Dec 2010

The Year in Delicious: Top 10 Sweets of 2010

Year in Sweets 2010

No matter how stuffed I feel at the end of a meal, I’m always game for a dessert (or two). Heck, I’m down for a sweet treat at just about any hour of the day! Whether the dessert was Taiwanese, Spanish, or Belgian, I was an equal opportunity sugar fiend this year. Without further ado, here are the ten best sweets that I ate in 2010…

Class 302 - Rowland Heights

Shaved Snow from Class 302 in Los Angeles, CA

Shaved snow is a very distant cousin of Hawaiian shaved ice. Its unique ribbon-like texture is achieved by freezing huge chunks of flavored water and milk, and then shaving it using a special machine. The resulting sheets of snow are gloriously creamy and dissolve ever so quickly on the tongue. One of my favorite varieties pairs green tea snow with red beans, mochi, and condensed milk. The snow was perfectly balanced, not too sweet and not too bitter, and tasted even better with the array of toppings. I was fighting my friends for the limited number of sticky mochi balls.

Chocolateria San Gines - Madrid

Chocolate y Churros from San Gines in Madrid, Spain

The bittersweet brew was just as I had hoped—dark, warm, thick, and dreamy to sip and dip. The crisp and hot churros provided the perfect vehicle for delivering more richness down our gullets. The Astronomer and I polished off our mugs with ease.

Creme Caramel LA

Caramelized Bacon and Salted Caramel Bread Pudding from Crème Caramel LA in Los Angeles, CA

Based on appearance alone, I knew this was going to be crazy good. The pillowy tufts of brioche (from The Village Bakery & Cafe) were painted with a glossy caramel sheen, while the pieces of Cajun bacon (from Cast Iron Gourmet LA) were sliced nice and thick. Not to mention, the smells emanating from the little paper containers were completely intoxicating.

One forkful and I was totally blissed out—Ms. de la Cruz really hit this one out of the ballpark! Buttery, sweet, warm, salty, soft, and smoky, it was as if the bread pudding was calculated precisely to make me crumble to little pieces.

Shaky Alibi - Los Angeles

Liège Waffle with Speculoos from Shaky Alibi in Los Angeles, CA

The Liège waffle came smeared with a layer of crunchy Speculoos as suggested by our waiter. Served hot out of the iron, the waffle looked and smelled absolutely enticing. I bypassed the fork and knife, picked it straight up, and delivered it swiftly into my mouth. One bite and my eyeballs were rollin’ toward the back of my head. Its texture was perfectly dense, flaky, and caramelized, while the graham cracker spread was all sorts of wonderful. The crunch of pearl sugar was missing, but the glaze that it left behind more than made up for it.

Ludo Bites 6.0 at Max Restaurant - Sherman Oaks

Carrot Cake from Ludo Bites 6.0 in Los Angeles, CA

Chef Ludo Lefebvre blew us away with his warm carrot cake with coconut and Thai curry frosting, mango sorbet, and kaffir lime oil ($10). If my arteries didn’t mind too much, I would pour kaffir lime oil on everything that I ate.

Restaurante Arzak - San Sebastian

Dulce Lunático from Restaurante Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain

This dessert resembled the surface of the moon. The lunar terrain was made of a gray powder that was simultaneously sweet and salty, while its craters were filled with red wine. The caramel-encased meteors exploded with tart orange juice. A pineapple ice cream was served on the side.

The Menu: Manila Machine

Ube Cupcake with Coconut Frosting from The Manila Machine in Los Angeles, CA

It’s rare for a food truck to churn out memorable savories and sweets, but aboard The Manila Machine, both are accomplished like it ain’t no thang. Created by Nastassia Johnson, the ube cupcake is pretty much perfect. The eye-poppingly purple cupcake is as soft as can be, while the coconut frosting strikes a smooth tropical note—five bites of pure pleasure.

TAPAS 24 - BARCELONA

Xocolata from Tapas 24 in Barcelona, Spain

The three rich scoops of chocolate mousse were garnished with toasted bread, olive oil, and sea salt. The drizzle of olive oil added a delightful and unexpected element to the savory and sweet creation.

