Nov 07

Maggie’s European Bakery & Cafe in Flagler Beach, FL

Challah Bread Pudding

Challah Bread Pudding

While returning home from a trip to see my beloved Florida Gators beat the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, my friend David (now a full member of the Gator Football Nation) and I decided to drive home on the scenic beach road A1A and find a place there to eat lunch. Well, I don’t need to tell you this, but of course the second I saw the word bakery in the title of this place I hit the breaks!

Flagler Beach is a small quaint “Old Florida” beach town. No big condos or oceanfront mansions here. It’s the way A1A used to be all up and down the coast. Maggie’s is right across the street from the beach which affords stunning views of the Atlantic while you eat. This place would never exist in South Florida as by now it would be condos or a strip center. It’s not a big restaurant and is decorated with German accents while German music appropriately plays in the background. Maggie was born in Germany but moved to the states as a small child. Her husband Andy was born in France and has also been in the states since childhood. They met in eighth grade and have been married for 37 years. Several years ago Andy unfortunately lost his longtime job up north, so Maggie and him packed up and moved to sunny Florida. Because Maggie has always loved to entertain, she decided to open this restaurant so she could share her family recipes and passion for cooking. The place has been a sucess since. Many people have talked to Maggie and Andy about expanding their current location or opening another eatery but Maggie wont have it. Great service and quality food are what she delivers and she doesn’t want either to suffer. Good for her and great for all her customers! Our friendly waitress suggested we try the below three items which Dave and I had them split. Therefore the pictures of the entrees are half portions but still nice sizes.

First we had the Savory Crepes. Ours were custom made with eggs, onions, mushrooms, and cheese. The actual crepe was halfway between a traditional crepe and a pancake as it was a bit thicker than most. Cooked perfectly and delicious! It came with the most scrumptious potatoes I have had in a long time. They had a bit of a crunch on the outside with a buttery and mildly salty taste.

Savory Crepes

Savory Crepes

Next up was a wonderful crustless Zucchini Frittata that is not on the everyday menu. Very tasty and probably the healthiest entree we had.

Zucchini Frittata and Potato Pancake

Zucchini Frittata and Potato Pancake

The last entree we shared was a quiche that had applewood smoked bacon, onions, and sausage. Covered in a yummy hollandaise sauce this was by far the richest dish we had. Served with potatoes and croissant. A really excellent quiche brimming with flavor! We also ordered a potato pancake. Lightly fried and perfectly seasoned!

Quiche

Quiche

And finally the Dessert. Of course I had to try a piece of Maggie’s home-made Challah Bread Pudding. A bit well done and crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. Served warm with whipped cream! The challah bread is what makes this special as it is almost croissant-like in texture and taste. This receives 4 stars out of five for “Is it Good”. Maggie also makes a variety of other desserts such as cookies, brownies, numerous bars (key lime, lemon, etc.), linzers, cakes, whoopie pies, baklava, and several more. By the way, the  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie was both large and very tasty.

Maggie tries to use the freshest ingredients that are available but she says nothing is organic. Just plain white sugar and flour here. Not that people don’t want to eat healthy but I don’t think her customers want or expect “health food”. This is someone making great comfort food with her own special flair and it seems to be working great. Therefore Maggie’s receives 1 heart for “Is it Good For You”.

David and I throughorly enjoyed a real treat by visiting Maggie’s European Bakery and Cafe. Maggie and her staff made us feel like we were family, we loved eating on the ocean, and the food was unique and delicious. I can’t wait to return to Maggie’s when I am in the area again. Please remember to enjoy with moderation! TheDessertDoctor.comOne Heart4 stars

Maggie's

Maggie’s

The Goods!

The Goods!

 

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Oct 22

“Mile High” Key Lime Pie at Seagrille in Boca Raton

"Mile-High" Key Lime Pie

“Mile-High” Key Lime Pie

The Seagrille Restaurant, perched on the third floor of the Beach Club at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, affords stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and provides fine-dining in a semi-casual atmosphere. The resort has many dining options to chose from but none with the scenery that Seagrille has. We decided to dine outside on their large covered patio to maximize those breathtaking ocean vistas.

For our first course we shared the Hearts of Palm Salad with panella cheese, Bibb lettuce, avocado, and tomatoes. Great flavors in a sophisticated presentation.

Hearts Of Palm Salad

Hearts Of Palm Salad

For our main course we had the banana leaf baked and miso glazed Black Cod. Several people at the resort said this was a must have dish. Someone even called it “The Candy of the Sea” because of the sweet miso glaze. The beautiful fish was as fresh as could be. The miso was indeed sweet. Served with bok choy, mushrooms, and carrots. Buttery, sweet, and a taste sensation!

Miso Glazed Black Cod

Miso Glazed Black Cod

It was my wife’s birthday so we celebrated the only way we know how, DESSERT! Our fantastic server Oscar recommended the “Mile-High” Meringue Key Lime Pie. Made in-house, this behemoth just says “Look at Me”! Alone, the inch thick buttery crust is enough to make you fall in love, but don’t stop there! The creamy key lime filling has the perfect blend of tart and sweet and the delicious “Mile-High” Meringue is a fluffy compliment to the key lime in both taste and appearance. The menu says this colossal portion is for two, but trust me, it could feed a small village! Another server came out to sing Happy Birthday in the most wonderful operatic voice, a real treat! This pie receives 4.5 Stars (out of five) for “Is it Good”.

Birthday Treat!

Birthday Treat!

The friendly, efficient, and unstuffy staff at the Seagrille is headed by manager Mario Warner. Mario came by to chat and see how we were doing, and gave us some insight  into the resort and restaurant. Even when we were by the pool during the day, Mike, the outdoor food and beverage manager, made sure our every need there was taken care of. Richard Hess, the front office manager made sure our stay at the hotel went smoothly. He even contacted me several times before our stay to make sure we had everything ready for the “birthday girl”.

Oscar said the eggs in the pie were organic but not everything is. It is out of this world but loaded with a ton of sugar and calories, especially if you were crazy enough to eat the whole slice by yourself! Therefore, this isn’t a healthy dessert, but a treat to be shared for that special occasion (Birthday!). It receives 1 heart (out of five) for “Is it Good For You”.

We truly enjoyed our visit to The Seagrille and will definitely return sometime to celebrate another special occasion. Remember to enjoy with moderation! TheDessertDoctor.com4 and half starsOne HeartCouple

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Oct 01

Giardina’s Restaurant and Viking Cooking School in Greenwood MS

Delta Delight

Delta Delight

Located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta where Blues Music got its start is the historic Giardina’s restaurant. Founded in 1936 by Joseph Giardina and located in the Delta’s finest hotel, The Alluvian, this upscale southern eatery features 14 private booths all equipped with a service bell and personal light dimmer (Romantic if my wife were here but not on our annual guys trip!).  Exectutive chef Stevens Flagg who grew up in nearby Clarksdale, MS worked his way up in the restaurant from a line cook. His menu features steaks, seafood, and Italian cuisine, all with a southern flair. For years the restaurant and hotel was owned by the founder of Viking Kitchen Appliances, Fred Carl, Jr.,  who is a Greenwood native. Mr. Carl located Viking’s headquarters right in Greewwood, employing over 1000 local people. Along with the headquarters and factory he also opened the Alluvian, a spa, the Mockingbird Bakery, and the Viking cooking school. The cooking school sits right across the street from the Alluvian and has numerous classes the general public can take. All that combined with the fabulous five star hotel, the restaurant, and the surrounding “Delta Blues” tourism (The BB King Museum in nearby Indianola is a must see), makes for a great and very different vacation. I recommend getting  the Mississippi Blues Trail official map from the Mississippi Development Authority/Tourism Division (VisitMississippi.org, 601-359-3297). Also in Greenwood is the Museum of the Delta which is a bit dated but will give you a wonderful overview of the history and culture of the region.

We wanted to sample some southern menu items so we ordered three appetizers reccomended by our knowledgable server Nadia. First was the Mississippi Delta Catfish Cakes with Mixed Greens and Comeback Sauce. Crunchy on the outside with moist delicious fish inside. A really special regional dish.

Mississippi Delta Catfish Cakes

Mississippi Delta Catfish Cakes

Next was the Fried Green Tomatoes with Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Warm Comeback Sauce. The crabmeat and sauce make this dish really scrumptious. Best fried green tomatoes I have ever had!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

The last appetizer was three eggplant fritters served with a warm honey dipping  sauce. Great flavor combo!!

Eggplant Fritters

Eggplant Fritters

For our entrees we had a wonderful pan seared grouper, and roasted free range chicken. Both were simple dishes but prepared to perfection.

Desserts (you thought I forgot?) are made in-house. Ingredients according to Nadia aren’t neccessarly organic but are sourced local if at all possible. These desserts aren’t necessarily healthy but are a treat and a way to sample some of the local food while visiting this interesting area.  First up is The Delta Delight. This is Giardina’s house-made yellow “ooey gooey cake” with swirls of cream cheese, topped with pecans, and served with vanilla ice cream. The cake is super moist and yummy with pecans in the batter, not just on top. Some powdered sugar provides makeup and sweetness for this all star dessert nirvana. 4.5 Stars for “Is it Good”.

Next is the Bread Pudding with Bourbon Carmel Sauce. Made with French bread which gives the dish a much tighter texture and a more sophisticated flavor. It has hints of pumpkin spice which I thought made for a unique taste.  The caramel sauce sends this dessert into the next dimension with additional sweetness and flavor. 4 Stars here.

Bread Pudding With Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Bread Pudding With Bourbon Caramel Sauce

As stated above, Giardina’s isn’t a health food restaurant but a fine dining establishment where you can experience the tastes of the Mississipi Delta in a historic setting. Therefore it receives only 2 Hearts for “Is it Good For You”. Still, with an average of 4.25 Stars for “Is it Good” plus the 2 hearts gives Giardina’s a respectable total score of 6.25! If you want to visit a unique area with interesting history, friendly people, and crowd pleasing southern regional food then the Mississippi Delta would be a great trip for you. Just remember to stop in Greenwood and have a wonderful meal at Giardina’s. Remember to enjoy with moderation! TheDessertDoctor.com

4 and half starsTwo Hearts

 

Hungry Travelers

Hungry Travelers

 

Tim Picks Cotton on the Delta

Tim Picks Cotton on the Delta

 

Kurt Moves Cotton in Delta Museum

Kurt Moves Cotton in Delta Museum

 

Country Platter Southern/Soul Restaurant in Cleveland MS

Country Platter Southern/Soul Restaurant in Cleveland MS

Graceland

Graceland

BB King Museum

BB King Museum

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Jul 30

The Cooper Craft Kitchen and Bar in Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Run by exectutive chef Adam Brown, The Cooper is a farm to table concept restaurant with seasonally inspired dishes that highlight Brown’s French and Mediterranean influences.  Trained at The Culinary Institute of New York, Chef Brown has worked in numerous restaurants in both New York and Florida before starting up The Cooper with general manager William Penenori.

The space which was originally Oakwood Grill and then Water Bar and Grill is one of 10 restaraunts owned by the Connecticut- based Max Restaurant Group. With a modern/contempory and rustic decore the place is both casual and elegant. Our party of four made a reservation and we were seated almost immediately even though the place was quite busy. My only complaint about the space is its a bit too noisy for my taste, which made conversation difficult. Our waiter Sam was terrific. She highlighted the regular menu, which has everything from vegan to meat, plus the daily specials.

I opted for some of their healthier dishes, first with their Tuscan Salad(split with my lovely wife). Mixed greens, fresh mozzarella, polenta croutons, roasted garlic, tomatoes, and kalamata olives. Served with a balsamic vinaigrette. I asked for no croutons but they forgot(I tried one which was quite good). A nice lite salad with refreshing ingredients.

Tuscan Salad (Half Order)

Tuscan Salad (Half Order)

Entree number one was a fabulous Farmers Market Vegetable Plate.  It’s a huge, satisfying entree so come hungry. Consisting of a hearty portobello grilled vegetable stack, yummy braised artichoke hearts, Fava beans, heirloom mushroom emulsion, braised kale, spring peas and roasted garlic, quinoa pilaf, and a profoundly delicious pistachio-basil pesto. It was so full of different textures and unique flavors that I could enjoy this healthy dish every day.

