christmas sweet treats because, you know, it's christmas
Oh the holidays! There is a nip in the air, lights are all around, everyone seems to be in a mostly joyous mood and there is food everywhere! Most of which is of the sweet variety, we all know I love me some sweets. When it is pies, cakes and donuts, what am I supposed to do? Not try it? I think this is where one of those emojis would go where it was laughing so hard it was crying or possibly rolling its eyes.
To be honest, there seems to be more on offer this year. Or maybe I'm just looking more for it. Either way it's there. Every place I run in to get a lunch bite seems to be doing some kind of holiday like treat, and I don't mean those color frosted sugar cookies, though I have seen a fair share of those. With all the choices around, I'd thought I would highlight a few I've had recently.
Don't know if I mentioned it but I've been working a new job and am no longer out in the hinterlands of Dogpatch, but smack dab in the city in the North Beach area. It is a bonus as it does offer more choices for lunch. One spot I've become a fan of is Brioche. It has been there for a bit and has lots of neighborhood fans. One day on my jaunt through, I noticed they had a mini pecan pie. Now for a Southerner, nothing says the holidays like a pecan pie! Sure, they can be around all year, but most folks start churning them out around Thanksgiving. I couldn't pass up the chance to try it, even plopping down the $5 for it.
It was pretty big and could just as easily be shared by two people, but, whatever. It had a lovely, buttery and flaky crust. Sometimes the filling on these pies can be tooth achingly sweet but this one wasn't. It can be hard to balance out the fact your are mixing two types of corn syrup AND brown sugar together to create a filling, but here it wasn't overly sweet tasting. It had a nice balance with some slightly salty pecans for both crunch and balance. That can also be another issue, not enough pecans. This one had more than enough. It was a nice and tasty afternoon treat. It would have been great with some egg nog but I can't do that without brandy and I was at work after all.
I'd been to Mr. Holme's Bakehouse in the Tenderloin some time ago. But it was late in the day and they didn't have much left. Fortunately for me, the landlord of the current building I work in decided to grace us with some donuts from there and since donuts are my weakness, I just dove right in. There were two options, first was a maple cream filled, but I just wasn't feeling that at the moment. The other was key lime cream filled and I was all over it. And after a few bites, the bits of sugar were all over me! Besides that, it was a really good donut. A yeasty like dough and a slightly tart and tangy filling that they did not skimp on made it very tasty. Like Johnny's Doughnuts tasty. There was enough filling to get some in EVERY bite. To me, that is the best parameter for judging a filled donut. Once it clears that hurdle, then comes the taste and this one has it in spades. It is sweet, but not too sweet. The filling was the perfect blend of smooth and tangy. Altogether, very nicely done. (I think they go for $3.50 at the store)
One random Sunday, I found myself hitting up a holiday market way out in the avenues near Golden Gate Park. It was full of crafty stuff, but light on the food offerings. I was starting to get a little hungry but the two food trucks there I'd already tried and wasn't interested in. I ended up wandering around a bit and into an Andronico's Market. It is kind of like a Trader Joe's meets a Whole Foods.
I wandered around the space taking in the offering when I passed by their bakery and zeroed in on the red velvet whoopie pie. Now it's possible this is something they do all the time, but I don't get here (ever) and red velvet screams holidays to me, so I'm just going to go with it. I ordered one up and took it to the register. Of course, I was a little surprised at the $5 price tag, I mean, it ain't that big. I was expecting something closer to like $3.50, yet I'd already touched it so I handed over my money and went on my way.
One thing I will give it props for off the top, the filling was cream cheese frosting and not some overly sweet buttercream crap, which is just yuck. It was also actual chocolate cake with red food coloring added, giving it the correct color and texture of a red velvet cake. Biting into it, it also had the right flavor of cake and frosting. It's hard to explain, but red velvet has a specific taste if done properly and my taste buds know it and even with my eyes closed I'd be able to tell if was red velvet, at least if it was done properly. The cake itself was slightly sticky on the outside and mostly moist. It was right on the edge though, like maybe that had been made in the morning and been in the case most of the day. Fortunately, they was just enough filling to help. Of course, I would have liked more, but for most folks it would be fine. I can't say I would out and out recommend this due to price and freshness, but it was decent enough that I did finish it. I mean I paid $5 for it! Not like I'm gonna throw it out.
All in all, not a bad dessert haul. And if you think that's all I've had so far this month, well, then you must be in a fruitcake haze. Which by the way, I've also had because if you every wonder who likes fruit cake, you've found 'em. I quite enjoy it. The more red and green cherries it has the better I like it. That's right, I'm a fan of the multi-colored fruit in it too. Judge all you want, I don't care. I'm just going to enjoy my December sugar haze and worry about the weight hangover in January, like everyone else. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Hanukkah, Solstice and whatever else will be serving me some sweet baked delights!