Seasonality Disorder Cure #2: Hawaiian Hangover Cake from Blue Stem


In SF, seasonality disorder is the intense confusion one feels knowing that it's summer despite San Francisco's week-long 55 degree temperature average. It's the effect on a person's brain that comes from eating a ripe peach while wearing a wool coat. If the duck soup I sugggested didn't make you feel better, try this on for size.

I finally made it to Blue Stem the other evening. It's the brand spanking shiny, two-floored, glass and light-filled new American brasserie that opened just a stone's throw from our Union Square office right on Market Street next to Amber India. The restaurant itself is a little corporate for my taste, but the food—which has a focus on steak—is solid. While I enjoyed my bavette steak and dug into my husband's chicken pot pie topped with a biscuit, I'm afraid all was overshadowed as the dessert menu arrived.

The consulting pastry chef at Blue Stem is James Ormsby. Some of you might remember him as the chef at the now-closed Jack Falstaff in its day. He was a name chef around SF for a long time and from what I know he went to work as a private chef. Well, I'm glad to say he's back helping out the folks at Blue Stem create a pretty delicious dessert program.

As good as everything on the menu sounded, my eye caught on a triple layer cake called the Hawaiian Hangover. It's made with chocolate cake that's alternated with a coconut-rum pudding which is also topped with brown sugar and coconut syrup. The cake is frosted with a light, fluffy coconut marshmallow meringue and sprinkled with toasted, crunchy bits of coconut. It's a ridiculously decadent cake on the brink of being obscene, but done with enough taste to be balanced and so moist it's totally soaked in flavor. I loved every bite of it. It was such a pleasure that I felt no guilt.

Can you see the sun starting to come out? Can you feel a lei of flowers around your neck? The sound of a ukulele, a warm Pacific breeze? I can, just writing about it. Sometimes we have to use food as escapism. It's definitely cheaper than a ticket to the islands.


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