Thursday, March 20, 2014

Baked Goods (and coffee) From Diller's

Diller's is a deli located in the Financial District, catering to the business crowd, open for breakfast and lunch weekdays only.  Since I usually eat those meals at my office, I don't often have occasion to venture out, but sometimes, I just want something different.  I've had my eye on their apple fritters for literally years (more on that below).

I also like to try out new technology.  Lately, I've been really into paying with the Paypal app on my phone.  It seems like the least clumsy of all the payment systems I've tried, no handing over your phone, no awkward scanning of QR codes.  You just check in on your phone, and tell them your name.  Very easy.

Anyway, Diller's wins the award for using just about every single food delivery and payment system available in San Francisco.  You can order online on Seamless or Orderhead.  Back when it was running, you could use GoPago to order from your phone.  And to pay, you can use LevelUp, Paypal, or LeapSet.  I think there are more.  The front door is covered in stickers for all these services.  I was amused, but also, I applaud them for embracing technology and giving their customers options!

On my first visit, I went for a breakfast pastry, but I also decided to get coffee since it was cold out, and figured I'd appreciate something warm for my walk back to the office.  They had a selection of brewed coffees, perhaps 6 total, one decaf, a few flavored, all self-serve.  I predominantly drink decaf these days, but I couldn't resist making up a mix of 1/2 decaf, 1/4 hazelnut, 1/4 french vanilla.   I haven't been somewhere with multiple coffees and self-serve in years, I'm pretty sure the last time was at a gas station.  I kinda liked this freedom.  The coffee wasn't bad, particularly for not freshly brewed, cup-at-a-time coffee.  I really enjoyed my creation.

I was very impressed with the coffee add-ins station.  There was standard half and half and skim milk, but also soy milk.  And flavored Coffee Mate.  And powdered creamer.  Something for everyone!  And an assortment of sweeteners.  And cinnamon.  And nutmeg.  And cocoa powder.  So many ways to jazz up your coffee!

Service was friendly and efficient on all of my visits, never any lines.

The overall space was great for grabbing a quick bite, featuring a long counter with single stools along the window, perfect for a solo diner, with great sunlight and people-watching.  There were also regular tables in the back.

I only went for baked goods, so I can't say anything about the actual deli, but they also make breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, and have a salad bar.  And an insanely impressive selection of chips and bottled drinks.  Seriously, any brand of chips you ever possibly want, you can find here.

I love the feel of Diller's, as it seems so down-to-earth.  The other patrons all seem like "real people".  It  can be really refreshing sometimes to step away from the world I normally live in, and just blend in.  I plan to return.
Mixed Berry Scone.  $2.50.
I've actually stopped in Diller's before, when I used GoPago to get a donut months ago.  It was a Rolling Pin donut, which I'd heard good things about, but I didn't really like it.  On this visit, I still wanted a baked good for breakfast, but not another donut.  I was hoping for a fritter, but alas, I arrived too late.  The other items didn't call out to me, so instead, I went for a scone.

Now that I'm looking at the options, I think their non-donut baked goods (muffins, danishes, scones, quickbreads, cookies, bars, brownies, etc) come from City Baking Co, but I'm just guessing.  City Baking Co makes scones in both round and triangle shapes.  I had a triangle one before from Prima Cafe, and I really didn't care for that scone.  If I'd known the Diller's ones were from the same bakery, I probably would have gone for something else.  The more you know.

I also find scones to be problematic.  I tend to feel that they have about a 30 second shelf life.  A warm scone, fresh out of the oven, slathered with clotted cream and jam can be quite delicious.  But most often scones are just dry and boring.  Sometimes they can be slightly redeemed by having a great buttermilk tang.  Or a delicious glaze.  But generally ... not my baked good of choice.  I'm not sure why I selected one on this visit, given that I tend to feel this way towards scones.

But alas, I got the scone.  For some reason it looked good, bursting with berries.  I inquired as to what kind it was, and was told "mixed berry".  I'm not certain what type of berries there were, I think raspberries at least.  

The scone was not very good.  Dry, crumbly.  It looked like it would be moist from the berries, but it wasn't.  The base had no flavor, no tang, just plain.  Plain, plain, plain.  And the berries?  Not many at all.

I brought it home, warmed it up, and slathered it with my mother's jam, which slightly saved it, but only slightly.  I won't be getting another.  Price was standard for a fresh baked scone.
Apple Fritter $2.25. Medium Self-Serve Coffee $2.00.
On another visit, I finally lucked out.  They actually had an apple fritter remaining!  I've literally been trying to get one from Diller's for almost two years.  Sure I don't go every day and check, but I've never make it there early enough, and they always seem to sell out of the fritters first.  On this visit, I got the last one.

The fritter was huge.  Massive.  I wish I put something into the photo for reference so you could see how large it was.  The size of ... 4 regular donuts?  I don't know.  This should be illegal.  Or come with a sugar and fat warning label.  Or maybe not, because then I'm pretty certain they wouldn't sell out :)

Luckily for me, it turns out, my crazy quest to get a Diller's apple fritter wasn't all in vain.  It was quite delicious.  Once I recovered from the fact that I was about to eat a ridiculously unhealthy monstrosity, I just dug in, and took it all in stride.

The outside was crispy, coated in a sweet glaze.  The coating was very thick, but that helped make it incredibly crispy on the exterior.  So sweet.  Sugar bomb.

The dough was clearly fried.  It did taste like fried dough, but it wasn't horribly oily like the apple fritter from Henry's.  It was moist in the interior pockets, spiced with cinnamon swirls, and studded with little chunks of apple.  I was a bit disappointed by the small amount of apple, it certainly could have used more.

But overall, it was exactly what an apple fritter should be.  Sweet, crispy, fried, decadent.  Totally not a "breakfast", but we'll pretend.  I only managed to eat 70% of it in my initial sitting (which, I attest is still far more than any human SHOULD actually eat at once), so I brought the rest back to my office for a mid-afternoon treat.  It held up fine for the few hours I managed to ignore it.

$2.25 for such a ridiculous beast of a pastry was a great price, although, I really would prefer if it were smaller.

I also got another coffee, since how do you eat a donut without coffee alongside?  As on my previous visit, I was impressed with the slew of creamers, sweeteners, and spices available to jazz up my coffee.  The coffee was pre-brewed, self serve, but was hot and fresh, even the decaf.  I again enjoyed my coffee, although I made it a bit too sweet, particularly when pairing with my crazy dessert totally-breakfast-appropriate baked good.  I'd happily drink another.
Diller's Delicatessan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Related Posts with Thumbnails