not happen here.
My danish had caramelized slices of fresh pineapple and light, tasty pastry cream wrapped in a crispy puff pastry liberally showered with coarse, crunchy sugar. The pineapple was tangy under its amber crust, and the pastry cream was as smooth as silk.
John's Blackberry Apple Crumble was also excellent, if overdressed for the occasion. Buttery, tender cake, studded with tart blackberries and sweet apple chunks, topped with a liberal helping of sweet, nutty streusel. The cake was not too sweet, and balanced the sugary, toasty streusel well.
The pastries, in general, are generously sized, so it compensates a little for the high priced coffee.
1430 Union Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Mon - Thu: 8:30am - 11:00pm
Fri: 8:30am - Midnight
Sat: 10:00am - Midnight
Sun: 10:00am - 11:00pm
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