Pierre Hermé Hong Kong – Macaron Heaven

January 15th, 2014 · 11 Comments · Sweet Spots, Travel

pierre herme box lineup

One of the highlights of my visit to Hong Kong was a long-awaited reunion with one of my favorite patisseries: Pierre Hermé. While the macaron craze seems to have leveled out in the US, it’s going strong in Hong Kong. Ladureé and La Maison du Chocolat, among others, have already opened branches in Hong Kong, but Pierre Hermé remained tantalizingly out of reach. For the last few years all I had was my visit to Paris and a class in New York to sustain me. I was over the moon when I learned that Hermé was finally opening shop in Hong Kong, as it’s so much more accessible to me than Paris or Japan. His first store opened in the IFC mall in Central in May 2013; his second store quickly followed in Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, in November, right before I arrived.

(more…)

Read more →

Tags:··

{SF} {Palo Alto} Chantal Guillon’s New Store

August 27th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Reviews, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

chantal guillon boxes

While the macaron craze may have have subsided slightly in the blogosphere, they’re still popular here in the Bay Area – no self-respecting patisserie would be without a rainbow-hued selection of these little sweets. My choice for satisfying my macaron cravings is Chantal Guillon – a little shop tucked away in San Francisco that featured some of the most elegantly formed and decorated renditions of this French confection. I loved her version so much I even had ordered them for my wedding reception, a highlight I still remember fondly.

So I was thrilled to receive notice that Chantal Guillon had opened a second store down in Palo Alto, and even better, I was invited to visit the shop and chat with Mme Guillon herself! I sped down the Peninsula on a sunny Friday afternoon get a look at the brand new store.

(more…)

Read more →

Tags:····

Olallieberries and Shortcake

July 23rd, 2012 · 9 Comments · Cakes, Fruit, Recipes, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

olallieberry shortcake

Olallieberry is just such a fun word to say. Their rarity and relatively short season also mean there are few chances to utter the word. So when it gets to around this time of year, Mike and I take great delight in saying to each other, “Do you think the olallieberries are in season yet?”

Last weekend we decided to take a trip down to our favorite berry u-pick farm and find out. Unlike other years where it was brilliantly sunny, this year found us driving down through a chilly fog. The weather didn’t matter though, as long as there were rows and rows of berry-laden bushes waiting for us!

(more…)

Read more →

Tags:··

{Giveaway} {SF} Teacake Bake Shop – In Praise of Local Bakeries

November 30th, 2011 · 65 Comments · Giveaways, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for visiting!

teacake sampler

Hi all, hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend and are getting a good start on your holiday shopping! I’m going to be posting up my annual gift recommendations in the next week, but meanwhile I thought I’d like to start off the holidays with a little giveaway!

Teacake Bake Shop is the sort of bakery I would have loved to open – it’s cute, girly, and all the pastries are sweetly sophisticated. The first Teacake opened in Emeryville (near Berkeley) while I was still in pastry school. When I found out the owner was a young female Asian entrepeneur, I thought, hey, she’s living out my dream!

A couple years later I had the opportunity to interview Agnes, the owner, for Edible East Bay, and finally had the chance to chat with one of my inspirations. There’s practically a cupcake shop on every block in the city now, but back when Teacake opened, there were only a couple around, so it’s really one of the originals, and I’m glad it’s succeeded and continued to grow. I have immense respect for all the local food producers and artisans – it’s people like Agnes who follow their dreams and open up a shop selling unique sweets, meats, cheese, jams, etc. that make the Bay Area such a vibrant culinary culture. There are four Teacake Bake Shops now, and again one of them is close to my current home. It’s always a treat to walk by and see the bakers working in the open kitchen (customers can see their cupcakes being made in front of their eyes), and there’s also a large room where they hold tea parties and classes for kids.

In fact, Jessie of CakeSpy stopped by her on her book tour! Check out her post to see some photos of the shop and of the two of us goofing around.

I’m excited to host a giveaway for Teacake Bake Shop, so you’ll get a chance to try out her goodies – or perhaps cross a gift off your shopping list! Teacake is offering up their Mini Treats Sampler, a collection of four of their bestselling cookies, including Strawberry Jam Thumbprints, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Sugar Cookies, and Chocolate Cookies Sandwiches. There are 30 cookies in the package – enough for a party, snacking during a gift-wrapping session, or to leave out for Santa.

To enter: Please note that Teacake Bake Shop will ship the prize within the continental U.S. only (not to Alaska or Hawaii). Please make sure you have an appropriate shipping address before you enter!

Simply follow Teacake Bake Shop on Facebook or Twitter, and let me know in the comments below. If you already follow them, that’s fine too – just note it in the comment! The giveaway will run through Sunday, December 4th and I’ll announce the winner on Monday December 5th.

Good luck! And if you live in the Bay Area, be sure to stop by a Teacake Bake Shop!

Read more →

Tags:··

{SF} My Favorite Ice Cream Shops in San Francisco

August 5th, 2011 · 9 Comments · Reviews, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

mrmrsmisc

Typical menu board at Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous. Flavors change daily – another incentive to visit often.

By popular request and in an attempt to populate the “San Francisco” tab on my site, I’ve created a list of my favorite ice cream spots in San Francisco. Of course, I started this last week when it was bright, sunny, and warm (these three conditions are not always simultaneous in San Francisco), but naturally now it’s back to Fog City again. No matter – in SF ice cream consumption is rarely tied to the current weather but rather to the pure desire to have a cone filled with something sweet, frozen, and really, really delicious.

I’ve only listed ones that I’ve been to personally, as is only fair. However, as eating ice cream is one of my very favorite activities, and as there seems to be no shortage of ice cream shops both classic and artisan opening up in SF, rest assured this list will continue to be updated (with more photos, as well!) Feel free to give your own recommendations in the comments as well – there’s always room for more ice cream.

(more…)

Read more →

Tags:···········

{Chocolate Review} Sweet Treats for Easter

April 20th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Chocolate, Reviews, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

recchiutiforcenoirbox

Warning: There is going to be a lot of chocolate on this page for the next few posts. After all, it’s nearly Easter, the holidays that generates more candy sales than any other holiday save Halloween. Have you got your jellybeans and peeps ready for your Easter baskets?

Let me suggest a few other Easter treats you might not want to miss. Michael Recchiuti, one of my very favorite chocolatiers (and a great guy, to boot), has created some limited edition sweets for the holiday. I got a chance to sample a couple of them:

recchiutiforcenoireggs

These are the kind of Easter eggs I’m looking for now (sorry, candy-colored plastic eggs from the drugstore!) Recchiuti’s Force Noir Eggs, a shell of delicately painted dark chocolate enclosing his famous vanilla-laced chocolate ganache. You know how Reese’s comes out with their peanut butter eggs at Easter? I actually prefer them to the traditional peanut butter cups because I think the shape provides a better peanut butter to chocolate ratio. It’s the same concept here with the Force Noir Eggs – the plump curve of the chocolate shells is just the right amount of backdrop for the ganache filling to unfold in your mouth.

 
recchiutihoppeep

Another signature Recchiuti flavor, burnt caramel, gets the Easter treatment in the Peep & Hop Box – burnt caramel chocolates with spring-y Easter images printed on top. Although deep dark caramel is everywhere these days, Recchiuti was one of the first to really popularize the flavor. I got a box of eight of these chocolates and had to fight to hold on to even one to taste test! As delicious as ever.

These and other Easter treats can be found at Recchiuti’s website. Here’s hoping the Easter bunny brings you something sweet on Sunday!

Read more →

Tags:····