by Caroline

I’m surprised to find I haven’t written about dessert yet in this forum, since I have a lot to say about the subject. And despite how healthy I try to keep my family, we certainly don’t avoid dessert. We’re just as likely to make an afternoon project of making cookies as making paintings, and if we have a bowl of apples, I’m just as likely to bake them into a crisp than to slice them up to feed the kids.

Today, after a late-afternoon romp in Golden Gate Park with frisbee and soccer ball, we walked up to one of our favorite local restaurants, a casual place where they bring the kids mason jars full of crayons and the silverware waits for use in repurposed cans of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. We eat there often (despite some memorably bad evenings there, no fault of the restaurant). After a simple supper (a roasted artichoke to share, pasta of various sorts all around, a nice salad of roasted beets, arugula, endive and manchego), Tony slipped in a quiet dessert order. The ginger cake here is so good we don’t even order the excellent chocolate cake anymore, which might be all you need to know about it. The cake is spicy and moist, a little crispy round the edges, and sits next to a generous scoop of homemade pumpkin ice cream, all surrounded by a pool of rich dark caramel sauce. It might be my favorite restaurant dessert in a city that’s rich in excellent desserts.

Tonight when the waiter put the dessert down, the boys fell on it. Eli practically snarled at me when I used my spoon to force his back down onto the plate and reduce his giant bite by half. Ben, with longer arms, snuck in for bites from the side while Eli stood up to get better access. “Eli!” I cried, appalled at his manners; “Do you even know what the cake tastes like?” He didn’t even pause to answer; didn’t, in fact, even swallow, but answered by shaking his head no. When it was gone, he took a deep breath and sat back, satisfied.

The subtlety of texture and flavor was lost on him; it was sweet and good and for now that’s all he needs. But in the interest of refining his palate, we’ll keep ordering this cake. In fact,  I think next time we’ll order two.