Dec 2013

The Year in Delicious: Top 10 Sweets of 2013

The Year in Delicious: Top 10 Sweets of 2013

2013 was most definitely The Year of the Doughnut on Gastronomy. Old school rings, new school thangs, and everything in between—I was an equal opportunity deep-fried dough lover these past 365 days. Thus, it should come as no surprise that nearly half of this year’s 10 best sweets were served up golden and glazed. Without further ado, here are the 10 best sweets that I ate this year…

Salt & Straw Ice Cream - Portland

Sea Salt Ice Cream with Caramel Ribbons from Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon

When salt and caramel collide, the result is usually more sweet than savory, but here, the scales tipped in favor of all that is good and salty. My first lick brought a rush of perfectly salted cream, followed by a deep and intense pull of caramel.

Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee - Costa Mesa

Huckleberry Doughnut from Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee in Costa Mesa, California

With bits of real berries embedded in the dough and glaze, the doughnut tasted genuinely fruity through and through. The cake doughnut, light as ever, really delivered. Sidecar’s signature flavor is astonishingly great.

Sitka & Spruce - Capitol Hill - Seattle

Buckwheat Canale with Lemon Curd from Sitka & Spruce in Seattle, Washington

Perfectly waxen and caramelized on the outside, with distinctly custardy innards. Mmm…

Weekend Breakfast - Good Girl Dinette - Highland Park

Coconut Oatmeal from Good Girl Dinette in Highland Park, California

Inspired by the flavors of che troi nuoc, Chef Diep Tran soaks and simmers steel cut oats in coconut milk and drizzles them with ginger maple syrup—seriously, what could be better?

Blue Star Donuts - Portland

Blueberry Bourbon Basil Doughnut from Blue Star Donuts in Portland, Oregon

From the spring in the dough to the spot-on glaze, this doughnut was beautiful to behold and sensational to eat.

Two Boroughs Larder - Charleston

Oatmeal Brown Sugar Pie with Caramel Ice Cream from Two Boroughs Larder in Charleston, South Carolina

The sticky, sweet pie was nice, really nice, but what made this dessert amazing was the quenelle of ice cream heaped on top. Thick, luscious, and tasting of sugar on the cusp of being burnt, the caramel ice cream was magical.

Brunch at The Spice Table - Downtown

The Kaya Doughnut from Spice Table in Los Angeles, California

The dough was plush enough to use as a pillow, while the pale green coconut and pandan glaze struck a sunny, tropical note. What really sealed the deal were the strategically sprinkled flecks of fleur de sel atop the doughnut; they proved to be the perfect foil to all the sweetness.

Yulin Comprehensive Market - Chengdu - Sichuan - China

Tang You Guo Zi  from Yulin Comprehensive Market in Chengdu, China

These warm doughnut balls, slicked with caramel, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and speared through with a skewer, were wonderfully crisp on the outside and airy and glutinous on the inside. I loved how the caramel coating teetered on a very fine line between sweet and burnt.

Bakeshop - Portland

Figgy Buckwheat Scone from Bakeshop in Portland, Oregon

The swirl of fig butter coupled with the nutty buckwheat was nothing short of state of the art.

The Hart & The Hunter - Los Angeles

Lemon Ice Box Pie from Hart & The Hunter in Los Angeles

Pastry Chef Sarah Lange’s take on a classic southern dessert pairs a lemony semifreddo with a buttery, crumbly graham cracker crust. A lightly sweetened whipped meringue comes piled high and is blow-torched to order, offering the perfect finishing touch. Cool, light, smooth, and tangy.


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4 thoughts on “The Year in Delicious: Top 10 Sweets of 2013

  1. I love reading your Year in Delicious every year. And now I must visit Portland next year. I’ve been wanting to for a while, but after this list, I need to make it happen next year.

  2. The Astronomer’s Top 10 Sweets:

    – Buttermilk Sorbet, Tasting Kitchen, Venice
    – Persimmon Pudding, White Chocolate, and Huitlacoche, Ink, West Hollywood
    – Cardamom Ice Cream with Brown Butter Mousse and Hazelnuts, Aska, New York City
    – Noodle Kugel, Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, San Francisco
    – Cardamom Cake with Spiced Cream and Roasted Pears, Beachwood Cafe, Los Angeles
    – Famous Donuts, Dahlia Bakery, Seattle
    – Handpies, Good Girl Dinette, Highland Park
    – French Toast Stuffed with Ricotta and Topped with Pears and Nuts, MB Post, Manhattan Beach
    – Cornbread and Thyme Doughnut, Sidecar Doughnuts, Costa Mesa
    – Huckleberry Doughnut, Sidecar Doughnuts, Costa Mesa

  3. That photo of the lemon ice box pie is my favorite you took this year – it’s so beautiful! I live so close to H&H that it’s a shame I haven’t had it yet! Need to get on that as soon as I’m done torturing myself with no sweets for January. Yes, I’m crazy.

  4. Sooo psyched to be listed amongst some of my heroes in the biz! Cannot wait to visit Bakeshop in Portland and hopefully meet Kim Boyce. She has influenced so many heavy hitters in LA. And Diana, get your ass to the restaurant on February 1!

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