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Friday, March 2, 2012

Travel Adventure: San Francisco Sweets

In San Francisco, I indulged in many sweet treats.
So many ice creams and cakes and pastries, I did eat.
Here I present some tasty morsels I loved.
So you, too, may experience what I think the world of.

With The Lorax opening, I couldn't resist
Rhyming some rhymes as I reminisced. :)

1737 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(Inside the Nihonmachi Mall Shopping Center)
Andersen Bakery - Japantown
There are several Andersen Bakeries located throughout San Francisco, but I stopped by this location to grab a breakfast snack while shopping in Japantown. 
Andersen bakery - Morning Bun
I opted for the Morning Bun because it looked small and would tide me over until I met up with N to have lunch at Ike's Place. It was lightly sweet and cinnamony. I've never had a morning bun before, but this one seemed alright.

4023 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
Philz Coffee - Mint Mojito Iced Coffee
After N and I finished our Ike's sandwiches, we met up with my Lil B at Philz Coffee. I'm not a big coffee drinker, but N recommended the Mint Mojito Iced Coffee saying it was pretty famous. I usually don't like fresh mint (except in a cocktail or with Vietnamese food), but the mint wasn't overpowering in the coffee. I liked how this coffee was really light, not like other places that can drown their coffees in sugar and flavored syrup. If you are a coffee aficionado, you should definitely check this place out. 

3692 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Bi-Rite Creamery
After Philz, we went to Bi-Rite to grab some ice cream. This place is famous for its gourmet ice cream flavors that rotate daily.
Bi-Rite Creamery Flavors
Honey Lavender... Basil... Peach Ginger... You'd never see your local Baskin Robbins with these flavors!
Bi-Rite Creamery Prices
Bi-Rite Creamery - Salted Caramel (Kid Size) $2.25
I sampled the Honey Lavender and found it too floral so I ended up choosing the Salted Caramel, which is one of their most popular flavors. It was rich and creamy, but I didn't like the burnt caramel taste. I'd still go back to try some of their other exotic flavors though.

720 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94108
Eastern Bakery - Coffee Crunch Cake
Located in Chinatown, Eastern Bakery is known for (interestingly enough) their Coffee Crunch Cake. They have ample Chinese pastries and mooncakes, but many people come here for their cake, which I found to be decidedly not Chinese. (Usually, Chinese cakes and pastries aren't overly sweet like Western desserts.)
Eastern Bakery - Coffee Crunch Cake $3.00
I bought a single slice for $3. The outside is covered with crushed toffee chunks...
Eastern Bakery - Coffee Crunch Cake
... while the inside has soft sponge cake and coffee cream. I must say, the first few bites were absolutely heaven! It was so moist and decadent! The toffee provided a wonderful contrast to the soft cake! About half way through though, I started feeling the diabetic shock sinking in and I reached the point of diminishing return. I tried to push through and finish my slice, but I couldn't do it! I ended up leaving about 3 bites worth on the plate. This giant cake slice was made for splitting! I highly recommend sharing with someone if you want to try it for yourself!
Eastern Bakery - Smackles (Cow Ear Cookies)
The other reason I came to Eastern Bakery was to buy a bag of Smackles, a brand of "cow ear cookies" (direct translation from Chinese). They call them "cow ears" because the swirl resembles a cow's ear. You can see the faint remnants of a whole swirled cookie under the "S" of "Smackles." They're a savory type of cookie that my parents (particularly my dad) love so I bought a bag home for them. As you can see, within 2 days of opening the bag, the cookies were almost completely gone! I didn't even get a chance to take a picture! I have to say, these were some of the best "cow ear cookies" I've ever had! Many other brands make their cookies too thick or too oily, but Smackles were thin and crisp and not oily at all. I'd buy these again next time.

1029 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
Golden Gate Bakery
I love egg tarts ("dan tat" in Chinese)! I've tried them from so many dim sum places and bakeries that I consider myself an egg tart connoisseur. While I was in Chinatown, I was hoping I could stop by Golden Gate Bakery to try their famous egg tarts, but sadly they were on vacation! Noooooooooo~ D: I guess I'll have to wait until next time.

4226 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611
Fentons Creamery
If you've seen UP, you've heard of Fentons. Because the Pixar employees work near it and hold it so dear to their hearts, they featured it in a scene with Carl, Russel, and Dug eating ice cream.
Fentons Creamery - Dug from UP!
I love how Fentons included a plushie Dug in their shop! The inside really looks like a traditional, old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Brightly light with many smiling customers! :)
Fentons Creamery - Ice Cream Flavor Menu
Fentons serves old-fashioned American classics like burgers, sandwiches, and hot dogs, but we came to enjoy the ice cream.
Fentons Creamery - Strawberry Petite Ice Cream Dish
I ordered a Petite Ice Cream Dish with Strawberry ice cream. I wasn't expecting it to come with the orange cookies so they were a nice surprise. (Though, I really should've read the menu more carefully because it said it came with "crunchy cookies." Derp on my part! Haha!) Unfortunately, the cookies were stale and not crunchy at all. :( However, the ice cream itself (the most important part!) was really good. My favorite ice cream flavor is strawberry and Fentons' was creamy and had great strawberry flavor.
Fentons Creamery - Pistachio Sundae
J ordered an Old-Fashioned Sundae with Pistachio ice cream. I took a bite and liked how their ice cream was loaded with lots of pistachios. After a while, J got tired of eating all the nuts, but I thought it was good.

2948 College Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705
And finally, I saved the best for last! ICI! The owner of Ici used to be a pastry chef at Chez Panisse, a former Michelin star restaurant. Like Bi-Rite Creamery, Ici offers unique gourmet ice cream flavors that change daily.
Ici - Flavor Menu for the Day
The line here can be pretty crazy if you come during peak hours.
Ici - Long Line
When you get closer to the front, they have workers offering to get you samples of their flavors. Each person is allowed 2-3 samples.
We all ended up selecting different flavors. I chose the Strawberry-Balsamic Caramel Swirl in a waffle cone. I thought this was really good. The balsamic caramel had a strong flavor, but not overpowering. I highly recommend trying the waffle cone at least once. They make them in house! Light, crunchy, with a chocolate bottom... very very good! During another visit, I ordered the Brown Sugar-Salted Pecan in a waffle cone and also really enjoyed that. If you get the chance, definitely check this place out!

Ahh... writing this post makes me miss many of these sweets I got to have. In a way, it's a good thing there aren't any places like these in LA. My waistline wouldn't be too happy especially with summer around the corner! But my tummy and taste-buds do miss the occasional indulgence. As you can see, my trip to SF involved a lot of ice cream. It actually inspired me to buy my own ice cream maker so I may be posting some ice creams in the near future. :) 

Hopefully, you found some helpful bits
Of information that your taste befits.
In San Francisco, the land of yummy,
There's always something to fill your tummy!


Anonymous said...

Good insights about the place,I'll be sure to include this in my bucket list of must visit place when i get on with my solo vacations.

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