Wednesday, February 10, 2010

San Diego Treasure: Extraordinary Desserts

It's the week before Valentine's Day, and we are all about love at Red Letter Days. It's been on my mind a lot since my wedding anniversary is this week, too. And of course, I'm living in the land of amore!

Today, though, I've been thinking about one of San Diego's treasures, a place that I visited for every birthday and celebration, a place I wanted to take everyone who came in from out of town. If you've ever driven up Fifth Avenue in the evening and seen a long line of people winding out onto the sidewalk, you've driven right by the original location.

You know I couldn't be talking about anywhere but Extraordinary Desserts.

I'll always remember my first visit. It was late in the evening after a friend's birthday dinner when we got into line out on the sidewalk. As the line moved forward, we filed in past display cases full of amazing pastries decorated with fruit, flowers, and gold leaf. There was a happy hum in the air as we tried to pick out what we wanted, running up to check out the larger cases, then jumping back to our spots in line to ponder the phenomenal tea selection and the day's specials.

After placing our orders, we sat out on the patio, seemingly lit only by candles on the tables. Each table also had a sweet, tiny succulent plant in its center. As we waited for our lavish treats in the candlelight, surrounded by dozens of contented people, I realized I'd discovered a magical place.

Then the desserts arrived.

I know my friends ordered chocolate creations so rich that they could barely speak from happiness. Me? I had what it turned out I would order again every time it was available: passion fruit ricotta torte. (I need to pause a moment just to savor the memory.) That night it was a featured special, served with a tropical sorbet and sauce . . . guava, papaya . . .

On subsequent visits, I found out that Extraordinary Desserts is just as wonderful during the day. I like to check out all the wonderful little extras that are available, from jewelry and stationery to candles and coffee and tea accessories. A few years ago, I found a candle there that perfectly matched the scent of my mother's favorite, long-discontinued perfume. Gift score!

When Extraordinary Desserts opened its second location in Little Italy, another San Diego aesthetic took center stage. In contrast to the earthy, organic vibe near Balboa Park, the newer space is sleek and urbane. It offers a savory menu in addition to desserts and is a fantastic place to meet with friends right in the city.

Especially as I sit here now, all bundled up in boots and a wool sweater and skirt, floating between my wedding anniversary and Valentine's Day, I can't stop thinking about Extraordinary Desserts. It's a quintessential San Diego experience: world-class food with global influences served in a laid-back environment. Just take your pick between urban sophistication and classic SoCal with a refined Eastern influence.

So go! Savor your favorite cake, or try something new and spectacular. Take someone special and share the love. And make sure to tell us in the comments: What's your favorite scrumptious treat from Extraordinary Desserts?

1 comment:

Adrianne said...

though Karen K's desserts are awesome, don't miss the onion dip! And, only dive in w/ champagne - perfect compliment:)