Farmers Market Vegetable Plate

Farmers Market Vegetable Plate

Next I had their house made Ancient Grains Veggie Burger(farro, quinoa, portobello, red peppers, and onions). A huge burger served with Little Gem lettuce, tomato, and an arugula pesto on a multigrain kaiser roll. Comes with your choice of handcut fries or coleslaw, but I opted for grilled asparagus($4 up charge). They forgot the pesto and I only ate 1/2 of the bun but it was still very flavorful and delicious.

Ancient Grains Veggie Burger

Ancient Grains Veggie Burger

My wife had the swordfish special which she really enjoyed (I know, mercury I told her, but she really wanted it and usually tries to limit the amount of “higher food chain fish” that she does have). Our friends Jon and Rebecca had the scallops and short ribs which they both loved(the short ribs were huge!).

Swordfish

Swordfish

Scallops

Scallops

Short Ribs

Short Ribs

For dessert Sam recommended the Peach Cobbler which comes with a streusel topping and vanilla ice cream. The cobbler is house made as are all the desserts. Served piping hot in its own casserole dish, it was a bit dissapointing considering how spectacular the entrees were. Kind of ordinary, a bit too sweet, and a somewhat mushy texture. It receives 2.5(out of 5) for “Is It Good”.

My wife ordered the Cooper Sundae. A large portion containing vanilla ice cream, bananas, chocolate fudge, salted caramel, spiced pecans, whipped cream, and macerated Bing cherries. I had a taste, and for a sundae it was quite good, with a nice mixture of quality ingredients, with many textures and tastes that complimented each other. She and our friends all seemed to enjoy it. 3.5 stars here.

Cooper Sundae

Cooper Sundae

Our waiter Sam said that none of the dessert ingredients were organic with just plain sugar used to sweeten. I know they try to source local, but with these desserts I don’t think it is applicable here, except for the peaches which I doubt are local. Therefore, The Cooper receives 1 heart(out of 5) for “Is It Good For You”. With an average of 3 for “Is It Good”, that gives The Cooper a total score of 4 out of 10. Mind you, this is for the desserts only as the salad and entrees were about as healthy as you will see at a “Non-Organic” restaurant plus they were all scrumptious and very large portions. We all enjoyed our trip to The Cooper and will definitely be back, if not for dessert, then for the food. Remember to enjoy with moderation! TheDessertDoctor.comOne Heart3 stars

 

Me

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Jun 27

Carrot Cake at The Chocolate Turtle in St. Augustine, FL

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Nestled on Cordova Street in America’s oldest city, St. Augustine,FL, in a completely restored early 1900’s wooden home  is the wonderfully charming dessert cafe The Chocolate Turtle. Owners Lisa Dallaire and Laura Highsmith have created a warm and friendly neighborhood place for family’s to come and enjoy their quality desserts, coffees, chocolate drinks, cheese, craft beers, and wines. These two hard working gals both know how to bake but knew that they wanted someone who could take them to the next level. Therefore, they hired pastry chef Nils Rowland. Only 29, Rowland trained under world renowned master confectionery artist Ewald Notter.

L to R, Laura, Dr. Mark, Lisa

L to R, Laura, Dr. Mark, Lisa

If you know me, you know I love desserts, but you also know that one of my favorites is Carrot Cake. Folks, The Chocolate Turtle has put out a seriously top knotch version here! It’s so good, that I think they could change their name to The Carrot Cake, just serve only this, and do just fine! This big three layer version has a lush layer of buttercream icing on top that isn’t too thick so as not to overwhelm the goodness inside: Perfectly moist layers of cake in between two layers of sumptuous cream cheese icing all forming an indescribably scrumptious piece of cake. I like the fact that they left out the raisins and nuts from the cake batter and placed some rum soaked raisins on the plate if you feel like you might need some. There are some pecans garnishing the outside of the cake but the cake is so good, I like that they tried not to take away from it. 4.75 stars here(out of 5) for “Is it Good”!

Another View of The Prize!

Another View of The Prize!

I also had two cookies, the chocolate chip, and a gluten free Monster Cookie. The chocolate chip was a big cookie with a chewy texture and large delicious chocolate chips. A really good cookie with just a bit too much salt but otherwise spot on. The Gluten Free Monster Cookie was a definite crowd pleaser. It has peanut butter, M&Ms, chocolate chips, and oats. It remarkably all works well, with great texture and flavor contrasts, especially the chocolate and peanut butter. 4 stars for the chocolate chip cookie and 4.25 stars for the Monster cookie.

Gluten Free Monster Cookie

Gluten Free Monster Cookie

Even with Mr. Rowland’s apparent artistry, remember,  this place is not an organic health food store, and thats not what the girls were trying to do. It is a dessert bar where everything needs to be enjoyed with moderation. The girls use only the finest ingredients but it isn’t organic, its sweetened with your standard stuff, and most selections aren’t gluten free. Therefore The Chocolate Turtle receives 2.5 hearts for “Is it Good For You”.

It is quite apparent that Lisa and Laura have worked very hard to create a fun and inviting cafe that is spotlessly clean with a great selection of yummy treats. They are even open late(till 10pm on weekdays and 11pm Friday and Saturday Nights) for that perfect place for a date or to reward yourself for studying hard in the Flagler College library. I look forward to a return trip to St. Augustine soon, not only to enjoy the sites, but also to sample more of The Chocolate Turtles wonderful selections! Remember to enjoy with moderation. TheDessertDoctor.comChocolate Turtle4 and half starsTwo Hearts

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Jun 23

Wild Flour Bakery in Banff, Canada

Wild FlourWild Flour bakery in lovely Banff, Alberta Canada serves up healthy vegan and organic goodies 7am-6pm daily. Besides their fantastic desserts they also serve breakfast all day, soups, sandwiches, and salads. The quaint town of Banff is actually located in Canada’s  oldest National Park, Banff National Park and is about an hours drive west of Calgary. The park provides some of the most picturesque scenery in the Rocky Mountains, numerous glaciers, lakes, and abundant wildlife. Besides Banff NP, the area also includes Yoho, Jasper, and Kooteny National Parks plus famous Lake Louise. This gives you literally weeks worth of things to do and see in this wonderful area.

Banff National Park

Banff National Park

Bighorn Sheep in Banff

Bighorn Sheep in Banff

Ok, let’s get down to business. Dessert!! Wild Flour sources local ingredients, with most being organic, and some of their items are raw. First up is the Coconut Carrot Cake. Moist on the inside with just the right amount of walnuts for some added layer of texture and flavor. A delicious but not too heavy cream cheese frosting adds to the cake’s moistness and taste. Toasted coconut flakes on top finishes this off. The cake isn’t too sweet, just perfect. This receives 4.5 Stars(out of five) for “Is it Good”.

Coconut Carrot Cake

Coconut Carrot Cake

Next up is the Gluten Free Brownie. This is a big, thick specimen with a bit of a crunch on the outside and nice dense chewy inside. Surprisingly great taste for gluten free here and spot on chocolate flavor. I would have liked some nuts or chocolate chips on the inside, especially in such a thick brownie, to provide some added texture dimension. 4 Stars for this.

Gluten Free Brownie

Gluten Free Brownie

One of my favorite items here was the Mexican Chocolate Cookie. Thick but with a lite, not too hard/not too soft texture. Great coco flavor with the perfect hint of chili powder. Chocolate chips throughout just melt in your mouth. 4.5 Stars

Mexican Chocolate Cookie

Mexican Chocolate Cookie

The Date Square was very moist with the perfect amount of sweet date purée in between two layers of toasted oats and coconut. 3.5 Stars here.

Date Square

Date Square

For an even healthier selection I tried the Gluten Free Raw Organic Chocolate Mint Cookie. With ingredients like dates, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, peppermint oil, coconut, cacao powder, honey, agave, and matcha(green tea powder) how can you go wrong? For a raw cookie it was surprisingly good. A subtitle chocolate flavor complements the mint, nuts, dates, and coconut. 3.5 Stars here.

