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Oct 16, 2009 04:10 PM

Ghoulish Halloween Treats from Romolo's in San Mateo

At last night's chowdown in San Mateo, Peter Yee treated us to a box of witches fingers from Romolo's in San Mateo. A mildly sweet, almond flavored cookie similar to Italian bones of the dead, each one looked different and scary for Halloween.

Here's the photo:

For a few years now, each time I see Peter, he asks me if I've tried Romolo's cannoli yet. At dinner yesterday, he didn't ask me. He had brought a pair for me to try, the regular with candied fruit, and the one with chocolate lined tube and pistachios. Romolo's fills to order or provides the filling in a squeeze bag to fill yourself. These were already filled (before romolo's closing time of 5:30pm, presumably), and we tried them after 9pm. Still, the pastry part was the best I've had so far in this part of the world - fragile crispness, bubbly and well-browned, rich in flavor. The filling was more creamy and rich than I like, preferring more rustic graininess of ricotta. But all in all, great, and many thanks for the gift!

Romolo's Ice Cream Spumoni and Cannoli Factory
81 37th Ave, San Mateo, CA

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  1. Hmmm, gonna have to swing by Romolo's to check out their Halloween delicacies.

    And I'm surprised you've missed out on their cannolis until now! I took one of my clients there who is Sicilian, and he agreed these were the best he'd had in the States (and even better than the cannolis his family makes at their restaurant).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Eugene Park

      I found the cannoli filling at Romolo's to be way too sweet. I scooped out and discarded 1/2 the filling, and then it was OK, but till too sweet. However, the shell is heavenly; it's very flavorful, and super light (see photo #1).

      The cannoli at The prolific oven has better filling than Romolo's, but the shell isn't as good (see photo #2).

      The cannoli at La Biscotteria has a good shell (flavorful, though not as light as Romolo's). The filling is more like ricotta cheesecake - heavy and crumbly; I don't like that style, but some people might prefer it (see photo #3)

      For the cannoli at A Slice of New York in San Jose, they import the shells from a factory in Long island, and fill them to order. The shells are super hard; they are more like a container, rather than something to be eaten. Maybe that's to protect them during shipment. The filling is good; smooth and creamy, and not too sweet (see photo #4)

      Thus far, my favorite cannoli would be a shell from Romolo's, along with the filling that you get at A Slice of New York.

      1. re: ssfire

        Another data point: The cannoli at Palo Alto Baking Co in Palo Alto is horrible. The filling is nothing more than whipped cream - scandalous! (see photo)

        La Biscotteria
        2747 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA 94061

        Palo Alto Baking Company
        381 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA

        Prolific Oven
        550 Waverley St, Palo Alto, CA

        A Slice of New York
        3443 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95117

        1. re: ssfire

          Thanks a bunch, really helpful to have details. While we're comparing notes, I'd say that the very expensive cannolo I had a Vivande Porta Via a few years ago (with ricotta from the East Coast) was the best one I've tried yet around here. You're right, Romolo's filling is too sweet and I think, too creamy, but I can overlook it because the pastry is so stellar.

          Other ones that I'd get again were made by Sfoglia (closed now, but we hope the owner will make them some day at Village Bakery), Belle Arti Trattoria Siciliana in Napa (also closed) and Cavalli in North Beach. No desire to try again, the ones from Stella or Italian French Bakery, both in North Beach. i haven't tried Delfina's yet.

          Have you had the cannoli from Dianda's in San Mateo?