Instead of doing a top ten list of places I ate in the year like I usually do, I thought I’d go all out and do a decade long round up of some of my favorite posts on the blog! Bayfood has technically been around since 2010, back when it was a really casual Tumblr blog when I used to reblog other people’s content. It was a really cool way to build community, but as I started to grow, I focused more on my own content that I created (like recipes) or curated from my own photos and adventures.
This round up is of the Top 10 desserts that I’ve posted in the last decade. These aren’t done by number of views or shares or likes, but rather my most favorite spots to grab something sweet and spots that have since become some of my go-tos.
I don’t think a dessert list is complete without Bi-Rite. Their Slated Caramel alone deserves it. It has the right amount of saltiness without being too bitter and the caramel was perfect so that it wasn’t overly sweet. It was just so light. I don’t know how else to describe it. I was eating it really quickly because it was melting fast (for some reason only the Salted Caramel was melting on everyone’s cone or in their cup), but it was totally fine because I didn’t feel like I just consumed a ton of milk and need a gallon of milk. But of course, every classic and seasonal flavor is worth a try!
Salt & Straw has several locations throughout the Bay Area now. Their flavors change depending on seasonal availability, local ingredients, and whatever series they have in store. At that time, they had local kids from elementary schools think up of fun ice cream flavors and Salt & Straw made their ice cream dreams come true! I always enjoy trying their seasonal flavors before settling on the one I want. At my first visit in Venice, I had the salted, malted, chocolate chip cookie dough in a caramel waffle cone. I think the fact that the ice cream had that malt flavor really upped its ante. It was just creamy, sweet, and absolutely delicious. The salt wasn’t strong at all but it helped balance it out – I hate when you get strong bits of salt, it’s really bitter and distracting. And that CONE. IT WAS SO GOOD. Waffle cones smell great on their own, but CARAMEL FLAVORED?! I must learn how to make these for myself one day.
What can’t you get Alexander’s Patisserie? They have chocolates, pastries, macarons, and more! Each pastry is meticulously crafted by the shop and they always have unique combinations. I’m really glad that they make kouign ammans, so I don’t have to trek all the way to San Francisco. I love that I can come in and try something new each time I pop in.
My family became huge fans of Ampersand 3 years ago, when they catered at my cousin’s wedding. They use local ingredients for their flavors, which rotating flavors through the months. You can tell that they put a lot of thought and consideration into all of the flavors, which is why they taste fantastic! I always have to order Honeycomb there when I’m in town, even though I’ve never been a big fan of honey. It’s such a rich, sweet flavor that you can’t get enough of.
I love Simplethings mini pies! Like many of these other places on the list, they have classic and rotating flavors depending on the season and time of year. I’ve enjoyed more traditional flavors like Banoffee and really interesting ones like Chipotle Pumpkin. We’ve had these pies for several years over Thanksgiving as my cousin would bring them, and she had them at her wedding too! I finally came to their shop a couple of years ago and had a really good lunch – with more pie of course. These are some of my favorites, and it’s definitely worth checking out.
Having spent a summer working in Berkeley, I quickly added Smitten to my list. I have watched countless hours of Food Network and Top Chef, where someone has inevitably made ice cream using liquid nitrogen, so I had to check out Smitten. You walk in and the smell of freshly made waffle cones wafts over to you and you’re greeted by a giant nitrogen tank. Smitten Ice Cream has a couple of default flavors, such as vanilla or chocolate (made with San Francisco chocolate TCHO), but they also have seasonal flavors. You have the option of either getting solely ice cream, or pair it with one to two of their suggested toppings, such as TCHO crispies or spicy caramel sauce. They also have ice cream sundaes, picked by their Chef de Brrr, and vegan pops. They also have a fun assortment of drinks, such as boxed water. The first thing I noticed is that the consistency feels lighter. More importantly, the ice cream stays colder for a longer period of time! Finally, I don’t have to worry about my ice cream melting while I’m eating it. I came here multiple times in the summer and it’s now one of my favorites to take people to.
Three Babes Bakeshop focuses on creating delicious pies with high quality, local ingredients that make you think of awesome, old-fashioned pies, but also have a unique twist to them. They actually source a lot of their produce from the Central Valley, which I didn’t realize until I opened the boxes at my aunt’s house… in the Central Valley! This Salted Honey Walnut pie was my favorite! And I still think about it from time to time. I’m pretty sure I ate half of the pie by myself. This pie has been described as ‘baklava in pie form’.” I mean… a pie in baklava form? That sold me right away. And I was not disappointed! The slab of pie is thick and dense, but when you bite into it it’s creamy like a sweet potato pie. I love that combination of the crunchy nuts with the salty and sweet. Describing it as baklava is not that far off, except its a saltier version.
The Kouign Amann. I specifically came to B. Patisserie to finally try one in person, because they’re renowned for it. Three ingredients – flour, butter, and sugar – create magical delicious treats! They’re wonderfully sticky and sweet because of the sugar that caramelizes while baking and the layers of flour and butter create multiple layers of flakiness. They remind me of croissants in terms of the flaky, crunchy texture but remind me of palmiers (those swirly cookies) in terms of flavor. Only better. I took a whole box home and they were absolutely delightful. Still my gold standard for Kouign Amanns.
Bun Appetit blew my mind with their Everything donut, but I love their sweet options as well! Whenever I come in, I grab an Everything donut, I try one of their new creations too. Their boba milk tea donut is so delicious and so is their matcha cream – and I’m not even a huge matcha fan! Mostly, I’m really happy that it’s not all the way out in San Francisco so I don’t have to go out of my way for fluffy goodness.
Tin Pot is my number one spot because I discovered it years ago and it’s one of the top spots where I take everyone. Or go whenever I want real quality ice cream! It’s organic ice cream made with real quality ingredients. They also use Strauss diary for their bases, so I know that it’s pasteurized (yay)! I try to come by Tin Pot whenever I’m nearby, which is usually whenever I’m in Palo Alto lol. Whether you come in during the middle of a warm afternoon or after dinner, they usually have a line going out the shop since it’s pretty small. But that is a testament to their quality flavors. They have a bunch of seasonal and regular flavors in addition to adding different toppings made from scratch, making your own ice cream sundaes, sandwiches, and more!