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Give me a dessert menu and I’ll skip over the inevitable death-by-molten-chocolate cake, the crème brulée, the sorbet—and definitely the cheese (although I always feel like I should want to eat cheese after dinner because then I’d be European or at least a legitimate food writer). I’ll toy with the idea of a fruit dessert or anything with caramel, but I’m truly loyal to nothing but coconut.

Some highlights in my life of coconut:

Sugar High

The fix is on at Sugar Cafe.

Sweet Treat

Tasty toffee tid-bits.

The lovely Mollie Lewis paid us the best kind of visit today—she came bearing sweet treats, and she came right before lunch when I’m at my snackiest.  Mollie is the mastermind behind “Matzel Toffee,” individual matzah crackers covered with toffee, dark chocolate and big chunks of almonds. Before you dismiss them (matzah kind of has a bad rap, I know) let me reassure you: This is one good snack.

Kitchen Sisters

Everything is covered in chocolate at Kika’s Treats, including honey cakes and homemade graham crackers.

I recently attended the open house for La Cocina, “a nonprofit shared use commercial kitchen and business incubator… founded to serve as a platform for low-income entrepreneurs launching or expanding their food business.” (Thank god for websites and their business mission statements.)

Shake 'n Bake

photography by Stefanie Michejda

Best Pastries of 2006: Boulangerie Bay Bread (, 2325 Pine St., 415-440-0356)

Though I love Tartine, their pastries can be overloaded with butter and sugar (if there is any such thing). Boulangerie gets its baked goods (like this fruit tart) just right: rich, flaky and exquisitely presented.

Hard Living

Every Christmas my mom bakes. A lot. This year, because we’re going to be in Mexico for the holiday, she “only” made a few things: makowiec, an Eastern European bread aswirl with raisins, almonds and poppy seeds; limpa, a Swedish molasses-based bread with anise; sweet potato refrigerator rolls (her new favorite thing; see for a recipe) and my personal favorite—persimmon pudding with hard (bourbon) sauce.

Let Them Eat...Cupcakes

One of the perks of being a food writer is getting free samples. Recently we got to try a few cupcakes that had just been photographed for Elizabeth Falkner’s upcoming cookbook, Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake (to be published in September 2007 by Ten Speed Press). The book will include an entire chapter on cupcakes.

The two we tried, pictured below, were decadent and delicious. My favorite part? The filling, which reminds me of eating Hostess cupcakes, only these are obviously much more refined.

Fruit and Cake

How many foods these days can truthfully claim to be traditional “Christmas” foods? Turkey—no. Turkey is Thanksgiving food re-used by unimaginative Americans a month later. Ham is very Easter, but more generally just a holiday food. Pumpkin pie, cookies, yams—all the things we eat at Christmas have associations with other holidays.
Face it: The one food that says “Christmas” and only “Christmas” is fruitcake. Which we all agree sucks. But not the lighter, airier, less sweet and less fruity Italian version of fruitcake: panettone.

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