Answers from Our Experts (2)
The best place for dessert in San Diego is Extraordinary Desserts. Paris-trained pastry chef and owner Karen Krasne crafts exquisite confections that look as good as they taste. Each heavenly dessert is plated with artful syrup swirls, edible gold leaf, dark fuchsia orchid petals and sometimes whole flower buds. My go-to on the rotating menu is the light-as-air roasted coconut cream torte — vanilla cake drenched in coconut milk layered with coconut custard, coconut mousse, and covered with whipped cream and toasted coconut shavings. One popular pick is the dulce de leche torte, where sheets of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and choclate crunches are draped in a rich dulce de leche frosting. Pair your indulgence with Kona coffee or my favorite, Birthday tea, a black blend with notes of vanilla and caramel that’s like dessert in a cup.
I prefer the Balboa Park location of Extraordinary Desserts to the Little Italy outpost (though at the latter, you can order some non-dessert food, like panini and grilled cheese sandwiches). It’s more intimate, with its dimly lit covered patio (there are heaters there in the winter). You’ll see dates and groups of sugar addicts queued up outside of the popular spot, especially on the weekends.
While Azúcar doesn’t have the ambience of Extraordinary Desserts, it does deliver lovely-looking sweets. Pastry chef Vivian Hernandez honed her technique in Five-Star Claridge's in London and Four-Star Loews Miami Beach Hotel before opening up shop in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood. Try her Cuban-style desserts, including mojito cookies and Little Havana, a rum-soaked cake drizzled with dulce de leche.
One of the tastiest places to treat yourself to something sweet is at Cups of La Jolla. The boutique cupcake lounge is positively brimming with beautiful cupcakes baked with the best local, sustainable, and organic ingredients. Their daily batches of fluffy cupcakes come in a wide array of unique flavors like the Better with Bacon, a sweet and savory maple syrup-infused vanilla bean cup frosted with maple buttercream crowned by maple sugar-cured bacon. Another sumptuous selection is the Wine and Cheese cup, which combines smooth cabernet chocolate cake with creamy brie frosting sprinkled with candied walnut confetti.
While you can certainly get your cakes to go it’s far more fun to indulge your sweet tooth right at Cups’ old-fashioned soda bar-style lounge. The cute-as-a-button venue has plenty of charm created with earth-friendly materials like recycled glass countertops and a backlit wall composed of repurposed milk bottles from Straus Family Creamery, California’s first family-owned certified organic dairy. In line with that theme, Cups serves ice cold Straus milk straight from a tap and into reusable Straus milk bottles. For a special pleasure consider trying the Strawberry Milk blended with fresh organic strawberries.
Other delights include house made sodas sweetened with natural juices, cupcake enriched milkshakes and ice cream, organic loose-leaf teas, and grind to order coffee drinks made with beans roasted in North Park by Caffe Calabria. Enjoy your just desserts while bopping to the tunes of the resident Cups DJ and taking advantage of the lounge’s free wi-fi. You can even bring your pooch along to hang with you out on the Pups Patio. Your four-legged friend will enjoy the calming herb garden and you can even treat Fido to special doggie cakes called Cuppies. There’s a lot going on at Cups, so grab a friend, bring your cupcake cravings, and check it out for yourself.
Cups is located at:
7857 Girard Avenue,
La Jolla, California 92037
Mon-Thurs 10am – 7pm
Fri-Sun 10am - 9pm