Gallery: First Look: Spring Desserts at A.R. Valentien, San Diego

Lemon Mousse Bar
Lemon Mousse Bar
This lunchtime dessert features a chilled lemon souffle sitting on a cookie crust, with mixed berries, chocolate shards, and walnuts for garnish. "It's really nice and light. It's made with a lot of egg yolks and egg whites, whipped to full volume. On the base there's a Breton cookie, which is a little saltier than your average cookie, so we have a nice balance with the sweet. All the berries we're getting are from farmers markets, and we're also using red walnuts from Terra Bella Farm," Jennifer says.
Meyer Lemon and Berry Dinner Dessert
Meyer Lemon and Berry Dinner Dessert
The Meyer Lemon Cake, Berry Salad, Strawberry Mousse Feuillette, and Powdered Pistachio, served at dinner, is a more complex version of the Lemon Mousse Bar (served only at lunchtime). "We started with a base of pistachio dust, since pistachios and berries obviously go very well together. We did a Meyer lemon and vanilla cake, the little puffs are feuilletine pastry filled with a strawberry mousse, and again, those amazing berries on top. My favorite thing in the world is this lemon cream. It's a really tangy, crème fraîche-based lemon cream, richer than a curd and one of my signature items," says Jennifer.
Puff and Cream
Puff and Cream
A closer look at the strawberry-filled feuilletine puff, the lemon cream, and those sensational berries.
Mulberry Galette
Mulberry Galette
The mulberry dessert, available for the next three weeks or so, is on both the lunch and dinner menus to make the most of the limited time the berries are available. The dessert features a rustic galette dough that's similar to a pie crust with a little bit of oat crumble on the bottom to absorb excess berry juice, a lemon and oat tuille, white chocolate cream, and yogurt sorbet. There's also a fine ribbon of sauce made from steeped Torrey Pine needles, collected from trees on the property. "That was one of the main inspirations behind this item," says Jennifer. "You have to be really careful when you're doing something like this because they can be aggressive and taste like a car freshener so you have to learn to balance and play with those flavors."
Mulberry
Mulberry
Jennifer brought out a lone mulberry on a plate so the wacky shape and earthy-sweet flavor could be fully appreciated.
Strawberry Rhubarb Bread Pudding
Strawberry Rhubarb Bread Pudding
The strawberry rhubarb bread pudding starts with a lemon bread that's soaked in an egg yolk and cream custard with rhubarb compote. "For our rhubarb compote, we do about a pound of rhubarb to a half cup of sugar and a vanilla bean," says Jennifer. Beside it, there's a scoop of intense rhubarb sorbet, lemon anglaise, raspberry tuille, and strawberry balls. If this dessert catches your eye, don't delay; it'll disappear from the menu in a few weeks.
Nighttime Chocolate Dessert
Nighttime Chocolate Dessert
This full-on assault of chocolate stars three chocolate mousses topped with giant shards of chocolate, and two layers of crispy chocolate phyllo layered with gianduja (candied hazelnut ganache) and a flourless chocolate cake. All of the chocolate is Valrhona, from the cocoa powder to the gianduja to the chocolate used for the mousses. "The owners really love ooey gooey chocolate desserts, and if someone really loves chocolate, I'm going to give them chocolate," Jennifer says. "This is the ultimate chocolate dessert."
Nighttime Chocolate Dessert, Top-Down
Nighttime Chocolate Dessert, Top-Down
A bird's-eye view of the chocolate dessert. You'll need a buddy to split this with.