In this Field Report, my co-worker Joe fills us in on the best bites in Seattle:
As a long time sugar junkie, it has been predestined that I would explore the dessert landscape of Seattle. In fifteen years of dining out, I have had the full range of experiences, from dismal servings that would have made Little Debbie blanch to the heavenly creations I will share with you.
Nothing compares to the experience of donuts at Dahlia Lounge . The airy puffs of pastry are cooked to order and brought to the table piping hot in a paper bag. After shaking them in sugar, the bag is opened and the aroma wafts around the table. They are served with mascarpone and a seasonal jelly for dipping. They are also a great conversation starter. Order them at the bar, and I guarantee you’ll have the attention of the person next to you. And if you are at the Lounge for lunch, pop around the corner to the Dahlia Bakery. Three things to not miss are the pain au chocolat topped with pistachios, the macaroons, and the butter-crème filled cookies. A little bit of heaven to take home.
Szmania at 3321 West McGraw in Magnolia is the crème de la crème of Seattle’s crème brulee. Their trio of mini brulee's are everything you could want, yummy rich eggy goodness in the custard, expertly torched sugar forming a fun-to-crack crust. The flavors change daily, so while the quality is always superb, the experience varies. There are some very unexpected, and unexpectedly good, flavors. I have a vague recollection of a violet flavored crème brulee, but there is a chance I am confusing that experience with the violet martini, which is a very different story.
For those of you looking for a “healthier” version of dessert—denial is a wonderful thing—Le Panier in the Market has a marvelous tarte au pomme. Beautifully presented with a hypnotic whirlpool of apples and an incredibly flakey crust, it fulfills the need for a slightly tart (pun intended) alternative.
Always remember, stressed is desserts spelled backwards.