For some top sweets and desserts in Seattle, we turned to Jill Severson, who has been crafting the pastries at MistralKitchen for almost four years. At the restaurant, she strives to use the freshest possible ingredients, so that her desserts have bold yet clean flavors. One dessert she's particularly fond of is the ricotta and black pepper mousse with macerated strawberries. Severson says some diners are initially a little hesitant about ordering a dessert with black pepper, but they shouldn't be. "It's really light and refreshing and a good end to the meal," she explains.
Outside of work hours, Severson indulges in a multitude of sweets, from deliciously greasy Chinese doughnuts to milkshakes spiked with espresso and rye. Check out all of her picks below.
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Nectarine Upside Down Cake at Macrina Bakery: This cake is simple, sweet, and delicious. It's nice to have for breakfast or lunch and really good with coffee.
Croissants at Cafe Besalu: I love the croissants from here. Consistently delicious, buttery, flaky and light. You can taste the care they put in to making them.
Boozy Shakes at Hot Cakes: The boozy shakes here are a great end (or beginning) of the day. The extra dark caramel, espresso, and Old Overholt rye shake has a great balance of salty and sweet, and the spicy rye is great with the caramel.
Doughnuts at Mon Hei Bakery: This old-school Chinese bakery is an international district institution. The Chinese doughnuts are addictive, fluffy, greasy (in the best way) and coated in crunchy sugar.
Dessert at Altura: Altura is an amazing dining experience and they carry that through to dessert. The standout last time I was there was a wood sorrel sorbet with berries, herbs and a crumbled meringue. It was like summer in my mouth.
Chocolates at Bakery Nouveau: Everything here is always good, but their chocolates are my favorite. The ones I like the most are the enrobed ganache style (in particular, the salted caramel). The shell is thin and has a nice crunch when you bite through to the smooth, bittersweet ganache that's not overly salty.
Macarons at Crumble and Flake: Crumble and Flake is a very small bakery that Neil Robertson opened about a year ago. He was the first pastry chef I worked with at Mistral Kitchen and his attention to detail and flavors is impressive to me. His caipirinha macaron is tender and moist, tart, and sweet. I like them for a midday treat.
Gelato at D'ambrosio Gelateria: These guys are authentic right down to the funny little shovel-like spoons. Two favorites are the black sesame and pistachio. The flavors are just really clean and true to the food they're made from.
Coconut Cream Pie at Pie Bar: This adorably tiny place serves pie and booze. The coconut cream pie is textbook and they'll put ice cream in your beer too, which totally works.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax