Readers' Choice: Cheesecake Factory
So true. Tammie's pastries are nothing short of wondrous, pieces of edible art handcrafted fresh daily. They're beautiful to look at, in swirling shapes of molded ganache, studded with fresh berries, wrapped with ribbons, and decorated with piping and florals so elaborate they almost look like pieces of expensively upholstered furniture. The flavors are incredible -- like our zebra, white chocolate mousse layered with chocolate cake and raspberries, or banana pudding and chocolate sponge cake layered with chocolate Frangelico mousse and toasted hazelnuts. With 72 hours' notice, Tammie will make a custom cake with all our favorite flavors, though we're happy as can be with the standard stuff, like strawberry shortcake, a beautiful pink and white round with vanilla custard, strawberries and vanilla sponge cake. There are always tarts, bite-size cream puffs, cookies, scones, muffins and pop tarts, too. Such a sweet life!
Caspian has the best hummus we've ever found. The garbanzo bean dip is thick and silky like mousse, sprinkled with paprika and a joy to slather on warm pita. Why, we've even called in a takeout order of a pint, and then eaten it all by ourselves. After all, if mom says it's healthful, more must be better than less.
Think of it as Japanese tapas. Each dish is individually prepared to order, so plan on spending some time at the intimate bar. It's a thrill seeing Nobu whip and turn in his tiny work space, describing each ingredient as he plates it like art. We can select our own choices of "warm" or "cool" dishes, like shinshu mushi (sea bass and green tea soba in scented mushroom broth), or tako and tomato (sliced octopus, organic tomato, buffalo mozzarella, micro arugula, vintage Turley olive oil, citrus and wasabi aioli). Chilled edamame soup is a must, the soy beans puréed and drizzled with crème fraîche.
But the best way to experience this sushi is to put ourselves in Nobu's talented hands. We embrace the omakase, a tasting menu that changes nightly depending on what's best in the market. Some eight courses may appear, each paired with an exciting sake, champagne or wine. Blue fin toro tartare, hamachi with grapefruit and avocado, seared tuna tataki with roast beet purée -- these are just a few of the delicacies that may be in store for us.
Sea Saw, we salute your "sushi."
Readers' Choice for Best Gourmet Pizza: Pizzeria Bianco
Readers' Choice for Best Classic Pizza: Nello's