Monday, July 25, 2011


Tiko Riko, $2.75

Many years ago I went to Mexico on vacation and ate flan every single day for a week. I was with my parents and a bunch of their friends and they rented an entire house on the hill overlooking the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende. Each morning over breakfast, we'd peruse the house menu and decide on what to order for dinner, inevitably finishing up with one flavor or another of flan from a long list of possibilities. Whatever the meal's main course, the cool, creamy, caramel-drenched custard was a fitting and memorable finale.

Tiko Riko is a relatively new strip mall restaurant in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood where you can eat hot-off-the-griddle pupusas doused in curtido and hot sauce, then fill whatever room you might have saved with housemade dessert, such as this smooth, eggy flan laced with Grand Marnier.

Tiko Riko

10410 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA

Friday, July 15, 2011

Keo Hot Dieu

Keo Hot Dieu
Coconut Tree Brand, $1.49/8

Keo Hot Dieu cashew nut cookies from Thailand are a pleasing combination of ingredients that I normally approach with caution: cashews (simultaneously unctuous and dusty, like freeze-dried astronaut butter), tapioca wafers (saliva-sucking discs of Sham-wow), and sugar glaze (a moment on the lips, a lifetime coating the roof of the mouth). Sandwiched into a sesame-sprinkled cookie, the three become far more than a sum of their parts. They're crisp but melting, nutty but sweet.

In Seattle, keo hot dieu are available from Rising Produce.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hello, Cupcake

Mocha Cupcake
Hello, Cupcake, $2.55

Although cupcakes are redolent of childhood innocence, birthday parties, and bake sales, there's still something about them that can also be quite grown-up, feminine, and even flirtatious.

Tacoma's Hello, Cupcake bakery teases out the sultry side of this popular treat. Their small, moist and flavorful cakes are topped with sculptural heaps of frosting, like an abstract homage to a woman sashaying down the street in a swingy skirt. Most flavors are further accessorized with finishing touches; the mocha (above) is crowned with a chocolate coffee bean, the seasonal banana split (below, center) attracts attention with a sweep of chocolate syrup and a glossy maraschino cherry.

Hello, Cupcake also offers a event room and an enticing decorating party package: $10 per person for two cupcakes and two hours in which to pile them high with frosting, frills, and furbelows.