Gluten Free Raw Chocolate Mint Cookie

Gluten Free Raw Chocolate Mint Cookie

Because Wild Flour Bakery uses the finest healthy ingredients available with an obvious attention to quality, they receive 4.5 Hearts for “Is it Good For You”. With an average score of 4 points for “Is it Good” plus the 4.5 points from “Is it Good For You” their total points are 8.5 which puts Wild Flour Bakery into The Dessert Doctor Hall of Fame(8 points needed). Please remember to enjoy with moderation. TheDessertDoctor.comFour HeartsHall of Fame icon4 stars

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May 07

Seven Bites Bakery, Orlando, FL

seven bitesinside seven bitesWhether you are hungry for a complete meal or just want something to satisfy your sweet tooth, Seven Bites Bakery in Orlando has lots of terrific choices. Located in the eclectic East Central Park neighborhood, this homey eatery is owned by the talented Trina Gregory-Pope. A gastric bypass surgery inspired her to explore healthy cooking which eventually turned into a passion and thankfully this eatery. As a result of the surgery, Trina can now eat only “Seven Bites” of each dish, hence the name.  After being open for only six months, Seven Bites is already talking of expanding to a bigger space. After eating here, I’m not surprised.

First, the food! The Savory Veggie Breakfast  Bread Pudding was a decadent combination of sourdough and wheat bread, asparagus, carmelized onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, black peppercorns, and gruyere cheese. Top that off with a warm rich hollandaise sauce and let the party in your mouth begin! A nice size portion and excellent melding of all the flavors here.

Savory Veggie Bread Pudding

Savory Veggie Bread Pudding

We also had one of their individual chicken pot pies. Again a nice size portion made with roasted-in-house chicken, peas, carrots, potatoes, celery seeds, salt, pepper, and thyme, in a white wine bechamel. All this inside of a double butter crust that will knock your socks off! Yummy!!

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

With all the food above, you probably are asking yourself if the Dessert Doc saved any room for dessert? My answer is…. OF COURSE!!!

First up to the plate was the Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie. Again the same thick and wonderful double butter crust that the pot pie had but now filled with a twiced baked pecan filling that had the caramel and chocolate flavors in perfect balance. With many pecan pies the texture of the filling can be either too thick and gooey, or the opposite, and almost to the point of being runny. Not so here, just perfect with every bite. This receives 4.5 stars for “Is it Good”.

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie

Next up is the Oatmeal Cream Pie. Two chewy oatmeal cookies with sumptuous buttercream filling in the center. A great combo here and really spot on for flavor and texture. 4 stars here.

Oatmeal Cream Whoopie Pie

Oatmeal Cream Whoopie Pie

Without going overboard here, the Hazelnut Sour Cream Coffee Cake is one of the best I’ve ever had. Rich and moist with pieces of hazelnuts within and topped with a brown butter vanilla bean glaze that provided some added creamy sweetness. Worth the trip here just for a slice of this! 4.5 stars.

Hazelnut Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Hazelnut Sour Cream Coffee Cake

When you talk with Trina or any of the other friendly staff at Seven Bites you feel their passion for this place everywhere from the beautiful presentation of the food to the quality ingredients. Trina tries to source local and use organic wherever humanly possibly. Therefore, Seven Bites receives 4 hearts for “Is it Good for You”.

With an average score of 4.3 for “Is it Good”, and 4 hearts, Seven Bites total score is an 8.3, placing it into The Dessert Doctor Hall of Fame! Remember to enjoy with moderation. TheDessertDoctor.com4 and half starsFour HeartsHall of Fame icon

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Apr 03

Raphsodic Co-op Vegan Bakery in Orlando

RaphsodicRaphsodic Cooperative in Orlando,FL is a vegan bakery serving delicious treats that not only satisfy the health conscious but also the pickiest sugar junkie. Located in the eclectic Lake Eola Heights district, Raphsodic is open 11-7 Mon-Thurs and 11-8 Fri and Sat. Katie, the friendly owner, was super helpful explaining all the menu items and the bakeries philosophy. She said that Raphsodic uses organic and local source ingredients wherever possible, have many gluten free options, and try to accommodate anyone with allergies or special diet needs.

