Last Wednesday, I dragged a friend out on the town for a little wine and free dessert. The event for food bloggers, Twitterers, Yelpers and regular folks was wittily named the “RSS (Really Sweet Syn) Feed” – how I could I pass it up? Cissi’s Market on South Congress is one of those places that I’ve passed by a million times, but have never set foot in. And there’s a perfectly logical reason for that! It looks completely out of my usual price range. The truth? It’s only mostly out of my price range! Hoo-ray!
In all seriousness, the free sweets and discounted wine were definitely what motivated me to do something other than sit around my living room with M and the kitties, knitting and watching 30 Rock on Netflix. Which is what I generally do on a weeknight. And I’m glad I got out! It feels good to be around other humans sometimes. (Not that M doesn’t count…he’s very human.)
My friend and I opted to get dinner beforehand at Home Slice Pizza, which is conveniently across the street from Cissi’s. Assuming (correctly, I might add) that actually eating dinner at Cissi’s would prove to be a little beyond our budgetary allowances, the pizza was a nice fill-me-up before the main event. A couple greasy but delicious slices of pepperoni later, we crossed the street and entered a roomy space lined with giant windows and shelves of wine. We were early and there were plenty of spots to sit, so we perched at a high table by one wall of windows and people-watched while we perused the (really entertaining) menu. Waitstaff with trays of delectable goodies wandered here and there, asking, “Would you like some dessert?” Seriously? You had to ask? Who says no to free sweets? Between us, I think we managed to try just about everything. I nibbled a mini Sacher Torte, two skewered Belgian Ale doughnuts with toffee sauce, a surprisingly tasty tangerine financier, some sort of gingerbread muffin which wasn’t on the menu so I can’t remember what it was called, and two glasses of very pink bubbly wine. (And I have now revealed the true extent of my free food-induced gluttony.)
Here’s what the folks at Cissi’s had to say about the desserts:
- Belgian Ale Doughnuts: Warm Beer Toffee Sauce, Peanut-Fleur de Sel Toffee
- Tangerine Financier: Browned Butter Almond Cakes infused with fresh Tangerines
- Roasted Peanut Macaron with Caramelized Banana Ganache: Crisp and chewy Almond & Peanut Sandwich Cookies with a Caramelized Banana White Chocolate Ganache
- Mini Sacher Torte: Small Bite-sized version of the classical Austrian dessert. Dense layers of chocolate cake with housemade Apricot Preserves and Dark Chocolate Glaze served with a side of “Schlag” or whipped cream as is done traditionally.
They described them better than I ever could but I’ll give you some brief impressions. The Sacher Torte was delicious and soft, but a bit melty which made for some, shall we say, indelicate eating on my part. I passed on the macaroon because the idea of banana ganache made me very unhappy. The thought of anything banana, except bananas, pretty much makes me want to run screaming. The tangerine financier was, as I mentioned, surprisingly delicious. I say surprisingly because I am not generally a huge fan of anything almond flavored, except almonds. (I sense a trend here…) It was moist and just sweet and flavorful enough without being overwhelming. The doughnuts were by far my favorite – they were the little treats I was looking forward to all evening but which were always absent from the trays when the waitstaff came by! I can only imagine that everybody got to them before the trays got to us. Warm, sugary and fried, with a deliciously sweet, warm toffee sauce, they made quite an elegant picture served skewered two at a time on long, narrow white plates. I assure you, they are not to be missed.
Oh yeah! I had wine too! Which led to an ill-advised shopping moment after we left Cissi’s where I said to my friend before we entered the store, “Don’t let me buy anything because I’ll think it’s all a really good idea!” I won’t go into detail about the wine because I don’t know what it was – only that it was pink, bubbly, sweet and delicious.