If You Like Ginger....(SD)
- DiningDiva Jul 13, 2008 08:41 AM
Then you must make a trip out to OB and try one of the ginger scones from Azucar the new Cuban bakery on Newport right off Sunset Cliffs. I just finished a ginger scone for breakfast and it was a real treat. The scone was tender and lacked the usual sandy, dry texture of many commercial scones. The large chunks of candied ginger provided a nice peppery bite and the ginger spread they give you with the scone is delicious enough to eat with a spoon by itself. I also liked that it was a normal portion size and not some overly enormous hunk of carbohydrate.
The coconut cupcake was satisfying and the Cafe Cubano a good buy at $1.50. Thank god I don't live in the neighborhood and parking can be a hassle during the summer, or I'd probably be living at this bakery. I am sure I'll have no problem justifying additional trips and I look forward to working my way through the menu.
As soon as I saw "ginger" I KNEW you were posting about Azucar. The ginger scone is KILLER. So is the coco y pina scone.
This morning I had the pastry with guava jam and cream cheese - delicious - and if you are ever in the mood for a breakfast savory, the pastry with egg, ham and cheese is fantastic.
Friday I had a chocolate cupcake with marshmallow frosting that I ate in about three bites - so good! This is a another good thing about Azucar - everything is a size where you don't stress too hard about the calories. Still, I am trying to stay away from there Monday - Thursday. :)
I saw that guava and cream cheese pastry but passed on it, which was hard to do since that is a dynamite combination. Also saw the savory breakfast pastries but my box was filling up fast.
I can now report that the papa rellena when reheated was excellent. Loved the flavor, would have liked just a smidge more of the picadillo filling. Also tried the pastel de carne, which was a meat filled pocket made with puff pastry. This, too, was really good. Light and flakey. The one I ate was not heavy as was noted on another thread. Could be luck of the draw, or it could be that mine wasn't as heavy because I ate it cold and didn't reheat the puff. If the other poster reads this comment, I'd urge them to give the pastel another go, mine was pretty good.
I suspect Azucar is going to make it into my regular rotation. I'm in OB often enough, now I have one more excuse <sigh>
Stopped by yesterday and bought two sandwiches to take home for dinner (cubano and serrano ham, arugula and machengo cheese), of the two the cubano seemed to travel better and was very tasty with good consistency after reheated. Does anyone know what the intense, white secret sauce is that they include with their sandwiches? Also split a carne meat pie just to give it a try - delish, nice contrast of savory meat filling and crispy, crusty and sweet pastry. Bought a couple of deserts to sample over the next day or so. Last night we split the Cinco Leches cake, lots of sweet coconut and slivers of hardened caramelized sugar. Of everything we have tried so far, this worked the least so far but it was still far from being bad.
This morning we have completed our sugar overload with a nice balance of strong coffee. Sampled the strawberry scone (one of the nicest I have ever had) - tender and not everly sweet, and as mentioned above the perfect size. Had a bite of Chuck's guava and cream cheese puff pastry, pretty yummy - nice contrast of flavors. But my favorite, decadent treat was the cream cheese pastry. Not sure what the pastry itself was (don't think it was puff), but it was a very crispy exterior with crystalized sugar, wrapped around subtle but rich and creamy cream cheese. OMG! Such magical simplicity. We had to pass this time on the cupcakes, but they were some of the most pretty, delicate designs I have seen in San Diego.
Very friendly service efficiently handling a busy but not overwhelming crowd when we arrived (seemed to be a group of women from a family of Cuban or Puerto Rican origin - good sign). The store is beautiful in its modern simplicity. Beautiful menu graphics, bags, boxes. Small, but plenty of seating (additional against a back wall decorated with sepia photos of cuban food scenes) and lovely music wafting gently in the background. Nice, precise (and fast) website - they have really done their homework to open with everything up to speed and organized. Bravo!
Guava and cream cheese pastry is delicious! The guava jam is fantastic- sweet without losing the guava taste, and it pairs perfectly with the cream cheese and delicate pastry outside. I accidently ate the whole thing on my drive home, as well as half of the mojito cookie that was supposed to be a present. To be fair it was a long drive.
Seems to me the Chow boards are way quiet these days. (I am also following the Texas boards since I just married and honeymooned there.) One way to keep them interesting and keep up the dialogues, is for regulars to keep writing up visits to favorite places. I know I really value the updates-- far more than the "I just discovered this great place" postings. Updates prove a place is still good and that it's thriving. (Masa Assassin is brilliant at this, as are a few more of you I recognize.) I'm looking for places that last, that keep on making good food year after year, and that's the hardest trick of all. So, that said, I finally got to Azucar. I posted on the experience on another thread - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/522153 - check that for a full update. But I'll add here that the Red Velvet Cupcake we took home was everything I'd dreamed it would be: red, velvetty, just chocolaty enough, and the absolute best cream cheese icing ever. I'm a Southerner, but I declare this Miami baker-chick can make Red Velvet Cake! I look forward to many visits back to Azucar.