First we tried their version of a cinnamon sticky bun as they were just coming out of he oven!  The texture was half way between a typical soft chewy sticky bun and cake. Katie says this is the gluten free version so  the texture is going to be a bit different here. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but the “mouth feel” was not what I expected.  The flavor was not too sweet and not too heavy on the cinnamon, just right.  The icing didn’t overpower the bun but gave a welcome boost of sweetness. This gets 4 stars for “Is it Good”.4 stars

Cinnamon Bun

Cinnamon Bun

I also tried the coconut cupcake.  Lovely moist coconut cake(this specimen wasn’t the gluten free variety) that has coconut blended in the batter. It’s topped with dreamy vanilla vegan buttercream icing and toasted coconut. Tasted as good or better than its best non-vegan counterpart.  4 stars for “Is it Good”.4 stars

Coconut Cupcake

Coconut Cupcake

The best for last award goes to their homemade whoopie pies. Two delicious cookies of your choice with the most mouth watering sumptuous vegan buttercream frosting in the middle! We used cinnamon cookies for a profoundly yummy combo! 4.5 stars here.

4 and half stars

Whoopie Pie

Whoopie Pie

Yummy!! 

I love Katie’s mission and attention to detail. In the difficult and very competitive restaurant  business it is extremely hard to stick to your principles and I think Katie does a fine job here. For “Is it Good For You” Raphsodic receives 4 hearts.Four Hearts

With a total of 8.17 points for the combination of 4 hearts from “Is it Good for You”, and their average of 4.17 stars from “Is it Good” puts Raphsodic into The Dessert Doctor “Hall of Fame! Enjoy! TheDessertDoctor.com.

Satisfied Customer

Satisfied Customer

 

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Feb 17

Deconstructed Cannoli at The Living Room, Boynton Beach,FL

Living Room

After reading a recent review in our local paper regarding The Living Room, a hip lounge/eatery, and their version of a “shareable” cannoli, I decided to make a visit to see for myself.
The Living Room is located in a strip center in Boynton Beach, FL. It’s amazing how you forget the outside surroundings once inside as owner Lisa Mercado has transformed the space into a funky pub with live music, comfy couches and chairs, and an artsy decor. It was a busy Saturday night so reservations are important, or get there early and you can get a table at the restaurants next door neighbor “The Pub”. This “dressed down” companion shares the same menu with some live music of its own. Either way, both are a great place for “date night” or a night out with friends.
My wife had the signature house cocktail-The Pink Living Room. She usually doesn’t like “sweet drinks” but she did enjoy this libation quite a bit. As an appetizer we shared the Scotch Eggs-a hard boiled egg surrounded by the most wonderful sausage(per-cured from Cameron’s British Foods and Importers in Cape Coral, FL), breaded, baked, and served with spicy mustard. These are just as delicious as they sound and something very different and fun to try which is what makes The Living Room so special.

Scottish Eggs

Scottish Eggs


Next we had a Veggie Cake which looked more like a big round falafel. It is made with black beans(some puréed to hold the cake together and some whole), roasted corn, and then lightly breaded and baked. It is topped with an avocado sauce and served over mixed greens with a side of their house made orzo.
Veggie Cake

Veggie Cake


Next was the Steak and Mushroom Pie: Tender beef, mushrooms, and gravy, nestled between two pieces of golden pastry. It is served with mashed potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. This very rich dish really hits the spot if your hungry.
Steak and Mushroom Pie

Steak and Mushroom Pie


We also tried the Florentine Crepes which are veggie crepes (but we added chicken at no extra charge). They are drizzled with a balsamic reduction and served with broccoli and carrots. A tasty lighter dish to compliment the heavy Steak and mushroom pie.
Florentine Crepes

Florentine Crepes


Dessert number 1(did you really think I was only going to try one?!) was the Peanut Butter Pie. This is a sumptuous peanut butter filling carefully topped with rich dark chocolate in just the right amount to not make this a chocolate pie with peanut flavor, as the peanuts need to take charge here and they do! The crunchy crust holds everything together and provides a balanced contrast in textures. The pie is then enveloped in a ring of whipped cream( a bit too much here as a dollop would have been fine). Ms. Mercado says she has won numerous awards for this crowd pleasing treat. This receives 4.5 Stars for “Is it Good”.
Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

