Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh of Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars

San Francisco Bay Area

"Citizen" Cake

Share:

Restaurants & Bars 8

"Citizen" Cake

Windy | Nov 21, 2004 12:41 PM

Another rude service experience--I regret every time I give this place another chance. And I say this as someone who spent many happy weekends having late breakfast with the paper at the original location over granola or pizza, before they became too good for the rest of us. They made an incredible wedding cake for friends of mine. I've grabbed a cookie or sorbet a few times walking by lately and for whatever reason, the friendliest employees at CC seem to man the counter.

Was at Davies to hear Robert Thurman (Buddhist scholar, father of Uma, self-described descendent of Southern red necks) talk about his new book on anger to a well-heeled crowd of travelers and singed liberal voters. It was surprisingly funny, although not enough to get me to sign up for Geographic Expeditions' next $6000 trip to the Himalayas and sleep in a tent, even with Robert Thurman to entertain us.

We wanted dessert and thought about just bringing cookies back to the apartment, but were told a table was no problem so we stayed. Apparently no one told our server, who ignored us for at least 15 minutes as punishment for not having dinner. Service went downhill from there; he was never exactly rude, but he was solicitous to all the people around us. Never checked back to see if we needed anything or wanted to order more. The duck confit on the next table was appetizing. Too bad I have no desire to return and taste it.

We ordered a great looking lemon merengue tart, with peaks like a jester's hat, a mallomar-like cookie, and a dish of pear sorbet. We also decided to forgo drinks in favor of trying their teas.

Everything looked better than it tasted. Both the lemon and the pear were in need of tartness; the flavors were flat. The merengue had been in the case too long and was spongy rather than fluffy The pear sorbet was mushy. I liked the chocolate marshmallow thing (but at $1.95 each, I'm not sure how great a deal this is for takeout).

The squarish cast iron teapots were stylish but not especially functional, cooling down too fast and no way to remove the very hot tea basket without making a mess. This should be brewed in the kitchen, not at the table. My lapsang souchong was too weak; my companion's earl grey was fragrant but not flavorful. They do have an interesting tea list (didn't find out who the tea is from), but I'd recommend walking up the street to Frjtz instead, where they have better teapots and a selection of Mighty Leaf tea. Plus a lot less attitude, and the heater lamps in the garden with the buddhas would have been more appropriate for our evening.

Guess I should have bought the book on anger first, but we were in such a festive mood when we walked through the door.

Is Jardiniere still a good place for dessert after the opera or symphony? It was wonderful the last time I stopped in for cheese and drinks and pastry, but that was a few seasons ago.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound