Every crust has its own aesthetic.
1608 India Street #104, San Diego
When I hear the words Little Italy and dessert, I think of gelato or tiramisu. After my first visit to iDessert, I don’t know what to think. The high-concept dessert spot is the brainchild of French pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury, architect of the world’s largest chocolate fountain.
iPads give you a chance to mull over your custom dessert recipe.
The name reflects a modern era ordering system — specifically, a row of iPads loaded with a custom app allowing great flexibility in designing a dessert the likes of which you’ve never seen: a meringue or chocolate shell encapsulating a bed of cake and cream topped by gelato or sorbet, filled with a mixture of candied fruit, nuts, and/or candy.
You get a variety of options for each of the seven ingredients comprising the thing: 20 different shells ranging from fruity to nutty, at least eight kinds of ice cream, and five cakes, including a gluten-free option. You’ll find plenty of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and coffee flavors. Fully loaded, it’ll cost about eight or nine bucks. For an extra $1.50, you get it in a Vegas Bowl, outfitted with dry ice so your dessert comes with a built-in smoke machine.
I like to think I can sum up most pictures in less than a thousand words, but my hubris does not extend to this creation — you must check the photos to believe it. While you mostly just see that outer shell, each of these 20 or so crusts features different aesthetic flourishes, whether crumbs, sprinkles, or hard candies.
Squeeze the ball to unleash some sweet sauce, then crack the whole thing open with the chisel-ended spoon.
The sauce is contained in a plastic eyedropper-like device that slides into a hole at the top of the shell, allowing you the option to squeeze the sweet goo inside or drizzle it around the outside. Either way, a hard plastic spoon with a chisel for a handle must be used to crack open the shell to get at the assortment of fillings.
My rookie mistake designing a dessert was trying not to repeat any flavors. So I wound up with a pistachio shell, chocolate cake, vanilla cream, strawberry sorbet, blueberry compote, and caramel sauce.
Dry ice fuels the showiness of the Vegas Bowl.
The result was the sweetest, most schizophrenic dessert I’ve eaten in years. I’m not complaining, but had I to do it over I would more carefully craft along the lines of chocolate peanut butter caramel, or strawberry vanilla nut, or some other complementary blend of two or three base flavors, max.
Where I can complain is the amount of plastic involved. Between the serving dish, plastic dripper, spoon, and Vegas bowl shell, this gaudy dessert is not eco-kind. Still, as a date location or family treat, the novelty of iDessert goes a long way in reconciling the goofiness of its name.