Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Desserts from Causwells

Back in September, All-Star Donuts in the Marina announced that they were closing after 28 years.  Now, I've never been to All-Star Donuts.  I don't live in the Marina.  I didn't particularly care.  Except ... a nearby restaurant was on my radar because they serve a bread pudding made from All-Star Donuts donuts.  I'm obsessed with bread pudding, and always on the lookout for a great new version to try.  If All-Star was closing, then my opportunity to get this dessert was going away.  I had to act fast.

Causwells is open for lunch and dinner daily, plus brunch on the weekends.  The aforementioned bread pudding is from the dessert menu, which yes, is available at brunch (which is when I visited).  I didn't actually stay for a meal, and opted to just grab my bread pudding to go, but they did have a couple tempting sounded dishes on the brunch menu, like buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy or french toast bites with a brandy dipping sauce.

Sadly, I didn't like my dessert, nor the subsequent one I returned for, but the feel of the restaurant was good, and I've ready many positive reviews, so I wouldn't rule out returning for a real meal.
Rustic, casual dining area.
The feel of Causwells is very relaxed.  Rustic, casual, lots of wood elements.  There are a few tables inside and outside on the sidewalk, perfect for brunch, plus a counter along the bar.

The tables don't really look comfortable however.  Stools are great at a bar, but, at a table?  Too much work to sit up!
“All-Star” donut bread pudding / spiced milk. $8.25.
Ok, I love bread pudding.  It is one of my absolute favorite desserts.  And donut bread pudding? It can be totally amazing.  I was super excited to try this, as I'd read about it before.  Bread pudding, made from donuts from All-Star Donuts down the street.  YES!

Then I opened my box.  NOOOOOO!

I like a certain style of bread pudding.  I like a crispy top.  A custardy, moist interior.  Good size chunks of bread.  Ideally served warm.  Bonus points for serving with ice cream, but whipped cream will do.

This was basically just dense, oily cake.  No distinct chunks of bread/donut.  No crisp top, no custardy interior.  It did sorta taste like stale donuts though.

The serving was two pieces, cut into triangles.  Served cold (I verified, that is how it is served when you order it in the restaurant too, never warmed up).

And, no ice cream nor whipped cream, instead, spiced milk.  Now, the spiced milk was tasty, slightly sweet, lots of fall spices.  I tried dunking the bread pudding in it to moisten it up, but, meh.  I guess they were going for donuts and milk as a treat?  But still.  No.

All around, just not my style at all.  Sadness.  Also, it turns out that they still serve the bread pudding, they just get the donuts from another All-Star location.  I didn't need to rush there for it!

I want to start a campaign to rename this style of bread pudding.  Let's just call it bread-cake ok?  I can't blame Causwells for serving this style that I dislike, as they aren't alone.  Dense, cake-like bread pudding shows up all the time, like the flavorless solid mass I got from Soma Inn Cafe or the better, but still just solid-style version from Blue Plate.  Sometimes it comes more like french toast, like the banana version we had at Lot 7.  Seriously, these aren't what I think of as bread pudding!   Even getting the name right isn't enough though, because the version from Luna Park sounded perfect on paper, it was warm and with ice cream even, but, it fell flat too. Sigh.  So simple, but so hard.

$8.25 was a fine price for a dessert, but I obviously didn't want this.
Plum Foster Pudding / star anise / salted crumble. $8.25. 
If at first you don't succeed, try try again, right?  Particularly when pudding is involved.  I'm a sucker for pudding, so I couldn't resist trying it too.

It was ... also not good.  The pudding itself was grainy and flavorless.  Not vanilla flavored, not creamy, a bit watery.  The plums were mushy and just tasted weird.  The crumble on top was a nice touch, and I did really like the idea behind a crunchy component to a pudding, but it wasn't particularly flavorful either.  It did have a touch of salt at least.  The star anise however was flavorful, but it overwhelmed everything else.

I brought it to Ojan, since he also likes puddings, but he took one bite, made a face, and threw it out.
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