4 and half stars
Last but not least is The Cannoli Chip-N-Dip. It’s like the dessert version of chips and hummus. This is basically a deconstructed cannoli which Lisa says is much easier to share, as your friends aren’t taking a bite of your messy cannoli and handing it back to you. Great idea! Here you get “Cannoli Chips” and a separate plentiful bowl of “Cannoli Filling”. Still delicious, but much “cleaner” to share, plus the shell(chips) don’t get soggy!! The appearance of these chips is decieving as they look like blue corn chips but they are indeed a sweet cannoli shell in chip form, lovingly coated in a light dusting of powdered sugar. The rich filling is loaded with chocolate chips, drizzled with chocolate sauce, and surrounded by dreamy whipped cream. 4 Stars here for “Is it Good”.
Chip-N-Dip Cannoli

Chip-N-Dip Cannoli

4 stars
Ms. Mercado is a super host, making sure she spends time with her guests even on a busy night. Her eatery encorporates the popular Farm-to-Table concept as she tries to use the freshest local ingredients(an exception is the potatoes as she is a huge fan of Idaho’s). In her desserts she uses regular white flour and brown sugar but does use organic eggs. With all this in mind I will give these two desserts 3 hearts for “Is it Good For You”. This gives The Living Room a total score of 7.25.Three Hearts
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the great service, live music, eclectic atmosphere, and uniquely delicious food at this fun spot. TheDessertDoctor.com

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Jan 10

Farmers Fishers Bakers Restaurant in Washington D. C.

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake

Farmers Fishers Bakers(FFB)is an upscale casual restaurant located in the busy Georgetown area of Washington Harbour at 3000 K Street NW. The eatery has its own bakery, a sushi counter, full bar, and a patio with water views. It was established with a farm-to-table philosophy using regionally and seasonally sourced foods when possible. The Washington location is the districts first LEED Gold Certified restaraunt(a green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council). Over 50 percent of their interior furnishings are recycled and their Montgomery County, MD location is 100 percent wind powered! The restaurant is actually owned by family farmers themselves.
The menu is extensive with everything from burgers to three different types of jambalaya. The prices are quite reasonable considering FFB’s location. Our waiter said his favorite entree was the Wisconsin Grilled Cheeseburger($12). Well, since I was on vacation I decided to give it a try. It was essentially a grilled cheese sandwich with a burger, carmelized onions, and bacon inside(I confess I did take a bite with the bacon and then removed the rest before finishing). Obviously with all those fattening ingredients how could this not be the tasty monster that it was.
Wisconsin Grilled Cheeseburger

Wisconsin Grilled Cheeseburger


For the main course(Dessert), our waiter told me to try the Hummingbird cake($8)which he stated was a cross between a spice and carrot cake. When I asked him how much of it was organic he stated that FFB’s tries to source organic as much as possible but with being such a large restaurant they couldn’t do it all the time.
The slice of cake he brought to me was quite large, being more than enough to share if your a nice Dessert Doctor! This behemoth was a four layer beauty with more of a spice flavor then carrot. Still, it wasn’t your grandma’s typically over-spiced variety with a much more enjoyable subtle flavor(sorry grandma!). It contained raisins and walnuts in just the proper distribution to compliment without taking anything away from the moist cake. The cream cheese frosting was also in perfect proportion to the cake so nither the cake or the icing would win first prize but both finish in a dead heat! I really loved the super creamy frosting. It was not too sweet while still enchanting your taste buds. It was all perfectly presented with a caramel drizzle and dollop of house-made whipped cream for that final accent. This cake receives 4 stars for “Is It Good” and 3 hearts for “Is It Good For You”.
I enjoyed the time I spent visiting my family over the holidays in the Washington D.C. area, especially our visit to Farmers Fishers Bakers. Enjoy! TheDessertDoctor.com
A Happy Customer

A Happy Customer

4 starsThree Hearts

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