DeLise Lives Up to Its Name
Translated as “pleasure” or “delight,” the word DeLise might be just a combination of the owners’ names – Dennis and Eloise Leung. Busy enjoying my lychee-rose iced tea, and my green tea cupcake at DeLise Dessert Café in San Francisco, I forgot to ask. You know it’s going to be good when a couple of pastry chefs set up a dessert shop, but you might not know how good it can get.
Pastries, sandwiches, and frozen desserts at DeLise are not only fresh and made in-house in small batches. They also bear that unmistakable touch that defines a true talent – they are creatively enhanced with sometimes unexpected, but perfectly balanced ingredients.
The recipe for success might be in adding chipotle aioli and mango salsa to a BLT sandwich, or ginger and turmeric to crab salad, or TCHO hot chocolate to the beverage menu of Four Barrel coffees and Red Blossom teas.
The major draw, though, is sweets. Bite-size cupcakes, tarts, and cookies; interesting ice creams, frozen yogurts and sorbets are handcrafted right in the store. There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives in any of the products found here, and when one item is sold out, the other is being made, so the menu tends to change daily.
In the sandwich category, truffle egg with onion marmalade is a staple that, thanks to popular demand, never goes away. It is only rivaled by a bruleed cheese sandwich made of caramelized brie over kumquat, apricot, or other seasonal jam, and topped with candied pine nuts and arugula.
There are other savory crowd-pleasers in the shop, like duck meat scones with scallions and hoisin sauce, and positively addictive truffled Parmesan-Gruyère cheese puffs.
Approximately a dozen ice cream flavors at DeLise include dairy from Straus Creamery and fruit from the market. You can find here rather whimsical malted vanilla bean, cookie crunch, pesto, and roasted banana ice cream. Vegan sorbets range from cucumber mint to yuzu plum, and organic frozen yogurts reflect the bounty of summer berries.
Treats that cannot be missed at DeLise are soft, slender, melt-in-your mouth cupcakes. The chefs experiment with dough, cream, and toppings to create the most enticing combinations. The Irish Dream cupcake is made with vanilla brown butter and Baileys frosting, while Devil’s Chocolate is topped with dulce de leche cream, sea salt, and pink peppercorn.
Since the tiny café seats only eight, some DeLise regulars like to take out a box of daily specials, and some prefer to sit down with friends or family and get a pastry platter. Hazelnut butterscotch macarons, chocolate brownies with sea salt, Mexican wedding cookies with walnuts and pecans, and rice crispies with miso, sesame, and a touch of coconut are sure to delight just about anyone. They surely impressed moi!
DeLise Dessert Café is located at 327 Bay Street, in San Francisco, California. Open Tuesday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Call (415) 399-9694 or visit their website.