Before I get back into recipe schemes (which will be soon, I promise!), I have to share this amazing bakery with you. I heard so much about Extraordinary Desserts before visiting San Diego that I KNEW I had to drop by there on my next trip. It did not disappoint! In fact, I believe I can pinpoint my lunch at Extraordinary as the turning point of my weekend - the point at which it turned for the better, that is!
"Lunch" is a term I'm using loosely here to mean "food I ate at some point between my first food of the day and later food of the day," since I spent the weekend staying up until 4 or 5 am each night, getting up at 10 or 11 am each morning, and eating as I got hungry. This is life as a blues dancer! Dancing is the other hobby I do by night, but clearly it is not incompatible with being a food lover.
So lunch last Saturday was a caramelized chocolate bun and a Linzer danish - such a happy lunch. I shared both with my brother, and we couldn't even finish the two between us; lunch leftovers happily became pre-dance dessert that night.
All of the items in the dessert displays at Extraordinary were visually stunning. I've heard them called masterpieces by some of my friends, and I absolutely agree - each one is beautifully composed, with well-placed fresh flowers and gold leaf. Just as importantly, the tastes and textures were pleasing and unique.
The caramelized chocolate bun intrigued me with its name, but I really had no idea what to expect from it. After removing its rose petal hat (which I suppose you could eat) from a head of ganache and chocolate curls, we delved in to discover that the bun of puff pastry encompassed a mass of melted chocolate which was caramelized on its surface. I'm guessing it was touched with a tad of Grand Marnier, since it had a little orange tinge to the flavor. The process of eating it involved attempting to get a taste of each part of the bun in each bite (ganache, chocolate curl, puff pastry, and caramelized chocolate). I do not know HOW they caramelized the inner chocolate, but I loved the results. That chocolate solidified by the time we finished the bun later, but it was still quite tasty.
The Linzer danish was my bro's choice; I wouldn't have picked it myself, but I actually enjoyed it a lot. The bottom pastry layer was a little too thick for our plastic forks (nicely provided at the checkout counter), but it had nice consistency, and the altogether effect of pastry with raspberry jam and thick icing ribbons was really great. A simple pastry, but I didn't want to stop eating it!
We also got a taste of this Apple Alscasienne that we got for our hosts for the weekend, and it was good even though it was served cold the following day.
Next time, gotta try the cakes; they're more expensive than our choices this time (about $5 apiece) but are larger and look exquisite. I've also heard that the savory menu is very worthwhile, particularly the paninis, so I need to plan to be more hungry and more ready to take a nap. Thanks to all the friends who tipped me off to this gem!