As a wonderful after dinner treat, we decided to venture over to Extraordinary Desserts...we had heard many great things about the store and wanted to "taste" for ourselves...WOW!!!
Favorite Dish: As a light snack, we've shared a Serrano Ham Panini (with buffalo mozzerella, balsamic onions, lettuce and red plum conserve). LJ has had desserts called the Viking Torte (a must for chocolate lovers...chocolate crème brulée is hidden between chocolate cake layers, smothered with caramel, milk chocolate whipped cream and crushed chocolate almond pralines) as well as Cappuccino Nut Torte with Lion Kona Chocolate Macadamia Nut Coffee while I've had the Extraordinary Carrot Cake (carrots, golden raisins, orange zest, chunks of pineapple, walnuts and coconut enveloped with a light cream cheese mousse) as well as Chocolate Macadamia Nut Torte with Lion Kona Vanilla Macadamia Nut Coffee.
My girlfriend and I arrived around 8:30 on a Thursday night recently (after all the Valentine's Day weekend hoohah) to share a dessert after dinner. We have been to Extraordinary Desserts in the past and I was never impressed and to this day I am still not. I am not a fan of paying top dollar for something and being treated like dirt. Every time I have been here I get the same lousy, snobby attitude. Now don't get me wrong I am not an over sensitive person, I have been dealing with the public for 35 years and I know the difference between someone having a bad day and people with bad attitudes. This staff has a bad attitude.
The atmosphere and layout are most annoying. When you walk up to the place, it looks very appealing and makes you want to venture in but once inside it becomes quite nerve racking. Why is the tea on display where the dessert should be? Yea, yea so you can sniff the samples of tea they have out but isn't this place named Extraordinary Desserts? We should be able to see what the dessert selections are for that day while you are waiting in the single file, wannabee line, not tea. Drinks are an after thought for most dessert customers I would think. I'm there for the dessert, show me the dessert. In order to see the dessert you have to leave your space in line and walk past the register and look at the display case. Then you have to try and remember what you want once you have squeezed yourself back in line. The problem is that everyone in line is doing this and it becomes very confusing who is in line and who isn’t or where they were in line. Okay desserts, bad set up. Yes they have some desserts before the register but not all of them. This is where it starts to become uncomfortable to be in there and this past time while we were in line there was a server yelling at the top of her lungs for people in line to excuse her while she tried to squeeze by to go out the entrance to serve hot beverages. Very unprofessional.
When you make it up to the register you are greeted with a blank stare and an ‘I have better things to do’ attitude. The problem is there is only one cash register. Does Starbucks have one register? Does Teavana have one register? Well if that's what you are trying to be, but with fancier desserts, than take some lessons in customer service from them. People don't want to pay $10.00 for a glorified Hostess Cupcake with a real flower on top and $4.00 for a double shot of espresso and feel like they are in a "soup kitchen" line.
There is an inside and outside and a half in-half outside all with tables which make for a cozy atmosphere but there is no room for anyone to maneuver once you find your spot. There you place your number on your table which was given to you by the cashier and you wait for your items to be brought by the staff. My items are always tossed at me without a greeting or a smile and for some reason it takes a really long time for them to cut a piece of cake and put it on a plate. Drinks always come first and then food comes later. This time when our dessert was delivered it did not have the ice cream that the special was supposed to come with. When my girlfriend asked the server where the ice cream was instead of him saying ‘Oh you wanted ice cream with this’ he said “You must not have ordered ice cream, I have nothing to do with that, I just bring what they tell me to bring. You have to go order it from the cashier.” Well I wasn’t going to go stand in line again for 15 minutes to get something that could have been retrieved by a server with some customer service skills.
Honestly the staff acts like it is an honor for you to be there and over pay for dessert but they don't offer high end customer service or outstanding atmosphere. What they offer is mass confusion, lukewarm coffee, a poor display of offerings and $10.00 for a slice of cake.
Bottom line is this. After experiencing what Extraordinary Desserts has to offer four different times in the past two years this is how I would set up someone’s expectations before I brought them here. “ Okay I know this place that has really big desserts, but the only thing though is they over charge and they treat you like crap.”
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Extraordinary Desserts is definitely one extraordinary place! Their first cafe in Hillcrest is decorated with a Zen influence and features unique objects from all over the world, which also reflects some of the inspiration behind owner Karen Krasne's sweet masterpieces. Ms. Krasne also opened a second location in Little Italy but I have yet to make it there.
