Dessert: comforting, decadent, and completely guilt-free...
My life has been sucked into the vortex of an MCAT prep class. Because I work during the day and go straight to the class, dinner becomes an optional or late-night thing. Between the irregular eating, the endless heap of practice problems, and the fact that I'm home only long enough to sleep, I could use something ridiculously delicious and sweet for the purposes of self-medication (other forms impede my ability to study effectively :P).
Here's the survey-esque question to y'all... high-stress, high-workload, low-relaxation time in your life... what San Diego dessert would you choose? Location isn't really an issue.
Went through the exact same phase last year (though for a different exam) and picked out 2 dessert winners - The Jalebi at Surati Farsan Mart and the Chocolate Pot de Creme at Kensington Grill. Jalebi is an old favorite for me, and I made it a point to check when it was going to be fresh - its most fun when its hot and straight out the fryer, warm, crisp and dripping with the saffron-sugar syrup.
As for the pot de creme, i happened to be at Kensington Grill for dinner after a particularly rough day during the exam phase and it hit the sweet spot...
Neither fits the 'guilt-free' part of your post title though! These are NOT good for you!
Geeky, no matter where you are in the county find a way to get to Elizabethan Desserts in Encinitas. It's not that far off the I-5 and definitely worth the drive.
Most of her desserts are ridiculously good, plus they hold well for a few days. So, if you're like me and don't live close, pick up several cupcakes, and a cherry tart or 2 (or 3). That way you can have a treat every day while studying. And while you're in Encinitas stop by Chuao and pick up a 9-count of chocolates you pick out. You can make these last too :-).
Azucar in OB has some deadly chocolate desserts. Have one with a Cubano coffee and you'll be wired for an all nighter. Cupcakes Squared in that never-never land between Point Loma and OB (same shopping center as Stumps Market) has some pretty decent cupcakes these days. Icing is real buttercream, not hydrogenated shortening frosting.
If you really want to splurge, get down to the bakery department at Northgate on 43rd. Buy the entire oblong torte with all the fruit decorations. Should be chocolate cake inside, whipped cream and fruit. It's rich, delicious and probably has a gazillion fat grams (but not calories <gg>)
DD, agree with your suggestion of Elizabethan Desserts! Just recently I rewarded myself on my B-day with two treats from her shop, the cherry mini-lattice pie ( http://tinyurl.com/yzkpv4q ) and her triple chocolate fudge brownie ( http://tinyurl.com/yjsf4k6 ).
Since this was a spur-of-the-moment buy I skipped my usual custom request of making it as "unsweet" as possible, which is my preference. I still enjoyed it tremendously, but if you prefer your desserts less sweet like I do I'd highly recommend ordering in advance for a special request...
And for a really refined (and imported) treat, though the season may already be over, one must try the incredible imported butter cookies from Tokyo's famous "Yoku Moku". I guarantee that you will flip over them and it will instantly be the very best butter cookie you've ever eaten. Once you have them they're absolutely addictive; you'll pay any amount just to experience them again!
In San Diego you can only find them at Neiman Marcus before and after the Holidays. I've bought them there before well after Christmas, though I don't know how far into the year they continue to carry them. (They carry them long enough to have them both in their seasonal Christmas packaging as well as in their regular bi-annual packaging...) http://www.yokumoku.com/
For the hard-to-shop-for Foodie that already has everything else, these cookies also makes for an incredible gift...
Elizabethan Desserts' brownies freeze pretty well. I buy a couple, wrap them in foil and Ziploc freezer bags and enjoy them slowly....
Nine-Ten has this decadent half-baked chocolate cake. Oozing dark chocolate in a spongy-like cake.
Chuao holds in the freezer too. So do Vogues Haut Chocolat bars (avail at Whole Foods). My fave bars are the chocolate bacon and olio d'olivia.
Cavailon had this candied mandarin tangerine with chocolate gelato and madeline that was divine!
When I want something quick, cheap, oozy and chocolatey, Crepe World's Nutella crepe or Nutella w/ sliced almonds are very good.
When it's hot, then Yogurt World for their plain, Asian pear or Mango yogurt.
Don't know if this counts, but I love the Matcha green tea snow bubble at Tapioca Express.
Good luck on MCAT's! It too, will be over. And then you'll have USMLE Step 1, 2 and 3!
Sadly, it no longer exists, but there was a restaurant in San Francisco called 42 Degrees. They served the absolute best, most luxurious, decadent, over the top chocolate Pot de Creme. Luckily, I do have the recipe, but even I have trouble trying to justify 10 egg yolks and quarts of heavy cream <sigh>
DD - Have you had the one at Cafe Chloe? It's about as decadent as they come and I love the marinated cherries on top. Cucina Urbana also makes a wonderful pot de creme - I think they call it budino on their menu, but it's really a pot de creme.
721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101