Friday, March 25, 2011

San Francisco, CA - Miette's Patisserie; You cannot walk by Miette's showcase and not stop, little alone walk by without looking. Then of course since everything looks so good, you cannot purchase just one, I have to try at least two.

I tried the gingerbread cake with cheesecake buttercream and the second one was chocolate cake with coffee buttercream. They both were absolutely delicious with the gingerbread cake being my favorite. The chocolate cupcake was nice and moist, soft, and the frosting had a nice hint of coffee flavor. However, I think the buttercream could have had a stronger coffee experience. With that said, the cupcake could have also had a more chocolate flavor, the cupcake all around needed a more bolder flavor. I still enjoyed it though. The gingerbread cake was a totally different story and experience. It secured the fourth star in the rating. It had all the right qualities of a good cupcake: flavor, moisture, softness, texture, sweetness, spices, complimentary flavors, etc... The frosting was a wonderful match-up with the gingerbread spice. It had balance of flavor and boldness that it needed to wow you.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

San Francisco, CA; Acme Bread Company - Meandering around the Ferry Building, owner of Boccalone, suggested I try Acme Bread Company to put together the sandwiches I was attempting to assemble. I was very glad that he did suggest Acme. They had a selection right on the counter for you to see, smell, and compare to other baguettes and loaves.

I settled on the sourdough baguette that went perfectly with the fromage blanc from the creamery next door and sliced pork from Boccalone. It was wonderfully crispy on the outside giving it that nice sensation and sound of the crunch, while soft on the inside. A perfect baguette. I almost didn't even need to put anything on it, I just wanted the bread it was so delicious.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ferndale, MI - Treat Dreams; Finally a local creamery that specializes in unique flavors. You can head to TCBY or Dairy Queen for vanilla or chocolate, but when you want something good, something unique while delicious and flavors you probably never had before, you have to try Treat Dreams.

If you happen to be there on Fat Tuesday, they experimented with blueberry and raspberry paczki. They mentioned they made the filling, then made the batter mixed with the cream and then froze it. Surprising enough, it did taste like paczkis. It had just a small undertone flavor of it, not overwhelming.

You can try as many flavors as they have, but I had to stop before I couldn't eat my scoop. I tried the blueberry paczki, a pint went home with me, breakfast with coffee, salted caramel, and chicken and waffles. The breakfast with coffee was good, but I couldn't really pick out specific flavors on it. Salted caramel was fantastic. It did have a little trouble finishing my whole scoop because the salt can get a little over whelming. It's not a hint of salt, it's definitely there and you get the salty and sweet deliciousness together. Lastly, I didn't know what to expect for the Chicken and Waffles. It is prepared chicken broth, giving it a slight salty flavor in what seemed to be vanilla ice cream. The other nice addition is the soggy waffle pieces giving it texture and a nice addition to the ice cream.

I also tried their bumpy cupcake. It was smaller, but better than I expected. At first I was disappointed that the cupcake wasn't as large as other places, but the flavor made up for the missed expectations. The cake was very moist and the icy wasn't too sweet, letting you feel happy with the choice.


West Bloomfield, MI - Hong Hua; There are not many places where I can find traditional congee and after seeing it on the menu, I had to try the traditional dish. I have to remind you that have to get the menu off their website because I still haven't seen it in the restaurant.

Congee is a rice porridge, commonly eaten for breakfast. It taste just like a rice soup, not filled with tons of flavor, but it's very distinct and you can choose what type of meat in it. Since this was my first time having it, at the recommendation of the server, I had beef congee. It also contained some sliced scallions and very small vermicelli noodles, not much of it, just a little. I also tried scallop congee, which had a different, but similar flavor. The scallops were cooked in the congee so it was extremely soft and almost melted in your mouth. They're similar because the base flavor is practically the same, however the meat just gives it a little undertone flavor of what it is. So, mine had a slight beef flavor, while the other had a slight seafood taste.

Although my friend didn't like it, I enjoyed both. It definitely has a breakfast feel to it and could easily have it in the morning. I see why it's a breakfast meal.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

San Francisco, CA; Cowgirl Creamery - Going through the ferry building, I attempted to put together my own sandwiches with ingredients from different shops. The owner of Baccolone suggested a few places and the creamery was one of them.

I had the fromage blanc, which was recommended by an individual behind the counter. It was creamy, sour cream flavor, a delicate cheese spread and it went perfectly with freshly baked bread and veggies from the market.

They had so many different kinds of cheeses, I wanted to try them all. The only downside was that I couldn't purchase a few slices of different cheeses, I had to purchase by the block. It made the variety of purchasing limited, leading me to the fromage blanc. Since it was delicious, I'm not worried, but I wish I could have had more choices. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Royal Oak, MI - Al's Famous Deli; Al's comes across as a pretty standard Jewish deli. They have all the right items on the menu and in the showcase. Lets see: corned beef, check; Pastrami, check; chicken noodle soup, check; ah, matzo ball soup, check (now we're talking); beef tongue, check (you have my attention), lox, check (smoked salmon for those who don't know what lox is), and new dill pickles (not noodle pickles, if the person behind the counter says "noodle pickles?" you know you're not in a Jewish deli.

So, Al's has all that going for it. It also has Kreplach soup, but when I asked about it, it turns out they don't make it anymore. :( So, how does it stack up to a Jewish deli. I tried their corned beef on rye with coleslaw and russian dressing. Any staple for the deli. I asked for it to be grilled and they said no problem. That's a big plus certainly getting you close to four stars for it. However, the corned beef was more fatty that I usually like it. It had several pieces that were gelatinous, not so pleasant in the sandwich. Even though they did have new dill pickles, they were getting a little old and mushy for my taste.

With this, I would have given it three stars, but there is one thing they do that is near and dear to my heart, bumping it up, almost everything is bought and made locally. Starting from the corned beef, to the pickles (topors), to the chips, and then to the breads and cakes. I love supporting local business and it means even more when those business are supporting our local community. You get a star for that Al! Enjoy!
Ferndale, MI - Chazzano Coffee; Do you consider yourself a coffee expert? How about going to a coffee place that is owned by one? This is a coffee shop, probably borderline coffee snob.

Ask the owner/barista about what's bold, bitter, smooth, strong, dark, light, imported, or what ever you wish your coffee to be and he'll make that cup for you. If your going staight for a cup, it'll be french press.

How about where was the last coffee house you where in where they roasted their own beans? Want to ask about the process, he'll even show and explain it to you.

I would give it four stars, but the downside for me is, its only coffee. I mean only coffee, no scones or muffins or cookies or pastries or anything to mask or alter the flavor and experience of your cup of coffee. I would like something that compliments the flavor and I look to the barista for that guidance and vision. However, if you want to know about Bolivian or Ethiopian or any other coffee, stop in and start learning. Enjoy!