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May 30, 2007 11:41 AM

Tucson: Dessert report

Just got back from our quarterly trip to Tucson, and did a dessert tour this time.

Crave Espresso (on E. Broadway) has 2 pastry chefs in house, and their pastries were excellent. The veggie quiche was soft and not overcooked (the best commercial quiche I've ever had); the blueberry scone was moist, flavorful, and tender (the best commercial scone I've ever had). I know I sound like a broken record, or an employee, but I'm not. I do make great pies, quiches, and scones, so I was duly impressed. Their iced toddy was terrific, and a technique I'll have to try to duplicate at home (72-hour-cold-steeped coffee). The service was friendly, too.

Something Sweet had a great variety of desserts, and we'd go more often if the curtains and tablecloths weren't so last century. The cherry pie was flaky, not too sweet, and crammed with cherries; the chocolate raspberry cake was a terrific chocoholic fix; the Boston Cream Pie was just okay (good flavor, but needed a crust to contribute texture). I liked that the portions weren't huge. I hate huge portions of mediocre food.

Blue Willow's Apple Pie had a thick, doughy crust but a very tasty apple filling.

Zeppoles at Primo are still my favorite dessert: light-as-air cinnamony donuts - yum!

Vivace's spumoni was nicely flavored, and the nuts and chips added great texture.

IF you have any faves to report, I'd love to hear them for my next trip. TIA!

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  1. Claudette,

    If you haven't, you should try the chocolate truffle cookies at Feast (and the tres leches cake, if it's on the menu).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Booklegger451

      Booklegger451 - thanks for the tips, and I'll be sure to put them on my list.

      1. re: Booklegger451

        Booklegger - those cookies were wonderful; thanks for the tip. The tres leches cake wasn't available, but other desserts we tried were pretty bad: the beignets were burnt, tough, and flavorless; the chocolate crepe cake was pasty and slimy.

      2. I got interrupted during my original posting, and forgot to include these two other venues!

        El Charro has a dessert sampler, but all I can remember is that the tres leches cake was light and delicious, and the flan was extremely dense and rich (more like an unbruleed creme brulee than a custard). The ice cream was just okay, but I liked the little fried flour tortilla chips sprinkled about the platter.

        J Bar had two interesting trios: a citrus one consisting of grapefruit juice and foam, along with a tiny lime cream tart and a lemon panna cotta-ish thing (my citrus-loving hubby devoured all of them, which were a bit too sour for me); the chocolate trio consisted of a terrific, tiny glass of chocolate malt which we all fought over, a molten chocolate cake (yawn) and a hard pyramid of candied cherries (a bit too sweet and hard, but a good concept - sort of like a cherry cordial on steroids).

        1. The tiramisu at Vivace is the best version that I have ever tasted. It is light and fluffy and has just the right balance of brandy, espresso, and chocolate flavors.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Calumet

            Second to that. Outstanding tiramisu, and consistent. We've been eating at Vivace since they opened, and the Tiramisu is *always* perfect. That's impressive.

            Cheers -- Pete Tillman

          2. I have one from my days back when I lived down there... Cafe A La C'Art at the Tucson Museum of Art downtown. It hides well in the Museum's courtyard, but serves up some beautiful and delicious desserts. If you stop in for lunch and dessert (the chicken salad on croissant sticks out as one of the finest lunches I've had in Tucson), be sure to order dessert at the same time as lunch; the one you had your eye on may not be there anymore if you wait and order after you finish your entree.

            Oh, and the fries there are utterly terrific, too. At least as long as the same people run at as they did when I ate there.