Follow the sign.
SEATTLE, WA — When my husband and I were planning our recent trip here, there was one thing first and foremost on my mind.
Coconut cream pie.
The Triple Coconut Cream Pie by Tom Douglas, to be exact.
It’s been Douglas’ best-selling dessert ever since he put it on the menu when he opened his flagship Dahlia Lounge in 1989. It’s the primary reason he later opened his Dahlia Bakery next-door. He sells more than 1,000 coconut cream pies a month. He’s donated them to charity auctions, where they fetch upwards of $5,000 each!
Even one of my best foodie friends told me she’s not usually a coconut cream pie fan, but fell hard for this one. A Lyft driver on my trip told me she loved it so much the first time she had it, that she went back the very next day for another slice. Friends on Facebook described the pie as “life-changing.”
Our first stop the morning after flying in was indeed Dahlia Bakery, where you can buy a whole 9-inch coconut cream pie ($42), a 6-inch one ($22), a slice ($7.75) or even a “bite” ($3), which is a two-bite-sized pastry with the same filling and topping as the regular-sized version.
A fun little snack of Spanish sardines at Barnacle.
SEATTLE, WA — When you land in Seattle on a late-Thursday afternoon, what is — and should be — your first stop after checking into your hotel?
The Walrus and the Carpenter for Oyster Happy Hour.
Oh, yes, it is so worth it to make a beeline for this Monday through Thursday Happy Hour, if you are a fan of oysters on the half shell because these are some of the best around. From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., the oysters are half off. From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., they are 25 percent off.
Of course, everyone else has the same idea, so no doubt you will arrive to find the restaurant already packed, as my husband and I did. No matter, it just gives you a great excuse to enjoy a cocktail at adjacent Barnacle bar.
Actually, this one building houses THREE Renee Erickson establishments.
Both places are owned by James Beard Award-winning Chef Renee Erickson. In fact, she even has a third restaurant, Sea Creatures, in this one building. Plus a whole lot more.
The stellar apple-raspberry pie at Theorita.
Whether you’re too young to remember or old enough to reminisce about the charm of dining at a lunchenette or dinette back in the day, you are sure to fall for San Francisco’s new Theorita.
It’s very much reminiscent in spirit of those old-school casual eateries with roomy booths and checkerboard floors. Only, the food has been brought into the current century with precise techniques executed by alums of New York’s Michelin three-starred Eleven Madison Park.
It’s from the same team behind red-hot Che Fico, which is upstairs in the same building. Theorita is named after Pastry Chef Angela Pinkerton’s grandmother.
The neon sign behind the bakery case.
One of each?
It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or you can get baked goods to go, which is what I did right after my recent dinner at Chef Fico, paying the tab, myself.
Look for my new “East Bay Cooks” cookbook to join this group in summer 2019.
See that stack of beautiful cookbooks above? Soon to join them will be “East Bay Cooks” — by yours truly.
Yes, that’s what I’ve spent the better part of this year working on. In fact, I just finished the manuscript this month.
The cookbook, which will debut in September 2019, will feature 40 of the top restaurants, bars and bakeries in the East Bay, with their stories and recipes. The photography will be by the incredibly talented Bay Area-based Eva Kolenko.
Presenting the Passiano (and the chocolate tart in the back) at the new Maison Alyzee.
Owner Laurent Pellet makes no bones about what sets his Maison Alyzee in downtown Mountain View apart from other Bay Area bakeries.
Its heritage is unequivocally French — from the Lyon-born Pellet to the three French pastry chefs who moved to the United States just for this endeavor.
Since opening two weeks ago, the place has been inundated. So much so, that it had to up its baking to double the number of croissants, kouign-amanns and other viennoierie after just the second day.
And that’s saying something because it’s directly across the street from competitor, Alexander’s Patisserie.
Head Pastry Chef Jean-Victor Bellaye who had never been to California before taking this job.
Pellet, who was a chief financial officer for Sony for many years, longed for an authentic French patisserie when he moved to the Bay Area. So, he decided to start one, himself, and named it after his youngest daughter.