FROST DOUGHNUTS

Smokey Bacon Maple Bar from Frost Doughnuts in Mill Creek, WA

The doughnut that made me close my eyes and tilt my head in utter bliss was none other than the Smokey Bacon Maple Bar. A maple bar is pretty amazing on its own; add to it freshly fried bacon crumbles, and man oh man, this baby is a heart breaker. Heck, it’s breaking my heart at this very moment because there are 1,158 miles between us. Nickel Diner can’t compete.

PROVIDENCE 8-COURSE DESSERT TASTING

Kalamansi Gelee from Providence in Los Angeles, CA

For the second course of our eight course dessert tasting, Chef Adrian Vasquez sent out a kalamansi gelee floating in a soup of white chocolate and coconut milk with tiny tapioca balls. The fruity gelee was topped with a quenelle of litchi-shiso sorbet and coconut crumbles. Every refreshing spoonful captured the tropical flavors of Southeast Asia.

BONUS!

CV_1742

Photo by Steven Lam Photography

Lemon, Blackberry, and Passion Fruit Wedding Cake from Sarah Schreckengaust in Los Angeles, CA

Inspired by my wedding colors (yellow, white, and black), Sarah Schreckengaust designed a one-of-a-kind cake with alternating layers of lemon mousse with blackberry jam and passion fruit curd with passion fruit mousseline. A classic yellow cake served as the base, while an Italian meringue buttercream provided a smooth finish. My favorite touch was the homemade white chocolate fondant dots with a gradient effect—darker yellow at the bottom and lighter yellow toward the top. It was a beautiful, festive, and delicious cake in honor of one of the sweetest days of my life.

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12 thoughts on “The Year in Delicious: Top 10 Sweets of 2010

  1. Bacon bread pudding — who would have thunk it?

    Jonathan Gold perhaps?

    Either way, I see some dessert dates in our future. To, umm, compare notes. 😉

  2. Kalamansi ftw! Well tht churro looks like a winner too. No sore losers here. But u cant include desserts i gotta buy a plane ticket for. Bc its cruel n them fireigners aint paid their dues. They caint even tell u what states were tge og 13 colonies. Neither can i but lets nit get off track here. Usa desserts solomente senora si?!

  3. WOW! When I commented earlier about anticipating your top 10 desserts, I wasn’t jockeying for a spot! Thank you so much for including us in your awesome list! I swear the dancing bear and unicorn choir wasn’t from us. :). Happy New Year, Ms. Gastronomer!

  4. From the first time I saw the Sarah’s wedding cake, I knew she was on to something spectacular! Great choice for a Bonus award!

  5. Cathy thanks so much for including LudoBites!! So happy you loved the carrot cake. Have a happy & safe New Years and we will look forward to seeing you in 2011. 🙂
    Krissy & Ludo

  6. Here are The Astronomer’s Top 10 Sweets of 2010–the list has a few in common with The Gastronomer’s choices but is clearly skewed by my unreasonable obsession with fancy restaurant doughnuts:

    – Goat Cheese Donuts from Tiger Sushi in Beverly Hills
    – Dulce Lunatico from Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain
    – Sopa y Chocolate “Entre Viñedos” (warm liquid chocolate spheres swimming in a strawberry sauce with a scoop of basil sorbet) from Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain
    – Caramelized Bacon and Salted Caramel Bread Pudding from Creme Caramel LA
    – Caramel Souffle from Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papas in Los Angeles
    – Carrot Cake with Coconut and Thai Curry frosting, Mango Sorbet, and Kaffir Lime Oil from Ludo Bites 6.0 at Max in Sherman Oaks
    – Spherical “Cocktails” from Providence in Hollywood
    – Doughnuts with Rhubarb Jam and Vanilla Mascarpone from Dahlia Lounge in Seattle
    – Peach Melba with Blackberries, Faux Honeycomb, and Basil Ice Cream from Hungry Mother in Boston
    – Turkish Donuts in Cardamom Rose Syrup from Susan Feniger’s Street in West Hollywood

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