Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekend Treats

We stopped by Dahlia Bakery on our way back from the Sculpture Park. Actually, I stopped because I really wanted to go on the way, but we wanted to make sure we got lots of good time at the park, and we ended up meeting a photographer and Sam might be in the New York Times because he is so very cute ... anyway, we went to the bakery on the way back. This was my first time and the place is eensy-weensy - you definitely cannot swing a cat in there. Since I write Yelp! reviews I am almost always in that critical frame of mind from the second I walk in to, well, anywhere. Some people would say that's a bad thing, or perhaps find it tiring if I am openly in critique mode. I generally keep things to myself until I sit down to Yelp!. I bring this up because, from the moment I walked into DB, my critique motor was firing on all cylinders: (1) So small that the two hefty people waiting for their orders were taking up, no joke, half the space, such that I couldn't get a look at all the pretty items on display. I hate getting to the counter when I haven't seen everything - how can I order when I'm not fully informed? (2) The gal asked if I wanted our order on a plate. A plate? Where am I going to go with it? Out onto the street? Now, in fairness, there are a couple of tables outside, but it was freezing out and, hello! March in Seattle? 50 degrees is considered really warm. (3) Everything is really expensive. I get it. They do because they can, but do they have to? And then, since I didn't have enough cash for the enormous bill for three whole items, I used my credit card and saw a tip line in the printout. For what? For gingerly placing my eclair in the box? No. When did this tipping thing get so completely out of hand? Josh insisted that the line is valid because they make coffee drinks and this takes skill, thus, tip line. Fine.

So I'm kind of grumbling as I climb back into the car. But I'm also very excited about these items. There is quite a bit of hype about DB, and I'm always into checking out those sorts of establishments. Mostly because I hope I can excoriate them.
Holy moly! So, I love eclairs. Who doesn't, you ask? No, no. I mean love with a deep appreciation and understanding of what The Eclair is supposed to be. And let me tell you: this was The Best Eclair Ever. I don't say these things lightly. I know what I am putting out there into the world. You could see the flecks of vanilla in the cream center! The ganache was so perfect in the texture and flavor. Have you ever thought of texture with your eclair top? I hadn't really, but this eclair makes you realize that it matters, people. It matters. And don't even get me started on the crunch and lift in that pate a choux.

Double holy moly! I also love all desserts and pastries with pear. And, excuse my superlatives, this is the pear pastry that I will measure all pear pastries by until I die. The pastry, the pear, the pastry cream. I mean. I mean .... Perhaps you are thinking what I did about that caramel sauce, as in, What gives? Superfluous. Oh, no, friends. It elevates. Elevates. It becomes transcendent and sublime.
Sam even got something: a fig bar. Move over Sir Newton, there's a new fig sheriff in town. Yeah, that's a lot of f-f-f-fig. It was great. It was also $2! May I please draw your attention to the prettiest egg wash on the planet. The egg wash that all egg washes aspire to be. I am no stranger to egg washes, but I haphazardly slap mine on whatever I'm baking and think, Eh, who cares? Now I know why I should care. Elevate.

In the end, Dahlia Bakery got five stars from me. All my grumbling faded in a fog of perfect pastry.


  1. I just made eclairs this weekend for my mom's bday. They were probably not 5 star ones like this, but they were muy buenos. Just good ol' Betty Crocker cream puffs with sweetened whipping cream and lovely chocolate on the top. Next time we're up your way I know where you're taking us!

  2. I remember when you made those in Spain. I thought, No puede ser. Nobody just *makes* that stuff! I'm sure yours were at least 4.75. Oh, Dahlia is but one of several places that we would go! (The boys could all go to a park and we would hit the town.)