The Hillcrest location is small but cozy and features tables with lighted candles and a romantic outdoor patio. At the entrance, there is a menu next to the door featuring the day's special desserts, so make sure you check this out before you walk in. As soon as you walk in, you are greeted with a case full of whole cakes that are beautifully decorated with fresh flowers and unique decorations like real gold foil, and there is a display of world teas above. There are samples of the tea that you can smell and they all smell wonderful (Coming here is truly a feast for the senses!). Further on are cookies and other treats that don't require refrigeration, and then the wonderful sliced cakes in another refrigerated case that you can choose from. They also have yummy homemade ice cream in lots of flavors, as well as good espresso drinks. This is the perfect place to wind down a beautiful evening in San Diego and many locals come here for romantic dates and to celebrate special occasions.
Just be prepared to wait in line if you go on a Friday or Saturday night when the Hillcrest location is open until midnight - there is a line that often spills out onto the sidewalk. It is also fairly pricey for dessert (depending on what you get, I believe the ice cream is $4 and slices of cake/tortes are $6-8), but the wait and the cost is definitely worth it! You can also save some money by not buying any beverages - they have a water dispenser outside on the patio so you can cleanse your palate afterwards.
Favorite Dish: My absolute fave at Extraordinary Desserts is the Passion Fruit Ricotta Torte - It's creamy and refreshing and light and I don't think anyone else makes this!
The whole concept of a place entirely dedicated to desserts is long overdue if you ask me. The two locations of Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego help to fill that void along with your stomach! Last time I was in San Diego, I went to the Little Italy location and had an interesting bread pudding, which was not quite moist enough for me taste, but the ingredients were fresh and the presentation was excellent. The interior is beautiful and upscale and it's a great place to come after a good meal or just to enjoy some decadence.
If any business was appropriately named it is certainly Extraordinary Desserts. The small restaurant/shop on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest has a display case of some of the most beautiful desserts this side of a Paris patisserie. The concoctions are works of art and will sometimes be adorned with edible flowers. There are lots of decadent items on offer here from various neopolitans, German forest cake, and tortes of all kinds. There are also smaller desserts such as cookies, scones, and brownies. Naturally you can wash it all down with a wide selection of teas, coffees, or just plain milk.
One day my co-worker and I went to ED for dinner. That's right, we skipped having entrees at another restaurant, walked into ED and split 5 desserts. Now that's what I call dinner!
Favorite Dish: ED's carrot cake is devine!
Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts
The more you specialize, the better you get at something, no? Karen Krasne has desserts perfected. This is a small dessert boutique that only creates certain cakes on certain days. Presentation is unbelievably beautiful. It would be a shame to eat if it wasn't so sinfully delicious. The setting is beautiful too, but be prepared for a line out the door at the Hillcrest location. Be patient, it's worth it.
Favorite Dish: ANYTHING - It's absolutely food-gasmic!
Yes, $8 for a piece of cake is outrageously expensive, but if you can do it, DO!
This is one of the best dessert restaurants in all of California in my opinion. The desserts are amazing even if they are a little pricey. It is worth it! They have an amazing assortment of teas that are unusual and tasty. The coffee is really outstanding, and I often take a trip there just for the coffee. The line can be a little daunting, but they are amazingly efficient at getting it down and usually byt the time you get to the front, there is somewhere available to sit. Make sure and take a cookie or some other little dessert to go if you can.
Favorite Dish: VThe Viking Cake is my favorite. They also have amazing shortbread. Buy the lavendar one if they have it (which they don't often). It is interesting and quite nice with a cup of Earl Grey Tea, English style (with cream). The Lemon Ricotta Torte is also outstanding. Actually, you really can't go wrong with any dessert. they are all amazing!
Do not go here if you are watching your waist line! Extraordinary Desserts is one of my favorite cafes. It's a small place with indoor and outdoor seating available. I love the dimly lit setting outside, it's really quaint; perfect for relaxing w/friends and having a mocha moment. But, the coffe is second to the fabulous array of desserts available. Everything is made fresh and the menu changes daily so if you have a favorite dessert it may not be there everytime you go! This happens to me often....argh
Favorite Dish: My preferred dessert is the creme B...there are no words to describe it, I wouldn't do it justice. A close second is the rasberry cake, yum.
Yummy, yummy desserts! This place is sooo popular that there's a line out the door like a popular nightclub! They truly have extraordinary desserts here, ranging from creme brulee to tarts to cakes and pies. The ambience is great too w/ two outdoor courtyards.
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