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Restaurants & Bars 16

Two spectacular desserts: Cookie at The Cafe at Spruce (SF) and Vivace's Cannoli (Belmont)

pane | Nov 20, 201301:17 PM

Yesterday I was in Belmont for dinner, and tried the cannoli at Vivace on Ralston. Dinner was good with some mis-steps (I liked the wild boar ragu on chestnut pasta, not wild about any of the apps), but the cannoli was superb. Freshly fried shell that tasted both toasted and lightly caramelized (it was neither) filled with dense sheep's milk ricotta dashed through with a few hefty chocolate chips and sparky orange zest. The crackle of the shell married perfectly with the filling.

I told the chef that it was among the best, if not the best, cannoli (cannolo?) I've ever had. "Quite possibly that is true," he said with typical Sicilian modesty and understatement. Great experience, warm service.

A doctor in my building mentioned that one of her patients gave her a fantastic cookie from the cafe at Spruce, which I didn't know existed, and because of the heavy rains it was the only interesting option within walking distance today. The cafe opened within the last year in the old charcuterie section in front of the restaurant Spruce, and serves coffee, some desserts, and take-away savory options (a few sandwiches, one multi-part entree, and side salads) starting in the late morning on weekdays only.

For desserts, they had a gluten-free lemon pudding cake, three giant face-sized cookies and a pecan pie. Savory options were a pastrami sandwich at $14, chicken curry or crispy chicken sandwiches at $10, and a salmon entree with attachments (side and salad?) for $19. The cookie was fantastic, my neighbor was right. I got the curry; it was bland, like what you'd expect served in lettuce cups at a Daughters of the American Revolution fundraiser. Cookie-wise, I got the chocolate chip, which seemed not so much like a drop cookie as two rolled out dough disks with a layer of dark chocolate between. Hit the spot between chewy and cakey. A+.

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