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San Diego Sweet Spots

September 17, 2010

Elizabethan Desserts

Did you know that stressed spelled backwards is desserts? If you have been feeling stressed lately (with today’s economic conditions, who wouldn’t), or are tired of working hard (or not) to live up to your New Year’s Resolution, why not take a break today at one of San Diego’s sweet spots?

A sweet spot is a term usually reserved for tennis. According to Wikipedia, the definition of sweet spot is:

“…a place, often numerical as opposed to physical, where a combination of factors suggest a particularly suitable solution. In the context of a racquet, bat or similar sporting instrument, a sweet spot is often believed to be the same as the center of percussion.”

Let’s go with the first part of that definition – “a combination of factors suggest a particularly suitable solution.” Hmmm, kind of like how desserts are – a combination of ingredients suggest a particularly delicious solution. Now, we are talking!

A gentle reader asked us to fork over the goods and dish about which great baking establishments in San Diego satisfy our sweet tooth. We took the reader up on the challenge and, wouldn’t you know, we didn’t have to do much additional research since we are well-versed in the subject.

The following bakeries are all based in San Diego. They are all local, and yet, many San Diegans do not know all of them…yet. And, one sweet place that is being eagerly awaited by many die-hard cupcake fans is listed at the end.

A Sampling of San Diego Sweet Spots

Elizabethan Desserts – located in a nursery in Encinitas (yes, you read that correctly) is a full-fledged bakery that specializes in nostalgic desserts. The owner, Elizabeth Harris, has lured many people into her bakery with her sweet version of ‘comfort food.’ For example, when was the last time you had a Magic Bar (aka Hello Dolly) or a Berry Buckle? This is a cupcake, cake, brownie, and pie kind of bakery that will bring a smile to your face – guaranteed. Once you park in the outdoor nursery, just take a whiff and follow your nose to find the bakery.

Elizabethan Desserts is located within the Sunshine Gardens Nursery, 155 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas. Hours are: Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Extraordinary Desserts – another bakery owned by a woman who specializes in sophisticated concoctions including pastries, cookies, gelato, and yes, cakes. Karen Krasne creates lots of beautiful cakes with exotic names like Bete Noire and Passion Fruit Ricotta Torte.  Many San Diegans consider this establishment to be the very best of the dessert places in San Diego and don’t mind paying the price for beauty.

Extraordinary Desserts has two locations: 2929 Fifth Avenue in Banker’s Hill and 1430 Union Street in Little Italy. Hours for both locations are: Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Friday from 8:30 a.m. to Midnight; Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to – Midnight, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Caffe Zucchero – as we always explain to the non-Italian speakers among us, the word zucchero means sugar. How apropos! This bakery housed in an Italian restaurant specializes in Italian pastries and cookies. If you are not sure what kind of pastry to purchase, just ask the person behind the counter for some suggestions. Plus, Little Italy is a great place for people-watching, so be sure to take a stroll around the neighborhood to waddle it off.

Caffe Zucchero is located at 1731 India Street in Little Italy. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Bread and Cie – this bakery is most known for its European-style artisan breads but it also has some very good desserts that often don’t get the spotlight that they should. Lemon bundt mini-cakes, tortes, croissants, pastries, cookies, and decadent brownies are just some of the daily offerings. Depending on the time of day, there is usually a long line of people gawking at all the sweet stuff, so bring your patience with you.

Bread & Cie is located at 350 University Avenue in Hillcrest. Hours are: Monday thru Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Con Pane – recently located to a new place in Liberty Station which greatly expanded its cafe seating area. Like Bread & Cie, Con Pane is an artisan bread bakery that also features some sweet stuff, including Portuguese sweet bread on the weekends. But, what many people hold dear are the very large cinnamon buns. Ah, yes, the sticky sweet stuff that melts in your mouth. They also make a mean Hot Cross Bun around the Easter season. These are so popular that you have to reserve them by pre-paying. Good stuff!

Con Pane is located at 2750 Dewey Road (at Historic Decatur). Hours are: Monday to Tuesday and Thursday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Drumroll, please.

Sprinkles Cupcakes has finally come to San Diego! These high quality ingredient cupcakes are so good that we’ve schlepped to Newport Beach and Beverly Hills for these babies, so we consider it dangerous to our thighs that they’ll be just a few miles away.  According to the owner, Candace Nelson, so many people from San Diego where coming to buy their cupcakes in Corona del Mar and Beverly Hills, that she knew that San Diego was ready to be well, ‘Sprinkled.’

Please note that Sprinkles does not have indoor seating, only outdoor seating. If you don’t want to waste time standing in line, you can order online and the friendly staff will have it all ready to go for you. Please remember that flavors change daily with the exception of all-time favorites such as the Red Velvet. If you are someone who frequents the Whole Foods La Jolla shopping center, be forewarned that parking might get even more difficult when Sprinkles opens.

The official address of Sprinkles is 8855 Villa La Jolla Drive in La Jolla Village, not the village of La Jolla. Hours are:  Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Their phone number is: (858) 457-3800.

We know that there are sweet spots all over San Diego.  We started the list but we’d love your input.  Feel free to post your favorite places or send us an email.  If you’d like to remain anonymous, just let us know.


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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny Reiswig permalink
    January 13, 2011 11:17 am

    Gotta recommend Eclipse Chocolat on El Cajon Blvd at Georgia. Yes, they are a chocolatier, but also do cupcakes that are so dense they might as well be fudge, and have recently started doing weekend brunches. The killer items are the drinking chocolate – get the spicy one for an amazing sensation of heat soothed by cream, and some of the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had. Usually the gooey topping is what makes a cinnamon roll, but with these it’s the cinnamon – they are actually HOT. Yummmm.

    • January 13, 2011 11:28 am

      Hi Jenny, thanks for recommending Eclipse Chocolat. We have also heard about this establishment and have heard that they have very good cupcakes as well. We will check them out soon and maybe also those cinnamon rolls. They sound positively mouth-watering!

      • Jenny Reiswig permalink
        January 14, 2011 3:12 pm

        The cupcakes are completely smothered in chocolate. They’re actually too much for me! I also goofed on the location slightly – it’s El Cajon and Alabama, not Georgia. Oops!

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